Public comment sought by MDC on fee increases for hunting, fishing, trapping permits
The Missouri Conservation Commission has given initial approval to the fee increases.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) proposes price adjustments for most hunting, fishing, trapping and commercial permits. According to a news release, the increases are an effort to keep up with inflation.
With the costs of goods and services rising, the revenue generated from the price increase will be used to manage more than 1,000 conservation-based services, including nature centers, shooting ranges, fishing hatcheries and other facilities, MDC said.
The Missouri Conservation Commission granted initial approval for a price adjustment earlier this month. It’s now seeking public input on the changes. You can comment at Permit Price Adjustments 2023 | Missouri Department of Conservation (mo.gov)
MDC issues nearly 2.6 million permits each year to more than 1 million anglers, 500,000 hunters and several thousand trappers, according to the department.
MDC director Sara Parker Pauley said in the statement that, in the past 20 years, permit prices have remained stagnant despite costs for goods and services drastically increasing.
“In early 2003, the price of a resident firearms deer permit was $17 and the cost of a gallon of unleaded gas was $1.42,” said Pauley. “Jump ahead two decades to May 2023 when the cost of a resident firearms deer permit is still $17 while the cost of a gallon of gas is about $3.30. That cost increase really adds up considering MDC purchased nearly 908,000 gallons of gas in 2022 to run vehicles and equipment."
Pauley added that, on average, most resident hunting and fishing permit prices would be adjusted by roughly $1.
Additional revenue generated from permit sales will help MDC maintain and improve programs and services it offers.
And Pauley said the department is dealing new and expensive challenges..
“Our staff are dealing with more and new invasive species and wildlife disease outbreaks," she said in the news release. "And the costs of many things we must buy regularly keep going up, from fuel to fish food.”
Conservation efforts supported by revenue from sales of permits include:
- Maintaining and improving nine fish hatcheries around the state that raise and stocking more than 7 million fish annually for public fishing – including about 1.3 million trout at five hatcheries.
- Maintaining and improving more than 70 public shooting ranges around the state
- Ongoing habitat work on nearly 1,000 conservation areas, including 15 intensively managed wetlands for public hunting and wildlife watching.
- Expansion of youth offerings such as the Missouri Archery in the Schools Program, which is in nearly 700 Missouri schools, and the Discover Nature Schools Program at more than 700 schools around the state, which helps students learn about and connect with Missouri outdoors.
- Helping landowners create and maintain habitat for wildlife.
- Research on health and sustainability of deer, turkey, quail, waterfowl, songbirds, fish, bears, elk and other species.
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of harvest regulations for fish and wildlife game species and understanding resource-user preferences.
- Restoration, monitoring and protection of imperiled and endangered species and habitats.
- Removal of invasive species that threaten the health of native species and habitats.
- Maintaining and improving 15 nature and interpretative centers around the state
Proposed permit price increases
- Resident hunting and fishing permits would go from $19 to 20.50.
- Resident fishing permits would go from $12 to $13.
- Resident small game hunting permits would go from $10 to $10.50.
- Resident trapping permit would go from $10 to $11.
- Resident spring turkey permits would go from $17 to $18.
- Resident firearm deer permits would go from $17 to $18.
- Resident antlerless deer permits would go from $7 to $7.50
- Youth resident antlerless deer permits would go from $7 to $7.50
Those under 16 and over 65 years of age would still get no-cost small game hunting permits and no-cost fishing permits.
If price adjustments are approved, the changes would become effective Feb. 29, 2024.
For more information on a complete list of permits, proposed prices and more, visit mdc.mo.gov.