Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator
Why it Matters: Passage of HB 691 will help close a substantial revenue gap for the LDWF to aid in the conservation of Louisiana’s natural resources and promote positive outdoor recreational experiences for sportsmen and women.
House Bill 691 (HB 691) restructures hunting and fishing license fees by simplifying license offerings as well as modestly increasing fees to help close a revenue gap caused by inflation and falling oil and gas prices and production, which impacts the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ (LDWF) budget because it receives royalties from state-owned Wildlife Management Areas. Decreased revenue for the LDWF is concerning for sportsmen and women as the agency is understaffed in various divisions and continues to battle invasive species such as feral swine, invasive carp, and giant salvinia as well as the continued threat from Chronic Wasting Disease to the state’s deer herd.
This license fee restructure is projected to provide an annual $17 million dollar increase in funding which otherwise would have been taken out of the state’s General Fund. This solidifies that the bulk of the agency’s funding is generated through the “user pays – public benefits” American System of Conservation Funding.
In addition to improving the LDWF’s financial footing, the legislation also makes hunting and fishing licenses valid for 365 days from the date of purchase as well as allows non-resident college students to purchase resident hunting and fishing licenses, further encouraging participation in hunting and fishing.
License fee adjustments are not easy to pass, and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation applauds the continued efforts of the Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus to keep Louisiana the “Sportsman’s Paradise” by supporting this bill.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?