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Wyoming considers changes to nonresident elk hunting regulations

 

Wyoming elk
Photo credit: Shutterstock

After 30 years, Wyoming is considering a change to its elk hunting regulations and nonresident quotas. Last week, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) announced the possibility of these changes, but don’t have an official proposal drafted yet. Instead, according to Doug Brimeyer, WGFD’s deputy chief in the wildlife division, they plan to first “evaluate public input to decide whether to update regulations,” the WyoFile reports.

Current regulations direct 16% of the limited quota full price licenses to nonresidents. Full price non-limited quota licenses are also available to nonresidents; however, only 7,250 of these two types of licenses are available each year. Nonresident hunters are also eligible for reduced price cow/calf tags.

Brimeyer wasn’t surprised by this particular request, which first came up during a Game and Fish Commission meeting last year.

“This has been an issue for 30 years,” Brimeyer told the WyoFile. “It’s an issue we knew would come up again and again.”

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According to the WyoFile, the current nonresident quota of 16% was first established in 1987; the nonresident quota was capped at 7,250 in 1989. There have been no changes made to these established quotas even though the elk population has experienced steady growth. In fact, when the nonresident quota was first set, there were only about 65,000 elk within the state; in 2017, there were over 100,000 despite the fact that 25,000 elk are harvested annually.

Brimeyer says that WGFD uses hunters as its “primary tool for managing elk populations.”

Some residents have voiced concern over changing nonresident regulations, pointing to possibilities of hunter overcrowding and lost opportunities, but outfitters agree with WGFD and believe there’s more than enough elk in Wyoming for everyone.

“We have an incredible number of elk and somebody needs to kill some of them to keep the herd in check,” said Sy Gilliland, owner of S and S Outfitters and Guides and vice-president of the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association.

WGFD will collect public comments until June 6 and plan to hold a Facebook Live event tomorrow, May 22, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

See the locations of public meetings & submit a comment here

13 Comments

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Bob L. - posted 4 months ago on 05-29-2018 08:26:47 pm

The 7,250 number is for full price licenses, which include Antlerless.
Increasing that NR quota will do nothing to increase LE licenses for NR hunters. What it will do is increase the number of Special ($1,300) Gen licenses. Those addl licenses will be allocated to 1st, then 2nd choice apps before any remainder goes to the Regular Gen draw. The only way to increase NR LE licenses is for the Dept to increase the total LE quota, and NR will only see 16% of any increase. The Dept can change the 7,250 quota, they can not change the 84/16 split.

David B. - posted 4 months ago on 05-28-2018 02:39:46 pm

WY is exceedingly more complicated than most states on hunting regs. Non Residents continually get screwed on these tags. Let the NRs get more tags and bring in more dollars for the state.

Tyson C. - posted 4 months ago on 05-23-2018 07:56:37 pm
Lincoln, NH
goHUNT INSIDER

It should be allocated based on the amount of funding that comes from non residents as a percentage of funds compared to the number of tags over a rolling period adjusted every few years.

Tyson C. - posted 4 months ago on 05-23-2018 07:53:20 pm
Lincoln, NH
goHUNT INSIDER

Non residents should be getting a higher allocation for tags in all the states with how much higher the prices for licenses, tags and points are.

Jay M. - posted 5 months ago on 05-22-2018 07:50:00 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Right on about the NR wilderness access. I was told by the WY fish and game that many have tried to challenge it but nothing can be done. I live 1 mile from Wyoming on the Idaho side and refuse to give them my $. I can legally hunt grouse or fish in the wilderness but not hunt big game? The outfitters have bigger balls than the lawmakers, shocker.

Jerrin L. - posted 5 months ago on 05-21-2018 05:51:31 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

I agree with Eric S. The only thing I have a concern with is the wilderness restriction for NR hunters would like to see that lifted. I’m patient enough to wait for an opportunity to draw but when I do draw I want to hunt any public land not just BLM.

Daniel E. - posted 5 months ago on 05-21-2018 05:05:24 pm
Cayucos, CA
goHUNT INSIDER

@Erik S. I agree that the rule is lame but it is worth noting that you do not have to pay an outfitter to hunt wilderness. You can simply have a resident "guide" who agrees to a few stipulations (one of which is not charging any fee) to take you. Its not hunting solo but it does allow you to access wilderness areas. If you poke around with people you know in Wyoming (or even others who know someone in Wy) then you can do it. Like I said, its a hassle but you dont have to pay them.

Larry G. - posted 5 months ago on 05-21-2018 04:11:21 pm

I went to the meeting in Casper and overwhelmingly the public does not want this. If the Wyoming Game and Fish does something like this it will be against the wishes of the general public and the hunting population who live in reside in Wyoming year round. If they pull this off and it will need to be a change in the management of the game and fish that will be extremely obvious

Stephen G. - posted 5 months ago on 05-21-2018 01:39:44 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Chet, it does include cow tags. When Sy talks about needing to keep the herd in check he is being disingenuous. Population levels are kept in check by killing cows not mature bulls. What he and WyOGA want are more bull tags not more cow tags. If he came before the board and asked if NR hunters could get a higher allocation of cow tags in the Central and Eastern units so they could help control the population then I would at least listen to his argument about population control. But that's not what they want. They want 4% more 16, 7, 100, 124, 52, 56, 58, 59 etc. tags. They want this 4% taken away from resident hunters so that they can sell them to their clients. They want more gen elk tags so their clients can shoot more mature bulls. None of this will help control populations and they know it.

Chet K. - posted 5 months ago on 05-21-2018 01:01:13 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

Stephen G: Could the 13,000 figure you are referring to include cow/antlerless elk?

Erik S. - posted 5 months ago on 05-21-2018 11:07:44 am
goHUNT INSIDER

Was hoping to read proposed changes to the NR wilderness hunting access restriction rule, I still cannot comprehend how Wyoming can keep a NR from hunting publicly owned land without paying an outfitter.

Stephen G. - posted 5 months ago on 05-21-2018 09:51:36 am
goHUNT INSIDER

Those numbers are great and WG&F deserves a great deal of credit for this. However, this article fails to mention that over that same timeframe, the number of NR elk hunters in Wyo went from 7,250 to over 13,000. An 80% increase. Over the same timeframe resident elk hunters increased by about 20%. Mr. Gilliland and other members of WyOGA want to conveniently leave this out and make it sound like NR elk hunters are still stuck with 7,250 tags, no more. This is untrue. Furthermore, since 1989, Mule Deer herds in Wyo have decreased, antelope herds have decreased, sheep herds have decreased, moose herds have decreased. The only herd to increase has been elk. Why on earth would you change the methodology on the one herd that is doing what we would all want the other herds to do?

Sean B. - posted 5 months ago on 05-21-2018 08:49:39 am
goHUNT INSIDER

Those numbers seem pretty incredible. It's good to see stable growth, even with number harvested.