Missouri is home to more than 1 million anglers, 500,000 hunters, and several thousand trappers.
MDC issues nearly 2.6 million hunting, fishing, and trapping permits each year. Most Missouri Department of Conservation permit prices have remained the same for the past 20 years while costs for goods and services have increased significantly since then.
To address ongoing rising costs of goods and services compounded by high inflation rates, MDC has adjusted prices of hunting, fishing, and trapping permits and some related products beginning Feb. 29, 2024.
The changes include adjusting prices of:
- resident and nonresident hunting and fishing permits,
- annual trout permits and daily trout tags,
- commercial and lifetime permits, and
- MDC Permit Cards.
What Permit Sales Support
Additional revenue from permit sales will help MDC maintain and improve its nationally recognized programs and services for hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers, and others.
Conservation efforts supported by revenue from permit sales include:
- Maintaining and improving nine fish hatcheries around the state that raise and stock more than 7 million fish annually for public fishing — including about 1.3 million trout at five hatcheries.
- Maintaining and improving more than 70 public shooting ranges around the state.
- Ongoing habitat work on nearly 1,000 conservation areas, including 15 intensively managed wetlands for public hunting and wildlife watching.
- Expansion of popular youth offerings such as the Missouri Archery in the Schools Program, which has reached more than 200,000 young archers at nearly 700 Missouri schools, and the Discover Nature Schools Program, which helps more than 87,000 Missouri students each year at more than 700 schools around the state learn about and connect with Missouri outdoors.
- Helping more than 24,000 landowners create and maintain habitat for wildlife.
- Research on health and sustainability of deer, turkey, quail, waterfowl, songbirds, fish, bears, elk, and other species.
- Evaluation of the effectiveness of harvest regulations for fish and wildlife game species and understanding resource-user preferences.
- Restoration, monitoring, and protection of imperiled and endangered species and habitats.
- Reduction and removal of invasive species that threaten the health of native species and habitats.
- Maintaining and improving 15 nature and interpretative centers around the state.
MDC receives no funds through fines from tickets or citations and no funding from the state’s general revenue budget. As a state agency, all funding from these revenue sources goes back into the work the agency does, including capital improvements to buildings and other facilities, wildlife, forestry, protection, outreach and education, fisheries, resource science, private land services, county assistance payments, and other areas.
Missourians on average pay $24 annually for conservation efforts through the Conservation Sales Tax.
Permit sales account for about 17 percent of MDC annual revenue. Other significant revenue sources for MDC include the Conservation Sales Tax at about 62 percent and federal reimbursements at about 15 percent of total MDC revenue. Sales and rentals, interest, and other sources make up the remaining 6 percent of MDC revenue.
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 2022 in the January 2023 issue of the Missouri Conservationist online.
Adjusting Prices for Improved Offerings
Many MDC permit prices have remained the same for the past 20 years while the Department’s costs for goods and services have increased significantly since then. Record inflation has sharply added to these rising costs. MDC raised permit prices in 2020 for nonresident hunting and fishing permits, annual trout permits, and daily trout tags. Other permit prices have not increased since the 1980s to early 2000s.
Additional revenue from permit prices will help MDC with the rising costs of improving buildings and other infrastructure at conservation areas, fish hatcheries, shooting ranges, and nature centers that are many decades old and in need of significant repair or replacement.
- MDC will need to invest $150 million to $200 million over the next decade to repair and improve aging infrastructure at its fish hatcheries so the state’s more than 1 million anglers can continue to catch the more than 7 million sport fish raised and released at the hatcheries each year.
- MDC is investing $6.7 million into a new and much larger Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center near Branson to better accommodate the 250,000 people who visit the conservation center and adjacent fish hatchery each year. The existing facility was built in the 1970s.
- MDC is facing ever-increasing costs to manage more than 42,000 acres of core wetlands around the state plus an additional 100,000 acres of flooded bottomland that also contributes to the state’s wetland habitats. Costs are increasing to fix or replace aging equipment and infrastructure needed to manage these areas such as pumps and water control structures, levees, and other things. These wetlands draw more than 40,000 waterfowl hunting trips each year and are among the top 50 birding hotspots in the state for Missouri’s more than 1.1 million birders.
- Additional revenue from permits will help MDC maintain and improve its five staffed shooting ranges and 70 unstaffed archery and firearm shooting ranges around the state. It costs MDC about $300,000 on average to renovate an unstaffed shooting range.
- Additional revenue will help MDC support CWD monitoring and testing. A CWD test alone costs $18.50 while a resident firearms deer permit currently costs $17.
Costs of doing business have also increased significantly.
- Printing and production costs have increased by about 17 percent over the past year for the nature-based curriculum MDC offers schools through its Discover Nature Schools Program, which helps more than 87,000 Missouri students each year at more than 700 schools around the state learn about and connect with Missouri outdoors.
- The cost of clay targets provided at MDC shotgun ranges has doubled from an annual budget of $100,000 for the four staffed ranges to $200,000.
- Costs of construction materials and labor are up 52 percent since 1999.
- The cost of a gallon of gas was $1.42 in early 2003 compared to $3.30 in May 2023. MDC purchased nearly 908,000 gallons of gas last year to run vehicles and equipment.
- The costs of dove field management for sunflower plantings (seed, fertilizer, herbicide, lime, and pesticide) were $53 per acre in 1999 compared to $250 per acre in 2022. MDC manages more than 3,188 acres for doves.
- The costs to control woody cover and heavy brush on conservation areas have increased from $133 per acre in 1999 to $319 per acre in 2023. MDC worked on controlling more than 2,116 acres in 2022.
