Home / General / Taskforce Seeks Comments on the “Great Compromise” Package

Taskforce Seeks Comments on the “Great Compromise” Package

This is a personal article written by Jaden Bales and is not a reflection of any views, beliefs, or perspectives of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation.

 

You may have seen an increase in interesting hunter headlines coming from the Cowboy State lately. Part of the hubbub is related to the deeply complex, and controversial issues the Wyoming Wildlife Taskforce is tackling in their 18-month tenure.

These eighteen Wyomingites originally were rounded up in the wake of bills brought to the legislature and issues brought to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission that caused significant conflict between all of the sporting community in the Cowboy State. The goal of the Force is presenting conclusions and recommendations to the Wyoming Legislature, Game and Fish Commission and governor to support decision-making on Wyoming’s wildlife resources after digging into the weeds to study each issue.

As the Wyoming Wildlife Taskforce enters their final five meetings before disbanding, they are ramping up their efforts to tackle the most controversial issues that led to their creation in the first place – largely the dispersal of resident and nonresident hunting opportunities.

Currently, there are six potential recommendations open for input by the public created from the last meeting (which you can watch here). The last five recommendations are referred to as the “Great Compromise” package by the members of the Taskforce and were presented as such at the June meeting in Casper, WY. As such, think of these as largely being presented together, though the Taskforce will revise them. 

Comment 1: One Pronghorn License

The first recommendation for comment is changing full-priced pronghorn distribution from 2 licenses to 1 per hunting season. This means each hunter could only receive a single pronghorn license, though hunters can currently hold two if they pick up the second license in the leftover drawing or over the counter after the leftover drawing has taken place. This is an effort to tackle fairness in pronghorn license distribution and create more hunter opportunity each year.  

Proponents suggest folks should not be receiving two licenses before others have not received one. The reduction in pronghorn licenses and increased demand over the years resulted in only two full-priced private lands-only opportunities available in the 2022 leftover draw. Those against the recommendation suggest the leftover licenses available currently are not good opportunities for those without hunting access, and the folks who have already received a license for private lands-heavy pronghorn hunts should have the opportunity to have two licenses if the resource can sustain the harvest. 

Comment 2: Establishing High-Demand Antelope, Deer, and Elk hunt areas

Step one of the “Great Compromise” package would create a High-Demand (HD) designation for the licenses that have three-year drawing odds for residents that are less than or equal to 30%. It’s not altogether dissimilar to the system hunters find in New Mexico, except without the different price structure. 

Comment 3: 90/10 in HD Areas, Status Quo in Standard Draw Areas

Long on the lips of hunters familiar to the issues related to Wyoming’s allocation system, the 90/10 proposal would change the structure of pronghorn and deer licenses from 80% resident, 20% nonresident allocation to 90% resident and 10% nonresident allocation, but only in the High-Demand (HD) hunts. The remaining hunts would remain the same. The elk licensing system currently is in 84% resident, 16% nonresident split, and this would change it to 90/10 for the HD licenses, as well. These are all related to the licenses often with the highest demand, such as type 1, 2, and 9 licenses. 

The split would only occur for the initial drawing and those undersubscribed would be moved to the leftover list. However this should not result in leftover licenses in practice unless there are dramatic changes to tag numbers or regulation because they have already been identified as high-demand licenses. 

Comment 4: Waiting Period for HD Licenses

Comment 4 would implement a waiting period, like hunters find with some hunts in Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and others, however; this waiting period specifically applies to the High-Demand licenses that would be created in Comment 1. The recommended waiting period of 3-years is related to the percentage chosen from the creation of the original High-Demand designation. In theory, this would greatly improve the drawing odds for residents, and likely nonresidents, in a 30% draw odds hunt. Meanwhile, most of the hardest to draw licenses, like the late Dubois deer hunt or Red Desert any-bull elk license would remain very difficult to draw. 

Comment 5: Outfitter Nonresident Drawing Pool

The Outfitter Nonresident Drawing Pool would exchange the current “special license” designation that is 40% of the non-resident quota and create a pool for those who have contracted with a registered Wyoming outfitter to enter the drawing. There would also be an associated increase in license fees for this pool of applicants to offset the impact to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department from the creation and implementation of a 90/10 system for the High-Demand hunts. 

