Instead of raising more revenue, a fee increase hitting out-of-state hunters and anglers has resulted in less money flowing to the Idaho Fish and Game Department this year. “Usually in Idaho we sell out right away when it comes to our nonresident deer and elk hunters, and at this time we are not sold out and we’re seeing a lag,” said Fish and Game Director Cal Groen. “We have tags left over.”
In a survey, hunters from outside the state cited the fee increase, the poor economy and the state’s growing wolf population as reasons they’re staying away this year. Lawmakers had considered a Fish & Game proposal to charge more for the most popular hunts – a plan intended to raise an extra $7 million a year – but instead approved a more modest increase only on out-of-state residents. If nonresident tag sales held steady this year, the change was expected to net $2.5 million more. That hasn’t happened. Three months into the state’s new fiscal year, revenue from tag sales is 9 percent, or about $1 million, below the same point last year. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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