Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about

Recent Fee Increases

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Why is Kentucky Fish & Wildlife increasing user fees for fishing, hunting and boating?

There are several reasons why these recent fee increases were necessary:

  • KDFWR operates on user fees. KDFWR’s programs are paid for mainly by license sales, supplemented by related user fees and federal excise taxes on fishing, hunting and shooting equipment.  If we don’t receive adequate funding from license sales, we can’t operate the many programs Kentuckians now enjoy, ranging from fish stocking in public waters, to free public boat ramps, to high quality hunting opportunities, to Conservation Officers to protect the Commonwealth’s resources. KDFWR does not operate on deficits or debts, so our expenses have to be covered by current revenues from user fees, much like a business.
  • License and boat registration prices are only increased periodically, not every year. The Department does not raise fees every year even a small amount because of the lengthy and involved regulatory process required to changes fees.  Rather, fees are comprehensively reviewed every 5 years.  In many cases, because of careful spending, cutting costs wherever possible, and pursuing other funding sources, we sometimes are able to delay fee increases. Through these measures, we have been able to delay many increases to many fees in the past.
  • Because of rising costs for materials and services, the Department must increase fees to keep pace with routine costs ranging from fish food to concrete. The infographic below helps to illustrate how costs have steadily risen in the last 10 years or so. Without fee increases, we simply would not be able to continue the outstanding conservation and recreation programs sought after by recreationists in Kentucky.
  • Some important fish and wildlife programs require additional support. Our Youth Conservation Camps and Salato Wildlife Education Center reach over 50,000 people per year, many of whom do not fish, hunt, or own boats. These outreach programs are important for maintaining public support for our traditions, and building public appreciation for the benefits made possible by Kentucky’s fish and wildlife resources and those who pay to conserve them. We currently enjoy strong public support of legal, sustainable fishing and hunting. This is not the case in all states. We all want to ensure this continues into the future. These important programs do charge reasonable fees from participants, but they simply cannot cover all costs of operation.
  • Selling adult licenses for $5 is no longer sustainable. Although KDFWR put off raising Senior and Disabled license prices for nearly two decades, the large and growing proportion of license customers (about 120,000 total) in this group recently required a modest increase to these fees. Although recent surveys of Senior and Disabled license customers indicated willingness among many to pay as much as $20, the price for these licenses was set at just $12 to keep the license price as low as possible. The new price for these licenses is still discounted 87% off the equivalent Sportsman’s License and substantially lower than standard licenses (nearly 50% off the price of standard Fishing, 55% off Hunting and over 70% off the Combo Fishing/Hunting).

When did the new prices take effect?

New prices for nonresident licenses/permits went into effect in 2019. The most recent resident fee increases went into effect in 2018.

When were prices last increased?

  • Nonresident licenses and permits – 2014
  • Standard resident licenses – 2007
  • Boat registrations – 2002​
  • Senior and Disabled licenses – 1999

Which fees are affected and what are the new prices?

Nonresident Fishing & Hunting Licenses (updated 2019)

License Updated Price
Annual Fishing $55
1-Day Fishing $15
7-Day Fishing $35
Annual Hunting  $150
1-Day Hunting $25
7-Day Hunting $65
Deer Permit (now includes 4 deer) $185
Spring Turkey Permit $85
Fall Turkey Permit $85
Youth Elk Permit (either sex) $200

Resident Fishing & Hunting Licenses (updated 2018)

License Updated Price
Annual Fishing $23
Annual Hunting $27
Senior Sportsman’s $12
Disabled Sportsman’s $12
Combination Hunting/Fishing $42
Joint/Spouse Fishing $42

Motorized Boat Registration (updated 2018)

Boat Size / Motor Type Price as of March 1
Under 16 feet $21
16-26 feet $40
Over 26-40 feet $50
Over 40 feet $65
Inboard Motor $43
Trolling Motor $10

2018 License Update