Wyoming Wildlife Task Force: August 2022 update and the Grand Compromise
On Monday, August 8th, the Grand Compromise (GC) came to a final debate and vote. The Grand Compromise was the attempt to consider possible changes or solutions to the ongoing battle surrounding attempts to change our current quota splits and draw odds for resident hunters. The Grand Compromise was made up of 6 distinctive propositions. It was my understanding or belief that the GC would be voted on as an all or nothing vote. When the GC was brought up on the agenda, it was decided by the chairman to take each proposition up separately starting with the less controversial items first.
The task force first considered proposition’s 1, 3, 4 and 5. These items were a bonus point system for residents on elk, deer and antelope. A waiting period for residents of 3 years after drawing a hard to draw license and would give a 24-hour head start on drawing left over tags for residents. The 3-year waiting period and 24-hour head start were both advanced to receive more public comment.
At this point, the only two items left to be considered by the task force was proposition #6 which was the “outfitter draw” and proposition #2 which was the 90/10 on hard to draw areas and 85/15 on the rest of the limited quota areas for elk, deer and antelope. The comments received by the task force through the task force website, showed virtually no support for an outfitter draw. Our efforts to generate emails directly to task force members was extremely successful and generated close to 250 very well written emails in favor of an “outfitter draw”. However, it was apparent the task force received more negative comments against an outfitter draw. Proposition #2, which would have changed quota splits, also received more comments favoring our current system and fewer in favor of reducing non-resident license opportunities.
At this point of the meeting, I had to make a quick decision and I couldn’t take the chance of a motion to kill proposition #6 for the outfitter draw and leave proposition #2 still on the table as the last item to be debated and voted on. I felt proposition #2 would be voted down, but I wasn’t certain that it would be, and frankly, our industry couldn’t survive with reduced non-resident quotas and no “outfitter draw”. We would be doomed.
I made the motion to reject proposition #2 and #6 and it was quickly seconded by Adam Teten. The vote was taken with no discussion and passed by a 13-1 margin. Senator Hicks was out of the room in the bathroom when the motion was made.
This means the 90/10 threat on elk, deer and antelope is dead and I believe for a very, very long time. This was so well vetted with significant amounts of comments taken and it didn’t receive any clear-cut majority of support from residents. The “outfitter draw” is also dead and I am of course disappointed, but it would have been a heavy lift in the legislature especially with virtually no resident support. I felt the best move was to kill both propositions in one motion.
The task force did send to the Wyoming Game & Fish Com
mission the proposal to remove the 7,250 cap on non-resident elk licenses. This was voted on and passed unanimously by the commission to take it out for further comments and be voted on with a final vote at the November meeting.
The task force also voted to take comments on the proposal to raise the license fee for the special elk, deer and antelope licenses significantly. The task force realizes that demand for our licenses is so high it points to these as being under priced. The idea of an outfitter preference point was floated during public comment and this was received well by the task force and this subject will also go out for public comment. If you would like to let your voice be heard, you may make a comment on the Wyoming Wildlife Task Force.
Once again, I appreciate all of you who took the time to send comments to the task force. This has been a very time consuming and intense process, but overall, I feel good about how your hunting options in Wyoming fared through this process.
Sy Gilliland, Outfitter for SNS Outfitter and Guides