(Cheyenne, WY) – The 2021 Wyoming Legislature passed several bills that will make changes to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department laws and regulations. Many of these bills have an impact on the public, too.
The following is a summary of the notable Game and Fish-related bills that passed, how they will impact the public and the next steps for implementation. Game and Fish will continue to provide updates as these changes move through the regulation proposal process.
Hunting and fishing access – reliable funding (HB0122)
Sportspeople can anticipate more places to go to hunt and fish in Wyoming. This bill increases the cost of the conservation stamp from $12.50 to $21.50. The bulk of the additional funding will pay for access easements or other agreements to provide public access to difficult-to-access or inaccessible private, federal and state lands for hunting and fishing. The remaining funds will go toward projects to improve wildlife crossings and fish passage. The cost increase will be effective July 1.
Game roadkill (HB0095)
The passage of this bill allows for the Game and Fish Commission to establish a system for people to gather roadkill. It requires people to take the whole carcass. The law is effective July 1, but the rules, safety guidelines, chronic wasting disease considerations and permitting will still need to be determined by the commission and go through the public comment process before anyone can start collecting. That is slated for early in 2022.
Elk feedground – closing requirements (HB0101)
This bill creates new statutory language requiring an order from the Wyoming governor before the Game and Fish department or commission can permanently cease operation or close any elk feedground currently authorized or administered by the commission. This law is effective immediately.
Pioneer trapping license (HB0112)
Beginning July 1, residents who are at least 65 and have resided in Wyoming for at least 30 years will be able to buy a pioneer trapping license for $20. The commission will draft proposed changes to the Chapter 44 — Hunting regulations to accommodate this addition.
Big and trophy game – minimum age (HB0115)
More youth will have the opportunity to hunt this fall. With the passage of this bill, youth hunters will be able to hold a license to pursue big or trophy game animals at 11 years old if they turn 12 by the end of the calendar year. This is effective July 1, but the Game and Fish Commission will have to modify Chapter 44 — Hunting regulations to update the rules.
2021 Large funding projects (HB0066)
The Large Funding projects bill approves the funding for significant wildlife and habitat projects for 2021. This funding comes from the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust Fund and several involve partnerships with Game and Fish. Projects include wildlife crossing projects for mule deer near Dry Piney on Highway 189 as well as on I-25 from Kaycee to Buffalo. Funding will also be directed towards invasive species projects in the Sheridan area.