Game and Fish Commission approves 10 regulations, FY 23 budget

(Cheyenne, WY) – The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission met this week in Evanston. The seven-member board approved the annual Game and Fish budget — a regular task at July meetings. The operational budget, which supports the day-to-day work of the department, was approved at $90.3 million. 

The Commission also approved $7.1 million for one-time projects that include a cutting-edge mule deer monitoring project, a cheatgrass imaging study, new tanks at the Wigwam Rearing Station and renovations at the Sheridan bird farm. Game and Fish doesn’t receive state general fund dollars. The bulk of the budget comes from sportspeople.

The Commission voted to move forward with two recommendations from the Wyoming Wildlife Taskforce that would change Wyoming’s license allocations for antelope and nonresident elk license limits and hunt areas. The department was directed to draft a regulation to reduce the number of Type 1 antelope licenses a hunter can hold from two to one a season. The Commission also directed the department to draft a regulation to remove the 7,250 cap on nonresident elk licenses and create nonresident regions for general elk hunting — similar to the approach for nonresident deer. Both regulations are meant to help address wildlife management issues and will move through the public comment process before coming to the Commission again. 

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The Commission also approved a series of regulations after considering extensive public comment: 

  • Chapter 10, Importation, Possession, Confinement, Transportation, Sale and Disposition of Live Wildlife.
  • Chapter 33, Scientific Research, Educational or Special Purpose Permits. 
  • Chapter 42, Mountain Lion Hunting Seasons.
  • Chapter 47, Gray Wolf Hunting Seasons.
  • Chapter 49, Private Stocking of Cold-Blooded Wildlife.
  • Chapter 50, Fishing Preserves.
  • Chapter 51, Private Fish Hatcheries.
  • Chapter 52, Nongame Wildlife Regulation.
  • Chapter 53, Landowner Fishing Lakes or Ponds. 
  • Chapter 69, Importation and Possession of Live Cold-Blooded Wildlife.

Game and Fish continues to monitor drought conditions across Wyoming. The Commission was presented with an overview of the conditions across the regions and how variable conditions impact wildlife. 

The department presented an update on the new Cody Region office building. The office is anticipated to be complete in early October. Game and Fish is planning an official ribbon cutting in November; more details to follow.

Work continues in the Jackson region to build housing for employees. The department is awaiting results from water sample testing. In August, the department will begin to accept proposals for a construction manager at risk for this project and make a selection in September. The Commission approved $47,000 dollars for the design work to be completed on a much-needed employee house at the Auburn Fish Hatchery.

Each July the department regularly presents its annual awards. Director Brian Nesvik recognized Scott Edberg, retired deputy chief of the wildlife division, with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Doug McWhirter, Jackson Region wildlife biologist, was given the Director’s Award. 

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Additionally, Game and Fish recognized divisional employee of the year awards:

  • Ashley Leonard, Education and outreach supervisor,  Cheyenne — Director’s office
  • Todd Grosskopf, Statewide habitat and access supervisor, Cheyenne — Services Division
  • Kindra Brown, Office manager, Casper — Wildlife Division
  • Adrienne Andriello, License draw coordinator, Cheyenne — Fiscal Division
  • Jeff Stafford, Superintendent, Wigwam Rearing Station, Ten Sleep — Fish Division
  • Fiscal Division — Team of the Year

The next meeting is Sept. 13-14 in Buffalo.

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