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Hunting, fishing, trapping in Missouri may soon cost more

Hunting and fishing in Missouri
Posted at 1:36 PM, May 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-25 14:36:50-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Department of Conservation, or MDC, has proposed raising its permit fees by $1 on average to help meet rising costs.

The department, which said it hasn’t raised rates in two decades, approved the initial price increases May 19 at a commission meeting at City Hall in Washington, Missouri.

MDC said the rate hikes are necessary in “an effort to keep up with rising costs of goods and services it uses to manage its more than 1,000 conservation areas along with nature centers, shooting ranges, fish hatcheries, and other facilities.”

“In early 2003, the price of a resident firearms deer permit was $17 and the cost of a gallon of unleaded gas was $1.42,” MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley said in a statement. “Jump ahead two decades to May 2023 when the cost of a resident firearms deer permit is still $17 while the cost of a gallon of gas is about $3.30. That cost increase really adds up considering MDC purchased nearly 908,000 gallons of gas in 2022 to run vehicles and equipment.”

The department issues more than 2.5 million hunting, fishing and trapping permits each year and said its prices remain cheaper than surrounding states.

Here are the proposed price increase for MDC permits:

  • Combo hunting-and-fishing permit from $19 to $20.50;
  • Fishing permit from $12 to $13;
  • Small-game hunting permit from $10 to $10.50;
  • Trapping permit from $10 to $11;
  • Spring turkey permit from $17 to $18;
  • Deer permit (firearm); from $17 to $18;
  • Antlerless deer permit (adult and youth) from $7 to $7.50.

Missouri residents under 16 years old or 65 years and older will continue to receive free small-game and fishing permits.
The department is accepting public comment on the proposed increases ahead of the Sept. 8 meeting, where the commission will cast its final vote on the hikes.

If approved, the new rates would go into effect Feb. 29, 2024.

“Compared to other states, Missouri permit prices are in the middle-to-lower end of the scale and would still be a bargain,” Pauley said in a statement. “The average price of a resident firearm deer permit for surrounding states is $54 compared to Missouri’s proposed price of $18.

The fee increases will support MDC’s mission — which includes operating nine hatcheries used to stock Missouri fishing holes, operating 70 public shooting ranges, operating 15 nature centers, maintaining nearly 1,000 conservation areas, youth programs, wildlife health and sustainability studies, and endangered-species protection

Permit sales contribute about 17% of MDC’s annual budget.