Hunting and fishing permit fees have remained fairly stagnant for the past decade across America, but several states are now increasing the price of outdoor licenses to address budget concerns.
According to the Lincoln Journal Star, legislators in Nebraska recently proposed the first price increase for hunting and fishing licenses in the state since 2003.
Omaha Sen. John McCollister submitted a bill last week that would allow the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to adjust 48 different categories of user fees, which supply approximately 87% of the commission’s income.
Commission Director Jim Douglas claims that the price to legally hunt and fish in Nebraska has not kept pace with the times, adding that current fees fail to cover the costs of maintaining wildlife activities in the state.
“The commission isn’t looking at increasing the overall authority for us to spend dollars by any great amount. We need some additional dollars even to spend the current authority that we have on the fish and game side,” Douglas said.
In the past few years, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has identified $44 million in deferred maintenance needs for state parks, which serve a large percentage of hunters and fishermen in Nebraska. The state legislature has supplied much of that funding already, but the commission is still $14 million short in necessary funding.
More than 38 million Americans hunt and fish on a regular basis, and Nebraska is one of the most popular states for outdoor enthusiasts in the country. Montana, another state that is known for embracing the outdoors, is also implementing some notable changes to their license fee system.
According to The Montana Standard, state legislators recently approved a new $10 “base hunting license” fee, in addition to a $3 increase for resident fishing licenses.
The price hikes were made in an effort to resolve a $5.75 million budget shortfall that faced Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. It marks the first time that Montana has raised the cost of hunting and fishing since 2006.
With two of the most prominent hunting and fishing states in the country making changes to their licensing fees, it wouldn’t be surprising to see even more states follow suit.