Game and Fish budget cut

Governor and Legislature provide license fee increase to continue investment in wildlife management

This year the Wyoming Legislature cut several budgets, this included $9.8 million per biennium that went to five Wyoming Game and Fish Department programs. This comes after Game and Fish had already cut nearly $1 million earlier this year from those same programs.

The legislature sets all license and fee levels with few exceptions. To help offset most of the cut, lawmakers passed legislation increasing hunting, fishing, trapping and watercraft registration licenses and fees. Those increases should raise around $5 million per year.

“Game and Fish very much appreciates the support for wildlife shown by this investment from the Legislature and Governor. Unfortunately, due to the cut, even with this license fee increase Game and Fish will have less revenue to provide the same services we were providing previously,” said Scott Talbott, Director of Game and Fish.

The license and fee increases do not go into effect until January 1, 2018. For a list of the new costs visit Game and Fish’s website.

From 2005 until July 1, 2017 Game and Fish has received funding from the State Legislature supporting five programs: sage grouse management, sensitive species, wolf management, veterinary services and aquatic invasive species. The legislature recognized those five programs all benefited more than just those who purchased hunting and fishing licenses and provided financial support from the State’s General Fund. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will now pick up the costs of these programs.

“Those who hunt, fish and trap have historically funded almost all wildlife management in Wyoming. That commitment continues as now over 85 percent of our budget will come from sportsmen and sportswomen,” said Talbott. “We now face uncertain times as we may have to reduce the number of licenses available due to a harsh winter and there may be less revenue from the federal sales of firearms and ammunition coming to states. As always, we commit to being good stewards of wildlife.”