PRATT – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has sponsored legislation proposing limits on select license and permit fees. Senate Bill 50, if passed, would not raise any hunting or fishing license or permit fees and no fee increases are under consideration. Hunting and fishing license and permit fees are approved by the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission only after a public hearing process, but the fees cannot exceed the upper limits set by statute. However, some of the current fees are at or near the statutory fee caps, most of which were set in 2001. Adjusting fee caps now would give the Commission the authority and flexibility to incrementally increase some fees in the future if, and when needed, but not without first holding a public hearing.
License and permit fee increases implemented in 2016 marked the first time resident deer and turkey permit fees had increased since 1986, and the first time hunting and fishing license fees had increased since 2002. Those fee increases were necessary due to inflation and the desire to maintain crucial wildlife and fisheries programs and services to hunters and anglers.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) receives no State General Fund support. In addition to hunting, fishing and furharvesting license and permit revenue, KDWPT funding comes from federal dollars returned to Kansas from the federal excise taxes hunters and anglers pay on equipment purchases.
KDWPT leverages license and permit revenues and federal dollars to benefit wildlife, fish, anglers and hunters. Popular programs such as Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA), Fishing Impoundments and Stream Habitat (FISH), and the Community Fisheries Assistance Program (CFAP) are notable examples. Other programs funded with a combination of federal funds and license revenues include state wildlife areas, state fishing lakes, education and aquatic nuisance species monitoring.
SB50 was introduced into the Senate on January 28 and was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. A hearing date has not been set.