Hold On To Your Wallet:
Wyoming Considering New Fees
After listening to presentations at their June 25-26 meeting in Laramie, the Joint Interim Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee of the Wyoming Legislature unanimously agreed to draft proposals that would address several aspects of the Wyoming hunting and fishing license system.

The committee also agreed to co-host August public meetings with the Game and Fish Department to explain the proposed changes in detail and receive input from concerned citizens about the proposals.

The license changes being presented at the meetings include:

• Adjusting most resident and nonresident license fees up 20 percent to match the inflation incurred since fees were last adjusted in 1996. Adjustments would include all hunting and fishing licenses, except 1-day, youth and Pioneer licenses.

• Increasing the extra fee for the nonresident special elk license from $200 to $400 and special deer and antelope from $100 to $200.

• Allotting 40 percent of the nonresident antelope and deer quota to the special license drawing. Currently 20 percent of the deer quota and 30 percent of the antelope quota is dedicated to the special drawing.

• Increasing price of lifetime conservation stamps from $75 to $150.

• Allowing the G&F Commission to pursue a preference point system for elk, deer and antelope and to increase the price of buying nonresident preference points up to $50.

• Increasing nonresident big game application fees from $10 to $15.

• Giving the G&F Commission authority to set Pioneer big game license fees at 75-80 percent of regular resident prices.

• Increasing fees received by license agents for selling licenses and giving the license agent the choice of charging the fee or not. The fees — $1 for licenses and interstate game tags and $.50 for conservation stamps and permits — would be added to the license and stamp cost.

The new fees are being proposed to help the G&F keep pace with inflation to maintain current levels of programs and services. "The Game and Fish is facing the situation of either having to cut programs or raise revenue," said Hale Kreycik, G&F commissioner from Douglas. "These proposals are modest and necessary. Inflation continues to have a negative impact on the budget of course, but equally important is the necessity to attack new problems and challenges facing the department, such as chronic wasting disease and whirling disease."

Kreycik, who attended the legislative committee meeting in Laramie, believes increased revenue is also needed to help the state cope with endangered species issues. "If we are to try and guide Wyoming's fate with endangered species, then we must add funding," the Douglas banker said. "It is my opinion that ignoring these issues will prove detrimental to the wildlife and citizens of Wyoming in the long run."

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