After 30 years, the way elk hunting licenses are handled for residents and non-residents may change. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department held eight different public meetings around the state last week to determine what could be modified.
Currently, non-residents can only hold 16 percent of licenses from the initial draw, or up to 7,250 licenses. But in-state hunters are concerned they're missing out on opportunities in exclusive hunting areas. Plus, residents are concerned about increasing populations of elk and possible overcrowding. Doug Brimeyer, Deputy Chief of Wildlife for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, said non-resident fees provide important income to the department so any modifications would have to strike a delicate balance.
"In the end, we want to maintain the same amount of funding through our non-resident constituents. It’s just a regulation that’s been in place for 30 years and we’d like to evaluate what our publics think of it,” he said.
Brimeyer said discussion in the meetings touched on where the modifications could be made.
"There’s concern in how that 16 percent or 7,250 cap could be modified. One of the things that came up at our public meetings was the timeframe when our non-residents apply for licenses.”
He said, “That was one of the concerns the public had was maybe there should be some consistent time-frame when the quotas are set.”
Right now, non-residents draw elk licenses earlier than Wyoming residents. No proposal has been drawn up yet. Brimeyer said it’s undecided whether modifications will happen at all. The department is accepting public comment until June 6.