There's big bucks to be made on Wyoming's big bucks, according to a new report by the University of Wyoming that evaluated the amount of money generated from hunting and fishing.
So far, the report has studied four counties: Park, Sweetwater, Albany and Fremont. All saw more than $20 million in revenue generated by hunters and anglers, and Albany County had the highest revenues with $25 million.
Jessi Johnson is the public lands coordinator for the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, the group that commissioned the study, along with the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative. She says that money ends up spread out around the community.
“I'm a public lands hunter in Fremont Count and I go hunt, I buy a license, you know, I buy gas for my truck here, I buy as much of my equipment as I can from here,” Johnson said. “It trickles down, it's equipment, its lodging, it's food and dining.”
Johnson claims that hunters and anglers are drawn to Wyoming's accessible public lands. She says efforts to give the state control of federal lands would not be economically beneficial to the state.
One goal of the study, according to Johnson, is to show the economic value of public lands in hopes of combating efforts to transfer them into state management.
“I hate that we have to always put a dollar amount on parts of our world that are priceless, but to be able to put at least a little bit of a dollar amount on it helps carry some weight into these arguments. They're precious and we'd be sad to see them go.”
Johnson says, over $1 billion is spent each year by hunters and anglers across the state, and she says those funds help counties deal with the downturns of the state's energy industry.