Dentry: License fee increase bill cuts youth, seniors slack
April 19, 2005
Colorado hunters and anglers will pay more for licenses next year, but the nip in the wallet will not be as sharp as expected for some. In fact, seniors will be getting free fishing licenses starting in 2006.
House Bill 1266 raises hunting and fishing fees for state residents for the first time in 13 years and establishes two special funds for wildlife - a habitat stamp and a 75-cent charge per license to fund public wildlife education.
A House conference committee voted 7-3 Friday to drop its opposition to Senate amendments and pass the bill. The amendments cut youth and seniors some slack and halved the proposed $10 fee sportsmen would be charged for one habitat stamp. The bill awaits Gov. Bill Owens' signature for final passage.
The Senate amendments deprive the Division of Wildlife of about $2 million it had hoped to receive from the increases. But the bill's three elements - fee raises, habitat stamp and education surcharge - are expected to add $6.7 million annually to wildlife coffers.
"It's not perfect if your only measurement is money," said Bruce McCloskey, the division's director. "But the thing I'm really excited about is we built some partnerships with conservation organizations that I think are going to expand and serve wildlife for years to come."
After a similar effort failed in the legislature in 2004, the DOW redoubled its efforts to gather public input through an extensive network of sportsmen's advisory groups, Internet and media exposure. This year, it received widespread support for the fee increases.
McCloskey and Russell George, director of the Department of Natural Resources, reminded legislators the bill's fee requests were forged by hunters and anglers.
HB1266 raises most resident hunting license fees 30-50 percent and an annual fishing license by 25 percent. The fee hikes alone are expected to add $3.5 million to wildlife funds.
Deer hunting licenses will rise from $20 to $30, elk from $30 to $45. Annual fishing licenses will rise from $20 to $25. Combination small-game hunting/fishing licenses will jump from $30 to $40.
The bill also hikes most nonresident small game and fishing license fees. Nonresident big-game licenses went up in 2001.
Instead of a $10 annual habitat stamp, hunters and anglers will pay $5 for one stamp with the first license they buy and $5 for another stamp with the second license. Regardless of the number of licenses, the maximum will be $10 a year for the stamps.
People who do not hunt or fish but want to use state wildlife areas also will pay $10. But anyone younger than 19 or older than 64 would not have to buy any habitat stamps.
A combination small-game hunting/fishing license would require only one $5 habitat stamp. The bill also establishes a $200 lifetime habitat stamp. The division estimates habitat stamp sales will raise $2.3 million a year. Those funds will be earmarked for habitat and public access programs and cannot be used for anything else.
Deer and elk will be the biggest beneficiaries. The bill orders the division to use 60 percent of habitat stamp money to acquire big-game winter range, mostly with leases, and to protect wildlife migration corridors against development.
"The other 40 percent of money from the habitat stamp would be used either for access or small game habitat or fishing habitat," McCloskey said.
The result could be more miles of public access for fishermen on overcrowded rivers or more public access for turkey hunters or goose hunters, for example.
McCloskey said funds dedicated to access also will allow the division to compete with private fishing and hunting clubs, which have threatened to snatch up some of the agency's leases at eastern plains reservoirs.
All habitat and access allocations would need the approval of a governor-appointed habitat stamp review committee before making their way to the Wildlife Commission and the legislature.
Every license will cost $1 more than its scheduled price after the license buyer pays the standard 25- cent search-and-rescue fee and the new 75-cent education surcharge.
SPINNEY OPENS WEDNESDAY: Opening day buffs, take your marks. The ice is almost a memory and the gates to Spinney Mountain Reservoir will swing open at 5:53 a.m. Wednesday, a half-hour before sunrise.
Overnighters can start lining up outside the state park gates at 7 p.m. today but without large boats on trailers. Owing to low water, the boat ramp is unusable; only hand- launched craft will be allowed until the water level rises after some snowmelt runoff.
Park superintendent Kevin Tobey said Spinney's ice sheet dwindled from 50 percent to 10-15 percent over the weekend. One of the most popular rites of spring, the Gold Medal reservoir's opening gives early-bird anglers a shot at fishing for trophy trout that have not seen a hook in months.
Fishing is by flies and lures only and the keeper limit for trout is one fish, 20 inches or longer.
Colorado wildlife fee increases
• Because of the passage of House Bill 1266, wildlife fees will be increased in 2006. A public education fund surcharge of 75 cents will be added to each license purchase and a $5 habitat stamp will be required with each of the first two licenses purchased. Exempted are the disabled and people younger than 19 or older than 64.
Resident Nonresident Fishing and small game 2005 2006 2005 2006
Extra rod stamp $4 $5 $4 $5
Fishing, one day $5 $8 $5 $8
Fishing, five days $18 Eliminated $18 $20
Fishing, annual $20 $25 $40 $55
Senior fishing, annual $10 Free Not avail. Not avail.
Small game hunting $15 $20 $40 $55
Small game, one day $5 $10 $5 $10
Small game, five days $20 Eliminated $200 Eliminated
Furbearer $20 $25 $200 $200
Turkey, fall $10 $15 $75 $100
Turkey, spring $10 $20 $75 $100
Turkey, youth $10 $10 $75 $75
Fishing/small game combination $30 $40 Not avail. Not avail. Resident Nonresident Big game Current 2006 2005 2006
Deer $20 $30 Fees increased in 2001
Elk $30 $45 Fees increased in 2001
Pronghorn $20 $30 Fees increased in 2001
Bear $30 $40 Fees increased in 2001
Mountain lion $30 $40 Fees increased in 2001
Moose $200 $250 Fees increased in 2001
Mountain goat $150 $250 Fees increased in 2001
Rocky Mountain bighorn $150 $250 Fees increased in 2001
Desert bighorn sheep $200 $250 Fees increased in 2001Source, Colorado Division Of Wildlife
dentrye@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-5481
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The Colorado DOW is a joke, they should have never supported the banning of trapping. They continue to pimp out these mythical "record" elk herds to lure non-residents, they continue to issue doe tags even though mulie numbers are still down, they screw lots of working class hunters by opening certain hunting seasons on a week day only giving hunters one weekend on a 9 day hunt, the list goes on.
In indiana we have a upcoming tag and licence hike a game warden friend of mine told me about and the new republican gov. mr. mitch daniels want to tax wildlife you kill i've herd to try to help the state we only have deer to hunt and just got black bear but no one is talking about it but our deer tags are 24.00 and the gov. wants by the next election to have a 20-40 % hike and tax. any other states like ours. P.S. the only animals under the proposed tax are deer and turkey.
When hunting lic. fees raise the "value" of the "trophies" small or large, harvested by the hunter also rises and more mounts for taxidermists are a direct result.