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Thread: Hunting License/Tag fee increase discussion

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Hunting License/Tag fee increase discussion

    Hey Everyone,

    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,

  2. #2
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    Default ADF&G needs money?

    From the other forum

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post

    The #1 problem facing state mgmt of wildlife and our Division of Wildlife Conservation is a lack of funding.
    I disagree!

    The #1 problem with ADF&G is all the money raised by any tags or donations etc… go into a general fund. This means that the Sheep tag that sold last year for $88,000 was put into the general fund and this money may have purchased tires or new furniture. This is total BS!

    The #1 problem with ADF&G is it's MANAGEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Earlier this year, I attempted to give ADF&G $5000 to help with moose. I was told this money would have to go into the general fund and hold off on making such a donation since the money would not be spent on moose. So they got NADA/ZERO. I can’t think of a better way to run a business!

    I do agree with you (maybe a first) that we should see a rate increase on all users (both resident and non resident) to include raising the cost of licenses and tags. I am willing to pay more, as many others have mention, but not until ADF&G gets rid of the general fund.

    Money raised on the delta bison hunt should go into bison management, like wise the money raised on the Gov sheep tag that sold for $88,000. ADF&G should have used their 90% take towards sheep management.

    We have the rights to ask for an increase in our licenses and tags, but I am not sure how to make ADF&G upper management change the way they manage. Until I know this answer, I will be against any such increase.

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    Before we ask, law biding hunter and fisherman to pay higher fee.

    Let make everyone who hunt, fishes and view wildlife to all pay there fair share.

    It the Obama way.

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    I would agree with you for the most part Mark. AK is way off the mark on our non res tags! Kodiak permits especially need a 2-3x increase there is only 1 Kodiak on the planet and the line is long to hunt it! Non Res Moose, Sheep, and musk ox should be at least doubled. I think Bou could support a 30-50% increase I would not support a large increase in Black Bear and Sitka deer tags because I just don't think that the resource would support it and the lodges would suffer. I also don't support any increase in wolf tags.

    As for the resident fees.... I don't think a significant increase in license fees is necessary. I would however support a resident sheep tag fee set aside specifically for sheep management. Of all the big game animal the state offers Sheep are the one that is least pursued for subsistence. Don't be mistaken they are sought after table fare but the work and cost vs reward makes it far more about the "Trophy" than about filling the freezer. Perhaps a $25 locking tag system like we have for bear would work.

    On a side note this issue is not a BOG issue but rather a legislative one that will have to be hammered out in Juneau. Whatever increases are put into place they must be held accountable for where the money is spent. I will not support the increased funding being used for studies into the breeding habits of the little brown bat.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    What about a nominal fee ($5-10?) for our harvest tickets? As it is, I just go down to the store and get my moose, sheep, and caribou tags for free. I sure wouldn't mind spending $15-30 dollars for this, and that spread out across tens of thousands of hunters would make a real impact on F&G's funding. I also like LuJon's idea for an even higher fee for the more desired species. I would gladly pay $25 for the chance to chase sheep.

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    We had a poll on here last year about this fee increase. I am unable to find it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tv321 View Post
    ....the money raised by any tags or donations etc… go into a general fund. This means that the Sheep tag that sold last year for $88,000 was put into the general fund and this money may have purchased tires or new furniture. This is total BS!
    Yep. I agree. There should be NO tags sold to the highest bidder. That is exploiting wildlife resources to fund State government and illegal.

    Quote Originally Posted by tv321 View Post
    The #1 problem with ADF&G is it's MANAGEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The problem resource managers have is the special interest of the commercial hunting industry. This industry controls the public process, it is not limited, it does not pay for the resource they profit from and it does not stand down when resources are limited.

    Quote Originally Posted by tv321 View Post
    ...but not until ADF&G gets rid of the general fund.
    I sure as heck am not willing to pay MORE.

    The BGCSB does not even collect enough professional licensing fees to cover the cost of operating the board. This special interest board dips into the general fund to cover the real cost of operating the guide licensing board.....that's just wrong.


