Wyoming remains one of the most sought-after hunting destinations in the West.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department saw another increase in hunting applications from both residents and non-residents alike for the May 31 limited quota draw. Overall, applications for resident and non-resident deer and antelope and resident elk increased by 6.95% since last year, amounting to an 11.73% increase in the past two years. “The hunting opportunities in Wyoming are sought after because of the high-quality wildlife, access and the experience with friends and family,” Scott Talbott said, Wyoming Game and Fish director. “We’re excited to host hunters in the fall and thank hunters for their support of Wyoming’s wildlife conservation because they provide the bulk of Game and Fish’s revenue from license sales.”
Talbott acknowledges that this also creates some areas where it is getting even harder to draw a license and drawing odds will have changed again. All big game resident and non-resident licenses are allocated through a resident/non-resident split, based on Wyoming State Statutes and Game and Fish regulations. This means residents and non-residents do not apply for the same pool of licenses in the initial draw. Applications for buck deer and buck antelope saw small increases in applications; but, residents and non-residents both submitted notably more applications this year for doe/fawn deer and antelope than from 2017.
Residents submitted 9.48% more applications for doe/fawn deer and 8.37% more applications doe/fawn antelope. Non-resident applications increased significantly at 19.86% for doe/fawn deer and 19.44% for doe/fawn antelope. Resident cow/calf elk increased 8.14%, while resident full-price elk applications saw only a modest 1.64% increase from the prior year. “In all, there were 88,869 unsuccessful applications,” said Jennifer Doering, Game and Fish license section manager. The Game and Fish Commission increased quotas on all species for the 2018 hunting season. For all types statewide, antelope licenses increased 8.45%, deer 5.51% and elk 5.39%.
“Even with boosts for quotas, the increase in applications ultimately reduced the availability of leftover licenses for 2018,” Doering said. “Leftover licenses available for deer decreased 32.46%; antelope just behind at 23.96%.” Leftover licenses are now allocated based on a random draw, where residents and non-residents are in the same pool. Previously it was first-come first-served with residents and non-residents all allowed to buy at the same time.
The leftover license draw this year closed on June 29 and applicants will find out if they drew a leftover license on July 12. Any remaining licenses will be sold first-come, first-serve online and at Game and Fish offices beginning July 16.