The special license non-residents currently apply for is a 60% more expensive license than the regular draw license, but applicants hope it results in better drawing odds, though it does not always offer the best drawing odds; especially for hunts with very few licenses. This change would mean all DIY hunters would be required to apply in the regular drawing pool that currently exists. There are no stipulations in the comments restricting those who contract with an outfitter from applying in the regular draw.

Comment 6: 

Finally, folks are asked to comment on the creation of resident preference in the leftover license draw. Currently, all residents and nonresidents are entered into the same pool and awarded licenses at random. They do not take preference points from non-residents and there is no special/regular split like the initial draw. It’s a similar system to the Nevada leftover draw, or the Colorado secondary draw (except without Colorado’s youth preference). 

The result of this recommendation would likely give residents preference in the draw either with a draw occurring earlier or simply with a first pass at the leftover licenses before the non-residents get their pass.

Conclusion

There are a lot of moving pieces the Taskforce is seeking public comment on before convening at the July 7th Wildlife Taskforce meeting. The Taskforce chairs, Rusty Bell (County Commissioner and Taxidermist – Gillette, WY) and Josh Coursey (Executive Director of Muley Fanatics Foundation – Green River, WY) encourage more public engagement, especially around these hairiest of issues to gather as much of a full picture of the situation for the Taskforce as possible. 

Leave your comments by 5:00 pm MST, July 1, 2022 (per the Wildlife Taskforce website) to have your comment considered during the July 7th meeting. In the upcoming meeting, they will tackle use fees on state lands, an updated “Great Compromise” package, hunter access and the AccessYES! Program, and many more issues any Wyoming hunter should be interested in. 

If you have not tuned into the Taskforce meetings online before, you can find the Zoom link here. 

 

July 7th Task Force Meeting Agenda

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Lw8VSHEGZIwBI8tOtjon1bkn3sH8omGe/edit?rtpof=true&sd=true 

About Jaden Bales

Check Also

Endangered Bison? More Dangerous Than Endangered.

According to local reports, on Friday the US Fish and Wildlife Service made an announcement …

The Lighter Side: Maine Polar Bears & Colorado Cujo

In a world that is seemingly falling apart more and more each day it can …

17 comments

  1. please add a link directly to the task force’s website where comments on this topic can be made (and heard). Thanks guys!

  2. They may solicit comments but they really could not care less what non-resident’s have to say.

    • Nailed it. if you aint a rancher you aint shit in Wyoming. The greed is disgusting.
      “stewards of the land” MY ASS

  3. So, anyone with common sense can see that by changing from 80/20 to 90/10 that there is going to be income loss due to less NR licenses. The BIG question is, who’s back will it fall on; the resident or NR??? My bet, even though it is no fault of their own, that it will once again befall on the NR! Yep, BOHICA is raising it’s lovely head on the NRs once again! Western states look upon NRs as a cash cow without the thought of pricing themselves out of business! Sad, just sad!

  4. I guess I’m confused. I don’t see any sort of “great compromise” here. I just see non-residents, who have paid a lot of $$$ for points, for a bunch of years, now getting jacked. All that money that Wyoming G&F took from us, only to now drastically reduce our chances of getting drawn. Good luck to all of you suckers who keep applying. I drew my antelope a couple years ago and my moose tag this year. A lot of money in point fees, but now I can say I’m finished. No more applying for sheep, elk, or deer.

    • class action lawsuit to reimburse all monies derived from points. America has gone the way of the old england where only the wealthy lords etc could hunt, we left that country for a reason and its happening here. allready turning into a rich mans game and piss on you peasants, look up the definition of poacher in england the peasant would sneak onto the kings land to attempt to get game welcome to the great reset all part of it.

  5. What a screw job. !5 years of purchasing points only to get screwed as a nonresident. Non residents get screwed again. Western big game hunting is disgusting now. First we subscribe to Eastmans hunting journal to get good info. Then Eastmans jacks us around with Tag Hub…and of course sends me at least three emails per day asking me to purchase tag hub. Won’t need it now Wyoing is going to screw me. Perhaps my home state of Kansas will keep out the Wyoming assholes from hunting here. What horses hit…..all aspects of western big game hunting….as it pertains to drawing a tag. I will now vote to protect the wolves and grizzly bears.. Yep, I have spent money too supporting wolf delisting too…….did not realize I was doing that for the sole benefit of residents to Wyoming. Wyoming sucks. Hope the wolves eat everything.