    Quote Originally Posted by tv321 View Post
    Money raised on the delta bison hunt should go into bison management, like wise the money raised on the Gov sheep tag that sold for $88,000. ADF&G should have used their 90% take towards sheep management.
    OK. Here is a question for you TV.

    In Alaska we have a 200 million dollar commercial hunting industry that is supported by federal tax dollars and State money but pays absolutely NOTHING for the resources they profit from.

    Do you think that is ok?


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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Yes, this is a legislative issue

    Yes, this would be a legislative issue and we have been trying without success to get a bill introduced. The reasoning we could not get a bill introduced last session was basically that it was an election year and this is viewed as a "tax increase" and no one really wanted to touch it.

    Inre what tv321 said, I agree that there is a problem in that we can't legally designate donations to any specific cause. Those monies go into a general Division fund to be used for whatever they need. Having said that however, the Dept recently hired a designated sheep biologist for Region II and he has to be paid...so one could say all donations via governor's tags or from various orgs will go toward that. And the research he will be doing. Also if we look at something like bison in the interior, the money we may get from that governor tag or any donations could be more than is needed for any bison mgmt or research, so I have no problem with using that for overall general mgmt.

    When talking about this with other orgs the one thing I think we all wanted to agree with was that there should be no other conditions set for any license/tag fee increase. That is why this failed in the past with Seekins' bill; some tried to tie it to mandates as to more moose, less wolves etc, to a degree that even Fish and Game couldn't support that bill. Those things are already stipulated in Intensive Mgmt law anyway. The one thing we all did want to see as far as a part of any proposed increase was more transparency within ADFG to see where the money was going, and F&G seems to be on board with that.

    I hashed out possible numbers for license/tag increases with some other orgs last year, and I think the ACs will be talking about this in the near future. So part of this discussion centers around what kind of increases we can all get on board with.

    Here's my take in general for residents:
    Nearly doubling the resident hunting license from $25 to $49
    ~$50 for a hunting license is still really cheap guys.
    Possibly charging a minimal amount for harvest tags, around $5-10 per tag.

    Non-resident license and tag fees need to go up as well. I need to find the paperwork on what a bunch of us hashed out to give some figures on those.

    No one likes an increase in fees; I recognize that. But I also know that we are so short funded that it is just causing an untold amount of problems.

    Inre securing funds from wildlife viewers, I personally support that and so do a whole lot of other folks. The legislature has tried to do this in the past and run into problems. First, the tourism lobby opposed it bigtime because it was going to affect their clients with an added (say) $15 charge for anyone going on anything connected with wildlife viewing. One time charge good for your stay though. Secondly, there is some opposition among the hunting community as well on this, just as there is with using General Fund monies for funding. The reasoning behind that is that if wildlife viewers or the general public begins paying for management that they will then have a greater say in how we manage, and possibly not support any predator management programs at all etc.

    So that's a few more thoughts to think on. If anyone from out of state would like to post what they pay in other states, that would be helpful. Also what non-res fees are in your state for various species.

    We can have the best management in the nation. We used to. We have lost some extremely knowledgable biologists in the last ten years. It is getting ever-harder to recruit new good staff. The reason for that is that the feds not only outnumber state staff by a remarkable percentage but they pay more and offer better bennies. I know some bios who have left state jobs to go to work for the feds because of this. So yes, we need imo more money for surveys and density estimates and research necessary and mandated when we run any control programs, but we also need to pay ADFG staff better if we can. I can tell you that what is happening now in various regions amounts to infighting among staff to fund the programs they feel they need in their areas. Managers make the final decision, and invariably what this results in is robbing Peter to pay Paul. One unit gets the funding, the other doesn't.

    I want every Alaskan to stop and think a moment about paying $25 for a hunting license and what that gets you. Moose, sheep, caribou, black bear, and even grizzly in many units without ANY additional cost in tag fees. When I talk to hunting friends in the lower-48 and tell them this the common answer is: "Man, you guys really are a welfare state" <grin>.

