A bill that would have increased hunting license fees by nearly 20-percent was defeated by a Wyoming House committee that wants further study of the proposal.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says the money is needed to address a revenue shortfall and would have raised about eight million dollars a year by 2016. But some challenged the need for the increase.
Bob Wharff of the group Wyoming Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife says he feared that the increase would drive away hunters, especially those from out-of-state.
“Our non-residents present the lion’s share of our funding,” Wharff says. “And I understand and my members understand that if we lose that funding, it’s going to have to be made up by either the resident sportsmen or from general fund dollars. And neither one of those are satisfactory to us.”
Game and Fish officials had said they’d have to cut budgets if the bill failed.
Director Scott Talbott told media that it is too early to make that decision.