The Future of Wildlife Conservation Funding
Funding DFW’s work to manage fish and wildlife comes primarily from the sale of hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses, and from federal aid from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program, which collects an excise tax on the sales of hunting and fishing equipment and distributes it to state agencies like ours. Together, these sources account for around 75% of DFW’s budget. Only around 5% comes from state taxes.
Before this year, license fees had not changed since 2006. During that time, costs to manage fish and wildlife increased to the point where current funding levels did not allow DFW to properly manage our natural resources.
While more money has been available to states through WSFR, to get it, DFW must provide a 25% matching contribution to access the funds (e.g., $25 for every $100 awarded). Without additional funding, DFW could not take advantage of the increase in dollars available.
To continue conserving Indiana’s fish and wildlife and providing opportunities for hunters, trappers, and outdoor enthusiasts, DFW raised license fees for the first time in 15 years. The prices were determined by comparing license fees among other Midwestern states and balancing the rising costs of resource management.
The new funding will allow DFW to restore habitats, conduct research, educate new hunters and trappers, provide technical assistance to landowners, and maintain public lands.
Thanks to everyone who purchased a license over the years. Through your financial support and efforts in the field, you have supported the conservation of Indiana’s fish and wildlife. With the new license fees, you can continue to do so for years to come, providing the next generation the same opportunities you love.