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More costs HEADED YOUR way in Wyoming!

We have been hearing some chatter in Cheyenne about pending price increases for quite some time now, and after nearly 10 years, we now have them. For the most part, the price increase is right on the head at 20% for nonresident deer, elk and antelope tags. That equates to roughly about $100 per tag on average, the exception being the “special” elk tag that has risen just over $200. On the other end of the spectrum, the nonresident “regular” antelope tag has increased only about $54.

If $100 more seems to be pretty steep for your personal budget, wait until you get a load of some of the trophy species price increases. For example, nonresident moose has increased by 41% or nearly $600. Wow! That is a substantial bump. As bad as that sounds, just wait until you get a load of the wild bison increase. For bull bison the tag coast has inflated to $4,400, corresponding to a 76% increase. I guess I’m glad my wife drew that tag this year.

On a more favorable note, the nonresident sheep tag only increased by 3% or $68 and nonresident goat only went up a relatively measly $10. In addition, we can all be thankful that at least at this point, it looks like the state has chosen not to raise the price of nonresident preference points at all, which is no real big surprise considering the Game and Fish Department could be making more money on preference points than they are on actual nonresident tag sales when it comes to the limited quota areas anyway.

The biggest question at this point is, “Will this price increase affect the draw odds?” Short answer, I doubt it. Every other time the state has increased prices in the past, it has had very little effect on the draw odds. I think there are just too many people vested in the preference point system at this point and the state knows that. I am actually somewhat surprised they did not raise the “special” tags more than the “regular” tags, as the draw odds have slowly crept together as time has gone on.
See the accompanying chart for the details of the actual price increases per tag. Best of luck in the draws this year, and keep in mind that the Wyoming Elk MRS write-up is in the next issue of EBJ headed to mailboxes around the 10th of January.

-Guy Eastman

About Guy Eastman, Editor-In-Chief

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Following in the footsteps of his father, Guy has taken up the reins and is now at the helm of the Eastmans’ Hunting Journal and the Eastmans’ Bowhunting Journal. A fine hunter in his own right, Guy has taken several trophy animals and has become an expert in trophy hunting as well.

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  1. That’s one way to cut out non residents ain’t it! And people just keep paying the higher prices and then want to complain ! Well how about boycott them for a year or so and I bet they might re-concider the price gouging if they lose enough revenue. Hymmmm!!

    • If they would guarantee a kill for your tag then it might be worth it. Running the average wage earner out!

    • The economics of the current non-resident hunting community and the investment already made in preference points for wealthier hunters for premium sheep, moose, elk, & deer tags will see no units under subscribed for. The Game and Fish has I am sure paid a consulting fee to a large economics specialty firm to analyze data to get maximum tag fees of current applicants. Look at how tag structure increases vary by species. ….$4,400 for a non-resident Bison tag!! The desk jockeys in Cheyenne didn’t figure this out on there own. At some point they will (already have) priced the meat hunter out-of-the-market for cow elk tags and deer areas where genetics and herd quality are not what out of state hunters are willing to pay for.

  2. Piss on them then. I’m tired of over paying and getting little in return. Those price jumps don’t stop. It will become so the average sap can’t hint out of state.

  3. More and more across the west it appears the game belongs to the King. The common man (and woman) is getting priced out of the picture. Non-res tag prices, land owner tags, auction tags, leased ground, trespass fees. Lots of folks out to make a buck on Mr. Buck or Bull. It was a good run in this country for the better part of a century. I don’t see this ending very well. Game departments are already running short on operating revenues so they’re going back to the same well, thinking their customers will all pony-up. Unfortunately, this pricing trend is going to drop a lot folks out of the game, literally.

    Too bad, I was actually looking forward to hunting Wyoming, or New Mexico, or Idaho, or Montana or Alaska, or (add your western state here).

    – Lucky(?) to live in CO…for now.

    • I live in Co. too but spent 17 yrs in Wy..These game sukers are driving out new hunters and that will eventually hit ’em in the butt..This hunting game has turned into a racket to fleece the partipants ’cause some want to go so bad they will pay anything..Some outfitter costs are rediculous along with travel and tags…

  4. Yeah I was pretty pissed off about the nonresident moose increase, but then I looked at what nonresidents pay in CO ($2,149). The real pisser is I am already into it with $1,125 for my 15 preference points for moose, so even if I drew next year, I am into it for $3,105 just for the tag. Ouch.

