Updated: Mar 17
In a recent article, I mentioned that while hunting license sales across the US have remained steady over the past five years, with spikes in some states and drops in others, the cost of those licenses as a whole has increased by over 77 million dollars since 2016. This is cause for concern. While the increased funding goes directly to conservation, it is rising at such a rate that many hunters will simply be unable to afford it. Less hunters means less conservation funding and less influence on local governments to protect wildlife and habitat. The link to that article is here.
GoHunt.com recently posted an example of yet another proposed license cost increase. This time in Wyoming. Basically, the proposed bill will reduce the number of nonresident tags in certain areas, shifting it to 90/10, resident/non. To make up for this cut in nonresident tags, and ultimately the income associated with it, they have proposed massive increases in tag and license costs to cover the difference. These increases range anywhere from 4-85 percent! If passed this will remove the opportunities for many nonresidents and monetarily penalize those who still get the “privilege” of drawing a tag. This move will force hunters to go to other states and for some, I fear, to give it up altogether. Once again, fewer hunters mean fewer voices influencing the preservation of our natural resources. GoHunt does a deep dive into this bill and breaks down the proposed numbers for Wyoming, here.
goHunt.com Table - nonresident license fee increases due to SF0103
Wyoming is not alone. Idaho has recently shown sharp increases with their nonresident elk tag jumping over 56 percent. Utah nonresident elk tags are now 51 percent higher as well. This is bad news for hunters trying to scrape enough money together to go on their yearly hunting trips. Europeans have long witnessed the same type of price increases and lack of availability, leading to a situation where most European hunting is now only available to the wealthy. We can't afford for that to happen.
While this information may come across as demoralizing, it is necessary to share. Knowing about these bills and the continued price increases can be used as motivation to contact our state governments to offer opinion and input. Lots of voices mean lots of influence, and that is what we will have to use in order to maintain our heritage and prevent government greed from eliminating our opportunities to hunt and fish. So, contact your senators and other politicians. Give respectful and informed information. Let's work together to promote sound policy and ensure that our heritage as hunters will exist long after we are gone.