New game and fishing licenses are in store for Louisiana sportsmen. Here’s what you need to know. | Sports

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Have you purchased your new fishing and/or hunting licenses yet?

Please know that your current licenses expire at the end of June, and because our state legislature (Law 356) has passed a number of changes in the licensing structure, here’s your chance to avoid surprises when you get your new licenses.

The new licenses are on sale now, and Wildlife and Fisheries has set up a line on its website – www.louisiana.gov – under “Understanding our new license fee changes”.

Roadside crabbers are among the major changes. You will need a $5 Hook and Line License “for any individual fishing without a mechanical reel or crabbing with a string or set net”. Before this new law, this activity did not require any license.

The LDWF’s rationale for this decision was set out in the agency’s explanation: “Without a licensing requirement, it was difficult for the Fisheries Board to determine how many people were involved in this fishery and the impact of the harvest on the crab population”.

Oh, and will that change?

People with a saltwater fishing license can use it to catch crabs, but you must purchase a freshwater fishing license to have a saltwater license.

And, the saltwater permit allows you to have 10 “recreational” crab pots properly marked/labeled, which is a departure from the decades old regulation to have a separate crab pot permit.

Additionally, if you are taking crabs from a wildlife management area, refuge, or LDWF conservation area, you must purchase a WMA access permit and hold a self-cleaning permit without costs.

Crabeaters are still allowed a limit of 12 dozen crabs per day.

With that explained, here’s a quick rundown of other changes to the 2022-2023 licensing structure (and beyond):

  • Hunters and anglers in Louisiana now have 365-day licenses. This means that all recreational licenses obtained after June 1 of this year will be valid for 365 days from the date of purchase and will no longer have the period from July 1 to June 30.
  • The LDWF offers an automatic license renewal option for online license sales. Athletes will need to upload payment information to the agency’s system and choose to have their license(s) renewed automatically.
  • A wonderful addition is the $4 Disabled Veteran’s Permit which became available June 1st. The $4 fee is waived thanks to donations made to the program by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation.
  • Hunters 17 and under will need a license and corresponding tags to “actively” hunt deer and turkeys. The new requirement extends to lottery or trapping hunts. A lifetime license is also eligible.

But, if the youngster is a “spectator” and not actively hunting deer and/or turkey, he does not need a permit. This exemption applies to young people hunting any other game.

  • The only thing this new law did was remove the long list of fishing activities that required a license.

Now, the new Basic Recreational Fishing License will cover “all legal means/gear” to catch freshwater species, including pots, seines, slat traps, trammel nets, cast nets less than 8 feet, 6 inches, metal nets, pipes, buckets, drums, tires, cans, crayfish traps and crayfish nets.

  • And, the new saltwater residential fishing licenses include “all legal means/equipment” to catch saltwater species like up to 10 crab pots, a shrimp trawl 25 feet or less, and pinch Oysters.
  • For deer hunters, a consolidated licensing structure removes the old big game license and institutes a deer license – you still need a basic hunting license – and the new license includes archery and primitive weapons as well as labels.
  • Turkey hunters will not need basic, big game, and state wild turkey licenses. The new ordinance requires turkey hunters to have a basic license and a turkey license with tags.
  • You need a $20 annual permit (residents and non-residents) or $5 per day to access the 1.5 million acres of the WMA system for boating, hiking, birds and berry picking as well as hunting and fishing.

It also extends to camping: Already in effect (June 1), a $7-per-night WMA camping permit is good for up to five adults camping together. You also need a WMA access permit. All funds generated from permit fees will be dedicated to the management of the WMAs. Youth 17 and under are not required to have a camping permit.

The new law directs that these funds be dedicated to the management of the WMA.

An exemption allows no fees on WMAs for ages 17 and under, as well as Sportsman Paradise licensees and lifetime licensees.

Next week

The LDWF licensing section will be closed June 20-24 for walk-in service at state headquarters on Quail Drive in Baton Rouge. That’s because the section has to deal with “a backlog of mailed and emailed requests.”

Licenses can still be purchased online during this time at louisianaoutdoors.com.

Commercial fishers, including charter boat operators, will be allowed to complete applications during this time and retain the application to serve as a license until June 27 until they can have the application filed.

For boat trailers

Beginning June 27 and several Mondays thereafter, workers from the Departments of Motor Vehicles and State Revenue will be at state headquarters to handle the registration of vessels and boat trailers and to pay the taxes that may be due.

And remember

The check you can make when renewing your licenses for the statewide Hunters for the Hungry program. And the contribution helps defray the costs of bringing venison and fish to those in need throughout our state.

Just last week, H4H collected 800 pounds of fish fillets in Venice and shipped the fish to the New Orleans mission through the Second Harvest Food Bank.

For more information, send an e-mail to the director of H4H Julie Grunwald: [email protected]

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