    • Brian,
      I’m in the same boat as you concerning moose. 4 years as a resident with preference points at $25 and 12 years as a non resident at $75 for a total of about $1,000. If I draw add another $1980 for a total of approx. $2980. I can not afford a guided hunt. But let’s say I could like the wealthy applicants and booked a guided hunt with Bob Barlow of Barlow Outfitting. He charges $8500 for a guided moose hunt. So the wealthy applicant at the 16 point level is now into the moose application and hunt game for approx $11,500. From a purely financial standpoint it would’ve made more sense years ago to simply book a guided Shiras Moose hunt in southern British Columbia for less money than the time and money invested in trying to draw a moose tag in Wyoming with an associated guided hunt. The same holds true for many heavily applied trophy elk and mule deer units in most western states. Sadly, I got sucked in like many others.
      That’s why I dropped out of the moose bonus point application game in Maine, the mule deer points game in North Dakota, and the elk points game in Oklahoma at the Washita NWR. It’s a wrinkle on the age old Ponzi scheme. And western state game and fish departments know it and suck the non residents into it year after year.

      • Stu, Im really sorry the Game & Fish increased the license price, but I had nothing to do with it. Also I charge $7,500 for a moose hunt. My expenses have increased also. I used to be able to buy good gentle broke horses for $1000 -$1500 now they are $5000-$7000 each and not always ready. Everything goes up in price for us to operate every year. I try to keep the price of hunts down as best i can, at times I felt like Ive been running a non-profit organization with unforseen circumstances, Guiding is a part of me its the only thing Ive ever done, Its been tough at times but very rewarding at others. We’ve survived through bad draws, wolves,fires,storms and high water. The fire is still burning in our outfit to guide hunters to their dreams.We will survive through this license price hike.Best of Luck, Bob Barlow, “just an Ol’ bear Hunter”

    • I am in the exact same boat… 13 years in, and they have increased the price of applying for that point during that time, so that now when you finally draw that tag has cost you thousands. Congratulations Wyoming, you’ve got me. But guess who you’ve got in the very near future – nobody. I used to deer hunt Wyoming every year, elk once in a while, and I went with outfitted hunts. Not any more. Again, congatulations.

  5. I have 10 points for elk. I’m going to keep it going. But I surely hope to draw soon. I won’t be applying after I draw. The draw fees also went up. From 50 to $75 each year to apply.

  6. I will not be applying for any more elk preference points in WY. The state has been my favorite elk state but since I drew out for the 2016 season I have decided that there won’t be another. I will likely still apply for preference points for deer and antelope. At least until I draw out and then I’ll reconsider whether to keep applying. On a fixed income so fee increases hit pretty hard.

  7. I am into it so far now I have to keep going , but when I draw out that will be the end for me

  8. It figures, as soon as I plan and make a deposit to hunt WY (fall 2018) they decide to increase the tags. I’ve planned this hunt for three years. I’m going but this will be a hard one to forget. Maybe people with preference points already should get grandfathered in somehow. At least some prorated discount if the put in for a tag for the fall 2018 hunt. Just thinking..

  9. I hope the game depts. all go bankrupt..Mostly fish stockers anyway riding around in new trucks…..This is going the way of Europe..Anyone pay for that moose,sheep, or buffler tag is brain dead…I lived in Wy. for 17 yrs. and was planning deer next year but 35#s of whitetail is not worth $400 beside having to beg for a place to hunt plus motel n travel costs.

  10. I am a Wyoming resident sorry for your luck out of state people but I think this is a good thing. All of our antelope tags go to out of staters and as residents we can’t draw them. Also our hunting areas are covered up with out of staters. Hopefully we will be able to get some of our hunting land back.

    • That’s simply not true if you look at how tags are broke down. I’m currently sitting on 7 years on preference points for antelope…

    • Residents get about 4x the number of tags as nonresidents, and non residents pay a premium. Good luck with your state when we all stop coming. They’ll have no option but to jack up resident costs

      • Cole, I understand your position but Everytime I’m out west I hear this same concern. However, what you fail to realize, is that most of us aren’t hunting on state owned land. We’re hunting on Federal land. That land is owned by every citizen in this country. Maybe the Feds should do a better job off setting the cost state wildlife agencies spend patrolling and managing these lands on our behalf, but I’ve always found it hard to understand how I’m a non-resident on federally owned public land. Respectfully… Fellow Hunter..

    • Look into the funding of your game department and you will see who pays the larger percentage of the bill. There would be no game department if it were up to residents.

    • I hear you. Non residents tend to feel entitled and hunt as if they are at Walmart on Black Friday!

