A University of Wyoming survey examining the economic effects of hunting and fishing in Albany County determined these two activities generated roughly $25.3 million in 2015.
The survey, commissioned by the Wyoming Wildlife Federation and conducted by UW professor David “Tex” Taylor, found in 2015 there were nearly 59,000 big game and trophy game hunting days in Albany County, amounting to an estimated $11 million in spending. In the same year, nearly 30,000 fishing licenses were sold in the county, with corresponding expenditures estimated at $14.3 million.
“The numbers that came in, the $25 million generated from hunting and fishing activities in Albany County, was much higher than what I thought,” said Chamois Andersen, executive director of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation. “But it’s indicative of how important those outdoor recreational sports are to the lands in Albany County and thus, the economy.”
Andersen said she plans to submit a copy of the report to each member of the Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners, which is expected to vote Dec. 1 on the controversial Bonander Ranches, LLC land exchange proposal. The exchange would trade nearly 1,041 acres of land in northern Albany County, between Esterbrook and Bear Creek roads, for 295 acres of private land in eastern Crook County.
The Wyoming Wildlife Federation has been a prominent critic of the potential trade, joining county residents and organizations concerned the exchange would cut off public access to adjacent state lands, hinder wildlife management and eliminate recreational opportunities.
While public comment on the matter is closed, Andersen said she intends to follow up with Jason Crowder, an assistant director at the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments, and request the completed study play a role in the state lands board’s decision-making process.
“We think this economic report is information that should be considered for their decision,” she said.
The report is based on data from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Since hunt area boundaries do not follow county boundaries, the study used a GIS, or geographic information systems analysis to help determine the hunt area in Albany County. Ultimately, the report concludes hunting and fishing are both “economically important” to Albany County and a large percentage of the $25.3 million spent by hunters and anglers takes place within the county economy.
“The popularity of hunting and fishing with both residents and nonresidents indicates that these recreational activities are important in terms of both contributions to the local economy and contributions to the residents’ quality of life,” the report states.
Albany County Commission Chairman Tim Sullivan, who plans to attend the Dec. 1 state lands board meeting, said he was “totally blown away” by the data in the report.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “Thirty-thousand fishing licenses in ’15. That’s amazing. And then the 59,000 big game licenses — that’s huge. I had no idea it was that much.”
By the numbers
Fishing spending in Albany County in 2015, by license type:
$3.8 million: Resident annual
$139,478: Resident youth annual
$129,632: Resident daily
$3.22 million: Non-resident annual
$226,468: Non-resident youth annual
$6.79 million: Non-resident daily
$14.31 million: Total
Hunting spending in Albany County in 2015:
$4.3 million: Resident hunter spending
$6.66 million: Nonresident hunter spending
$10.96 million: Combined hunter spending