Missouri Department of Conservation proposes adjustments to permit costs amid rising conservation expenses


Jefferson City, Missouri – Missouri hosts over a million fishing enthusiasts, half a million hunters, and thousands of trappers. Each year, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) distributes about 2.6 million permits for hunting, fishing, and trapping. Although the cost of these permits has only risen slightly in the last 20 years, the expenses for conservation efforts have significantly climbed. To match the continuous increase in the prices of goods and services, MDC has been making small changes to most permit costs over recent years and plans further modest price increases in the future.

Looking ahead to 2025, MDC intends to raise the prices of some permits for non-residents and a few for residents as well. The Missouri Conservation Commission has preliminarily approved these planned changes at their recent meeting on May 24 in Jefferson City.

“Costs continue to increase for habitat management and improvements, cost-share funding, fuel, equipment, contract and construction work, and other aspects of the work MDC staff does,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “We need to keep up with rising costs and can do that by adjusting permit prices. Even with the minor price adjustments we propose, Missouri permit prices remain good bargains when compared to surrounding states.”

The proposed changes to permit prices by the MDC mainly target nonresident permits. There will be a modest rise in the cost of permits for activities like migratory bird hunting, trout fishing, and daily fishing, affecting both residents and nonresidents.

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Director Pauley pointed out that the extra funds generated from these permit sales will support the MDC’s efforts to sustain and enhance its widely respected programs and services for hunters, fishers, wildlife enthusiasts, and others. The increased revenue will also assist in addressing the escalating costs associated with upgrading facilities like conservation areas, fish hatcheries, shooting ranges, and nature centers. Many of these facilities are quite old and need significant repairs or replacements. Additionally, Pauley mentioned that this trend of raising permit prices is also seen in other states.

Proposed Permit Price Adjustments for 2025:

PERMIT     CURRENT $        PROPOSED $      AVG $ SS 2024   
NR Annual Fishing   $51.00   $53.50   $57.50
Daily Fishing   $8.00   $9.00   $8.31
Trout   $10.00   $12.00   $12.75
Youth Trout   $5.00   $6.00   $7.00
NR Small Game Hunting   $98.00   $102.00   $126.84
Daily Hunting   $14.50   $15.00   $66.04
NR Furbearer Hunt/Trap   $200.50   $208.50   $258.69
Migratory Bird   $6.50   $7.50   $14.81
NR Conservation Order   $49.00   $51.00   NA
NR Spring Turkey   $233.50   $243.50   $255.22
NR Fall Turkey   $135.50   $141.50   $202.67
NR Firearm Deer   $276.50   $288.00   $374.31
NR Antlerless Deer   $26.00   $27.00   $43.63
NR Archery   $276.50   $288.00   $436.69
NR Managed Deer   $276.50   $288.00   NA
NR Landowner Spring Turkey   $172.00   $179.50   NA
NR Landowner Fall Turkey   $100.00   $104.50   NA
NR Landowner Archery   $203.50   $212.00   NA
NR Landowner Firearm Deer   $203.50   $212.00   NA


MDC Wants Public Comments

MDC will seek public comments about the proposed permit price adjustments from July 2 to Aug. 1. Get more information and submit comments at mdc.mo.gov/contact-engage/public-commenting-opportunities

MDC will gather all feedback received and present it to the Commission before the open meeting on September 6, where it will make a final decision on the proposed adjustments to permit prices. If these changes are approved, they would go into effect on January 1, 2025.

Permit Sales and Funding

Permit sales contribute approximately 16 percent to MDC’s yearly revenue. The majority of MDC’s funding comes from the Conservation Sales Tax, which accounts for about 61 percent, with federal reimbursements making up about 17 percent of the total revenue. The remaining 6 percent is derived from sales and rentals, interest, and other miscellaneous sources. On average, each Missourian contributes $26 per year towards conservation through the Conservation Sales Tax.

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MDC receives no funds through fines from tickets or citations and no funding from the state’s general revenue budget. For more information on MDC revenues and expenses and how those monies are used to help MDC take care of nature, connect people with nature, and maintain the public trust, read the MDC Annual Review for Fiscal Year 2023 in the January 2024 issue of the Missouri Conservationist online at mdc.mo.gov/magazines/missouri-conservationist/2024-01/annual-review-fiscal-year-2023.

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