WY Elk Tag Allocation

jtm307

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Apr 4, 2016
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In reference to the following: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Get-Involved/Public-Meetings

I was going to submit a comment, but I want to subject it to some scrutiny by people much more experienced than I as well as those with some more skin in the game than me. I don't mind paying a bit more for elk tags but the fact will always be that, in Western States, funding from tags will come from NR's more than from Residents. This is especially true in WY where the population is very small. I think increasing the allocation of General tags to NR's makes sense since the number of residents buying those will not increase substantially. NR general tags WILL get sold. In order to distribute the pressure, creating a system of Regions, much like WY's deer seems like a good idea to me. If I were a NR, I'd prefer a region system because in some units, draw odds would be lower than otherwise. If I were a NR, I could easily hunt mule deer every year in WY because the region system. I feel like doing the same for elk has more benefits than drawbacks. Having stated all of this, I'm not sure any change is needed. WY has a good thing going. Thoughts?
 

mulecreek

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Nov 16, 2010
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My thoughts, there is zero need or justification to change the current NR elk license allocation method. Creating NR elk regions is a smokescreen used by WyOGA to give people the impression that pressure will be relieved in some regions. The only way this is possible is if it is increased in other Regions. Which gen area in Wyoming is currently in need of more bull harvest? There is not a single gen unit in Wyo that the biologist will recommend needs more bull harvest. Mature bulls are what NR's take with gen tags, even in units that allow any elk. What WyOGA really wants with the idea of NR gen regions is to give hunters the impression that they are reducing the pressure in Gen areas such as the Sierra Madre's. However, they are not asking for less total tags, they are asking for tags to be increased. If gen tags are decreased in one are they will need to be increased in another. Where WyOGA wants gen tags increased is in areas around Yellowstone and in the Northeast part of the State. Why these areas? Well, a NR cant hunt a WA without a guide and the majority of the elk herds in the NE part of the State are on private lands that are leased to Outfitters. If WyOGA was really concerned about overcrowding in certain Gen regions of the State they would advocate to remove the guide requirement for NR's in WA's. That would have a far bigger impact on hunter density than making Gen regions. The current system already has a way to combat overcrowding. With the current Gen tag you can hunt any Gen unit. If you think its too crowded in one area, try a different one. As a res I hunt Gen areas almost exclusively and overcrowding is far from a problem. And I am not hunting in WA's. If I hunted the Gen regions south of Rawlins then I would see much higher hunter density. The Gen tag gives the hunter the freedom to move.

WyOGA is also trying to claim that the current system has not changed in 30 years. This is wrong. In 1987 there were 7,250 NR elk licenses issued in Wyoming. In 2016 there were approximately 13,000. a 80% increase. The decision to create type 6 licenses and not include them in the NR allocation has darn near doubled the number of NR elk licenses. During that same time from res elk licenses went from around 42,750 to 52,000. A 21% increase.

WyOGA and others keep trying to make it sound like they only want a few more Gen licenses. WyOGA president Jeff Smith said his reasoning for wanting more was because 5 years ago his hunters could draw every year. Now they wait a 2 or 3 years. If he wants to make a substantive increase in draw odds then we are talking about hundreds, if not thousands of Gen licenses. Where in the State would anyone recommend we need to take several hundred more mature age class bulls?

Wyoming has an elk herd that is increasing. We have a herd that has solid B:C ratios. Number of elk in Gen areas are solid. Hunter density is significantly lower than what you would encounter in most any other State general areas. Trophy quality in Gen areas is, on average, better than any Gen areas in other comparable States. It is an example of a system that is working. Not a system that needs to be tinkered with.
 

jtm307

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SE Wyoming
So all this is coming from the WYOGA? That wasn't my impression, but could be my naïveté.
 

WapitiBob

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Bend, Orygun
Wyoga proposed 2,000 addl licenses at an earlier Commission meeting if I remember the number correctly; might have been 9,000 total. Eye opening watching him ask for more licenses because his clients couldn't draw every year.
 
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TheDudeAbides

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Sep 26, 2015
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Rio Verde, Wyoming
In reference to the following: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Get-Involved/Public-Meetings

I was going to submit a comment, but I want to subject it to some scrutiny by people much more experienced than I as well as those with some more skin in the game than me. I don't mind paying a bit more for elk tags but the fact will always be that, in Western States, funding from tags will come from NR's more than from Residents. This is especially true in WY where the population is very small. I think increasing the allocation of General tags to NR's makes sense since the number of residents buying those will not increase substantially. NR general tags WILL get sold. In order to distribute the pressure, creating a system of Regions, much like WY's deer seems like a good idea to me. If I were a NR, I'd prefer a region system because in some units, draw odds would be lower than otherwise. If I were a NR, I could easily hunt mule deer every year in WY because the region system. I feel like doing the same for elk has more benefits than drawbacks. Having stated all of this, I'm not sure any change is needed. WY has a good thing going. Thoughts?
I wrote a comment with my thoughts.

- Changing the draw dates to May, to prevent issues with tag allocation with increases and decreases in tags.

- Having at least 1 tag in the random draw. Right now in units with 3 tags, they all go to the highest point holders.

- Changing the draw to a 50/50 system.

- Eliminating the special draw by combining the two draws and averaging the costs between the two tags.

- Regions to match the deer regions.

- Upping the limit from 16% to 20%

- No guide required for elk hunts in the wilderness

I figured that I would just write a comment on my thoughts and they can take it how they wish.
 

mulecreek

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Nov 16, 2010
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Rock Springs, WY
IIRC Sy Gilliland, WyOGA member brought up the idea of changing the NR allocation at the July 2016 G&F comm meeting in Afton. At the Sept 2016 meeting in Gillette the G&F presented to the Comms the history of NR elk license allocation. Jeff Smith, WyOGA president asked for the commission to increase the number of NR gen licenses. He also said that increasing the LQ allocation from 16% to 20 would be great. Jeff Muratore as a representative of WyBHA said they would oppose any increase in the NR allocation. At this meeting the Comms asked the G&F to put together possible ideas on how the allocation system could be modified. At the November Commision meeting in Lovell the G&F presented two ideas leave it as is or NR gen regions. At this meeting one WyOGA member BJ Hill asked to not increase it because he was worried too many NR hunters would increase the number of grizzly bear attacks and would harm the bull to cow ratios around Jackson. Another WyOGA member, Lee Livingston asked for an increase in NG gen licenses. One resident hunter asked the commission to leave the system as is. The Comms ultimately instructed the G&F to perform public input meetings into how NR license are allocated. Now you have the meetings. This whole circus was started by one WyOGA member asking for an increase in NR elk licenses.
 

jtm307

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SE Wyoming
- No guide required for elk hunts in the wilderness
I heartily agree, but that's a legislative issue.


Mulecreek, I was surprised to see WYG&F have the meetings. I too think allocation status quo is acceptable, but I'm not opposed to changing it IF the change is a good one. I'm concerned about the WYOGA having undue influence in the G&F, but a policy benefiting them and being supported by them doesn't automatically make it bad. I didn't see the harm in increasing general tags allocation modestly. Bull/Cow ratios are high relative to the past. I'm curious to know what DIY NR's think. One argument I find convincing against changes, which you mentioned, is that WY is not as hunter-dense as other states. That's what makes WY uniquely good. Any increase, the argument goes, is a change for the worse.
 

Fremont15

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May 2, 2018
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Increasing the non resident allocation, particularly the general tags, would greatly diminish the currently fantastic wy general elk hunt. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it! I would personally rather see the G&F triple the cost of a resident elk license than see them add non resident tags! An increase would be devastating!
 
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