I’m not old enough to save on hunting licenses yet

I turned 50 earlier this week, and it got me thinking I might be getting close to being able to save some money on my hunting licenses. But it turns out I still have a ways to go before that happens.

I hear people complain a lot about the cost of hunting and fishing licenses, but if you look at many other states, we have it pretty good in Wyoming. Most of the other states have higher prices for their hunting licenses, and very few have as much access to places you can put those licenses to use as we have. And on top of that, we can usually get several licenses for most species of big game, but in other states, you’re lucky if you can get one license each year.

But it’s always nice to save some money where you can. So when my coworkers were ribbing me earlier this week about turning 50, telling me the bright side is that I now qualify for some senior citizen discounts, I got to thinking about the Pioneer licenses offered by the Game and Fish. I haven’t thought much about Pioneer licenses in the past, because I haven’t been this old before. But when I turned 50, I got to thinking it might be good to see if I qualify.

Turns out I don’t yet. You have to be 75 years old and have to have lived continuously in Wyoming for 50 years to qualify for the Pioneer license, and you have to be at least 70 and a 50-year Wyoming resident to get the Pioneer Heritage license. Due to a bad decision to get a second degree from Colorado State University in my younger days, I set my continuous residency back and won’t qualify for either of these licenses until I am 75.

But the good news is that if I live that long, the licenses will be cheap. A general elk license, for instance, is $57, but the Pioneer elk license is only $10. I only have to wait 25 more years to be able to get those $10 licenses.

For now, I’ll happily pay the full rate. And I’m glad I’m a resident. The $57 fee isn’t bad, and it’s a whole lot better than the $692 I’d have to pay if I were a nonresident.