Close
Menu
You are here:   Home » Hunting » Licenses & Permits » » Choices for the Future

Choices for the Future

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is at the expected point in time where current funding won’t sustain today’s programs and services.

Montana’s fish and wildlife management budget faces a $5.75 million shortfall.

The funding gap will be addressed by the upcoming Montana Legislature where solutions will come down to three choices—in whole or in part:

  • fishing and hunting license-fee adjustments;
  • further cuts to fish and wildlife management programs;
  • a shift of “earmarked” funds away from specific programs.

In 2013, to find simple, fair and stable sources of revenue for fish and wildlife conservation, Governor Steve Bullock asked FWP Director Jeff Hagener to appoint an independent citizens’ group to serve on the License and Funding Advisory Council.

Following review of the council’s recommendations by a legislative oversight committee, a $3 fishing license increase and an $8 hunting license increase are being proposed.

Those adjustments would solve most of the funding problem and maintain fish and wildlife opportunities at today’s levels.

10 things about the 2015 License Fee Proposal you need to know

  1. 1. Why is this necessary?
  2. 2. What's been done so far?
  3. 3. Where does FWP’s fish and wildlife conservation revenue come from?
  4. 4. Are there other proposed cost adjustments?
  5. 5. Will nonresident fees be considered?
  6. 6. When will the new fees become effective?
  7. 7. If approved, how much revenue would these adjustments generate?
  8. 8. What would be lost if fees aren’t adjusted?
  9. 9. Who will make the ultimate decision as to whether or not fees will be adjusted?
  10. 10. How can I participate?
orangeLeftArrow orangeRightArrow
  • 1. Why is this necessary?

    FWP has operated for more than a generation on a unique budget cycle that asks the Montana Legislature to consider new hunting and fishing license fees once per decade. The last general increase for residents was approved in 2005, which was predicted to keep FWP financially stable for 10 years—or until now.

    Photo
  • 2. What's been done so far?

    Two years ago, FWP permanently cut $1.2 million from its budget and shifted $2 million more from state hunting and fishing license dollars to federal funding. Cuts were made to wildlife and fisheries programs, shooting range grants and administrative costs. Shifts to federal revenue were possible because of a spike in firearm and ammo sales, which is not expected to be a sustainable trend.

    Graph
  • 3. Where does FWP’s fish and wildlife conservation revenue come from?

    About 70 percent of the revenue needed to manage Montana’s fish and wildlife comes from licenses purchased by hunters and anglers, nearly 70 percent of which comes from nonresidents. The other 30 percent comes from federal revenue generated by the sale of sporting arms and ammo and fishing and boating equipment. Fish and wildlife management receives general fund dollars only to carry out a portion of Montana’s Aquatic Invasive Species prevention program.

     

    FWP Funding FY2014:
    Chart
  • 4. Are there other proposed cost adjustments?

    Yes. Seniors would receive a discounted license at age 67 versus the current age of 62, and the price of most free and discounted licenses would be standardized at 50 percent of the normal price.

    Photo of Black Bears
  • 5. Will nonresident fees be considered?

    There would be some upward adjustments to nonresident fishing licenses and a cap on fees for nonresident deer and elk combination licenses. Some nonresident fees were increased when “I-161” was approved by voters in 2011.

    Photos
  • 6. When would the new fees become effective?

    If approved, new fees would go into effect March 1, 2016.

    Photos
  • 7. If approved, how much revenue would these adjustments generate?

    Proposed legislation would generate $5.75 million annually.

    Photos
  • 8. What would be lost if fees aren't adjusted?

    The Legislature’s remaining choices, in whole or in part, will boil down to program cuts or shifting earmarked funds. If program cuts are chosen, FWP will have to consider closing some fish hatcheries, ending some upkeep at fishing access sites, cutting game damage response efforts, reducing enforcement efforts and more. If shifts of earmarked funds are favored by the Legislature, accounts used to run 23 programs would need to be cut entirely or by at least 40 percent per program to include upland game bird habitat enhancement, Block Management, Habitat Montana, and wolf monitoring, to name a few.

    Photos
  • 9. Who will make the ultimate decision as to whether or not fees will be adjusted?

    The Montana Legislature sets hunting and fishing license fees.

    Photos
  • 10. How can I participate?

    Reach out to your Montana state senator and representative to voice your choice for the future of wildlife and fish conservation and management.

    Not sure who to contact?

    Find a Montana Legislator