Out-of-state deer and elk tags sales account for more than 50 percent of all license funds in the state of Idaho, and in 2016, the state nearly sold out of its entire inventory of both.

For the first time since 2008, Idaho’s non-resident deer tags were completed sold out and the state’s non-resident elk tags were very close to being completely depleted as well.  These statistics, unveiled by Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore on Monday, mark a continued trend of rebounding revenues affected by the non-resident price increase during the recession in 2009.

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Virgil Moore – Idaho Fish and Game

“Numbers just tanked,” Moore told the Tribune Ledger News. “And this is the first year we’ve recovered all of that back. So really it’s the first year we’ve realized the benefits of a fee increase on nonresidents that occurred in 2009. And now that we’ve achieved that (deer tag nonresident sellout), we’ll level out (on revenue) because we can’t sell any more of that product. It’s maxed out.”

With these promising results, Moore is standing behind the draft legislation that aims to increase resident fishing and hunting licenses in 2017 by roughly 20 percent, depending on specific licenses purchased.

Citing rising operational costs, Virgil announced the proposed increase in December, which includes a price lock guarantee to incentivize regular annual hunters.  Under the program, those that routinely purchase licenses annually will have the ability to lock into current pricing for a subsequent number of years.

Roughly 60 percent of Idaho’s resident hunters and anglers do not renew their licenses each year and under this new program, officials are hopeful that they can convert roughly 10 percent of those intermittent buyers.