DWR proposes increases in license and permit fees due to rising costs
Salt Lake City — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is proposing a fee increase for hunting and fishing licenses and permits — for both residents and non-residents — in an effort to keep up with rising costs. The last substantive fee increase for resident licenses was in 2014, and the last fee increase for non-resident licenses was in 2020. The DWR is also proposing some other minor rule changes and is asking for the public's feedback on all the recommendations.
Proposed fee changes
License and permit fees fund most of the daily operations of the DWR. The DWR is currently 92% self-funded and receives only limited funding from the state's General Fund, which is appropriated for specific issues that impact all Utahns. (These issues include managing aquatic invasive species and preventing species from becoming endangered.)
"The license and permit fees are the primary source of funding for the labor, fuel, materials, goods and services we need to help us manage the state's fish and wildlife," DWR Administrative Section Chief Kenny Johnson said. "In recent years, costs for all those essentials have increased substantially. We also did an analysis to compare hunting and fishing licenses and permits with other Western states, and this proposed fee increase will make our prices more comparable."
The proposed fee increase for both residents and non-residents will be a roughly 10% increase and would include the following changes:
- Core resident licenses and permits — such as 365-day fishing, hunting and combination licenses as well as general-season deer and elk permits — would increase by $6. Extensions and multi-year permits would remain $1 less. (For example: A resident combination license (currently $38) would increase to $44, with an extension or multi-year license available for $43.)
- Some fees were considered individually for a market adjustment that would either bring the DWR in line with surrounding states or right-size a fee — based on equity — for the type of permit. (For example, swan and sandhill crane permits would be aligned in price with the similar turkey permit. Likewise, fees for CWMU deer and elk permits would be right-sized to the appropriate limited-entry fee.)
- Most other license and permit fees would fall within the 10%-increase threshold.
Hunting, fishing and combination licenses for youth and disabled veterans would not increase under these proposed changes. The current price of general-season deer and general-season elk permits would remain at $40 and $50, respectively, for youth.
If passed, these changes would go into effect on July 1, 2023.
Changes to R657-28 "Use of Division Lands" rule
The DWR owns and manages various properties across Utah, many of which are wildlife and waterfowl management areas. The DWR acquired these lands for several reasons:
- To conserve critical habitats for wildlife
- To help protect and improve watershed areas
- To help increase fish and wildlife populations
- To help minimize and mitigate wildlife depredation on private property
- To provide anglers and hunters — who provide funding for the wildlife management areas through the purchase of a fishing or hunting license — with a place to hunt and fish in Utah
"These properties are public land, but they are not multiple use like many other state- and federally-owned properties," DWR Wildlife Lands Coordinator Chelsea Duke said. "These properties were acquired through specific funding sources and, as such, have their own rules and restrictions for what these areas can be used for."
In order to clarify and streamline some things, as well as add more consistency and make the permit process more user friendly, the DWR is proposing a few minor changes to some of the lands-use rules. Some of those proposed changes include:
- Clarifying the permit process for wood harvesting and seed harvesting on DWR lands and also updating the quantities allowed for take.
- Making clarifying changes and updating the DWR's response time for special-use permits that are temporary and don't allow property rights (such as events, research, surveys, etc.).
- Better defining the application process for land use, as well as requirements and restrictions.
- Clarifying that class I electric bikes are allowed on wildlife management areas on established roads and other authorized areas, but that class II and class III e-bikes (which can contain a throttle) will not be allowed on WMAs. This clarification makes the rule consistent with the current waterfowl management area rules.
The public meetings for the recommendations can either be viewed virtually or attended in person. You can view the biologists' presentations before the meetings and share your feedback about them on the DWR website. The presentations are also available on the DWR YouTube channel, but comments can only be submitted through the forms on the DWR website.
The public comment period opened on July 11 for each of the five Regional Advisory Council meetings and for the Utah Wildlife Board meeting. Public comments submitted within the online-comment timeframes listed below will be shared with the RAC and wildlife board members at each respective meeting. Members of the public can choose to either watch the meetings online or attend them in person. If you wish to comment during the meeting, you should attend in person — online comments will only be accepted until the deadlines listed below.
The meetings will be held on the following dates and times:
- Central Utah RAC meeting: July 26 at 6 p.m. in the Wildlife Resources Conference Room (DWR Springville Office) at 1115 N. Main St. in Springville. (Online comments must be submitted by July 21 at 11:59 p.m.)
- Northern Utah RAC meeting: July 27 at 6 p.m. at the Weber County Commission Chambers at 2380 Washington Blvd. #240 in Ogden. (Online comments must be submitted by July 21 at 11:59 p.m.)
- Southern Utah RAC meeting: Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. at the DNR Cedar City Complex at 646 N. Main St. in Cedar City. (Online comments must be submitted by July 28 at 11:59 p.m.)
- Southeastern Utah RAC meeting: Aug. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the John Wesley Powell Museum at 1765 E. Main St. in Green River. (Online comments must be submitted by July 28 at 11:59 p.m.)
- Northeastern Utah RAC meeting: Aug. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in the Wildlife Resources Conference Room (DWR Vernal Office) at 318 N. Vernal Ave. (Online comments must be submitted by July 28 at 11:59 p.m.)
- Utah Wildlife Board meeting: Aug. 25 at 9 a.m. at the Eccles Wildlife Education Center at 1157 South Waterfowl Way in Farmington. (Online comments must be submitted by Aug. 18 at 11:59 p.m.)