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Colorado lawmakers propose 2018 Hunting, Fishing, & Parks for Future Generations Act

 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife
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A new bill aims to help Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) with its long-term funding issue. Colorado lawmakers recently introduced the 2018 Hunting, Fishing, and Parks Future Generations Act to bring an end to CPW’s financial turmoil. Over the last few years, the agency’s finances have dwindled, resulting in a $40 million budget cut that has impacted several programs and required CPW to eliminate 50 full-time positions, WesternSlopeNow.com reports.

CPW has previously debated whether hunting and fishing licenses should be raised because the resident license fees haven’t been increased since 2005. As goHUNT previously reported, the agency depends on that money as part of its operating budget. Increasing resident licenses could significantly help CPW. State park passes and camping fees along with license sales make up the bulk of CPW’s annual budget; less than 1% comes from general tax fund revenue, according to WesternSlopeNow.com.

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Lawmakers hope that this new bill will help combat this financial discrepancy.

"Right now our budgets are very tight and if that continues, people will start to see more of those impacts. It could also cause future generations to not have the types of outdoor recreation that currently all of us enjoy," CPW’s Mike Porras told WesternSlopeNow.com.

The bill would permit CPW to raise multi-day and annual resident hunting and fishing license fees by $8.00 and increase state park entrance fees. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Colorado Senate next week.

For more information about the Act, click here.

12 Comments

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tavisrogers
Tavis R. - posted 9 months ago on 02-13-2018 06:10:15 am
Oak Creek, Colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

It is an $8 increase on every hunting license. And an increase in application fees per species.

Colorado residents have to deal with unlimited non-resident elk hunters for most of the state, 35% NR limit in units taking less than 5 points and 20% NR limit in units taking more than 5 points. We can not hunt on all State trust lands like other states. We have very short rifle season dates that are overcrowded and archery seasons that have rifle hunters over the top of bow hunters.

Colorado takes in about $60M in hunting revenue every year.

Fishing licenses will increase $8. One time. No application fee.

The big ticket items that CPW notes are Hatchery and Dam related.

Colorado takes in about $20M per year in fishing license revenue.

Why raise resident hunting license fees?

Why shouldn't fishing license fees be raised to cover fishing related CPW expenses?

Colorado has been spending large sums of money every year to kill game fish species on the western slope that do not need hatcheries. Maybe that practice should be stopped to save that expenditure.

Looking at their website, CPW also supports (spends money) in many areas (trails, mountain bikes, kayaking, rafting, wildlife watching) that pay absolutely nothing to CPW.

Should CPW spend money and resources for non-paying entities?

Robert R. - posted 9 months ago on 02-12-2018 06:09:00 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

I am fine with an 8$ increase on my resident license, Im fine with a 40$ antler collecting permit, and am even ok with the amount of non residents that get to hunt here. The cost of non resident tags is pretty close to the same throughout the western states, if not more elsewhere. But you can actually hunt here every year. Where as other premier elk destinations you will be lucky to get to hunt once maybe twice in your life. Pay 650$ as a non resident guaranteed to hunt every year? How is that so bad? It would cost us about the same to come hunt elk in your state if we ever draw,(if you even live somewhere that has elk). No doubt about it if the non resident tags, whether lottery or otc were cut back or taken away, it would forsure cause a big loss in revenue. Wouldnt that cause an even bigger increase on our resident tags and fees?
Should enjoy being able to hunt OTC while we can because who knows when it could change to draw only.
The same residents that are applying for hunts and buying otc now are the same ones that are going to be applying and buying whether or not there is or isint copious amounts of non residents, regardless off the price. Myself included.
Colorado should give some of the money from all the marijuana taxes to CPW, theyre making enough of it.

tavisrogers
Tavis R. - posted 9 months ago on 02-10-2018 03:06:16 pm
Oak Creek, Colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

Colorado already takes in more in revenue from hunting license sales than any other state in the USA and more than any two western states.

Their rhetoric over the last couple of years has continuously said that wildlife viewing, parks, and fishing bring more into the Colorado economy than hunting.

This information is absolutely wrong - hunting license sales revenue is almost twice that of fishing license revenue or parks revenue. There is no - READ $0.00! - income to CPW from "Wildlife Viewing".

