AB 521 Talking Points:
- California has seen a steady decline in Hunters over the last 30 years. Hunters are a very important tool for wildlife managers in keeping wildlife populations in check with habitat.
- Hunters bring in millions of dollars each year to fund the Department of Fish and Wildlife. In 2016 hunting license sales alone brought in over $11 million … combined with tags and permits the number rises to over $26 million. Additionally, hunters through the purchase of sporting arms, ammunition and equipment made over $41 million available to the Department of Fish and Wildlife in the form of Pitman Robertson dollars. This money can be used for projects benefiting all wildlife, and all users both consumptive and non-consumptive.
- Hunters, elk hunters and potential elk hunters have more than paid their share.
- The intent of this bill is to bring California’s resident elk tag fee more in line with the seven western states with elk hunts. A resident of Montana pays $20 …. Second highest is Arizona at $148… While a resident of California pays $445 for that same opportunity! We seek to reduce California’s resident tag to $100 and the apprentice tag to $20.
- This restructure of elk tag fees only results in a $120,000 annual reduction to an account that since created in 2011 has generated a current reserve balance as of 2016 equaling: $9,457,472, and averages an increase of 1.5-2 million a year going into reserve CADFW has not spent down. These big game tag fees generated can ONLY be spent of big game management NOT to supplement CADFW general fund budget deficits
- For 2017-18 CADFW has only allocated to 1.1 Million out of this account. Even with this minor input reduction the BGMA will continue to grow.
- In 2016: 36,068 hunters paid $8.13 each to apply for an elk hunt generating $293,232.84 in application fees. These are non-dedicated funds and CAN be spent on many CADFW Non-funded mandates. Easily expected tag application numbers / resulting fees generated will increase exponentially with reduced tag cost.
- Elk Hunting opportunity should be affordable for ALL Californians…. not just the wealthy.