The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is considering changes to how the state handles nonresident hunters. A new proposal, which would be in effect in 2021, is on the table for Idaho—one that could change how hunter crowding and congestion is handled during the general season and include an increase in nonresident hunting fees.
The proposal is in response to repeated comments collected from resident hunters about overcrowding by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) as officials work to update the state’s deer management plans. According to the agency, while nonresident hunters are regulated in big game controlled hunts and elk zones that have limited tags, it’s difficult to “manage the distribution of nonresident hunters participating in general hunts.”
Hence, the commission’s recent approval of a proposed rule, which would allow them to “limit nonresident tags in any elk zone, or big game hunting unit for deer tags, to a number not less than 10 percent of the previous five-year average of all hunters in a unit or zone,” according to an IDFG press release. However, in order for this rule to go into effect, it will have to be approved by the 2020 legislature.
Making this change could impact the future revenue because fewer nonresident licenses and tags would be sold in certain areas. To offset that, the commission is asking the Idaho governor’s office to increase nonresident fees for the first time since 2009. If approved, the nonresident fee increase would include a “general, 10 percent hike for most nonresident fees, with larger increases for big game tags and related items” like archery or muzzleloader permits and “also adjust reduced-price licenses”—like those for mentored junior hunters—“to a 50 percent discount in relation to the applicable adult item,” according to an IDFG press release.
The nonresident license fee for wolf tags and disabled American veterans would stay the same. There is also no proposed change for resident fees (those increased in 2017).
If all are approved, the rule change and nonresident fee increase will be effective for the 2021 licensing year.