The proposed increases will be significantly more for hunters as the fees will be levied on each licenses/tag and additionally there will be an increase in application fees. Fishing and Parks fees only increase on the one license or fee.

The issues that CPW raises as big ticket items are Fish Hatcheries, Dams and Capital Projects. Why will these issues be primarily funded through resident hunting license fee increases?

Resident hunters have had to put up with unlimited non-resident elk hunters that is causing extreme crowding. The limited draw hunts allow much higher non resident participation than any other western state's limited draw. We also have to deal with shortened seasons in comparison with other western states and can not hunt or fish on State Trust lands as in other western states.

This bill does not provide any improvement to the current resident hunter's situation.

Colorado Resident hunters need to look at how other states are structured. Colorado Resident Hunters should be screaming for lower resident hunting license fees!

Matthew J. - posted 9 months ago on 02-08-2018 08:00:11 am
Littleton, CO
goHUNT INSIDER

While I applaud you on your thoughts there are alot if things Colorado could do to fix our problem. Non of which starts with license increase . A legislation meeting a year ago tried this and residents were fine with hike as long as there were improvements to hunting conditions and resident experience, like longer seasons for resident. To think that our economy would be killed with the lack of NR license is so interesting to me. Denver brings in Billions in revenue. Not sure as a whole Colorado would care sadly. If we took all the funds giving back from Taber act I'm sure it would cover the cost. As well as a tax on Marijuana. All things Colorado resident would largely vote for if it meant preserving public lands and wildlife. One thing about us is we are huge propenents of our public lands. And that crosses party lines.

While I see your argument the main issue here is what I said in my first comment. DNR rapes the CPW budget. Break CPW out like it was 10 years ago then alot of these problems wouldn't exist.

Gary H. - posted 9 months ago on 02-08-2018 07:24:33 am
goHUNT INSIDER

I hear you and appreciate your opinions especially as a resident with local knowledge and understanding.

However, "Since CO has enough residents that if you jack up our license fees you wouldn't need NR money, and there are a lot of residents that would love that" I challenge your state to go ahead and cut the tags back for non-residents and jack up the prices and tag allocations to residents to account for the loss in revenue and see what happens to that booming economy of yours.....lol It would collapse without the non-resident revenue.

Colorado needs non-resident revenue more than non-residents need Colorado. "Don't bite the hand that feeds you" is the statement that comes to mind every time I see these ridiculous fees.

For me, I just want to hunt and enjoy Colorado and all western states for that matter at a fair price that is affordable to the common man.

13.6 X more for my Elk license....That really puts things into perspective. I will leave this conversation with that.

Matthew J. - posted 9 months ago on 02-08-2018 07:09:37 am
Littleton, CO
goHUNT INSIDER

Gary H. While I agree that the license fees are ridiculous for non Residents all across the west. Even though i live in hunt in CO i do travel to other states to hunt. One thing i will say though is that Colorado treats non residents better then any other western states. So please dont say your punished. CO has enough residents that if we jack up our license fees we wouldnt need NR money, and there are a lot of residents that would love that. Our seasons even cater to NR not Residents. Residents get punished with short seasons that appeal to outsiders coming in for their one week trip a year. Again, i agree the price of tags for NR is silly however Colorado treats NRs better then any other state. Your draw odds hear are close to what residents get, especially for elk. For example in Wyoming Residents can draw a limited draw unit for 1 point and it might take you 8 points. General tags are draw for NR and may take up to 3pts and guaranteed for Residents. While i admit the spending is out of control and the cost of tags defiantly limits people with fund restrictions, CO is still one of the friendliest places to hunt for NR. Sadly with the booming economy in Colorado and the population growth the state is also eventually going to have to address the allotment of tags. The state already hasnt done aerial surveys in years and has no clue what animals they do or dont have. Top with with websites like GoHunt that publish factual information showing CO has some of the worst success rates in the west allowing people to see its not the paradise they make it out to be. All these things are catching up with CO hitting them in the pocket book.

Gary H. - posted 9 months ago on 02-08-2018 05:06:41 am
goHUNT INSIDER

When I (A Non-resident) am paying almost 14 X more for a hunting license than a resident, the system is broken.

In Colorado Non-residents bring in the majority of revenue to the table. Yet we are punished continuously by license fees, stamps, etc etc.

Colorado isn't the only state that is ripping people off so we shouldn't just single them out....

