We, the Members of the Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association believe that outfitting is a business venture that depends upon access to wildland resources, including good hunting and fishing for success; and that, those engaged in such business are obligated not only to promote the conservation and restoration of wildlands, fish and wildlife, but to provide the public with high quality facilities and professional services so they may enjoy these resources. We pledge ourselves and our organization to full cooperation with the management and sustainable use of our wildlands and renewable wildlife resources. We further pledge ourselves to aid the governing agencies to promulgate and enforce all rules and regulations; and to formulate controlling regulations over all outfitters in the state.
WYOGA is a non-profit association that operates strictly from membership dues, fundraising from conventions and fundraising from WYOGA’s annual publication. The funds received help run the office, assist WYOGA with legislative issues that endanger the outfitting industry, and also gives us the opportunity to continue a working relationship with the Game and Fish to protect our wildlife.
Recent Donations made by WYOGA
- WYOGA donated significant funds to the Wyoming Game and Fish to purchase cutting edge tracking collars for a moose study program so that the game and fish biologists can study and research moose in Northwestern Wyoming. The effects of Moose parasites and diseases have been identified and studied as a result.
- WYOGA donated significant funds to the Wildlife Society Wyoming Chapter for their moose conference.
- WYOGA donated funds to the WYDOT Trapper’s Pointe Project. This project involved installation of cameras at the Trapper’s Point underpass/overpass project in Pinedale. This project is a series of underpass, overpasses and fences to help our deer and antelope on their migration to winter ranges.
- WYOGA donated significant funds to Big Game Forever for lobbying efforts in Washington DC to delist wolves in Wyoming which benefits the public and outfitter guests alike.
- WYOGA has donated funds to the National Big Horn Sheep and Interpretive Center to support projects that benefit bighorn sheep and the public.
- WYOGA donated to the Wiggins Fork Elk Study in 2014. This study was to monitor the migration of the Wiggins Fork elk herd.
- WYOGA members donate personal time and resources clearing trails on public forests, searching for lost hunters, helping youth hunters, participating in wildlife enhancement projects, restoring wildlife habitat and teaching mountain lion and grizzly bear awareness classes to the public.
- The Wildlife Summit in Pinedale to help protect our wildlife from highways and roadways.
- Within the past 15 years, WYOGA has donated over $50,000 dollars towards various wildlife projects and to other organizations to help protect the hunting rights of the non-resident hunters who contribute to over 80% of the hunting in the state of Wyoming and also conservation projects.
- WYOGA members donate hunts to benefit many conservation and non-profit organizations: Wounded Warriors, Dallas Safari Club, Safari Club International (state and national level), Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Wild Sheep Foundation, Dream Catcher’s and Outdoor Dream Foundation, just to name a few.
- WYOGA donated $1,350 dollars to the Wyoming Outdoor Hall of Fame awards program.
Wyoming Range Legacy Act
The Wyoming Range Legacy Act is one of WYOGA’s and Wyoming’s signature achievements. Past president and former WYOGA member Gary Amerine was extremely passionate about the preservation of the Wyoming Range. Gary along with WYOGA members worked with Wyoming’s Republican senators, the late Sen. Craig Thomas and Sen. John Barrasso to get this accomplished. Congress passed the Wyoming Range Legacy Act (“Legacy Act”) in 2009.
The bill had broad support from many Wyoming groups and individuals, including: The Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association, Former Governor Freudenthal, Wyoming State AFL-CIO, Wyoming Tourism Bureau, Wyoming Game Wardens Association, and local landowners, ranchers, outfitters, sportsmen, business owners and conservation groups.
The Legacy Act was about a simple idea: Some places are too special to drill. The Act allows Wyoming to continue producing more than its share of energy resources, while protecting a special place that defines our state. It’s been the foundation we have built on to preserve the irreplaceable hunting and fishing lands, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities in the Wyoming Range.
The Legacy Act and Drilling: The Legacy Act did not affect currently producing gas fields in the southern portion of the Wyoming Range. It also did not prohibit development of leases that existed prior to passage of the Act. Companies holding existing leases are still allowed to apply for drilling permits. But the Act also did encourage companies with existing leases to donate or sell those leases for “permanent retirement”, to preserve the valuable wildlife and recreational resources of the Wyoming Range for future generations. That’s exactly what happened when a company recently sold their leases to safeguard the Hoback Basin, one of the most special places within the Wyoming Range.
For additional information on the Citizens for the Wyoming Range and Legacy Act, please visit:
Wolf and Grizzly Bear Delisting
The Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association worked extremely hard with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Congresswoman Liz Cheney and Governor Matt Mead to get the wolf and grizzly bear delisted. WYOGA held several informative meetings that the Governor attended to educate our members and public on the devastation the wolf has caused on Wyoming’s big game animals and livestock. Todd Stevie, WYOGA Past President was personally invited by Governor Mead to attend a meeting to voice his opinion on the delisting proposal that the Feds were proposing on the grizzly bear.
