SHERIDAN — The demand for hunting licenses in Wyoming grew again in 2018, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Game and Fish license section manager Jennifer Doering said the department received 14,000 more applications compared to last year, which was about a 5 percent increase.
That increase was across license applications for nearly all species; applications only declined for two species: moose and female bison.
As a result of more applications being accepted during the state’s initial draw, Doering said there were also fewer applications for the leftover draw.
Hunting license applications have been trending up since 2014, after wildlife populations began to recover from a statewide drought, Doering said, but this year has seen a greater increase than past years.
Doering said the growth is also a reflection of the quality of the hunting opportunities the state can provide.
“We have a high demand for our resources, we have phenomenal opportunities to get out there and hunt and I think that’s reflected in our count,” Doering said.
Better weather, in the form of relatively mild winters, has also led to more elk, deer and antelope in the state which caused Game and Fish to make more licenses available.
The revenue bump Game and Fish receives from the sale of more licenses will go toward the management and preservation of fish and wildlife in the state.
Game and Fish public information specialist Christina Schmidt, who works out of the Sheridan office, said while the exact numbers for hunting licenses in Sheridan County are not available, the area saw fewer applications available after the initial draw, which would suggest there were more license applications locally as well; the state experienced a similar outcome because of the population increase.
Licenses for deer, elk and antelope tend to be the most popular throughout the state, but Schmidt said antelope tend to live east of Sheridan, where a lot of the land is private. Securing access to hunt on private lands tends to be more difficult than hunting on public lands. As a result, licenses to hunt elk and deer, many of which live on public lands, tend to be more popular.
She added that demand for licenses in Sheridan County can fluctuate a bit more than the state based on a variety of factors. For instance, if one part of the state is hit particularly hard by the winter, hunters from those areas might apply in Sheridan County where there are more licenses, and therefore wildlife, available. In years where those areas experience a mild winter, however, hunters will likely look to stay close to home.
But in Wyoming, where hunting is a billion-dollar industry, the continued demand for hunting licenses is good news for hunters and non-hunters alike.