Last week, Evanston’s State Senator, Wendy Schuler, cast the lone vote in in favor of SF 103 in the Senate Travel, Recreation and Wildlife Committee. SF 103 failed in the committee, 1-4.
This bill would have changed Wyoming’s Big Game Limited Quota hunting tag allocation between residents and nonresidents. Currently, Wyoming is by far the most generous state in terms of giving limited quota big game tags to nonresident hunters. For example, we currently give nonresidents 25% of our bighorn sheep tags. Resident hunters have to apply 18-plus years to have any chance to receive one of these tags and at the current allocation, many Wyoming kids will never draw a tag.
SF 103 would have changed the tag allocation to 90/10 (90% for resident hunters, 10% for nonresident hunters) for all limited quota big game tags — sheep, moose, bison, elk, deer, antelope — and matched the tag allocation that our neighboring states — Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Utah — already have. Resident hunters weren’t asking for anything special.
If SF 103 had passed, resident hunters would have received 3,500-plus more limited quota tags each year currently going to nonresidents — including 30-plus sheep tags!
SF 103 would have also increased nonresident tag fees to market levels. Not only do we give nonresident hunters more tags than any other western state, we also have the lowest prices — by far! SF 103 would have raised these nonresident tag prices to market levels — and generated an extra $8 million/year for the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.
SF 103 was a win-win for Wyoming, right? More valuable limited quota tags for resident hunters and $8 million per year for Game and Fish!
But ... the Wyoming Outfitters Association, Stockgrowers Association, Chamber of Commerce and Lodging Industry all lobbied against the bill and got it killed in the committee. State senators from Casper, Riverton, Cheyenne and Jackson all sided with these monied interests and voted against the bill.
Not Wendy Schuler. Not only did she vote for the bill in committee, she was a co-sponsor.
Thank you, Sen. Schuler, for fighting for resident hunters and for standing up to the outfitters, stockgrowers and others making money off Wyoming’s big game.