I'm a Wyoming resident so my opinion on price increases is slanted. The cost of protecting and conserving wildlife is rising. More and more pressure from a variety of interests are demanding more services from the Wyoming Game and Fish. Add to that the overall state budget crisis from the down turn in the energy industry has all contributed to the need for more money for wildlife. I suspect that resident license costs will also increase. I for one will pay the increase happily as a resident. When I plan to hunt out of state I expect to pay for the privilege especially to hunt prime areas with outstanding hunt quality. Whether that be trophy animals or other factors that I see as quality. Hunting is and will continue to be a privilege that is expensive to participate in. Its unfortunate that so many are offended by the price increase but the truth is that for those willing to pay the extra money they will have more opportunity to draw a license.
Having met a few of the guys who secure walk in areas and access, they work diligently to secure places for us to hunt. Some areas have better access than others but access is a top priority.I really don't want to pay a penny more as it is very expensive allready. However, Wyoming is a great state and I believe does a great job in managing their wildlife. I would be willing to pay 50% more if the fee's went directly to securing more public access and habitat improvement.
Thank you for your work on this and the insight.Couple things on the latest fee increase.
For starters, the fee increase bill actually cost the Wyoming GF about 1 million in revenue. What most people didn't know, is that the bill had a footnote that if the bill passed, then all general funds were removed from the GF budget (about 4 million). If the fee increase bill would have failed, then the general fund money would continue to go to the GF budget. Myself and other BHA board members were in contact with the GF and Legislature and tried to kill this bill. The bad thing is, most of the Legislature didn't even understand their own bill...and that's a huge problem, IMO. I sent out last minute emails to the entire Legislative body to kill it...wasn't in the cards. All they cared about was the savings to the general funds, and a vast majority of the fee increases were to the NR's. I worked closely with a Senator to amend the bill to something that would have made a lot more sense, it failed in committee by just a couple votes.
The legislature got this one wrong, big-time. All they did was "save" the general fund money that was going to the GF and saddle sportsmen (in particular NR's) with higher fees to make up the short-fall...that's pure BS, IMO. The legislature wants a heavy hand in wildlife management but doesn't want to pay for any of the tab with general fund money.
I'm all about increasing fees, both R and NR, when it means an increase in over-all funding to the Department for better management, more wardens, access, etc. etc. etc.
But, this bill and the associated fees didn't increase revenue, and in fact, decreased over-all GF revenue.
That said, I heard that the GF department is solvent for the next 4 years, after that additional funding is going to be needed. I would guess another fee increase will happen then more than likely.