ODFW license fees / budget cuts

troutdude
troutdude
ODFW license fees won’t be going up anytime soon
Written by Dick Mason, The Observer May 03, 2012 12:51 pm

Lack of fee increase could hurt funding for game cop positions, said OSP captain Hunter and anglers will not have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for licenses and tags in Oregon over the next three years.

Roy Elicker, director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, shared this good news during a town hall meeting in La Grande Tuesday.

But the Oregon State Police may have to cut seven game officer positions by June 30, 2015, because there will not be a fee increase, said Capt. Jeff Samuels, division director of the OSP’s fish and wildlife division.

Elicker said tag and license fees for hunting and fishing will not be increased at least through the 2013-15 biennium.

The ODFW is committed to this because when the Legislature voted to approve a fee hike for tags and licenses in 2009, it told hunters and anglers then that it would not seek another increase for six years.

“We are going to keep our commitment,” said Elicker during a meeting at the Blue Mountain Conference Center.

But the OSP’s fish and wildlife division receives a significant amount of its funding from the ODFW, funding that likely would not be boosted significantly if tag and license fees are not increased.

Samuels said the fish and wildlife division of the OSP will need additional money to maintain its 117 trooper force for a number of reasons. They include a loss of state lottery funding and new legislation which may result in trooper compensation being increased significantly.

Elicker said on Wednesday that nothing is yet set in stone and that the Legislature may provide the OSP with the additional money it would need to avoid having to cut its staff three years from now.

Elicker and other ODFW officials said the agency may later commit itself to holding the line on fee increases an additional two years through the 2015-17 biennium.

“We are trying to be as sensitive as we can to the needs of our constituents,” said Bruce Eddy, regional manager of the ODFW’s Northeast Region.

Eddy said if the ODFW did wait until the 2017-19 biennium before seeking a tag and license fee increase, it would have to make some program reductions to keep its budget balanced.

Another drawback to waiting until the 2017-19 biennium to boost fees is that the increases would then likely have to be higher than if they were made for 2015-17. This might be necessary to make up for the money that would be lost if fees were boosted for 2015-17.

“There would be a lot more sticker shock,” said Debbie Colbert, deputy director for administration for the office of the director of the ODFW.

The fees paid by hunters and anglers for tags and licenses are projected to provide the ODFW with $107.32 million in the 2011-13 biennium. This is 30 percent of the agency’s budget. Though the ODFW is a state agency, it receives only 2 percent of its funding from the state general fund.

License and tag fees are the ODFW’s second biggest source of revenue. Its top source is the federal government, which provides 31 percent of its funding.

The ODFW’s reliance on tag and license fees means that its budget is being hit hard by the declining number of people who hunt in Oregon, Elicker said.

The state’s number of resident hunters was 400,000 in 1980 but in 2010 had fallen to about 249,000. The number of resident anglers in Oregon was 600,000 in 1990 and was just under 500,000 in 2010, according to ODFW statistics.

Elicker said his agency is taking a lot of steps to boost the number of future hunters and anglers in the state. These include significantly reducing tag and license fees for hunters 17 and younger.

Elicker said his agency is grateful for the support provided by sportsmen and strives to be sensitive to their needs.

“We try everyday to think about hunters’ needs. When I meet with the Oregon Hunters Association, I ask ‘How are we doing?’” Elicker said.

ODFW officials have been making presentations around the state recently in an effort to get input their agency will use while building its 2013-15 budget.

People who would like to send comments on the proposed budget can email them to ODFW.Comments@state.or.us.

Information on the ODFW’s proposed 2013-15 budget is available on the agency’s website, www.dfw.state.or.us.

Visitors should click “About Us” just below the left corner on the home page to find information about the proposed 2013-15 budget.
 
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T
tomriker
I bet If they lowered all the tag prices by say 20% they would make more revenue then they do now, simply because more people would be buying tags! SAME THING WITH TAXES! Makes sense to me...
 
brandon4455
brandon4455
so out of all things they can cut, those morons are going to cut some of their game wardens??? :mad: :mad: thats like telling the poachers to come out because they wont get caught
 
M
Modest_Man
I'd pay twice as much a year if it meant a greater OSP presence. Over the past 10 years of fishing with a license I've been checked ONCE.
 
brandon4455
brandon4455
x2..ive only been checked 4-5 times the past 5 years
 
H
hawgcaller
Isn't that crazy? I have been fishing tough now for about 17 years and I can only recall being checked 3 times. I have seen countless snaggers and hooligans and am yet to see one get a ticket. If the liscense fees didn't contribute to the fisheries I probably wouldn't even buy my liscense/tags. No one else seems to care. Definitely need more eyes on the river.
 
R
rippin fish lips
I still don't know bout ODFW :eek: in the past 6 years i been checked once, and seen way to many illegally caught fish.
 