- The costs of using prescribed burns on woodlands have gone from about $13 per acre in 1999 to more than $117 per acre in 2023. MDC conducted prescribed burns on more than 9,970 acres in 2022.
More frequent annual floods and drought are requiring more monies from MDC to maintain its more than 1,000 conservation areas and repair related damages to infrastructure on the areas. These weather events will continue, and the related costs will continue to increase.
- MDC has spent more than $11 million over the past decade on repairs and improvements to fish hatcheries damaged by extreme flooding.
- MDC manages more than 140,000 acres of wetland areas that serve as floodwater storage areas to help reduce or prevent flood damages elsewhere while improving water quality. The increasing frequency and intensity of extreme rain and flood events, along with general wear and tear over time, requires additional monies to maintain, repair, and replace aging infrastructure to continue to provide quality habitat and recreational-use opportunities.
MDC proposes modest and gradual adjustments to permit prices over the next decade to keep pace with continual rising costs of goods and services. Initial permit price adjustments are listed below and will become effective Feb. 29, 2024.
Permit Prices (Effective Feb. 29, 2024)
|Permits||New Prices||Average in Surrounding States|
|Resident Hunting and Fishing||$20.50||$42.47|
|Daily Fishing (No price increase)||$8||$8.38|
|Annual Trout Permit (No price increase)||$10||$12.93|
|Resident Small Game Hunting||$10.50||$26.57|
|Nonresident Small Game Hunting||$98||$118.97|
|Daily Small Game Hunting||$14.50||$64.68|
|Nonresident Furbearer Hunting/Trapping||$200.50||$268.56|
|Resident Spring Turkey*||$18||$47.69|
|Nonresident Spring Turkey||$233.50||$217.66|
|Resident Fall Turkey*||$14||$52.93|
|Nonresident Fall Turkey||$135.50||$197.88|
|Resident Firearm Deer*||$18||$54.06|
|Nonresident Firearm Deer||$276.50||$391.16|
|Resident Antlerless Deer*||$7.50||$24.21|
|Nonresident Antlerless Deer||$26||$40.70|
|Resident Archery Deer/Turkey*||$20.50||$63.63|
|Nonresident Archery Deer/Turkey||$276.50||$448.84|
|Nonresident Landowner Spring Turkey||$172||Not applicable|
|Nonresident Landowner Fall Turkey||$100||Not applicable|
|Nonresident Landowner Archery||$203.50||Not applicable|
|Nonresident Landowner Firearm Deer||$203.50||Not applicable|
* All youth permits, including nonresident youth permits, are half of the resident price.
Commercial Permit Prices (Effective Feb. 29, 2024)
|Commercial Permits||New Prices|
|Resident Commercial Fishing||$31|
|Nonresident Commercial Fishing||$246|
|Resident Roe Fish Commercial Harvest Permit||$542|
|Nonresident Roe Fish Commercial Harvest Permit||$3,773|
|Resident Roe Fish Dealer Permit||$539|
|Nonresident Roe Fish Dealer Permit||$1,973|
|Resident Fur Dealer (No price increase)||$100|
|Nonresident Fur Dealer (No price increase)||$300|
|Class 1 Wildlife Breeder||$54|
|Class 2 Wildlife Breeder||$269|
|Class 3 Wildlife Breeder||$54|
|Game Bird Hunting Preserve||$132|
|Big Game Hunting Preserve||$260|
|Licensed Trout Fishing Area||$108|
|Dog Training Area||$22|
|Field and Retriever Trial||$22|
|Commercial Game Processing||$27|
|Hound Running Area Operator||$54|
|Wildlife Collector Scientific||$6|
|Wildlife Collector Special||$55|
|3-Day License Shooting Area||$6|
|Annual License Shooting Area||$11|
|Resident Trammel Net||$37|
|Resident Gill Net||$37|
|Resident Hoop Net||$6|
|Resident Hooks Tag||$6|
|Resident Seine Net||$37|
|Nonresident Trammel Net||$37|
|Nonresident Gill Net||$37|
|Nonresident Hoop Net||$6|
|Nonresident Hooks Tag||$6|
|Nonresident Seine Net||$37|
|Locking Leg Sticker||$11|
Lifetime Permit Prices (Effective Feb. 29, 2024)
|Lifetime Permits||New Prices|
|Lifetime Hunting Under 16||$295|
|Lifetime Hunting 16-29||$430|
|Lifetime Hunting 30-39||$376|
|Lifetime Hunting 40-59||$322|
|Lifetime Hunting 60 and Over||$38|
|Lifetime Fishing Under 16||$295|
|Lifetime Fishing 16-29||$430|
|Lifetime Fishing 30-39||$376|
|Lifetime Fishing 40-59||$322|
|Lifetime Fishing 60 and Over||$38|
|Lifetime Conservation Partner Under 16||$591|
|Lifetime Conservation Partner 16-29||$859|
|Lifetime Conservation Partner 30-39||$752|
|Lifetime Conservation Partner 40-59||$644|
|Lifetime Conservation Partner 60 and Over||$75|
Lifetime Trapping Permit Prices (Effective Feb. 29, 2024)
|Permit Holder Age||New Prices|
|Age 15 and under||$295|
|Age 60 and Older||$38|
MDC based its permit price adjustments on information from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI) related to cost-of-living increases from 2008 to 2022. CPI is a commonly used measurement of the average changes over time in prices paid by consumers for consumer goods and services. MDC is recommending a gradual price increase over 10 years at 75 percent of CPI growth for resident permits and 100 percent of CPI growth for nonresident permits.