CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A bill that would increase the hunting license fees for some nonresidential hunters failed on the Senate Floor last Thursday, Jan. 12.

The Bill, Senate file 60, “Nonresident hunting license application fees”, failed 10-20 on the Senate floor. The bill, sponsored by the Joint Travel, Recreation, Wildlife & Cultural Resources Interim Committee, would have increased hunting license fees on 40% of the ‘special draw’ nonresident elk, deer and antelope licenses.

Forty percent of elk licenses would increase from $576 to $1,258, 40% of deer licenses would increase from $288 to $826 and forty percent of antelope licenses would increase from $288 to $874.

The Senate Standing Committee added an amendment to the bill, including the “big five” to the list of license increases; Bighorn sheep, mountain goat, moose, bison and grizzly bear—if delisted from the endangered species list.

Majority Floor Leader and District 11 Senator Larry Hicks spoke in support of the bill and explained how the fee increases were decided. Hicks was also a member of the Wyoming Wildlife Task Force, which recommended the fee increases.

Majority Floor Leader and District 11 Senator Larry Hicks

“What those numbers are, is a reflection of every state in the United States that has these species that issue non-resident licenses. The analysis was done to see what was the highest-priced moose license out there, what was the lowest, what was the average and what was the average of the top two. So we looked at those and tried to do a market-based approach,” Hicks said.

“If you’ve got really good moose, as we have here in Wyoming, that’s one of the most sought-after permits from people from the United States around the world, what’s the value of that?” Hicks said.

District 9 Senator Chris Rothfuss, who represents Albany County, pointed out that the original title and the amendment do not match, making it potentially unconstitutional.

“I wouldn’t want the bill to be declared unconstitutional, it was worked during the interim without these particular trophy animals, and from that standpoint, personally I’m concerned that it’s an unconstitutional amendment,” Rothfuss said.

District 30 Senator Charles Scott from Natrona County also found the bill to be unconstitutional due to it being a revenue-generating bill. He suggested the Senate vote down the bill and it be represented in the House.

Hicks said, “These are license fees, no one is obliged to apply or purchase a licenses.”

“We are changing fees for the purpose of raising revenue for a state agency. I think the simple thing to do is start it where it belongs [in the House],” Scott said.

Teton County Senators Mike Gierua and Dan Dockstader were in support of the bill.

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.