B
bigsteel
just like any government agency,its always these sad stories,bunch of BS
 
18406ej
18406ej
I found the part about "new legislation which may result in Trooper compensation being increased significantly" a little hard to swallow. Although Governor Kitzhaber has a large full-time security force made up of State Troopers (including one assigned to watch the Governor's Portland residence even when he is living in Salem), he has been doing all he can to reduce the State Police funding. He recently cut the OSP Motorcycle Unit (of which my wife was a member), so that is why you don't see much traffic enforcement taking place any more. Also, the number furlough days (days worked without pay) has been increased to 12 (they were at 0 three years ago). It is not uncommon for dispatch to call my wife at 3AM to ask her to get dressed and go to a crash on I-5 between Albany and Portland because there are no Troopers on duty due to cutbacks. I would start carrying a good first-aid kit if I were you...
 
troutdude
troutdude
I've been fishing for some 45 years or so. In all of that time; I have only been checked by OFFicer maybe 5 or 6 times. And I have seen LOTS of illegal tactics (snaggin, flossin, bait in fly only water, etc.) and / or over-the-bag-limits taken on many outings. IMO, why the heck are their even any regulations--if the state does not provide the means for enforcement?
 
T
the_intimidator03
I can say there is more enforcement now than in yesteryear. I would need to look up numbers but I think its more targeted towards commercial enforcement rather than recreational, kind of the whole bigger fish to fry idea. I dont think we should lose any more OSP game officers and in fact do need more. Perhaps move it also down to sheriffs being allowed to do game enforcement. That would spread the financial burden a little more.
 
H
hawgcaller
I know that overfishing by the commercial fisheries is far more damaging to the environment and needs proper enforcement. But if you think about it financially sport fishing is very expensive and there are an ungodly amount of fishermen every year, I don't know any proper numbers or anything and really don't care to research it but I am guessing that sport fishing brings in more money for communities than commercial does. Especially on a broader spectrum as sport fishing brings dollars to communities that could not possibly have a commercial fishery. I think that the OSP should focus more on the sport fishing side because that is what sport fisherman want. They should be bending over backwards to please us. Could you imagine the revenue that would be lost if every angler decided to say screw the regulations and screw the tags?? Just to prove a point.
 
troutdude
troutdude
This thread has generated some good discussion. Thanks for all of the comments. Keep 'em coming.

And do keep in mind, that you DO have a voice. To voice your opinion's, ideas, and suggestions...

"...email them to ODFW.Comments@state.or.us."
 
T
the_intimidator03
hawgcaller said:
I know that overfishing by the commercial fisheries is far more damaging to the environment and needs proper enforcement. But if you think about it financially sport fishing is very expensive and there are an ungodly amount of fishermen every year, I don't know any proper numbers or anything and really don't care to research it but I am guessing that sport fishing brings in more money for communities than commercial does. Especially on a broader spectrum as sport fishing brings dollars to communities that could not possibly have a commercial fishery. I think that the OSP should focus more on the sport fishing side because that is what sport fisherman want. They should be bending over backwards to please us. Could you imagine the revenue that would be lost if every angler decided to say screw the regulations and screw the tags?? Just to prove a point.

I can agree with the economy impact throughout communities that dont have or cannot support commercial fishing.

Like the OP said we are loosing hunters and fisherman every year. this is not JUST Oregon it is nation wide. Now while that number of "consumptive" users, hunters, fisher folks etc, is going down the number of "non-consumptive" users is rising, those folks being bird watchers, nature viewers etc. With a lot of places charging parking fee's or site use fee's. I do wonder if a portion of that fee goes to OSP game department OR ODFW for management/restoration etc.
 
J
JeannaJigs
I must look suspicious because I get checked at least 3-4 times a year consistently over the last 12 years or so
 
troutdude
troutdude
JeannaJigs said:
I must look suspicious because I get checked at least 3-4 times a year consistently over the last 12 years or so

It's the curse of Dora the Explorer! :lol: :rolleyes: :shock:
 
18406ej
18406ej
the_intimidator03 said:
I do wonder if a portion of that fee goes to OSP game department OR ODFW for management/restoration etc.

Back when OSP had some 600+ Troopers they were operating on funds obtained from vehicle licensing fees and gasoline taxes. They were moved to the State general fund several years ago, and their force has been cut by more than half with little money being available in the foreseen future. Anybody that has driven up in Washington lately has probably seen the obvious presence of a well-funded State Police force. That is because WSP operates on the tax/fee system. While Oregon State Police Fish and Game Troopers work a different assignment than the patrol officers, they are all under the same administration so any generated fee income goes directly into the general fund where it is parceled out to every other State agency. Another cause of the lack of OSP Fish/Game Troopers out in the field is that they also take criminal and traffic crash assignments because of the lack of Troopers on regular patrol.

I am now getting off of the soap box.

EJ
 

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