BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Legislation significantly increasing what it will cost nonresidents to hunt deer and elk in Idaho headed to the full Senate on Monday.
The Senate Resources and Environment Committee approved the measure that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game says resident hunters asked for so there will be less overcrowding in the field.
"Hunt satisfaction reported by many resident hunters has declined to the point where the (Idaho Fish and Game) Commission has made finding relief for this problem one of their highest priorities," Paul Kline, a deputy director at the Department of Fish and Game, told lawmakers.
Fish and Game is doing that by capping how many nonresidents can hunt deer and elk. But that will result in reducing Fish and Game revenue with fewer nonresident hunters. Estimates put the loss at $5.4 million and $9 million a year.
To make up for that, Fish and Game is increasing hunting and fishing costs for nonresidents.
Most notably, the costs for elk and deer hunting are going up dramatically, which are the two most profitable areas for Idaho Fish and Game. An elk tag for a nonresident hunter would cost $650. A fishing license would cost about $106.
Fish and Game Director Ed Schriever told the committee that the increases, which are the first in 10 years for nonresidents, put the state more in line with what neighboring states charge nonresidents for hunting and fishing.
"Fishing in this state is as good if not better than in most of our other Western states," Schreiver told lawmakers.