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Missouri Conservation Dept. seeks feedback on increases for hunting, fishing permits

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(The Center Square) – The Missouri Department of Conservation will seek public comment on price increases for non-resident hunting and fishing permits and five categories of resident permits.

The proposed increases were announced at the department’s May 24 open meeting, the last for Sara Parker Pauley, who is retiring from the position. Public comments will be accepted between July 2 and Aug. 1. The department’s governing commission will review comments and decide on the proposal during its open meeting on Sept. 6. If the commission approves the increases, they will become effective on Jan. 1, 2025.

“Costs continue to increase for habitat management and improvements, cost-share funding, fuel, equipment, contract and construction work, and other aspects of the work MDC staff does,” Pauley said in a statement announcing the proposed increases. “We need to keep up with rising costs and can do that by adjusting permit prices. Even with the minor price adjustments we propose, Missouri permit prices remain good bargains when compared to surrounding states.”

The department provided the current price for permits and the proposed price, along with the cost for a similar permit in surrounding states. The cost for non-resident deer permits for firearms, archery and managed hunts would increase from $276.50 to $288. According to department data, the average cost in surrounding states for a non-resident deer permit is $374.31 for the firearms season and $436.69 for archery.

Permits for migratory bird hunting, trout fishing for youth and adults, and daily fishing would increase for residents and non-residents. For residents, daily fishing permits would increase from $8 to $9, youth trout permits from $5 to $6 and adults from $10 to $12. Resident daily hunting permits would increase from $14.50 to $15, and migratory bird hunting would increase from $6.50 to $7.50.

Permit sales account for approximately 16% of the department’s annual revenue, according to a media release. During fiscal year 2023, permit revenues were $42 million, according to the department’s annual review.

The conservation sales tax, .125% of the state’s sales tax of 4.225%, provides approximately 61% of the department’s revenue or $163.6 million in fiscal year 2023, according to the department. The department estimates the average Missourian pays $26 annually for conservation efforts through the sales tax.

Approximately 17% of the department’s revenue comes from federal reimbursements ($45.5 million in 2023) and 6% from sales, rentals, interest earned and other sources ($9 million).

The department receives no tax revenue from the state’s general fund.

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