Oklahoma hunting and fishing license fees could rise for first time in decades
Oklahoma hunting and fishing licenses have been the same price for at least 20 years. That could soon change thanks to Senate Bill 941.
The measure updates the state’s fee structure and directs the state’s Wildlife and Conservation Commission to prepare a report every five years to potentially allow the legislature to raise fees again.
It also tweaks the hunting and fishing license system. Right now, there are 46 licenses people can apply for. The bill will whittle that down to 14.
“That’s a smart move,” said Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, the measure’s sponsor.
It was requested by the wildlife department.
Confusion over what people can or can’t do is the “No. 1 barrier,” to people getting involved in hunting or fishing, said agency spokesperson Micah Holmes. “People want to follow the rules.”
The bill would make those rules easier to follow and understand in a variety of ways.
Right now, licenses might cost different amounts based on someone’s age. For example, a 19-year-old might be considered a “youth” for one license but an adult for another. Under the new legislation, all youth will be under the age of 18 for purchasing a hunting or fishing license, Holmes said.
Modernizing the pricing structure is critical to the department’s function because it’s entirely funded by people buying hunting or fishing licenses.
“These fees fund the entire agency,” Holmes said. “This is a user pay, user benefit agency.”
The measure passed out of committee this week, but still has a long way to go before it reaches the governor’s desk.
This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.