LDWF makes "long overdue" changes to licensing

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Posted at 12:52 PM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-02 15:50:54-04

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries implemented immediate, "long overdue" changes to its commercial and recreational licenses, along with boat registration on Wednesday.

The department told KATC it has not received state general funds for operations since 2001 — but has been able to receive oil and gas revenue from department-managed lands that have sustained LDWF for the past 20 years.

According to LDWF records, the last recreational license increase was put into place in the year 2000, and the last commercial license increase — around 1985. Mineral revenues have been decreasing, however, which the department said caused it to exist on the fund balance within the conservation fund since 2016 — a balance that will be exhausted in 2022.

Bryan McClinton, undersecretary, and chief financial officer for LDWF, told KATC these increases allow the Pelican State to compare more closely to other southern states, bringing the fees within the margins they charge, while also generating about $15 million from users to stabilize LDWF's annual revenue, thereby becoming less dependent on the "unpredictable" oil and gas revenue.

A look at the fees are below:

Along with this, the changes made starting June 1 create a 365-day license for recreational hunters and anglers, also providing the possibility to auto-renew said licenses through an online portal if individuals choose to do so for licenses of their choice.

Then, there's a change to crabbing — something LDWF public information officer Gabe Giffin said would make a change to the tradition for the first time in nearly 100 years — a $5 license is now required, but you can still crab in the same spots you did before.

McClinton told KATC that 100 percent of the money garnered from this fee hike is allocated to the specific funds aligning with said license directly supporting it, while also increasing federal dollars allocated to LDWF by expanding the certified hunters and anglers within the state.

For the past 10 years, LDWF said it has received an average of $9.20 per angler, $35.99 per hunter, and $45.20 per combo license. By creating a youth license for deer and turkey hunting, in 2019 it had 19,470 youths received deer or turkey tags. A five-dollar fee associated with that should generate $700,920 in Wildlife Restoration Funds according to LDWF records. Also in 2019, nearly 8,000 disabled and/or military licenses were issued, which would generate an additional $350,164 in federal grant dollars.

The new fee structure, they say, streamlines the old process, reducing the number of licenses required for hunters and anglers. These changes will provide the agency with a more stable source of revenue, which is crucial to our ability to provide programs and services to the people of Louisiana.

For more information on these changes, you can visit the LDWF website.

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