The Wyoming Game and Fish Department issued a record amount of refunds in 2020. The state has issued $585,000 worth of license, permit, and stamp refunds so far. Typically these refunds are issued to people who couldn’t hunt or fish in the state for one reason or another. This year’s total is more than double the previous record, which was set in 2019.
Refunds in Wyoming
The WGFD recently stated that they are still working through refund requests. Many of the requests this year were due to the pandemic and the Mullen fire. Many hunters were unable to get out because of Covid-19. Likewise, some hunters were unable to hunt in their units due to the Mullen fire that burned 176,878 acres in south-central Wyoming. Having so many refunds costs the Department a lot of money. Not only did they lose $585,000 in potential revenue but it also costs money to process all of the refund requests.
“We went above and beyond as a department because we felt like that was the right thing to do. We wanted to help our state because we did want to limit the number of people who were traveling due to COVID-19. What essentially it means is that this year, there’s just less money available that is going on the ground for projects like managing wildlife and habitat.” – Sara DiRienzo, WGFD Public Information Officer
Currently, the WGFD is unsure how the 2021 season will look for hunter numbers. With much of the western U.S. facing extreme drought conditions and the pandemic lingering, there is some concern that hunters may choose to skip hunting in Wyoming this year. While nonresident hunter numbers were down across Wyoming, resident hunter numbers increased. This data has led the WGFD to question if nonresident numbers will return to normal or if the trend of 2020 will continue. Colorado also issued refunds for the 2020 hunting season.