An Impactful Letter to Wyoming Senators helps protect non resident hunting
The Wyoming State Legislature recently was presented with a bill to reduce non-resident hunting licenses for the fourth time. SNS sent an email out asking our non-resident supporters to email the members of the senate Travel, Recreation and Wildlife committee to kill this bill. We also alerted several online hunting forums. The response was over whelming and the senators reported receiving over 600 emails from non-residents. Outfitter for SNS, Sy Gilliland received over 150 emails regarding the issue. He read each one! We would like to assure you, your opinions are being heard and to thank you for your impactful response.
We would like to share with you an example of the letters addressed to Wyoming Senators. This email really hits home how important hunting tourists are to Wyoming’s economy.
The email happened to come from Mike O’Leary, a SNS hunting guide. He is an Army veteran and retired from Merrill Lynch after a sterling career of 31 years. Mike achieved the title as a Vice President, Managing Director before retiring in 2006 and starting his new career as an SNS guide. Mike now lives in Michigan with his wife and continues to guide antelope hunts for SNS Outfitter & Guides.
Dear Ms Schuler,
It has come to my attention that your Senate committee is considering a bill to reduce Non Resident Hunt Tags by 50%.
Why on earth would you do this?
I am a non resident who has been hunting in Wyoming nearly every year since 1993. I have spent thousands of dollars in Wyoming, not just on my license fees, but also for hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, sporting goods retailers, clothing shops, gas stations, outfitting and guide fees and much more. In other words, when I and the thousands of other hunters come to hunt in Wyoming, we spend millions of dollars that surely benefit the residents throughout the state.
That’s just the beginning; we also become tourists in spring and fall. We bring our families, visit the bighorn mountains, Jackson and Yellowstone, Devil’s Tower and many other sights, spending hard earned money everywhere we go.
And what about hunting? Are the few people who are residents in Wyoming going to pay the high priced license fees the make up the budget of your Department of Game and Fish? Are your residents going to supplant the lost tourist revenue and taxes that benefit the state at large?
What about the thousands of hunters who, every year, buy hunting points so that they one day might be fortunate enough to draw a tag? Are you going to refund all of their years of point purchases now that their odds of a draw for that special hunt drop dramatically?
What about those souls who make up the outfitting and guide industry? Many of these Wyoming citizens guide part time to add to their meager annual income. Especially during times like these, why do you want to put people out of work?
As one who loves to visit Wyoming, I guess I will have to find a new place to visit. Maybe I’ll sell my hunting gear and take up golf, lots of states have nice golf courses.
Please reconsider this poorly formed bill; defeat it! Lou Taubert will miss me!
Michael J O’Leary
Ann Arbor, Michigan
The 90/10 concept isn’t going away. The Wyoming Game & Fish Commission, our Governor and the leadership of the Wyoming legislature recently created a statewide Wyoming Wildlife Task Force to study how our state issues hunting licenses. In addition to license splits between non-residents and residents several other topics will be studied in depth. Preference points, access issues, landowner licenses, license fees and the departments revenue stream are all expected to be studied along with any other topics the task force decides pertinent.
The 18 member task force is made up of representatives from the Ag community, sportsmen, county commissioners, game & fish, state legislators, business and tourism industries. As the President of WYOGA, Sy was selected to represent the outfitting industry on the task force. Monthly meetings are expected to start in June of 2021 and run through July of 2022. Once the task force completes their work recommendations for regulation, statute changes shall be made and acted upon. Stay tuned as we plan on to bring you updates as they proceed via the SNS newsletter.