Hunters, anglers and trappers will see new prices starting May 1 with the addition of a $5 Access/Depredation fee for resident adults and $10 for nonresident adults when they buy their first annual license.
The new fee will pay for land access for sportsmen and women, and depredation prevention and payments to farmers and ranchers if big game damages their operations.
Fish and Game commissioners recognized that maintaining abundant big game herds means increased responsibility to mitigate for their effects to farmers’ and ranchers’ livelihoods. Animals can do significant damage to crops, haystacks and other agriculture commodities.
Commissioners also want to enhance access to private lands for hunting, fishing and trapping in response to changing patterns of land ownership, changing traditional access, and the growing need to compensate private landowners for access.
The Access/Depredation fee is expected to raise $1 million annually for sportsmen’s access, and another $1 million annually for depredation prevention and damage compensation.
The fee will also be applied to other annual licenses with a $2 fee charged for junior, senior, Disabled American Veteran and military furlough licenses. A $4 fee will be charged to nonresident junior and Disabled American Veteran licenses.
Anyone who already bought, or who buys an annual 2017 hunting, fishing or trapping license before May 1 is exempt from the new fee for this year. Also, those who buy a 3-year license will only be charged for two years of the fee.
The new fee is in addition to “Price Lock,” which takes effect when 2018 licenses go on sale in December. Under Price Lock, anyone who buys any resident annual license (hunting, fishing, trapping, combination, Sportsman’s package, etc.) is exempt from the 20-percent fee increase for 2018 licenses and permits. However, all license buyers must still pay the Access/Depredation fee annually.
For at least five years, resident hunters, anglers and trappers will pay 2017 prices for licenses and tags as long as they buy any annual license each year, which locks them in at 2017 prices for all other licenses and tags.