By RALPH BARTHOLDT
Hunters and anglers who didn’t buy a license last year will pay around 20 percent more across the board for a Idaho Department of Fish and Game hunting and fishing license this year.
The fee increase is for tags, such as deer and elk hunting tags, as well.
Fish and Game spokesman Roger Phillips said the department had requested fee increases for the past several years. When the Idaho Legislature, which controls increases, adopted increases for 2018, it was the first time since 2005 that the department adopted across-the-board fee hikes.
The fee increases hit pocketbooks this month, but hunters and anglers who purchased their licenses already will not realize the jump in cost.
Anyone who bought a license last year will continue to pay the old price, because of a program adopted last year called Price Lock.
Price Lock allows sportsmen and women to lock in their tag and license fees based on what they paid a year earlier.
“A lot of people aren’t going to see it,” Phillips said.
By marketing the Price Lock program a year ago, Idaho Fish and Game targeted resident Idaho sportsmen and women who only sporadically purchase licenses and tags. The program is meant to hold down fees for regular users, and encourage now-and-then sportsmen to buy a license or tag every year.
An Idaho resident hunter who paid $12.75 for a hunting license last year will pay the same price in 2018 and not be subject to the new $15.75 cost. The same hunter will pay $30.75 for an elk tag instead of the increased price of $36.75, Phillips said.
The latest fee increase pushes the price of an adult resident fishing license — for sportsmen and women who failed to purchase last year — from $25.75 to $30.50, while an adult deer tag that cost $19.75 last year, jumps to $24.75.
A resident adult turkey tag costs $22.75 compared to $19.75, and a wolf tag jumped from $11.50 to $13.50.
The Price Lock system should ease the consternation that often comes with an across-the-board fee hike.
“No one likes to pay more than they did, and in this case they are not,” Phillips said.
The only caveat: A $5 depredation fee will be added to sales of all resident licenses. Non-residents pay $10. The depredation add-on was part of 2017 legislation and took effect last May, and isn’t subject to Price Lock.