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TPWD Increases License, Boat Registration Fees

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved increases to hunting and fishing licenses, as well as boat titling and registration fees. Most fees will increase by five percent and the increases take effect with the 2009-2010 license year, starting this fall for recreational hunting and fishing licenses.

Hunting licenses will increase from $23 to $25, while the popular Super Combo all-inclusive license increases from $64 to $68.

Non-resident hunting licenses increase by $15 from $300 to $315, which also reflects a five percent hike.

Fishing packages will also increase by $2. The resident freshwater fishing package increases from $28 to $30 and the saltwater fishing package increases from $33 to $35.

The biggest increase in license fees approved by the commission affects lifetime licenses. The resident lifetime fishing and hunting licenses will increase to $1,000 and the lifetime combination license increases to $1,800.

"We have not increased the cost of a lifetime license for 12 years," said Gene McCarty, TPWD deputy director of administration. "Frankly, these licenses have been undervalued and could represent significant lost revenue over time if not adjusted."

Boat owners in Texas will also see increases in boat registration and titling fees. Boat registration, which are valid for two years, for vessels less than 16 feet in length increase from $30 to $32 and those in the 16-26 foot range go from $50 to $53. Boats 26-40 feet increase from $70 to $110 and boats greater than 40 feet increase from $90 to $150.

Other miscellaneous increases are primarily in the category of commercial licenses, including commercial shrimp boat captain’s license ($20 increase), resident commercial oyster boat ($21 increase), wholesale fish dealers truck ($28 increase), resident commercial crab fishermen’s license ($30 increase), non-resident commercial oyster boat ($84 increase) and non-resident commercial crab fisherman’s license ($120 increase).

The department received less than 400 comments related to the fee increases during the public comment period, the majority of which came from the TPWD online survey and by email, with only 16 comments resulting from a series of 19 public meetings scheduled around the state. Overall, comments ran more than 2-to-1 against the increases, citing bad economic times as the primary reason.

"Initially we considered a 10-15 percent increase but in this economy we know that is unrealistic and counterproductive," said McCarty. "But, it’s important to mention that this will just keep us even."

McCarty noted the fees for none of the special endorsement stamps were increased.

In addition to the fee increases, the commission approved a new administrative fee of $100 for reinstatement of any recreational or commercial license that has been revoked or suspended.

The commission also authorized staff to implement a drawing for a package that includes a lifetime hunting and fishing license and one-year subscription to Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine. Entry fee for the drawing will be $5 and will go on sale Aug. 15 wherever licenses are sold.

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