New ruling means unlucky bighorn sheep hunters won’t get a second chance

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Unlucky Wyoming bighorn sheep hunters no longer get a second chance. This week, the Wyoming House rejected an amendment to Senate File 88 that would have allowed anyone unsuccessful in the bighorn sheep draw to “enter subsequent drawings for tags,” according to the Cowboy State Daily.

Every year, thousands of applicants try for a chance at a rare bighorn sheep tag after spending years accumulating enough points to draw one. Rejection of the amendment means that anyone lucky enough to draw a tag – even if they don’t fill it – can never enter the drawing again. 

And the decision met mixed results on the floor.

“That feeling when I didn’t fill that elk tag or didn’t fill that deer tag … oh man, that burns me up,” said Rep. Cyrus Western, R-Big Horn. “But I get to come back next year and go after that buck, or go after that bull. With this ram tag, that’s it.”

Others agreed with Western like Rep. Dalton Banks, R-Cowley, who said, “When you don’t get something, yeah, it sucks – pardon me, it’s not what it could have been — but you always get another opportunity (with other species).”

However, a harvest isn’t part of the promise when you draw a tag – even if it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance at a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

“I don’t know of anywhere else where that precedent (of a guaranteed kill) is set that the drawing of a license is a guarantee of the taking of an animal,” said Rep. Sandy Newsome, R-Cody. 

Rep. Abby Angelos, R-Gillette, agreed, and said, “I used to hunt and fish with my dad. And one thing he would say if we didn’t harvest or catch anything was, ‘that’s why it’s called fishing and hunting, and not catching.’”

The Wyoming House also rejected other amendments that included the ability to cancel your hunt and re-enter the drawing or use your tag later with regard to a drawn bighorn sheep tag and sharing preference points or bonus points with family, according to the Cowboy State Daily.


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