Your vehicle might soon be able to help wildlife

There’s a bill coming up in the state legislature that will give our wildlife some much-needed help, if it passes. And the best part is, the only people who will have to pay for it are the people who want to pay for it.

Wyoming is one of the few states left that has only a couple of different license plates. Until a few years ago, we actually only had one – well, one main design, with some differences for trucks, trailers and other types of vehicles. Then the University of Wyoming plate was introduced, with funds generated by the license plate going to the University.

Now there’s another license plate being discussed, and like the UW plate, this one would have a lot of fans. The legislature will soon be deciding whether or not to allow a new wildlife license plate.

The wildlife plate will feature a big game critter in the design, and funds generated by people buying the plate will go toward projects intended to prevent vehicle-wildlife collisions. These projects might include wildlife overpasses or underpasses, fencing, or simple signage.

The Muley Fanatic Foundation is one of the groups supporting the bill, and Muley Fanatic president Josh Coursey said while he knows the license plates won’t provide all the funding needed to complete all these projects, at least they’ll serve as a way to get the conversation started. He said with an economic impact of an estimated $4,000 per deer killed on the roads, $3,000 per antelope, $6,000 per elk and $7,500 per moose, not counting the damage to vehicles or people, the state loses millions of dollars in potential wildlife-generated revenue each year because of these types of accidents.

Let your lawmakers know you’d like the chance to help fund safe wildlife crossings. And I’ll keep you posted on the bill as the Legislature gets rolling.