A coalition of more than 40 Minnesota hunting and fishing groups is urging hunters and anglers in the state to buy fishing and hunting licenses and stamps this year even if they may not use them because of concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buying the licenses and stamps is the best way to keep many Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fish and wildlife programs going, especially those funded by the state’s Fish and Game Fund.

The Fish and Wildlife Division, which oversees everything from wildlife management areas to deer surveys and fisheries work, is funded by license dollars and federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.

The groups include the Izaak Walton League, Duluth Retriever Club, Pheasants Forever, the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Ducks Unlimited and many others.

“We have more groups singing onto this every day,’’ said Joe Duggan, retired head of Pheasants Forever. “We don’t know if people are going to say home and not fish and hunt and not buy licenses this year because of COVID ... or maybe they will go out like gangbusters to get outdoors. But if they don’t go, we want them to buy the licensees anyway, or it’s going to kill a lot of good programs at DNR.”

Even with some retailers closed, you can still buy licenses at mndnr.gov and by calling 888-665-4236.