Animal Conservation

New Bill Promotes Transparency in Wildlife Conservation Funding

Representative Casey Snider, a Republican from Paradise, is sponsoring legislation that will impact wildlife conservation in Utah. A bill, HB 78, would establish a wildlife conservation fund to better track money raised from hunting shows and raffles.

“The best way I would describe it would be some sort of glass box. … The Wildlife Conservation Fund just makes sure people fully understand where the money comes from, where it comes from and what it does,” Snider said.

“Wildlife is a state resource that belongs to everyone. These tags are purchased by individuals with the idea that the money they invest is not just going to come back to the division, it is going to be of specific value to the wildlife they are pursuing,” Snider said.

Riley Peck, legislative liaison for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said the bill won’t have dramatic consequences for hunting or the current tag sale and raffle system.

“Everything else, in terms of how the money has been spent, what the money can be used for, where it is generated does not and will not change. It’s how it’s tracked what it’s categorized and where the money goes into what funding,” Peck said.

For every tag auctioned off at the Conservation Expo, 90% is donated to conservation research for that specific species. Ultimately, Snider said, the bill is about transparency. Hunters contribute to conservation when they buy gear and tags, and they deserve to know how that money is being used.

“I love hunting and fishing. And I also love wildlife. So to me it makes sense. I really look at it on a more holistic level. It’s the opportunity to sue, it’s the management of healthy wild animal populations, it’s knowing that my money is going back into those animals,” Snider said.

Since last week, HB 78 has passed both the House and the Senate.