Wyoming may be looking to increase tag fees by up to 200% on certain permits. This 200% increase on several permits may end up pricing the average hunter out of hunting in Wyoming.
The Wyoming Senate Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee has voted to forward a bill to the full Senate that would dramatically raise prices for some nonresident hunting tags. Senate File 60, which was recommended by the Wyoming Wildlife Task Force, aims to put a premium price on the state’s premium hunting experience.
War Of Words Over The 200% Increase
“Wyoming is the Saudi Arabia of Antelope. We are the gold mine of antelope, we have that resource more than anybody else in the world.” The bill proposes raising the price for “special draw,” or top priority, nonresident big game hunting tags by up to 200%. Proponents argue that this will bring Wyoming’s prices in line with regional market values and reflect the demand for those tags. For example, demand for elk tags is “off the charts,” with up to 32,000 hunters applying for 7,250 nonresident tags.” – Sy Gilliland, President of the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association
Under the bill, for that first-in-line 40 % of nonresidents, fees would jump nearly 118% from $576 to $1,258 for elk tags. Prices would go from $288 to $826 for deer (a 187% jump) and from $288 to $874 for antelope, the largest hike at 203%.
However, some critics argue that with the Game and Fish Department enjoying a healthy budget, now is not the time to raise fees.
“This bill is going to take a lot of the working-class men and women out of the running (for non-resident tags). This could tip things in favor of outfitters and their wealthy clients.” – Hunter and southwest Wyoming resident Mike Schmid
Likewise, WWF favors the bill with spokeswoman Jess Johnson saying. “usually go neutral on tag fee proposals,” but favors this bill. She argues that the lower-priced 60% of tags should still give plenty of opportunity for nonresidents with more modest means.
Overall, the proposed bill aims to bring Wyoming’s hunting prices in line with regional market values, reflecting the high demand for hunting tags in the state. The bill now moves forward to the full senate for further debate and a final vote.