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Colorado considers raising hunting and fishing fees


Forestry and mountains
Photo credits: Shutterstock

Like many state departments, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has faced enormous budget cuts over the past few years that have affected both agency operations as well as actual personnel. Funding issues have forced the department to eliminate 50 jobs as well as cut operating costs by $40 million. Shoestring budgets can create unnecessary obstacles to getting things done, which is why CPW has proposed raising hunting and fishing license fees as a possible way to boost its operating budget.
 
According to The Journal, resident license fees have remained the same since 2005 and cost only $46 for a license. The nonresident licenses cost $649, which is decided based upon the Consumer Price Index. If the resident license was calibrated the same way, each license would cost $88. It may seem like a minor disparity, but increasing the resident license fees could significantly help CPW.

Continued below.

Joe Lewandowski, a spokesperson for CPW, told those who attended a public meeting on the issue last week that the truth was that the population and overall costs to run the agency “are going up…while funding is going down.”

CPW depends on license sales for about 62% of its revenue. Federal excise taxes contribute another 16% to the operating budget and grants from Great Outdoors Colorado add an additional 12%, according to The Journal. The department does not obtain any funds from general sales tax paid by Colorado residents.

In order to move forward with a license fee increase, CPW would require approval from the Colorado State Legislature. With enough support, CPW hopes to approach the Legislature next year.

For now, CPW is surveying hunters and anglers across the state. If you are interested in commenting on the issue, go HERE.

15 Comments

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rossduckhunter16
Ross K. - posted 3 years ago on 08-28-2016 09:00:50 pm
Lakewood, CO

@ Terry P.

Colorado gives 35% of tags allocated to non residents unless the unit costs residents a minimum of 6 points to draw the previous year, but that number only drops to 20% after that. The 10% figure you are referring to usually pertains to our top tier units such as 1, 2, 10, 39, 40, 46, 61, 76, and 201.

Terry P. - posted 3 years ago on 08-28-2016 06:27:51 pm
Eden, Utah
goHUNT INSIDER

Ross K. Thanks for the response......I have been swamped the past week and just noted your response today. The restriction that I am referring pertains to controlled hunt permits. The State of Colorado imposes a cap on each of these units for tags allocated to non-residents. While anyone is welcome to apply, for controlled hunt units usually a small percentage (less than 10 percent) of the total tags quotas are available to non-residents. This policy is consistent with many western states, it's just that it translates to less probability of me pulling a controlled hunt tag as a non-resident than for you as a resident - I will most probably be hunting over-the-counter general units more than you as a resident. For example, be it elk or deer in unit 70, I usually draw a first season elk tag or deer tag every three years on average versus my resident father and brothers - even with more preference points. I do not pay State taxes and they do.....but I have to wait longer and pay substantially more for the privilege than they do.......Appreciate the conversation and hope you have a successful season this year!

rossduckhunter16
Ross K. - posted 3 years ago on 08-28-2016 07:04:11 am
Lakewood, CO

@Terry P.

Please explain to me what the state limits non residents to in which they don't limit non residents? Are you speaking of Ranching For Wildlife? If not then I can't think of one way you are limited while hunting in Colorado that a resident isn't limited to. We have to follow all of the same laws and hunting seasons. We don't get any special treatment here except maybe the RFW program.

Terry P. - posted 3 years ago on 08-18-2016 01:31:15 am
Eden, Utah
goHUNT INSIDER

Wow! Go Hunt brothers and sisters......let me provide some perspective on this initiative from a non-resident hunter who has spent significant funds to hunt in my native state of Colorado with my resident family who are all paying considerably less than me. Not only are my license fees significantly higher than my Dad and brothers, but my hunting opportunity is "capped" as a non-resident in comparison to my resident family in controlled hunt units under Colorado hunting regulations. In addition, I enjoy my more expensive and restricted hunting opportunity on federal land of which I pay taxes to fund natural resource management as does all U.S. citizens. I know this because I am an employee of the USFS that manages these lands. As a non-resident hunter I expect to pay more to hunt out of State, because I am not an annual State tax payer in Colorado......I also expect more parity and opportunity for my fees that I currently receive as a non-resident hunting on federal land! If the State of Colorado chose to fund the State Department of Wildlife resources from available tax sources generated by the State we would not be having this conversation, but consistent with other States they do not.....Enjoy your paltry increase in resident fees and the fact that you will have increased hunting opportunity that I will never have as a non-resident on lands that we both pay taxes on.......my fate will largely be focused on OTC units that are over-obligated with hunting tags in the State. In addition, while it would be great for other recreational users to pay their way as hunters do, the State's cannot impose fees on federal lands for those activities. If they could they would incur the same out-cry that we in the USFS get when we propose fees use.

rossduckhunter16
Ross K. - posted 3 years ago on 08-17-2016 08:54:43 pm
Lakewood, CO

