WYOMING – Wyoming Game and Fish officials are feeling the crunch. The department had its budget slashed $9.8 million over the next two years by legislators at the recent general session. The cuts are in addition to $1M already cut from the agency.
To help offset the cuts, 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 will not go into effect until January 1, 2018. The five programs affected are sage grouse management, sensitive species, wolf management, veterinary services and aquatic invasive species.
“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,” Talbott said. “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.”