The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking state legislators to vote on two bills that would add funding to the agency in 2014. The first bill would raise license fees for hunters and anglers. The second bill would establish a raffle for big game and trophy hunts.
The Department’s Eric Keszler says they’ve already cut down their budget where they could.
“In FY 2013, we cut 3% off of our commission budget and 8% off of the money that we get from the legislature. And in FY 2014 we’re looking at an additional 5% off of our commission budget. So that’s an 8% cut for the biennium that we’ve already done. In spite of that, to keep up our current level of services we’d be needing this increase that we’re looking for in the legislature this year.”
If legislators do not approve the bills, Game and Fish may need to make further budget cuts of up to 20%. About 80% of the department’s revenue comes from various fees. The proposed license fee structure, which has been supported by the legislature’s Travel, Recreation, Wildlife, and Cultural Resources Committee, established prices by what people are likely willing to pay for different animals, rather than leaning on across-the-board increases.