Theyre the bigger problem, most hunters respect the land, most party people don't

rossduckhunter16
Ross K. - posted 3 years ago on 08-17-2016 08:53:48 pm
Lakewood, CO

It is a good deal but I believe their bigger problem is that we have so many people moving to Colorado and are now hunting as residents, so they have to up the fee so people like me can't buy out all of the tags. Yeah they might need more money to accommodate for the people but why not charge those hikers or climbers or cyclists

Barry C. - posted 3 years ago on 08-16-2016 12:56:47 pm
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Ross - Not complaining, Just saying $135 for 4 tags is a hell of a deal in any state and you shouldn't be complaining about an inflation adjusted fee hike when it comes to supporting your own state agency. You are correct that I don't like the disproportionate tag allocation and license fees subjected to NR's by STATE agencies to hunt on FEDERAL land, but I accept those costs knowing the role of my contribution to wildlife management and conservation. It's a pay to play game and residents should carry their own weight.

rossduckhunter16
Ross K. - posted 3 years ago on 08-16-2016 11:21:30 am
Lakewood, CO

I buy upwards of 4-6 tags per year, and don't harvest but maybe one or two a year. I currently have 4 tags that cost me a total of maybe $135, if they raised the price as high as they say they will, no way in hell could I afford all of these tags

rossduckhunter16
Ross K. - posted 3 years ago on 08-16-2016 11:20:54 am
Lakewood, CO

Stupid auto correct lol

rossduckhunter16
Ross K. - posted 3 years ago on 08-16-2016 11:19:42 am
Lakewood, CO

If you're hunting out of state then you have no reason to complain about tag pricing. Hunting out of state isn't for just anyone, it's usually people with money who go out of state. The price of the tag is going to be high when hunting as a non resident, that's kind of the name of the game. Not to mention the high price of your home state of Oklahoma just for a none resident whitetail tag. That you for your money, feel lucky you can come hunt here because if it was up to most residents, out of state hunters would be banned. The division of wildlife was doing perfectly fine before CPW stepped in. Also, we have a whole hell of a lot more elk than South Dakota does so the comparison of the two tags is quite moot.you complaint isn't out of staters needing to pay more, it's more so about the lack of fees charged to other outdoor enthusiasts who pay nothing to use the same forests we use yet have all of the same rights, oh and they let us know every single time too

Hill_wade
Wade H. - posted 3 years ago on 08-16-2016 10:52:21 am
Rapid City, SD
goHUNT INSIDER

As a resident of the Blacks Hills in South Dakota we pay $50 dollars for deer tags and $180 dollars for Elk tags, $88 dollars would be wonderful, just for a little perspective. I personally don't mind what we pay and would be fine paying more within reason if it means preserving our passion and tradition. Our contributions are a huge part of conservation. If we don't support our game and fish departments we'll be trouble. Our monetary contributions are what give us a political voice in topics pertaining to hunting and fishing.

Hill_wade
Wade H. - posted 3 years ago on 08-16-2016 10:49:12 am
Rapid City, SD
goHUNT INSIDER

As a resident of the Blacks Hills in South Dakota we pay $50 dollars for deer tags and $180 dollars for Elk tags, $88 dollars would be wonderful, just for a little perspective. I personally don't mind what we pay and would be fine paying more within reason if it means preserving our passion and tradition. Our contributions are a huge part conservation. If we don't support our game and fish departments we'll be trouble. Our monetary contributions are what give us a political voice in topics pertaining to hunting and fishing.

Barry C. - posted 3 years ago on 08-16-2016 09:51:58 am
Tulsa, Oklahoma

I'd like to know what the resident tag revenue is compared to non-resident tag revenue.
Ross - From my perspective $88 sounds pretty nice compared to the nearly 2K I forked over for my wife and I to each have an elk and deer tag in Colorado. Your welcome for the subsidy to help fund your state agency.

rossduckhunter16
Ross K. - posted 3 years ago on 08-15-2016 09:48:34 pm
Lakewood, CO

This is by far the most stupid thing CPW has ever suggested since I moved here 17 years ago. They want us, the hunters to pay for the cost increases while refusing to charge hikers, climbers, and especially bicyclists any type of fee when using the same grounds we pay for to hunt. On top of that, I've been hunting here for 15 years, have bought upwards of 4 tags per year which equates to approximately maybe 50 or 60 tags in my lifetime and have only harvested 9 deer and 0....ZERO...elk ....now they want me to pay $88 for a tag? Complete crap

Westen E. - posted 3 years ago on 08-15-2016 12:33:29 pm

The CPW wants more revenue, but won't bring hunters dollars in when it's need and could be used! Currently they are working on a predator problem on the Roab plateau, but they are not bring revenue by allowing hunters to buy licenses to decrease the predator numbers. When it was just the Colorado division of Wildlife they had the funds to accomplish what was needed. The Colorado parks had no money and when the two merged all the funds of the division were dispersed and they went broke and the parks remaind broke!