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The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries hasn't increased the cost of hunting or fishing licenses in nearly twenty years, but they are one step closer now to bringing that stretch to an end.

After a somewhat confusing session of the Louisiana Legislature yesterday, the Louisiana House ultimately approved legislation that would increase certain hunting and fishing license fees.

The measure initially fell short of the required amount of votes, but was amended in a couple of areas and reintroduced for another vote, this time gaining all the support it needed to leap the latest hurdle in becoming law.

According to Prairieville Representative Tony Bacala, who spoke to the Louisiana Radio Network, the fee hike is necessary because LDWF can no longer rely on a pot of money from the Conservation Fund, which holds mineral revenues from oil and gas drilling in wildlife management areas.

“When life was good with those mineral revenues, they stacked it away in a savings account, and as it became more lean, they were taking money out, and now the savings account is practically depleted,” said Bacala.

Additionally, Bacala says the average sportsman’s license will not go up by more than ten dollars and some activities will be combined. (However, as I considered my personal cost for fishing, basic hunting and a duck stamp, my own increase will be $20; so, maybe I'm above average)

Looking at the LDWF website, here's what those increases will look like.

LDWF

Here are a few key takeaways for comparison purposes:

  • Basic Hunting License - currently $15.00. The proposed new rate would be $20
  • Big Game license - currently $14.00. Proposed new rate is $15.00 BUT will include archery and primitive weapon licenses
  • Louisiana State Duck Stamp - currently $5.50. Proposed new rate is $12.00
  • Louisiana Wild Turkey Stamp - currently $5.50. Proposed new rate is $12.00
  • Basic Fishing License - currently $9.50. Proposed new rate is $17.00

Another change, which will be something completely different from what we have ever had before, is the proposed "Youth Hunting License" which will be required for deer and turkeys only. If the legislation passes, for the first time ever, all youths, regardless of age, will be required to purchase a $5.00 license. At present, all youth, under the age of 16, are allowed to hunt with no license requirement.

But the LDWF says they have good reason for this proposal. They need to maximize the number of hunters in Louisiana in an effort to increase the amount of money we receive in matching federal funds. According to louisianasportsman.com, LDWF’s executive counsel, Cole Garrett says,

“Right now, 16 years and younger currently do not need a license to recreate at all. In the spirit of trying to maximize the number of certified hunters, we’ve looked at what other states have done … and it’s only for people who would need a deer tag or a turkey tag, and it would also serve to get them their fee to apply for any lottery hunt on a WMA,” Garrett said. “Those are the only youths that would need to have a license. If you’re going dove hunting, rabbit hunting or duck hunting, you would not need a license. It’s only if you come to us for a tag.”

If the Senate approves Bacala’s bill, half of the rate increases would start on June 1, 2022, the remaining half would kick in two years later.

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