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December 26, 2013

Fish & Game proposes fee increase and discount legislation

   Idaho Fish and Game is proposing fee increase and discount authority legislation.

   But under the proposed legislation, hunters and anglers would be able to lock in the price of their hunting and fishing license for the next three to five years.

   Idaho Fish and Game is hoping hunters and anglers will like this idea, called a "fee lock." Agency officials think it will help raise needed revenue, and at the same time reduce the need for fee increases.

   Idaho resident license fees are the same today as they were in 2005. At the same time, the cost of managing Idaho's wildlife has increased with higher costs of fish food, gas, and more.

   Idaho Fish and Game doesn't want to raise license fees. Instead of calling for a traditional fee hike, Fish and Game is proposing a two-part plan that gives hunters and anglers the choice to lock in the price of a license against a possible fee increase, or not.

   Hereís how the two-part license fee lock concept could work:

   Fish and Game will present two proposals to the legislature when it meets in January.

   One seeks authority for the Fish and Game Commission to discount license and tag fees.

   The second seeks to raise fees on most resident licenses, tags and fees between $1 and $6.

   If both parts of the proposal become law, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission could create the fee lock. For Idahoans who consistently buy annual licenses, the price of a license and tags would be the same as buying them in 2013. Hunters and anglers who don't buy a license every year would pay the increased price of a license and tag fees.

   The commission would review the fee lock in three to five years and decide whether it is working and whether it should continue.

   Licenses and tags fund Idaho Fish and Game, but not all hunters and anglers consistently buy hunting and fishing licenses every year. The fee lock would reward those who buy annual licenses and hopefully encourage others to do the same. If more people bought a license every year, Fish and Game's funding would be more stable for wildlife management, and there would be less need for regular fee increases.

   To inform license buyers about the legislation and what it means to them, Fish and Game has developed a simple flier with basic information and a web page with more information.

   Copies of the flier will be available at regional office and most vendors. The "Fee Lock" webpage includes a short video and Q&A. The link is in the lower left of the Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov or at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/?getPage=363.