Cost to fish, hunt in Kentucky may increase

Fees for seniors, disabled could more than double

By Kevin Wheatley, Published:

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has proposed a number of permit fee increases, including more than doubling all-encompassing fees for sportsmen who are older than 65 or disabled.

The latter proposal would be the first time fees have been increased on older and disabled sportsmen since 1999, when the department instituted a $5 charge on those licenses, which cover hunting and fishing, agency spokesman Mark Marraccini said. The proposed fee, which was discussed as part of an overall fee overhaul during last month’s Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting, is $11.

New federal guidelines on funding necessitated the change, Marraccini said. Previously, hunting and fishing licenses only had to turn a profit to guarantee federal funding for Fish and Wildlife, but the new requirement mandates the licenses must be priced at least $5 more than production costs, he said.

Federal funding accounts for 36 percent of the agency’s revenues, Marraccini said. Licensing fees bring in 50 percent of the budget.

Agency costs have also risen since the fee on older and disabled sportsmen was created 14 years ago, he said.

The department sold 118,000 sporting licenses to older and disabled hunters and anglers last year, up from 69,000 in 1999, Marraccini said.

“That $11 still includes about 140-something dollars worth of permits,” he said. “It’s pretty much essentially the sportsman’s license that you can go buy for $95 and includes all the permits — the deer permit, the turkey permit, the trout stamp, all the various things that if you were to buy them all separately, I believe, would cost 140-something bucks.”

Most of the other fee increases deal with out-of-state visitors. The department hired Southwick Associated to evaluate its current licensing structure and found its fees lacking when compared to other states, said Marraccini, who also mentioned rising agency costs in the decision to up licensing fees.

Kentucky is the top-ranked state for whitetail deer hunting and provides quality elk hunting, which draws hunters from other states, he said. The new licensing structure raises fees on deer and elk hunting for residents and nonresidents.

The Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee must approve the proposed fee structures before they take effect, he said.


Proposed license fees

>Nonresident hunting license 
NOW $130 PROPOSED $140 

>Nonresident youth hunting license    

>Nonresident one-day hunting license

>Nonresident five-day hunting license
NOW $40 (five day) PROPOSED $55 (seven day)

>Nonresident deer permit    

>Nonresident youth deer permit    

>Nonresident spring turkey permit    

>Nonresident fall turkey permit    

>Nonresident youth turkey permit

>Nonresident quota cow elk permit    
NOW $365 PROPOSED $400

>Nonresident quota bull elk permit    
NOW $365 PROPOSED $550

>Nonresident out-of-zone elk permit 
NOW $365 PROPOSED $400

>Nonresident youth elk permit

>Migratory bird and waterfowl permit    
NOW $10 and $15 (separate) PROPOSED $15 (combined)

>Resident youth hunting license    

>Resident deer permit    

>Resident quota cow elk permit    

>Resident quota bull elk permit    

>Senior sportsman’s license    

>Disabled sportsman’s license    

>Youth sportsman’s license    

Source: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

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  • *** there no end to the greed of this present administration. Johnathon Miller took all he could get from the unclaimed property, and now Steve Bresher and Jerry Abramson are hard at work to steal every last dime in the state. The republicans are no better, Richie Farmer showed that. We just need to fire the whole bunch and start over.

  • I have no problem with the increase on the Senior and Disabled licenses.  Those licenses allow more hunting privileges than the Sportsman's license that costs $95.  

  • Rather than just increasing fees they should look at individual states.  If they charge high fees for Ky residents to hunt and fish in their state, their residents will pay high rates here.  If not - they will pay reasonable rates here.  They need remember what out of state participants do for local economies.  After all F&W is in the Tourism, (Arts, and Heritage) Cabinet.  I don't see this as meeting the goal of more participants in hunting and fishing.  Just more taking chances by not buying licenses.

  • What about the regular resident hunting & fishing licenses? All I see is NON-RESIDENT & YOUTH. Once again the elderly & disabled are getting the brunt of the increase. There"s a couple of reasons the elderly & disabled pay less & two of them are they do not make as much money and hunt as much as the younger hunters. I know a 6 dollar increase doesn't sound like much to most but obviously they didn't take into account of the increase medicine fees that the fixed & limited income people has to pay. This is just wrong!

    How about tightening the belt up on the lavish business trips (vacations) & salaries paid to the ones who takes (abuse) them? Kinda hard to turn a profit when they burn through the monies paid into the program like it was their own. Mismanagement is everywheres (Hello Ritchie Farmer) and they force us to pay for it.