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Thursday meeting addresses hunt/fish changes

Dec 11, 2012 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

The Wyoming Game and Fish commission must approve the new rules, most of which deal with how the agency sells licenses, for them to take effect.

Wyoming Game and Fish's Lander Field Office plans a public meeting this Thursday, Dec. 13, about proposed hunting and fishing license regulatory changes.

The meeting is at 6 p.m. at the field office, 260 Buena Vista Drive in Lander.

"We're looking for comments and concerns from individuals," regional wildlife director Jason Hunter said. Officials hope to "get the word out so folks know what they can and cannot do in the future."

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission needs to approve the changes, most of which deal with how the agency sells licenses, for them to take effect.

The first change would move up the paper application deadline for big game and turkey licenses.

"This earlier time period will allow the Game and Fish to have all paper applications entered, proofed and reconciled by the online application deadline," Game and Fish license manager Jean Cole said in a statement. "Having this work accomplished will allow the department to conduct the limited-quota drawings shortly after the online application deadline."

Application periods for online applicants would remain the same.

Another proposal is to offer a refund to trophy game hunters if federal or state administrative action closes the season early.

Trophy game species in Fremont County are mountain lion and black bear.

Hunter said there has never been a state or federal administrative action that prematurely closed a trophy game season in Fremont County.

Game and Fish also wants to sell harvest information program permits only online starting in July. Permits from the federal program are a requirement for waterfowl hunters.

Hunter participation in the program helps with a study of bird species populations and migrations.

The change might not have a big effect.

Hunter said his office has not sold a lot of the permits in person.

"People have been going online," he said.

A final proposal would make lifetime hunting and fishing licenses available in all regional offices. They are currently only available in Cheyenne.

Game and Fish also proposes changing how it acquires property rights, such as conservation easements, access easements, leases, licenses and permits.

"The new regulations will make the process for acquiring and disposing real property rights more transparent to the public," Land Administration supervisor Butch Parks said in a statement.

"The proposed regulation provides a clear process and defines the roles and responsibilities of the (Wyoming) Game and Fish Department and Commission, and the Attorney General's Office for the acquisition or disposal of real property rights for fish and wildlife habitat and for public access."

Officials at the Lander meeting will not discuss the changes to property rights acquisition, but residents can submit comments by mail on that issue.

Game and Fish is having seven other meetings statewide to gather public input, and the Game and Fish Commission will receive those comments before its Jan. 24-25, meeting.

The agency also is considering adjusting license fees, but those changes are not on the agenda for the Dec. 13 meeting. The Wyoming Legislature will have to approve any fee adjustments.

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