February 26, 2024

CSF Supports Safeguarding Funding for Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks

Article Contact: Mark Lance,

Why It Matters: Every year bills are introduced that would allow individuals to purchase a free or heavily discounted hunting and/or fishing license. House Bill 300 would require that the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) be reimbursed for any lost revenue resulting from the issuance of free or discounted hunting and fishing licenses, admission to state parks, and other fees through the State General Fund, further protecting funding for conservation in Mississippi.


  • On January 18, National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) Executive Council Member and Mississippi Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus) Co-Chair Representative Scott Bounds filed House Bill 300.
  • On February 7, House Bill 300 passed the House Committee on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks unanimously.
  • On February 12, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter in support of House Bill 300 to the Mississippi House of Representatives and is actively working it through the legislative process.

While legislators tend to target deserving groups for free or heavily discounted hunting/fishing licenses, such as first responders or veterans, these bills could have a significant impact on conservation funding for their respective state’s fish and wildlife agency. That is where legislation that reimburses the state fish and wildlife agency for revenue lost due to the creation of free and discounted hunting licenses comes in to play to protect conservation funding. Sportsmen and women in Mississippi contribute over $30 million annually to conservation funding through the “user pays — public benefits” structure known as the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF). Revenue generated from the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses is instrumental to the success of the ASCF.

CSF’s letter stated, “Since 2019, there have been no fewer than nine bills introduced intended to provide certain groups with free or heavily discounted hunting and fishing licenses in Mississippi. While certain groups absolutely deserve recognition for their contributions to society, there are alternate methods of recognizing them without negatively impacting the entity charged with conserving resources held in the public trust. If passed, this legislation would bring Mississippi alongside Michigan, New Jersey, and Tennessee where state fish and wildlife agency funding is protected from impacts resulting from the passage of free or discounted licenses. It is also important to note that the legislation is not retroactive. No free or discounted hunting and fishing licenses, or other discounted fees provided by MDWFP, that were passed prior to the effective date of HB 300 would be affected.”

House Bill 300 was recommitted to the House Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Committee for further discussion, and CSF looks forward to continuing to work alongside the Caucus to advance this important piece of legislation.

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