Its government spending that is the big problem here and in other states cases as well.

If you keep allowing license hikes and additional fees they will just spend more and more and more and more until its finally to the point were people just stop coming.

I make decent money and its getting to the point where I really have to sit down with my wife and think about if its financially viable to hunt there any more.

Someone making minimum wage that is a non-resident may never have the opportunity to hunt there. I just dont see how they ever could.

I vote to LOWER the license prices and cut the spending back by the DNR and the CDW.

At least that would encourage your blue collar individuals to to get back into the sport.

Matthew J. - posted 9 months ago on 02-07-2018 08:28:12 pm
Littleton, CO
goHUNT INSIDER

Having knowledge of this issue i must say the CPW is strapped down by DNR. And DNR is the most reckless executive agency in the State of Colorado. They have horrible ideas and blow cash quickly and steal it from CPW. If you want to fix CPW get it out from DNR. DNR has stupid ideas on how to spend money. For Example, they thought it would be a good idea to add wifi to all state parks and campgrounds for visitors. Some of these campgrounds have zero infrastructure to support wifi yet they were investigating costs for this. They would spend millions to give people wifi while they went camping to get away from that very thing. Sadly if you give them more money now they will just blow and be hurting next year. I wish it was a cut and dry as this article is making it but its not.

Cory C. - posted 9 months ago on 02-07-2018 04:46:57 pm
Colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

Not to make this a debate, but I am also all for an $8 increase in resident licenses if it helps the CPW deficit. It’s not like its getting cheaper to operate as much as they do with all of the extra curricular programs such as the bighorn sheep festival, Elk Hunting seminars, etc. They are not immune to inflation as well. Tag fee increases are inevitable especially if you add into account all of the variables and don’t think about just the benefits that you alone reap.
What I am baffled about is this year’s licensing changes where you don’t have to provide the cost of the license when you apply, you only have to pay for the habitat stamp and application fees. If you draw a license you will then have 14 days to pay for it after results have been posted. The reason I am baffled is for the 2 months the CPW had everybody’s license fee they had to be making interest off of it and they completely abandoned that revenue. $8 is not a great deal of money to help provide such unique opportunities like the CPW offers.

Curt B. - posted 9 months ago on 02-07-2018 02:11:12 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

My apologies, the full URL didn't post properly for the License History doc. Correct URL below.

https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/About/Reports/WAFWA-License-Fee-Histor...

Curt B. - posted 9 months ago on 02-07-2018 02:02:58 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Below are a couple links to some documents from CPW with some facts that may answer the question from the previous post regarding where the money is coming from and where it is going.

http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/About/Reports/StatewideFactSheet.pdf
https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/About/Reports/WAFWA-License-Fee-Histor...

I think it's important to note the debacle that CO is in when it comes to license pricing. My understanding is that CPW has been legally restricted from adjusting resident license fees, but are authorized to adjust non-resident license fees, which can impact the disparity between resident and non-resident licenses. The last time resident license costs were increased was 2005. They are only asking for an $8 increase in order to keep up with inflation. I personally, don't think that's unreasonable.

That doesn't necessarily address the question of non-consumptive users like wildlife watchers, photographers, etc. that don't equally contribute to the same resource managed by CPW for their enjoyment. If you look at the numbers, 1.7 million licenses sold, but 13.6 million visitors to state parks, you've gotta ask how we can tap into the non-consumptive users to help fund future efforts. I'm not sure simply raising State Park pass fees is enough given management responsibilities CPW has across the state.

I'm 100% comfortable with an $8 increase in license fees, but I'd like to see some more discussion on generating additional non-consumptive user revenue as well.

Gary H. - posted 9 months ago on 02-07-2018 12:24:23 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

First, Lets all ask the following question: Where the hell is all of the current money going?!

They want to know why license sales are going down its because the costs of the licenses are going so sky high that people cant afford to hunt there any more.

They need to stop the reckless spending.

Non-resident elk license is $626.

They have priced the average person right the hell out of hunting. Just like every other state in the west.

Then they cant figure out why people are not hunting and then even have the nerve to ask for more...

Tag fees increase by 30-50% over the last several years and wages of the common man have increased that much? Ya, I think not.

The audacity of these state agencies to ask for more money just baffles me.

Unreal.