Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 61° Partly Cloudy
Sports >  Outdoors

Idaho Fish and Game commission requests nonresident hunter cap, fee increase

UPDATED: Mon., Sept. 9, 2019

Brad Brooks adjusts his earplugs during a duck hunting trip near Bruneau on Jan. 15, 2019. Brooks grew up hunting, but in recent years he’s become a fan of creating unique, challenging dishes from his game harvests. (Nicole Blanchard / COURTESY)
Brad Brooks adjusts his earplugs during a duck hunting trip near Bruneau on Jan. 15, 2019. Brooks grew up hunting, but in recent years he’s become a fan of creating unique, challenging dishes from his game harvests. (Nicole Blanchard / COURTESY)

In an effort to address complaints of overcrowding, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission hopes to cap the number of nonresident hunter tags sold while simultaneously increasing nonresident hunter fees.

Nonresident hunter fees account for 57% of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s license revenue.

“It is obviously a significant part of our portfolio,” said Michael Pearson, the IDFG chief of administration. “So in order to offset the impact of less nonresidents (they’re proposing) a fee increase. So less nonresidents, but each is paying more.”

The proposal has to be approved by the 2020 Legislature and wouldn’t take effect until 2021.

“I think the take home here is the commission is trying to provide themselves another tool to try and address this crowding issue,” IDFG spokesman Roger Phillips said.

In the 2019 fiscal year, 39,000 nonresidents purchased deer and/or elk tags, while 224,000 Idaho residents purchased tags. The fee increase would include a 10% hike for most nonresident fees with larger increases for big game tags, archery and muzzleloader permits.

A nonresident adult hunting license costs $154.75. A nonresident deer tag costs $301.75 and an elk tag costs $416.75. Under the proposed rule, the commission could limit the number of nonresident tags allotted in any elk zone, or big game unit for deer tags, to at minimum 10 percent of the previous five-year average of all hunters in a unit or zone.

“Residents were overwhelmingly in favor of this,” Pearson said.

Resident fees would not increase. The changes could have drastic impacts on IDFG’s revenue.

“Our best estimate is that it could impact anywhere between 10% to maybe even as high as 20% of overall department revenue,” Pearson said.

Because the commission has some discretion on how high to set the cap on nonresident licenses, the exact impact on the agency’s funding aren’t clear.

“The department doesn’t have a position on it,” Pearson said of the proposal. “The commission wants this. So we provide technical advice. This is being advanced based on the commission’s request.”

Matt Mimnaugh, a board member of the Spokane-based Inland Northwest Wildlife Council and the chairman of the big game committee, wasn’t surprised by the proposed changes. Most states want to promote their hunting and fishing opportunities, he said. But balancing increased nonresident hunting with the needs and desires of resident hunters is “kind of a double-edged sword,” he said.

“I don’t envy their jobs at all,” he said of IDFG staff. “Those are some tough decisions.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.



American families feeling the pinch of COVID-19 pandemic

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index asked about 1,330 adult Americans in different income brackets a variety of questions, including how their finances are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy COUNTRY Financial)
Sponsored

The year 2020 hasn’t been the most forgiving year for families and their pocketbooks.