    We owe it to ourselves as hunters to do better and to pay a more fair share imo. Alaska is huge and things are expensive up here. It's a lot of ground to cover as we all know so well. We complain a lot that we want more hunting opportunities, more moose and caribou and sheep, yet at the same time we don't really think about how much we pay for a hunting license does or doesn't gets us those things.

    Any future license/tag fee increase is going to have to have broad support to pass. We may disagree on the numbers, which is fine, but I'd like to somehow really get the point across that an increase is needed.
    Sincerely,

  9. #9

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    How can we be having this (legitimate) discussion without first; or at least having a parallel discussion addressing the impacts on the resources by the commercial hunting industry and the lack of industry contribution to management?


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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AVALANCHE View Post
    How can we be having this (legitimate) discussion without first; or at least having a parallel discussion addressing the impacts on the resources by the commercial hunting industry and the lack of industry contribution to management?

    i would have to think that a substantial increase in NON res fees would have an affect on the " commercial industry" the important thing is to exhibit WHY it would MORE benefit Alaska as an entire entity rather then a group of sportsmen.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Ok got to my two cents in. If you read in the local paper " The Delta Wind" for the last two and a half months there have been there have been alot of violations in the Delta area by hunters that don't read the reg's or they just trying to get away with something. I commend the people that turn youselfs in by the way when you know that what did was a ,no,no. However that being said where does the fine money go? Fish and Game?, Troopers?, Just like to know. We have a state giving us money for fuel, and we want to raise fees to go put food on the table? Just a thought . E.S.

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    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Av...

    Av, we posted at the same time above.

    I didn't want to bring up yet some issues relating to funding and the guide industry because it may get us off track of a reasonable discussion and I didn't want it to turn into a guide-bashing thing.

    Right now, as you know, 75% of DWC funding comes from non-resident hunters via the sale of non-res licenses and tags. So one could say that the guide industry actually provides a whole lot of revenue to DWC via those guided clients, because they have to buy licenses and tags.

    One could also argue that if we were to allow unguided non-res hunting of brown bear/grizzly in some areas that we would see even greater revenues <grin>. One could also argue that the new concession program is going to bring in revenues, but I think that will go to DNR and not DWC, since they are the administrating agency.

    I gather from your previous comments (you don't want to pay more) that you would not support any license/tag fee increases. Is that correct? Expand on it please cuz I value your opinion.

    E. S. I am not sure offhand where the fine monies go. Good question though. Offhand I think the fine monies go to the state (not ADFG) but the sale of confiscated antlers/horns etc goes to ADFG.

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    Member mit's Avatar
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    No to fee increases!
    Tim

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    Thumbs down

    I would say no to raising resident fees, non-resident is a different story. I still remember paying $22 for a sport fishing/hunting license and now it is up over $60 for that same license. We have to pay $10 just to fish for kings, and now it is on the table to pay for harvest tickets?? Forget it! These 'fees' are simply taxes.

    Charging a nominal fee for a registration hunt might be an idea, but not for general season harvest tickets. For the resident that simply wants to put a moose in the freezer, these taxes start adding up. I can't afford to take extravagant hunts every year and it is extremely rare I get to go on a fly in. If DWC needs money, let them do some re-arranging of their budget first. There is always some fat to trim and processes to streamline that will save money, but government gets comfortable with the status quo and is unwilling to give up anything in order to make their basic function more productive.

    I like the idea of earmarking funds raised by a specific species remain in that species budget. The 'general fund' ends up being a vacuum that mysteriously makes money disappear with no accountability.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Av, we posted at the same time above.

    I didn't want to bring up yet some issues relating to funding and the guide industry because it may get us off track of a reasonable discussion and I didn't want it to turn into a guide-bashing thing.
    I am able to separate special interest industry from the occupation of 'guiding' and I can respect that you don't want to get side tracked from this discussion but before we as residents are asked to 'pay more' or ask our fellow non-residents to contribute 'more' I believe we are obligated to lets say...."get the pot right".