  6. We should not have this level of hostility within our own nation. I fell in love with the West watching cowboy movies as a kid. And my best motorcycle ride thus far was coming west from Sturgis across the Bighorns in the rain. I saw more game than anywhere I have been. But my dreams of hunting the West are fading because the people with the basest motives are often the most vocal. I understand resentment towards well-off “non-residents” if it leaves not enough game to go around. But most NRs are not rich; they are regular people (and your countrymen) who are willing to spend a large portion of their earnings to realize a dream rooted in childhood. Hunters should be working together, not against each other. Measures that hurt hunting opportunity also hurt new hunter recruitment, and that will spell the end of the American game management tradition. I cannot take new hunters on a hunt i cannot get tags for. And without those memories formed in their youth, they will not grow up to fight to protect hunting from the forces lined up against it.

    • Daniel Pochciol

      Steve I could not agree more we are seeing the beginning of the end if we can’t bring in New hunters I have personally brought first time western hunters west on several occasions including my children would very much like to bring my grandchildren but can no longer get tags !I see a lot of negative comments about the residents of Wyoming it has been my experience that Wyoming residents are some of the best people I have ever ment.

  7. Jeff Lloyd Wing

    Hopefully wyoming residents can fund there game and fish without the non resident dollars. As hunting opportunities erode in the west there will be no need for sites like tag hub or gohunt but eastmans have stated in their last article this helps residents not the game but the residents. I am hunting antelope in wyoming this year and have 3 points for elk then I am out I will send my dollars elsewhere. This is the age of worry only about ourselves

  8. Hunting out west has been on a steady decline for the average working “Joe”. I have been going somewhere out west since 1970 and have shot elk, mule deer, whitetail, and antelope . I have hunted Montana,Idaho,Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota. The first trip to Wyoming we bought deer tags in a bar on the way out for $35.00. My first trip to Montana my elk tag was $152.00 and included 1 elk, 2 deer, bear, small game and fishing. Most land was open to hunting by pulling into a yard and asking permission, some required a small access fee but a lot were just glad that you asked and allowed you to hunt. You can’t blame everything on residents because a lot of the problems with access was created by non-residents with a lot of money who are willing to spend a lot of money for a tag and then willing to spend a lot of money to pay to hunt on private land. You also have “outfitters” leasing up all the good hunting land and even getting residents kicked off. This is going to cost residents and non-residents a huge jump in license fees and it won’t be too many more years when we will be just like Europe where only the rich will be able to hunt. The bad part about that is that every tax payer in the whole U.S. is paying for all the federal and BLM land that we used to hunt on.

  9. As a NR of Wyoming I can totally understand how the resident hunters feel. It’s there state, they live there year round, pay property taxes there, income tax there and taxes on goods they buy there everyday. Every state should put its own people first.

    • Giving 90% of ur Wyoming game tags to a relatively small population of people (Wyoming has less than 600,000 people vrs Colorado has 5.7 million) is like Biden’s economic plan. The vast majority of people are getting screwed really really bad! Can’t hunt wilderness, takes 3-7 years to draw a general tag and now this.

      Interesting the committee making the decisions is all resident hunters? Like passing a law with a democratic house what do we expect.

      I suggest burn ur points and run, good luck with your grizzly, sheep, wolf management from non-residents. Why should we care about u when u don’t care about us?

      • being Wyoming is mainly 50 percent federal lands which is for all Americans to enjoy maybe they should start charging an access fee to said lands for everyone, that may open up more nr tag opportunities, dont allocate x amount of tags for welfare outfitters, being Wyoming decided to change tag allocations in midstream costing folks more years (a lot of us may not have) to draw a tag and more money for those additional years its time to sue wyoming for breach of contract basically probably to the tune of at least 50 million dollars it all boils down to money. potentially violating interstate commerce laws, just saying.

  10. If you don’t comment, then there is no chance that they will listen to non-resident inputs.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.