ALERT: New bill will severely impact nonresident hunters in WY
- Feb. 12, 1:59 p.m. PST Update: I just got a text message saying this bill failed. See more info here. 1 in support, 28 not in support.
- Feb. 11, 3:32 p.m. PST Update: We reached out to several organizations to comment on this bill. You can read their statements at the bottom of the article.
Early this morning I received an email from the Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association (WOGA) mentioning a new bill that was introduced yesterday, Feb. 10. This bill was introduced by Senator Hicks that will severely impact all nonresident hunters in the state of Wyoming! The bill in question is SF0094.
Note: the Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association are against this bill.
"AN ACT relating to game and fish; modifying the number of licenses reserved for resident hunters; increasing specified nonresident license fees; repealing provisions for special nonresident licenses; and providing for an effective date."
Areas worth mentioning
- Based on discussions with WOGA, this bill actually has the potential to take away regulative authority and remove the language around the 7,250 guaranteed nonresident elk numbers in Statute. This is not just a decrease in limited quota, but all nonresident licenses!
- The Special Draw license split would be discontinued.
- Under the proposed bill, Wyoming will reserve at least 90% of big game, bison and grizzly bear licenses to resident hunters.
- This will drastically cut tag numbers! Most species will see greater than a 50% cut in nonresident tags.
- In any hunt area with less than ten (10) licenses available, the commission shall not issue any licenses to nonresident hunters pursuant to this subsection
- When the commission determines the number of licenses available for nonresident hunters under this subsection, the commission shall reserve at least thirty percent (30%) of those licenses for nonresident hunters who are hunting with a licensed outfitter. The commission shall adopt rules necessary to implement a process to issue licenses to nonresident hunters who are hunting with a licensed outfitter.
- This quota split for outfitters is a big deal!
- The Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association were never consulted about the 30% allocation and are strongly against this bill!
- Resident application fees will stay the same
- Nonresident application fee will increase from $15.00 to $17.00. A 13.33% increase.
It is also worth mentioning that Wyoming recently had a license and preference point fee increase in 2018. You can read that article here.
Potential Wyoming fee increases
|All are nonresident
What can you do?
Contact these five Senators who are on the Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee. These people directly have the power to impact hunting in Wyoming.
What are your thoughts? If passed, we could see these changes being implemented on January 1, 2022. As stated at the beginning of this article, in that email I received this morning, the Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association are strongly opposed to this bill!
New information added
We reached out for comments, and below are two pieces of information from Sy Gilliland, President of the Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association and Jess Johnson, Advocacy and Legislative Liaison, Wyoming Wildlife Federation.
More information provided by the Wyoming Wildlife Federation
Vote ‘NO’ on Senate File 94: Wyoming Resident/Nonresident License Allocation
This bill changes the current framework of license allocation from approximately 84% of big game licenses going to resident hunters and 16-20% to nonresidents to 90% of big game, bison, and grizzly bear licenses being reserved for resident hunters. Additionally, it bars any unit with less than 10 licenses available from issuing nonresident licenses and raises nonresident license and application fees significantly, making Wyoming the most expensive place to hunt antelope, bison, moose, and mountain goats, and second most expensive place to hunt deer, bighorn sheep, and elk for nonresidents.
WHY you should oppose this bill:
A 90/10 license allocation split is going to cost Wyoming residents and the state.
- This bill would represent a loss of about 7% of nonresident licenses available. This loss in nonresident hunter spending into Wyoming’s economy (which is approximately $86.6 million annually) would be over $5 million out of the pockets of Wyoming residents that make their living supporting sportsmen and women.
- While the bill sets aside 30% of nonresident licenses for hunting with guides and outfitters, this is from a license pool that is 37% smaller. This provision does not compensate for the economic losses to guides and outfitters.
- In addition to the economic losses for Wyoming residents, tax revenues will also be impacted. The total tax revenues generated by nonresident hunters is estimated at $14.6 million, so a 7% loss would be over a $1 million loss to the state that is not accounted for by raising nonresident license prices.
- Because of the structure of the new license allocation, over-the-counter tags would no longer be available to nonresident hunters if it would put nonresident hunters in any unit over 10%. This will lower the number of tags that Game and Fish can issue in some units and reduce their flexibility in managing Wyoming’s wildlife.
It does not increase hunting opportunity enough to justify the costs. Large applicant pools, not limited licenses, are responsible for low drawing odds.
- In bighorn sheep for example, 176 licenses were available for residents and nonresidents combined in 2019. 132 of those went to residents, and 44 to nonresidents. Considering the numbers of applicants in each pool, residents had about a 1.25% chance of drawing a tag, while nonresidents had about a 0.5% chance.
- Under this bill, no unit with fewer than 10 licenses can issue a license to a nonresident. Within that framework, about 158 of the available licenses would go to residents and 18 to nonresidents. Because applicant pools are so large, (10,567 residents applied in 2019) the odds of drawing a sheep tag for a resident would only increase to 1.5% overall.