Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Proposal to Raise Fees Postponed Due to Economy

Des Moines – A proposal to raise hunting, fishing and trapping
fees has been postponed due to the current economic conditions.

“The proposal to raise fees was very difficult for us and the
decision now to postpone the request is equally as hard. Because of
the continued severity of the economic downturn, we felt that now
was not a good time to be raising fees,” said DNR Director Richard
Leopold.

Leopold said the decision to postpone the license fee proposal
was done after consulting with the Governor’s office about the
timing of the request during the economic recession.

License fees go directly into the Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund.
The Iowa Constitution only allows those funds to be used for fish
and wildlife programs.

The last increase for resident hunting and fishing licenses
occurred seven years ago. Inflation during that time has sharply
reduced the amount of funding available for fish and wildlife
programs.

“Because adjustments to the license fees are made so
infrequently, the proposal was under consideration prior to the
economic downturn. We knew already two years ago that we would need
to make a rate adjustment either this year or next, but had no idea
at the time that the economy would experience such a profound
downturn,” Leopold said.

Leopold acknowledged that many key conservation groups as well
as some Legislators recognized the need for additional funding and
have supported the proposal.

“We, like everyone else, are hoping that the economic situation
will improve soon, but for now, we will be tightening our belts
along with the rest of Iowa’s citizens,” Leopold said.

On the plus side, Leopold said Gov. Chet Culver is proposing $6
million in supplemental funding in his budget for weather-related
damages suffered last year by the department.

“This funding would help us weather some of the financial
stresses caused by the record floods and tornados of last summer,”
Leopold said.

Leopold said adjusting license fees will be re-visited when the
state’s economic picture improves.

A series of public meetings to discuss the Fish and Wildlife
Trust Fund and proposed license increase in February and early
March will also be postponed. Leopold said the DNR is looking at
holding similar meetings next summer.

“We look forward to resuming this discussion with hunters,
anglers and trappers. The Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund belongs to
them and we very much value their input on the future of these
programs,” said Leopold.

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