Several new laws regarding Wyoming's wildlife were passed by the 2009 Wyoming Legislature and went into effect this summer. Here's a synopsis:
Authority to regulate wildlife immuno-contraception - A new law gives the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission the authority to prohibit and regulate the administration of contraceptives to wildlife. Technically, House Bill 0004 says... any chemical or biological substance or physical procedure to wildlife.. for the purpose of controlling fertility or reproduction." Using contraceptives for deer control is being promoted in urban areas, mainly in eastern states, and the Bureau of Land Management has a sterilization program for feral horses they manage in Wyoming. Although there are no plans to use contraceptives for deer control in Wyoming at the present time, the commission now has clear authority to regulate how it would be used if proposed in the future.
Check snares at least once a week - Prior to July 1 there was no requirement how often snares had to be checked. This law- HB0006- also gives the commission the authority to regulate the size of snares and their breakaway weights. A draft regulation to implement the once-a-week check period and establish snare size and breakaway weights was approved by the seven-member commission at its Aug. 5-6 meeting in Cody.
A stouter penalty for purchasing licenses while under suspension - Anyone who has had his hunting or fishing license privileges suspended as a penalty for a wildlife violation now faces greater consequences if he ignores that part of his sentence and buys a forbidden license anyway. Prior to July 1, the maximum penalty was $1,000 fine and six months in jail. Now the violator could face a $10,000 fine and one year in jail.
C-Stamp exemption - Hunters and anglers who hold pioneer licenses have been exempt from conservation stamp requirements for some licenses in the past. New legislation will exempt pioneer license holders from the conservation stamp requirement for all licenses effective Jan. 1, 2010. Same goes for resident military personnel who hold free licenses because they are assigned to a combat zone.
Licenses for youngsters with life-threatening diseases - In past years the law said there could be no more than 10 antelope, deer and turkey, and five elk licenses set aside for hunters 18 or under with life-threatening diseases. The new law removes that cap, gives the commission the authority to determine the number of licenses to issue and ups the age to 20 and under to qualify. The licenses now will be issued directly to the young hunter and not an organization as was previously done.
Fewer liability concerns for landowners providing recreational parking - This bill broadens provisions of the Recreation Safety Act protecting landowners who allow the use of private land for parking and access related to recreational activities from liability. "This law should encourage more landowners to consider providing access parking and access trails," said John Emmerich, Game and Fish deputy director.
Internet hunting banned - The 2009 legislature has made it illegal to shoot wildlife by remote control through the Internet. Anyone who violates this law could face up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.
Hunt bighorn ewes and lambs in the future? - That could be possible with the passage of HB0225. The bill allows the commission to issue ewe/lamb licenses to effectively manage bighorn sheep herds, if needed. Applicants would not lose their preference points for bighorn ram licenses if drawn for a ewe/lamb license, nor would there be a five-year waiting period to apply for another ewe/lamb license. There were no ewe/lamb licenses issued for 2009. The commission has yet to set the price for the licenses.