Wyoming Game & Fish Commissioner Licenses
For the past several years, WYOGA has been fortunate enough to receive a Wyoming Game & Fish Commissioner license from past commissioners Clark Allan, Carrie Little, Charles Price, David Rael and current commissioner Ralph Brokaw. The license is auctioned to the highest bidder and the funds received have given WYOGA the opportunity to pay it forward to help the game and fish with various wildlife projects. (Mule Deer research projects, collaring projects, elk migration study project and other projects as referenced above). The additional funding also helps with financial assistance for WYOGA’s full time lobbyist to assist us with various wildlife bills that are proposed during the legislative session.
WYOGA has a full-time lobbyist to assist us in Cheyenne during the budget and general legislative session. Membership dues and revenue from commissioner licenses assist with our lobbyist expenses. Marian Orr, current Cheyenne Mayor was WYOGA’s lobbyist from 2009 to 2015. Bill Novotny was hired in 2016 to assist WYOGA with its lobbying issues.
Brucellosis/CWD/Elk Feedgrounds Task Force, Appointed by Governor Matt Mead
WYOGA has been working closely with the Wyoming Game and Fish to protect our state elk feed grounds. If our elk feed grounds are closed, state wildlife biologists estimate we will lose 80% of our elk in northwestern Wyoming which would necessitate elk season closures for the public and outfitter clients. WYOGA has worked diligently in support of keeping the elk grounds open. History has proven the importance and necessity for these feed grounds to remain in the location they are currently in as well as the importance to continue the feeding program. Having multiple and strategically located feed grounds enables the Game and Fish to properly manage healthy elk herds thus enabling them to utilize native forage when available and minimizes the risk of the spread of disease.
The various feedgrounds are: Dog Creek (Jackson RD), Fall Creek (Pinedale RD), Fish Creek (Jackson RD), Muddy Creek (Pinedale RD), Upper Green River (Pinedale RD), Alkali Creek (Jackson RD), Forest Park (Greys River RD), Dell Creek (Big Piney RD)
WYOGA is involved in managing brucellosis and chronic wasting disease (CWD). Terry Pollard, a WYOGA board member, was appointed to the Governor’s Brucellosis Task Force by former Governor Freudenthal. This task force was implemented to develop policy aimed at reducing the incidence and effects brucellosis has on the Rocky Mountain elk and bison in the northwestern part of the state. A ten-year study conducted by the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department suggests that the effects of chronic wasting disease (CWD) on elk populations may not be as devastating as once believed.
Professional Outfitters & Guides Association (POGA)
The Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association is a member of the Professional Outfitters & Guides Association (POGA). Hunting and Sport Hunting (“Trophy Hunting”) is very definitely under attack, more so than in past years. Current attitudinal research, however, shows that almost 80% of the American public approve of “hunting”. When the object of the hunt is expressed as “trophy” hunting, public approval drops to below 30%. The primary reason for the professional hunting industry, guides, outfitters and professional hunters, is to provide hunters with experiences, adventures and challenges which is most often commemorated with taxidermy in one form or another, i.e. “trophy hunting.” Subsistence hunting or “meat” hunting is an important part of the hunting experience.
Each year WYOGA is invited to attend a half day meeting with the various associations involved with POGA to discuss the issues each state and Canadian provinces face.
WYOGA participated in the Crucial to Conservation Workshop (C2C) in Atlanta, GA. The primary object of the Crucial to Conservation Workshop was to gather representatives from the professional hunting industry, along with representatives from major hunting involved organizations to explore why there is a rise in anti-hunting sentiment and discuss how to present and explain experience or “sport” hunting to the general public as an important conservation tool. To this end, the goal of the workshop was to produce a unified message on sport hunting that is accepted and promoted by the professional hunting industry and by major hunting organizations, worldwide.
The workshop had over 60 participants from 4 continents representing nearly 50 different organizations. The C2C workshop is moving forward and a working group has been formed and tasked with developing the C2C Coalition format, setting objectives and goals for the coalition and developing funding sources to meet those goals.
WYOGA is a member of America Outdoors and works closely with our Washington Lobbyist, David Brown. For the last two years, America Outdoors has hosted a “Camp Washington” in Washington, D.C. WYOGA board members Taylor Engum and Lee Livingston have participated in this camp. The objective of this camp was to address the following topics:
- Pass the GO Act, which renews the permitting authority for outfitters and guides on public lands. (H.R. 5129).
