There will be some exciting and significant changes to Arizona’s hunting and fishing licenses beginning in 2014. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission recently approved a new hunting and fishing license structure and fees.
The changes include a simplified structure, bundled privileges for some products, licenses being valid for one year from the date of purchase instead of just for the calendar year, a reduced-price youth license, and changes in license and tag prices.
Some of the key changes are:
- A simplified structure. The current complex structure with dozens of license and stamp options will be reduced to six license categories and a migratory bird stamp.
- Some of the simplified licenses will offer more value through bundled privileges. For example, a Fishing License will not only include general fishing privileges for state waters (i.e., the privileges offered by the current Class A license), but will now also include trout, two-pole and Community (Urban) fishing privileges. In other words, those who purchase a new Fishing License will no longer need to purchase separate Trout and Two-pole Stamps or a separate Urban License. The license is also planned to include fishing privileges for Arizona’s shared Colorado River waters with California and Nevada, dependent on agreements currently under negotiation with those states.
The new Fishing License will cost $37 for Arizona residents. By comparison, the cost of the same privileges if purchased separately through the current resident licenses and stamps is $69.75 ($23.50 for the Class A Fishing License, $15.75 for the Trout Stamp, $6 for the Two-pole Stamp, $18.50 for the Urban Fishing License, and $3 each for the Nevada and California stamps for fishing the Colorado River). The new nonresident Fishing License will cost $55 and, like the resident license, will also bundle privileges at a lower price than if the current privileges were purchased separately.
- Combination Licenses (hunting/fishing) will include the privileges of the Hunting License and the expanded privileges of the new Fishing License.
- All licenses (except the “Short-term” license — see below) will be valid for one year from the date of purchase, rather than just for the calendar year in which the license is purchased.
- The only short-term licenses that will be offered are the Resident and Nonresident Short-term (One-day) Combination Hunting/Fishing Licenses. These licenses can be purchased for single or multiple days (consecutive or non-consecutive).
- The Urban Fishing Program will be renamed the Community Fishing Program, and the program will be expanded to include more waters. As mentioned previously, Community (Urban) fishing privileges will be included in the new Fishing License, but a separate Community Fishing License will also be offered for sale ($24, residents or nonresidents) for those who only want to fish Community Fishing Program waters.
- A Youth Combination Hunting/Fishing License will now cost only $5 each year (instead of $26.50) and is valid for resident and non-resident youth. The Youth Combination Hunting/Fishing license will now be required for individuals ages 10-17.
- The only state stamp that will be required is the Arizona Migratory Bird Stamp, which will be required (along with your hunting license) for the taking of migratory birds (such as doves, band-tailed pigeons), including waterfowl (such as ducks, geese). This stamp, which will cost $5, will take the place of the two current separate state stamps (Arizona Migratory Bird Stamp and Arizona Waterfowl Stamp, which is being discontinued). The Arizona Migratory Bird Stamp will be valid from July 1 through June 30 to correspond with the federal Harvest Information Program and won’t be required for individuals with Youth Licenses. However, individuals age 16 and older who hunt waterfowl must still purchase the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp (i.e., Federal Duck Stamp).
- Special licenses (such as Pioneer License, Trapping License, Falconry License, Guide License, Disabled Veteran License, Apprentice Hunting License) won’t change for 2014, with the exception of the Honorary Boy Scout/Girl Scout License, where a $5 Combination Hunting/Fishing License will be available up to age 21 for anyone who attains Eagle Scout or Gold Scout status.
- Lifetime Licenses will be retained. Current Lifetime License holders will have privileges “grandfathered” to reflect the privileges of the new license structure. The formula for determining the cost of new Lifetime Licenses will change.
- The Benefactor License (which is basically a Lifetime License with the purchaser providing an added donation) will increase in price from $1,000 to $1,500.
- The Big Game Tag structure will stay the same, but most tag prices will increase. This is the first increase in tag prices since 2007. None of the tag prices exceed the previously authorized statutory cap that existed prior to enactment of SB 1223.
- The application fee for the big game draw and first-come permits will be increased to $13 for residents ($3 of which will be dedicated to habitat, public access and recruitment/retention efforts) and $15 for nonresidents ($5 of which will be dedicated to habitat, public access and recruitment/retention efforts). The Unit 12A (North Kaibab) Habitat Management Stamp will no longer be required for Unit 12A deer hunters.
In spring 2013, new legislation (Senate Bill 1223) gave the Arizona Game and Fish Commission the authority to change license structure and fees through a streamlined, customer-focused process. The legislation provided the Commission and Department the opportunity to look at simplifying the structure and offer license products containing more value.
Upon passage of the legislation, the Game and Fish Department went out to the public in May and June to gather input on license and fee concepts. The Department held 17 public meetings, conducted a webcast, sent out a survey to hunters and anglers, distributed e-news blasts, and created a dedicated web page on the license simplification effort. Comments were collected at the public meetings and by e-mail or U.S. mail. The Commission took this input into consideration before approving a draft structure and fees at its June 15, 2013 meeting. The draft was taken to the public for a second round of comment.
The final structure and fees were approved at the Commission’s Aug. 3, 2013 meeting in Flagstaff, Ariz. The new licenses and tags will become effective and be available for purchase beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
More information / view the webcast
To view the draft notice of exempt rulemaking presented at the Aug. 3 Commission meeting, visit www.azgfd.gov/LicenseSimplification. For more background information, including a link to the June 25 webcast that was conducted about the draft license structure and fees, visit www.azgfd.gov/timeline.
Logo courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department