Well by now, you should know whether you were successful or unsuccessful in drawing the hunt you have been dreaming of since your last hunting season closed or you could possibly be one of those Sportsmen that doesn’t really apply for any particular hunt as you simply enjoy hunting any of the many general areas in our great state.

Whatever your reasons for being a Wyoming Sportsman or Sportswomen, I hope that you will consider and reflect on what is really important to you and your hunting heritage.

As I have said in my last two emails, we are at a critical crossroads in Wyoming today.

Jackson G&F Trapping Mtg
Jackson G&F Public Hearing About Proposed Changes to Trapping Near the Town of Jackson, WY.

Recently, we have had G&F meetings where trapping bans are being considered and recommendations to lower population objectives of multiple big game species are being proposed. With the Governor’s F&W Task Force discussing new ways to generate money for the G&F Department, I would ask that Sportsmen and Sportswomen take the time to attend the July 29th and 30th meetings so that this select Task Force hear directly from you, as they attempt to understand and evaluate issues effecting the G&F Department.  

Some Task Force members are claiming that those who opposed license fee increases (which could only be WY SFW) sought to de-fund the WY G&F Department. A few continue to say that they will not renew their membership within our organization as WY SFW has been too hard on the G&F.  They have vilified some members of the legislature for asking hard questions of the G&F Department.  If you want to see the G&F Department be accountable to Wyoming’s Sportsmen and Sportswomen, you need to show up and let your voice be heard.  WY SFW members need to engage with the Governor’s F&W Task Force now to ensure that Sportsmen remain the key constituency of our Game and Fish Department.  

WY SFW was formed to ensure that Sportsmen had a voice and a seat at the table as many believed the G&F Department was no longer our advocate.  Sometimes it even seems as though the G&F is more concerned about protecting wildlife from Sportsmen rather than managing them with our interests in mind.  They appear to have forgotten our past support as we fought to secure funding for programs that obligated our dollars be diverted towards other programs.  Furthermore, they appear eager to secure additional funding sources rather than addressing our concerns or those identified by our legislature.  While WY SFW seeks to have our G&F Department fully funded, we have asked for a review of their programs before additional costs are passed onto Wyoming’s hunter’s, angler’s and trapper’s.  There is still time for this review to happen but it will not happen unless our members continue to push for it to happen.  

Some Sportsmen believe all that is needed is increased funding and everything will be fine.  I believe that WY SFW members would like to see some changes instituted, with a greater emphasis on hunting, fishing and trapping.  WY SFW members would also like to see a greater emphasis placed upon the development, maintenance and promotion of shooting ranges and shooting sports.  The G&F Department has been collecting record amounts of Pittman/Robertson dollars but we are not seeing those dollars put back into shooting ranges or the promotion of shooting sports.  Are they pushing back against an education system that seems to promote fear of firearms rather than demonstrating that knowledge of firearms is our best defense against the misuse of firearms?  It is our culture and heritage that many are seeking to change and amazingly enough, these changes appear to be coming from within our own state.

Will you continue your support of our mission to protect hunting, fishing and trapping heritage?  

As we embark on improving our communication with our members, we need to reach out to more Sportsmen and invite them to join our ranks. Some of our own membership’s may have lapsed and new leaders need to step forward.  Sportsmen need to know that they have a Voice and can make a difference by speaking with one purpose.  Our future depends upon those willing to continue the fight.

From the Desk of Bob Wharff