Idaho Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore announced a proposed fee increase on hunting licenses earlier in the week. With rising operational costs, officials are concerned that without a price increase, the management of Idaho’s wildlife resources could be at risk.
The proposed increase on resident licenses, tags and permits is expected to be in the area of roughly $1-$6 and is slated to commence in 2018. If approved by lawmakers, the increase will mark the first one on hunting licenses in over 12 years, and a much needed one to keep pace with the rate of inflation.
The Idaho Fish and Game Department, like many others across the United States are funded solely by license revenues and receive no general tax revenue. With the rising costs of doing business, Moore stated that the usual solution to keep pace is to either cut vital programs or increase fees. As most dedicated sportsmen and women in the state would agree, cutting programs is not an option many want exercised.
In a step to incentivize regular annual hunters – those that purchase a license each and every year – the department is introducing a new program called the Fish and Game Price Lock. For those that routinely purchase licenses each and every year, they will have the ability to purchase a license and “lock in” to current pricing for subsequent years. Anglers, hunters and trappers in Idaho will simply purchase their license as usual in 2017, but will have the option to remain in the current pricing structure by pre-purchasing future licenses for up to three years.
In addition to incentivizing dedicated hunters in the state, the department is hopeful that the program will encourage enough sporadic hunters and anglers to buy a license each and every year. Given that more than 60 percent of the state’s hunters and anglers do not renew their licenses each year, the department is hopeful that they can convert just 10 percent of those intermittent buyers. That conversion alone is estimated to increase Fish and Game revenue by roughly $1 million annually.