Wanted to have a discussion about a possible hunting license/tag fee increase in order to get more funding to ADFG Division of Wildlife Conservation. This is something many orgs are very supportive of, as in talking with a lot of biologists and managers it always comes up as the #1 issue and problem.
Our last license/tag fee increase was way back in 1993. Of course, everything has gone up in price since then, from avgas for the aircraft we use for aerial surveys to the heating oil we use to heat ADFG offices. And if you look at what other states charge both residents and non-residents, for the most part Alaska is way behind the curve in fully funding our own Division of Wildlife Conservation (DWC).
This has many impacts across the board. If we can't determine certain population densities our biologists and managers must err on the side of caution, which mean less tags or shortened seasons or more restrictions. A perfect example of this relates to the brown bear population on the Kenai Peninsula. We can't afford a bear density study; many hunters and even some bios believe there are more brown bears there than is assumed, but until DWC gets some hard data on this population we continue to have very limited hunting opportunities for those bears.
All of the Advisory Committees will be hearing more about this soon if they already haven't. We will all have to work together to come up with a license and tag fee scale that is fair and is more on par with what other states do. The bottom line really comes down to: Do we want to pay to have prudent management? Do we want to fully fund our Division of Wildlife Conservation?
There are many other aspects of this that I won't go into right now. I can provide some statistics later down the line as to what other states do and how we compare inre how we fund DWC. And why we don't have enough funding now what impacts that is causing and what impacts it will have in the future. For now I wanted to throw this out there and hope we can have a respectful rational discussion on this issue.
Best to all,