    • Glad to hear how ignorant and self-centered you are. You don’t own the animals and I pay well above my fair share as a non-resident to hunt in Wyoming. My hard earned dollars spent benefit both the conservation of wildlife and your Wyoming economy.

  11. Yea right Alan. Non residents pay 75% of your Game and Fish budget!! So if we boycott, it will be on your backs…how about a 1000% in your resident elk tag!! Been hunting Wyoming since 1989, I have brought tens of thousands of dollars to the economy of Wyoming….no more!!

  12. How much did the resident tags go up??

  13. Zachary Blackwood

    Let’s keep doing everything to prevent hunting and conservation! My heart is in Wyoming but I’m stuck in Nevada. Nevada is one of the hardest states to draw any tag but prices never go up. Let’s not let Teton county start making decisions for all who really care about wildlife.

  14. It’s all about money…. these greedy government agencies will never stop asking for more $$. They can not and will not budget or manage their money appropriately – they are pathetic and worthless? Their game management practices are terrible and run by special interest groups. Colorado is becoming Eastern California and Wyoming is seeing all the greenies flee to their state. It’s only a matter of time before Wyoming is overrun with cailifornia people and ruined like Colorado. I have refused to pay the ridiculous out of state wyo prices and did so several years back- It’s time to stop hunting all together!!! In state or out of state! Good luck everyone!

  15. Like all else, if things get out of hand on $, STOP using it. Hope the state feels it in their
    pocket. A continued non use of this state on all tags will not only hurt these goofs , but will
    hurt the guides which I hate to see. Perhaps the guides might have a strong enough word
    that could turn things around. But if not, well I will be one that will not use this state for
    ANYTHING. Lots of other states out there.

  16. I was just Planning on a trip for A Bison hunt in 2018.
    I feel bad for the Outfitter. I REFUSE TO BE BENT OVER FOR THE GOVERNMENT IN Wyoming. There’s Plenty Of Other States Where a person can do a Bison hunt. With Any Luck Non-Staters will Boycott And Outfitters will be up in arms. The State will probably not care but, they will lose Money.

  17. And the jerks at WGFD waited until after the October 31 deadline for preference point purchase to publicize the price increases! I have 16 nonresident Moose points. But I won’t apply ever again in Wyoming. this is nothing but financial extortion.

  18. I’m out, I love Wy and love to hunt there, but that price structure is ridiculous! Thankfully I won’t be losing much, man I feel horrible for some of you guys! a 2K moose tag just isn’t worth it.

  19. I’ve always looked forward to my western hunts, but with the big increases in tag fees, I wonder if it’s really worth it. It cost me 1300 for my son and I to hunt elk in CO last year for tags. We love to hunt the west but maybe our money is better off staying here. I will miss it

  20. Benjamin Vandagrift

    Every year i have drawn a tag i have spent way more then just the tag fee in the state of Wyomning. I typically did a week long scouting trip. Buying food, staying in a hotel, buying fuel. It is never just myself on these trips either. For some people the price increase is just a drop in the bucket. But for me it starts to make things unaffordable which is to bad because it was a great experience. Plus i am an archery guy and that price went way up also.

  21. What I don’t understand if you hunt government public lands then why do I need to pay for an out of state license. When they are all our lands.

    • The land may be federal but the game is state, if not the the animals on private are the lndowners and not the state. Wanna go down that rabbit hole?

  22. Well, I guess that makes tags a bit easier to get for lower point holders maybe. Im IN!

  23. Wyoming has joined Montana as they price their way into problems.
    Sure, people with money will still hunt but the average joe is going elsewhere.

  24. I’m with the guys who have accumulated points, after I draw, I’m out. With all the additional costs it’s too much. I wonder how much all the millionaires in Jackson have to do with this? I would also guess the small town businesses and outfitters will get hurt first and the worst. I would support a “grandfather clause ” for everyone who has already bought points.

  25. Price hikes always suck, but look at the bright side. If the prices do mean less out of staters applying, then your odds of drawing a tag should improve. Took me three years to draw a general season elk tag in Wyoming. If I can go every other year for $100 more, I, for one, won’t complain.

  26. Bottom line….hunting is now a rich mans game.

  27. I’d much prefer that all states use some real math to fund their game departments. If residents want 90% of the tags for “their” game animals, just make sure residents are paying 90% of the budget.

  28. I bet you will see a even bigger rise in poaching cases now!!

  29. Crock of shit. Piss off, WY. You can have my $ once more. That’s it, ONCE. Five years from now you’ll be begging for our money again, especially when the outfitters start complains, closing and jobs are lost.