- Pass the Outdoor Recreation Enhancement Act, which restores the seasonal recreation establishment exemption in the Fair Labor Standards Act for outfitters operating on public lands and for those with traveling camps.
- Continue to support provisions in Labor Appropriations bill which prohibit the Department of Labor and land managing agencies from including the standard contract raising the minimum wage and overtime clause on Forest Service, BLM and NPS authorizations.
- Support and help with implementation of the Forest Service Trails Stewardship Act.
- Amend the law authorizing the creation of the National Landscape Conservation System to make recreation a stated purpose of the System unless contravened by other law. The NLCS includes all congressionally designated areas within the BLM. Currently, recreation activities are not planned for unless specifically cited in the designation or proclamation.
- Continue work with the Forest Service and other agencies to streamline and lower the cost of permitting processing.
- Work with the House and Senate on prospective legislation, such as the Recreation Not Red Tape bill, to ensure that it grows, protects and supports America’s outfitting businesses.
Representatives from surrounding state associations and NOLS participated in this camp.
WYOGA’s Annual Convention
Each year, WYOGA hosts an annual convention at various locations around the state of Wyoming. Dallas Safari Club is a major sponsor of WYOGA’s Big Game Awards Program. DSC is recognized as a main sponsor, recognized in our annual Wyoming Outdoors publication and also on WYOGA’s website. The generous donations that WYOGA receives each year from DSC is applied towards its awards program and also give WYOGA the ability to pay it forward and work with state agencies to help preserve Wyoming’s wildlife and our hunting heritage. SCI (Safari Club International) and WSF (Wild Sheep Foundation) are also contributors to this amazing program.
At each awards banquet, keynote speakers are invited to speak on important topics that the outfitting industry and the state of Wyoming face. Some of the keynote speakers have been:
- Harriett Hageman, Attorney at Law, Hageman Law, P.C.,
- Scott Talbott, Director, Wyoming Game and Fish Department
(Scott Talbott is also the recipient of WYOGA’s 2017 Agency Personnel Award)
- Ryan Benson, Big Game Forever
- Arthur Middleton and Joe Riis, Wiggins Fork Elk Project
- Congresswoman Liz Cheney
- Brad Jones and Doug Hammrick, Outdoor Dream Foundation
- Representative Jim Allen
- Brian Nesvik, Director, Wyoming Game & Fish Department
- Honorable Matt Mead, Former Wyoming Governor
WYOGA’s Wyoming Outdoors Publication
WYOGA publishes an annual publication called the Wyoming Outdoors. This is the official publication of the Wyoming Outfitters & Guides Association. Our publication is over 80 pages of valuable information geared towards hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.
Currently, WYOGA prints 100,000 copies. We are mailing 98,000 to the non-residents who purchased preference points for elk, deer, sheep, moose and antelope. The directory is also distributed at the Safari Club International Convention and mailed from inquiries through WYOGA’s website.
The Wyoming Outdoors is geared to promoting travel and tourism within Wyoming to these outdoorsmen and features Wyoming businesses, outfitter members and articles highlighting the hunting experiences that Wyoming has to offer. The publication has been a great platform to tell those outside the state about our hunting opportunities and issues affecting our wildlife and promote our members businesses.
Outfitter & Guide Programs
WYOGA and its members are fortunate to have built a working relationship with the following businesses and are a part of their Outfitter/Guide Program:
- Bison Coolers
- Havalon Knives
- Maven Optics
- SITKA Gear
- Otter Box
Being a part of these programs is an additional benefit to being a WYOGA member.
WYOGA’s 2016 Economic Study
Big game hunting is Big Business in Wyoming. Our state is the 10th largest in area and the least populated state in the country, which translates into an abundance of huntable land. In 2016, WYOGA contracted with Southwick Associates, one of the nation’s leading outdoor research and economics firms to produce this study on how important big game hunting is to the state’s economy.
Using surveys of Wyoming’s licensed resident and nonresident big game hunters, combined with economic models specific to Wyoming’s economy, economic insights were generated for all big game hunters combined, along with breakouts for residents, guided nonresidents and unguided nonresident big game hunters. This study cost WYOGA over $41,000 to produce. The entire study can be viewed here, and the 8-page summary here. Big game annually translates into $303.6 million dollars to Wyoming’s economy.
Outfitter, Guide, and Associate Membership
Become a member of the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association—help us to keep the rights and use of public lands secure in Wyoming.
Receive a current directory, continual industry updates from the office and an invitation to our annual meeting. All memberships include a certificate, wallet card and decals.
We accept checks, Visa, and Mastercard.
|Associate Voting Guide
|Associate, 3 year
You can purchase membership online here. Please also fill out the application above.