Changes to Elk Hunting in Wyoming

A little history about Wyomings system for issuing coveted non-resident elk licenses. Wyoming has limited the number of non-resident full price bull licenses for over 40 years to a cap of 7,250 tags. This cap was put in place when our state had half as many elk as it currently does. Wyoming’s Elk hunt areas are managed either as limited quota or general licenses. Limited quota areas carve out 16% of the total quota to non-residents. Once all LQ licenses are drawn statewide the remaining quota is issued as general licenses good for any general elk area statewide. The number of general licenses issued went down every year as elk populations increased, causing more LQ licenses to be issued and fewer general licenses.

In 1989 the outfitting industry lobbied the state legislature to create a two-tiered license fee system. This resulted in what is called the regular license and the special license. The logic behind creating the two-tiered license was those applicants willing to pay more for a license would have better draw odds. In addition to the two-tiered license fees Wyoming allows the sale and accumulation of preference points. Preference points give an applicant a chance to draw from the PP pool of licenses which is 75% of the total license quota.

The Wyoming legislature, Wyoming Game & Fish Commission and the Governor’s office created a task force to consider and put forth solutions to controversial wildlife and licensing issues. A major point put forth by the WWTF was to remove the 7,250 cap and increase the cost of the special license fee on elk licenses. The Wyoming Legislature and the Game Commission have both acted upon the recommendations and passed the special license fee increase and removed the 7,250 cap.

In response to the removal of the elk license cap the WGFD has moved forward with a plan to manage elk in 3 separate general elk areas each with their own quota which shall be set annually by the commission. The special license fee went from $1,283.00 to $1,965.00 an increase of $682.00. These actions should result in much better draw odds for our clients who want to try and draw a license using the special fee. Of course, hunters who have accumulated many points may still be able to draw using the regular license fee.

Give us a call and we can talk about your draw odds given the number of points you currently have or how to accumulate points for a future hunt.