  30. I am just about finished hunting Wyoming. I used to draw antelope with 3 points. Sitting on 7 and still can’t draw. Now price increases on a tag I can’t draw?? Really!!!

  31. This is unfortunate and will have effects for the better and for the worse depending which side of the fence you are on. There will always be people rich enough to buy these over priced tags. The applications will go down because there are fewer rich people than normal people. Will the increased tag fee be enough to offset the loss of revenue due to fewer applications? Time will tell. They will never drop their fees going forward (when has any state ever done that?) and eventually all the other western states will follow. I don’t like it but its the world we live in. I’m worried about the next generation having the ability to hunt and this sport dying off down the road as normal people can’t afford to take their kids anymore. They’ll take them golfing as there are no resident/NR fees. As anti-hunting interest groups infiltrate state governments and increase permit fees they accomplish their goals. Unfortunately I don’t think a boycott will work. The only thing you can do is KEEP HUNTING!! I think there are anti’s infiltrating this thread encouraging people to stop hunting since you can’t win. They pretend to be hunters like us. Don’t fall for it.

  32. I’m a Wyoming resident. I live in region G. This increase is a great thing for us as residents and our herds. Hopefully it does draw out non res hunters for a few years. Last years winter kill was brutal on our deer. I personally know a lot of people that didn’t put in this last season due to winter kill. Tough luck non res hunters.

  33. Taylor,
    I lived in Wyoming from 1992 -2005 and hunted Region G hard with my own horses and a mule. I’ve seen this debate from both a resident and now a non resident perspective. I attended regional WGFD meetings. Fact is, whether you like it or not, the non resident license fees fund about 70 – 80% of the annual WGFD budget! This price increase, especially for non residents, is nothing but financial extortion! The WGFD thinks non residents can’t vote. Well we can vote – WITH OUR WALLET! I for one, despite having accumulated 16 non resident moose points, will never pay the WGFD another application fee or preference point fee. They have simply priced me and many others out of the marketplace. I sincerely hope there is reduction in the number of non resident hunters which negatively affects the WGFD and the outfitting industry. Think about it Taylor. If there is a significant reduction in cash flow from non residents into the WGFD who do you think they are going to turn to the next time there is a license fee increase? You Taylor and your fellow residents. And when that happens you’ll scream like a gut shot hog! Tough luck on you Taylor.

    • Evident that Wyoming is in need of funding. When the out of Steve monies dry up, which they will their funding issues will geometrically increase. Ray

  34. Which would be worse? Tag fee increases or massively overselling the unit to make the same money?

  35. I stopped my trips to Wyoming several years ago because of the increases. I guess they do not want non-residents visiting their beautiful State. A shame.

  36. Guys. Have you looked at the cost of a non resident Kansas Whitetail Deer Tag. Its 442.00 plus if you want to shoot a mule deer add 150.00. Thats for a whitetail. Wyoming is still affordable and my favorite place to hunt. If you want to see crowds, go to my home state of Colorado where you can buy a over the counter elk tag the moment you drive into the state and see a hunter on every ridge. My wife and i have 22 preference points for elk in Colorado and still cant draw the best units.

  37. Us Wyoming residents would rather have an increase in price. It’s better than dealing with all of the out of state hunters STU. So keep trying and keep crying bud.

  38. Part of the problem is that Wyoming didn’t bother feeding their starving mule deer and elk last year and that resulted in massive die offs unlike Idaho feeding their animals and saving somewhere between 10 and 15 thousand of them.There are places in Wyoming that mule deer are almost completely wiped out.They have to make up lost revenue from non-residents who normally hunt those areas somehow.As usual non residents have to pay for Wyoming’s stupidity with our pocket books.

  39. I have been hunting Wyoming as a non-resident for about 40 years. I love the state and it’s people. Our group of 5-6 have hunted deer, antelope and only cow elk. We have never harvested a bull. We are all mostly in our late 60’s to mid 70’s. We estimate that we spend an average of $1,000 each, mostly in Wyoming, for tags, gas, groceries, ATV tags and etc.. Wyoming’s 20% increase in tags has priced us out of the game. Between us, we now have over 20 pref. points and can not afford to hunt. I spent $120 in July 2017 for points and called fish and game just a week ago to verify my point because they did not look correct when I pulled them up. The lady I talked to said they have not posted the 2017 points yet and never mentioned any increase in tags. Still have not heard anything official from fish and game. Thank God for Eastman’s notification!! It would only be fair if current point holders were grandfathered in at the old tag fees or refunded their point fees purchased in 2017. F&G has out priced many of its senior hunters that are on fixed incomes. It is very sad that there was no notice of fee increases prior to buying 2017 points. Fairness is always a trait I felt in all of Wyoming, but this increase is hijacking and nothing more. So sorry you decided to take the money and say to hell with all of us that have helped support Wyoming wildlife for many years.

