Game and Fish proposes cuts to close budget gap

Mar 11, 2013

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is proposing sweeping cuts to make up for an $8- to $10 million budget shortfall.

Game and Fish plans to reduce fish stocking by 20 percent, cancel its annual hunting and fishing expo, and cut educational programming for kids. Spokesman Eric Keszler says they’ll also reduce funding for research by about 50 percent, which he says would be a blow to wildlife managers.

“Research is a very important part of managing wildlife,” Keszler said. “Understanding how wildlife uses the habitat and things like that are very important.”

Game and Fish gets 80-percent of its budget from hunting license fees, and this year, the agency proposed raising those fees. But the legislature said no.

Keszler says the agency had already trimmed all the fat they could, so their only option was to start cutting programs and staff. There won’t be layoffs this year, but Keszler says vacant positions won’t be filled.  

Legislators plan to review the Game and Fish budget in time for next year’s legislative session.