Due to rising costs, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has requested a price increase on Tennessee hunting and fishing licenses.
For the third time in the Volunteer State's history, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has requested to raise the price of Tennessee hunting and fishing licenses.
Because of rising costs, the TWRA claims the proposed increase in price for various permits would help generate a sufficient amount of revenue.
"The reality is that managing our wildlife and fisheries has never been more expensive than it is today," Ed Carter, TWRA executive director, told reporters. "Our objective with this proposal is to spread the cost of these programs across more user groups who utilize Tennessee's public lands and waters."
The TWRA is funded almost exclusively by Tennessee hunting and fishing licenses, boating registrations and related federal exile taxes, and this increase would greatly help the agency.
Carter spoke of the workload of the TWRA, telling reporters:
We employ 46 fewer people agency-wide now than we did eight years ago, and salaries and benefits, such as health insurance, have increased significantly. Our wildlife officers, biologists and other staff do an incredible job, and we're doing more work with fewer people than ever before to provide world-class outdoor opportunities.
Also this year, the TWRA is introducing a new kind of permit called the Annual High Impact Habitat Conservation Permit, which is applicable to horseback riders, mountain bikers and off-highway vehicle riders. Those wanting to participate in these activities would be required to purchase this permit.
The proposed increases would raise the cost of a combination hunting and fishing permit from $28 to $33. Similar rate increases are proposed for many other licenses, including waterfowl hunting licenses and the annual all-inclusive Sportsman License.
All changes to the price of Tennessee hunting and fishing licenses will be considered by the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission in January, and could take effect as early as June.
The last time the TWRA put in a similar request was in 2005, and the time previous to that was 1990.