    • Rodney,
      You are absolutely correct. The WGFD waited until after the October 30th deadline for purchase of preference points to announce the price increases.

  40. Dave your an idiot. Wyoming takes GREAT care of their elk hurds. There are elk refuges everywhere. Also deer’ cannot handle to be fed like the elk. It bloats their stomach and they DIE. Do more research about the state and the animals before you try feeding everyone your bullshit

    • Then how did Idaho save over 10,000 head of deer this winer by feeding them while Wyoming did nothing and let their deer Hurds in SW Wyoming be decimated. They can’t eat hay but Idaho seems to have figured out what they can get by on.

  41. Taylor, I can’t wait to see your face when you buy that $600 elk tag, cuz you resent non-residents who support 80% of your fricking G&F budget! Admit it, Wyoming, with it’s measly 500,000 residents, and your average wage could never support that ever expanding and bloated G&F budget! I have brought tens of thousands of dollars to your state in my 28 years hunting there, but it will soon end. Looks like you Wyoming folks are going to all have to find a second job to hunt in the future! The only folks I feel sorry for are the outfitters and guides, many who have become my lifelong friends..what is there say in this mess?

  42. They are making it a rich mans sport, I can’t afford those prices.

    • Rich people everywhere are rejoicing… More tag availability and less time between tags.

      • DW,
        You are absolutely correct about the wealthy being the class who will benefit the most in drawing a permit with preference points due to myself and others being priced out of the application game.

  43. Mark i hate to tell you but a lot of people in Wyoming make pretty good money due to our expanding economy, and oil and gas jobs. i don’t have a problem paying whatever they throw at us. It’ll never happen to us residents in my lifetime.

    • Taylor,
      Then why don’t you band together with your tribe of residents and contact your state representatives and senators to put forth a bill eliminating non residents from purchasing hunting licenses and tags. Then watch what would happen to your license and tag fees. The WGFD does such a good job of managing wildlife because 70 – 80% of it’s annual budget is funded by income from the sale of non resident licenses and tags. That is a fact not an opinion.
      Harry Harju, PhD. Wildlife Biology and former director of the WGFD Wildlife Division said it best about resident hunters like you – “It’s the cobalt shield theory. I got mine here as a resident. screw all the non residents.” And it’s your so called gas drilling jobs in critical antelope and mule deer winter range that are affecting mule deer numbers in Wyoming just as much if not more so than an extremely harsh winter once every 20 years. You are an idiot Taylor. You have no concept of the facts as to what group is actually keeping the WGFD funded.

      • All i have to say is, it is what it is… it’s all in their hands. You guys can whine and cry all you want. If you want to change it good luck. I just get a kick out of your guys responses. Also the Jona/ Mesa gas field produces over 25k jobs. “Which our country needs” so if your one of those tree hugging liberals against drilling guess you better walk to work without clothes on because if we didn’t have drilling you wouldn’t be able to live. So go hug a tree bud and whine to someone else

        • Taylor,
          I and many others get a kick out of how ignorant your posts are. The country does not need Jona gas field drilling jobs. My truck runs on gasoline refined from oil not natural gas. Fact remains all of us would have better mule deer and antelope hunting if extensive high density gas drilling on BLM land in Wyoming would not have been allowed many years ago in critical winter range. You have no concept of habitat and it’s affect on game populations. You have no concept of the preference point game, the sale of non resident licenses and tags, and how those two fund the majority of the WGFD annual budget. My daddy said it best about people like you.
          “You can’t fix stupid!”


    It’s to bad that non resident get the wrong end of the stick and ranchers in Colorado who have gasrights make money offer there rights and cattle and in montana the big company buy prime land that was timber land or state land and cut off access and they only allow you only one cholce when you apply for special permit

  45. Outfitters and guides have tied up many of the ranches in Wyoming, in the last ten years alone, it is costing the local residents anywhere from 7-20,000 dollars to hunt a bull elk in their backyard.
    Yes, it is becoming a rich mans sport, and soon all lands will be limited quota. The lucky or the rich will only get to hunt for the dream bull. I’m sad for my friends and family the burden only gets heavier with greed of others.

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