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Right now, as you know, 75% of DWC funding comes from non-resident hunters via the sale of non-res licenses and tags. So one could say that the guide industry actually provides a whole lot of revenue to DWC via those guided clients, because they have to buy licenses and tags.
    The total funding INCLUDES federal taxes dollars from people who may never step foot in Alaska. Those people certainly are not realizing they are providing a welfare program for the commercial hunting industry.

    In addition, the bills passed by congress that provide the federal funding were not put in place to provide a welfare program for the commercial hunting industry we have in Alaska either.

    I think Alaska could find it's self in jeopardy of loosing federal funding if we don't get our special interest commercial sport fishing and commercial hunting industries operating within the intent of all laws.

    Common guys; how hard would it be to make the point to the Obamma administration that things in Alaska are not 'right' with respect to these special interest industries?

    We can not assume that without guides non-residents would not buy tags.

    Real numbers that compare the non-guided non-residents contributions in license and tags to the guided non-resident license and tags would be helpful if you want to have that discussion.

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    One could also argue that if we were to allow unguided non-res hunting of brown bear/grizzly in some areas that we would see even greater revenues <grin>. One could also argue that the new concession program is going to bring in revenues, but I think that will go to DNR and not DWC, since they are the administrating agency.
    Mark....the mystery concessions program as it is manifesting is going to be a cost burden. Trust me on this. It is not a 'money' maker. Bill Horn of APHA wrote the darn thing for heaven sakes!

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    I gather from your previous comments (you don't want to pay more) that you would not support any license/tag fee increases. Is that correct? Expand on it please cuz I value your opinion.


    To be clear, I am not opposed to paying more. I am not opposed to everyone paying more.

    I am opposed to 'rationalizing' that we somehow need to pay more WITHOUT considering the [wild a.. guess-->] 20 million in annual resource revenues that's on the table in 'slaughter' tax revenue due the (people) State from the special interest commercial sport fishing and commercial hunting industries and the affect these industries have on the non-commercial fisherman and hunter.

    The Bull System is in my view the most significant 'global' problem we have with resource management and must be part of any solution going forward or we are wasting our time.





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    Member RMiller's Avatar
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    Fees are outrageous as it is. It is getting crazy for each visiting family member to pay $200 to fish just for Kings.

    I agree here: The #1 problem with ADF&G is it's MANAGEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    "You have given out too much reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later".

  17. #17
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    Default Fish side has nothing to do with game side

    Just want to point out that the funds DWC receives has nothing at all to do with funds Sport-fish Division receives. They are totally separate. Also, we had a sport-fish license increase a few years ago. Any talk here of sport-fish license fees and extra fees for king stamps etc is meaningless and gets us off track.

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    Default Here are a few #'s

    Here is an example on what it would cost me (non-resident) to hunt sheep or goat in the lower 48.


    State License Cost Sheep Tag Cost Goat Tag Cost

    Idaho $141.50 $1759.50 $1,759.50
    Oregon $76.50 $1,083.50 $1,083.50
    Nevada $142.00 $1,200.00 $1,200.00
    Washington $1,095.00 $1,095.00
    Colorado $1,761.00 $1,761.00
    Arizona $151.25 $1,407.50 na
    Utah $65.00 $1,513.00 $1,513.00
    Montana $755.00 $755.00
    California $134.95 $500.00 na
    Wyoming $2,266.00 $2,166.00

    Alaska $85.00 $425.00 $300.00

    I can not believe our reps are that native that they don't understand this already!

    PS.... Sorry I couldn't figure out how to set up tabs.

  19. #19
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default Av...I'm sidetracked right now...

    ...maybe you can explain to folks the Pittman-Robertson funds you mentioned.

    edit: Troy, did you mean to say "naive" in this instead of "native"?
    I can not believe our reps are that native that they don't understand this already!

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by RMiller View Post
    I agree here: The #1 problem with ADF&G is it's MANAGEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Then lets see just how you come to that conclusion. Prove your declaration.


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