Higher costs for fishing and hunting licenses in Montana has not been a deterrent to anglers and hunters helping to better fund Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
A new bill introduced last March that saw significant increases to license fees has not seen hunter and angler participation drop. There has been very little push-back on the fee hikes and it was in fact supported by many sportsmen and women in the Montana who understand the importance of their money in helping fund hunting and fishing opportunities.
A representative from the department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), Jeff Hagener, attended a Environmental Quality Council recently and had this to report: "It doesn't appear we've had any buyer resistance to the license fee increase. And people buying licenses are buying more licenses."
Also new this year is the Basic Hunting license that all hunters must purchase at $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents. There has also been a significant increase in tag fees for non-residents for moose, sheep, goats and bison. This saw a $500 increase for non-residents but FWP says their numbers have also not decreased for this year.
Overall it is a bright picture for Montana FWP, allowing for increased revenue to support conservation in the state. It also comes as no surprise that these efforts are almost solely funded by hunters and anglers, both resident and out-of-state, whom lobbied for the increases to better support Montana wildlife.
State officials are now looking at ways to also get non-hunters and non-anglers to help fund conservation efforts as they enjoy many of the same aspects as sportsmen and women yet share none of the costs of continued management.
Thanks to the continued support of anglers and hunters, both resident and visitors, there continues to be a positive future for Montana hunting and fishing activities and conservation.