2006 Jackson/Pinedale Hunt Seasons set
Mule deer and elk seasons
by Wyoming Game & Fish
April 28, 2006
Regional personnel for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department presented their 2006 proposed hunting seasons to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission for their consideration and approval on Tuesday. The seven-member Commission approved the seasons for the Jackson/Pinedale Region as proposed. However, there were some changes made to those seasons from what was originally proposed at public meetings in March, based on public input received at those meetings.
There was considerable interest in the mule deer seasons from the hunting public, particularly in the Star Valley area. There was a general public sentiment encouraging more conservative hunting seasons for mule deer with the hope of building deer numbers.
"Not everyone got what they asked for," said Jackson/Pinedale Wildlife Supervisor, Bernie Holz. "But we did make some modifications to our final season recommendations, based on public comment, and the Commissioners agreed with those changes."
Most notably, the number of nonresident limited quota licenses was reduced in Region G from 1,200 to 1,000. Also, regional Game and Fish managers removed a proposal allowing for limited hunting of antlerless, or doe deer in Hunt Area 143 in the Wyoming Range.
"What it boils down to is we’re being cautious about building deer numbers based on habitat conditions right now," says Holz. "We’re coming off several years of drought that have left our mule deer winter ranges in very poor condition and we don’t want to carry an excessive number of animals that will only do further damage to the habitat."
Game and Fish personnel noted some improvement on winter ranges last year as a result of some key rains, but emphasize more is needed. "We’re not convinced key shrub species have recovered from the drought," said Holz. "We’ve suffered several consecutive years of drought and it’s going to take some consecutive years of good moisture, without excessive browsing, for those plants to recover."
Game and Fish also noted other impacts to winter ranges, such as the increased pace of natural gas development, that must be considered as well. "People need to realize that you can’t always have your cake and eat it too. Every new gas field that’s developed, every new subdivision that goes in, it all has an impact on wildlife numbers. There is a trade off."
One other season change from the March public meetings involved the Fall Creek Elk Herd south of Jackson, specifically Hunt Areas 84 and 85. This is an elk herd that has continued to grow beyond the population objective. To help curb that growth, wildlife managers originally proposed to add one additional week of general license hunting, Nov. 1- Nov. 8, for antlerless elk only.
While there was public support for more liberal hunting in these areas, it was suggested to allow the additional harvest through an increased number of cow/calf licenses rather than an extended general season hunt. The final proposal approved by the Commission called for 400 cow/calf licenses, or Type 6 on the application form, to be offered in each Hunt Area, 84 and 85. Those licenses will be valid from September 10 - Nov. 12 and can be used in the entire hunt area.
The elk Hunt Area 84 & 85 Type 6 licenses can be obtained through the normal hunt application process, with applications due to the Game and Fish Cheyenne headquarters by May 31st. All those licenses that are not issued through the regular drawing will be available through Jackson area license selling locations starting August 15th.