2019 Wyoming Statutes
Title 23 - Game and Fish
Chapter 1 - Administration
Article 9 - Damage Caused by Game Animals or Game Birds
Section 23-1-901 - Owner of Damaged Property to Report Damage; Claims for Damages; Time for Filing; Determination; Appeal; Arbitration.

Universal Citation: WY Stat § 23-1-901 (2019)

23-1-901. Owner of damaged property to report damage; claims for damages; time for filing; determination; appeal; arbitration.

(a) Any landowner, lessee or agent whose property is being damaged by any of the big or trophy game animals or game birds of this state shall, not later than fifteen (15) days after the damage is discovered by the owner of the property or the representative of the owner, report the damage to the nearest game warden, damage control warden, supervisor or commission member.

(b) Any landowner, lessee or agent claiming damages from the state for injury or destruction of property by big or trophy game animals or game birds of this state shall present a verified claim for the damages to the Wyoming game and fish department not later than sixty (60) days after the damage or last item of damage is discovered. The claim shall specify the damage and amount claimed. As used in this subsection, "verified claim" means a claim which the claimant has signed and sworn to be accurate before a person authorized to administer oaths.

(c) The department shall consider the claims based upon a description of the livestock or bees damaged or killed by a trophy game animal, the damaged land, growing cultivated crops, stored crops including honey and hives, seed crops, improvements and extraordinary damage to grass. The commission is authorized to establish by rule, methods, factors and formulas to be used for determining the amount to compensate any landowner, lessee or agent for livestock damaged as a result of, missing as a result of, or killed by trophy game animals. Claims shall be investigated by the department and rejected or allowed within ninety (90) days after submission, and paid in the amount determined to be due. In the event the department fails to act within ninety (90) days, the claim, including interest based on local bank preferred rates, shall be deemed to have been allowed. No award shall be allowed to any landowner who has not permitted hunting on his property during authorized hunting seasons. Any person failing to comply with any provision of this section is barred from making any claim against the department for damages. Any claimant aggrieved by the decision of the department may appeal to the commission within thirty (30) days after receipt of the decision of the department as provided by rules of practice and procedure promulgated by the commission. The commission shall review the department decision at its next meeting following receipt of notice of request for review. The commission shall review the investigative report of the department, and it may approve, modify or reverse the decision of the department.

(d) Within ninety (90) days after receiving notice of the decision of the commission, the claimant may in writing to the department call for arbitration. Within fifteen (15) days after the department receives the call for arbitration, the claimant and the department shall each appoint a disinterested arbitrator who is an elector residing in the county where the damage occurred and notify each other of the appointment. Within twenty (20) days after their appointment, the two (2) arbitrators shall appoint a third arbitrator possessing the same qualifications. If the third arbitrator is not appointed within the time prescribed, the judge of the district court of the county or the court commissioner in the absence of the judge shall appoint the third arbitrator upon the application of either arbitrator.

(e) At least twenty (20) days before the hearing, the board of arbitrators shall provide the claimant and department notice of the time and place in the county when and where the parties will be heard and the claim investigated and decided by the board. A written copy of the decision shall be promptly served upon each party. Within ten (10) days after receipt of the decision, either party may apply to the board for modification of the decision under W.S. 1-36-111. Either party may apply to the district court for vacation of a decision under W.S. 1-36-114(a) or correction or modification of a decision under W.S. 1-36-115 within thirty (30) days after receipt of the decision or within twenty (20) days after action by the board on an application for modification under W.S. 1-36-111.

(f) If no applications under subsection (e) of this section are made after receipt of the decision, the commission shall promptly pay the amount, if any, including interest based on local bank preferred rates, awarded by the board. Within thirty (30) days after the award is final, the board's reasonable service and expense charges shall be paid by:

(i) The claimant if the award is no greater than the amount originally authorized by the commission;

(ii) Otherwise, the commission.

(g) For purposes of this section, eligibility for damage compensation shall include gray wolves located in:

(i) The area described in W.S. 23-1-101(a)(xii)(B)(I) or (II) regardless of the date on which the damage occurs;

(ii) Subject to subsection (h) of this section, an area of land designated by the commission in rule which is adjacent to the area described in W.S. 23-1-101(a)(xii)(B)(I) or (II) regardless of the date on which the damage occurs.

(h) The commission shall establish in rule a process for persons to request that an area of land adjacent to the area described in W.S. 23-1-101(a)(xii)(B)(I) or (II) be designated as an area where property owners are eligible for damage compensation for damage caused by gray wolves. The rules shall provide that:

(i) The adjacent area of land is outside the area described in W.S. 23-1-101(a)(xii)(B)(I) or (II);

(ii) The adjacent area of land is part of a contiguous tract of land a portion of which is currently located within the boundaries described in W.S. 23-1-101(a)(xii)(B)(I) or (II);

(iii) The adjacent area of land is privately owned;

(iv) The private landowner of the adjacent area of land consents to the designation;

(v) The designation of the adjacent area of land shall not subtract from or diminish the area described in W.S. 23-1-101(a)(xii)(B)(I) or (II).

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