Game and Fish to discuss 2007 Hunting Seasons
Public Workshop in Pinedale April 2
by Wyoming Game & Fish
March 18, 2007
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department invites the public to participate in the 2007 big game season setting process by attending one of the public meetings scheduled throughout the region. Game and Fish biologists and wardens will be on hand to discuss data collected this winter and the resulting season changes being proposed for next fall. This year public meetings will be held in Alpine and Pinedale, with the formal season setting meeting to be held in Jackson.
The hunting seasons associated with the Wyoming Range mule deer herd are always a topic of great interest. Wildlife managers with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will generally be proposing more conservative seasons for the fall of 2007. Managers will be proposing to reduce the season length by one week for many hunt areas in an effort to improve buck to doe ratios and maintain the overall quality of bucks.
"We've found that reducing the season length generally reduces overall hunter participation," says Jackson/Pinedale Regional Wildlife Supervisor, Bernie Holz. "We expect the shortened season coupled with a proposed reduction in the nonresident quota from 1,000 to 800 in region G, will likely result in 200-300 fewer bucks being taken next fall."
Holz is quick to point out that while these hunting strategies are likely to improve the number of bucks to does, it does not increase the overall number of deer in the population. "People need to remember that an increase in buck ratios does not necessarily mean there's a significant increase in deer out there on the ground. We'd like to see the overall population increase in the Wyoming Range herd, but we are skeptical that populations can increase until winter range conditions improve."
Managers all agree that the two greatest influences on deer, and all big game populations, is summer precipitation on winter range forage and then winter severity, with the summer precipitation probably being the most important of the two. "If we get good summer rain on our winter range forage, we can generally carry animals through a pretty tough winter," said Holz. "Unfortunately, we've experienced several years of extreme drought in addition to a decade-long drought trend and, obviously, this is something that is out of our control. We can control hunting strategies, but this is fairly insignificant compared to weather when it comes to building overall populations."
On the other side of the coin, Game and Fish wildlife managers are concerned about the continued high numbers of elk in the Fall Creek Herd south of Jackson. Elk counted at the associated feedgrounds were well above the established objectives again this winter and have been for the past several years. Hunters can expect to see liberal hunting opportunities being proposed for these hunt areas south of Jackson.
While elk numbers in the Jackson Herd are about where wildlife managers with the Game and Fish would like to see them, they are concerned with the lower number of bulls counted in the Gros Ventre area this winter. Wildlife managers will likely be proposing more conservative hunting in the Gros Ventre portion of the herd, yet still would like to see more harvest come from those hunt areas associated with Grand Teton National Park elk.
Wildlife managers were encouraged to see slightly higher numbers of calves in the moose herds throughout the region. Both the Jackson and Sublette moose herds showed slightly improved calf production. Last fall was the final year of the three-year closure of hunting in Hunt Areas 7, 14, and 32 in the Teton Wilderness north of Moran. Based on the improved adult survival and improved calf ratios, managers are proposing to ease back into some hunting in these areas this fall, with 10 antlered moose licenses being proposed.
Pronghorn numbers in the Sublette Herd continue to do well. Proposals will call for increased numbers of doe/fawn licenses in many hunt areas south of Pinedale to maintain stability in the herd, as well as address some damage problems on private lands.
To learn more about the proposed 2007 big game hunting seasons, plan to attend one of the upcoming season setting meetings scheduled in the region.
There are two public workshops scheduled to be held on:
March 26th from 6:00-8:00 pm at the Alpine Civic Center, and
April 2nd from 6:00-8:00 pm at the Pinedale Library.
Similar to the past, the meetings will follow a workshop or open house type format where those in attendance will have the opportunity to review information and have one-on-one conversations with local Game and Fish personnel. "Our goal for these meetings is to let everyone know what is being proposed and why, while allowing folks an opportunity to engage in discussion and provide us feedback," said Holz. "We've found that one-on-one conversations followed by written comments is good way to do this."
The formal season setting meeting will be held in Jackson at the Teton County Extension Building on Tuesday, April 3rd from 7:00-9:00 pm.
Written comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. April 9, 2007 and should be submitted to: Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Attn: Regulations, 3030 Energy Lane, Casper, WY 82604.
For further information you may contact the Jackson Game and Fish Office at (307) 733-2321 and 1-800-423-4113 or the Pinedale office at (307) 367-4353 and 1-800-452-9107.
The G&F supports the Americans with Disabilities Act. Anyone needing auxiliary aids to attend this meeting should call a number listed above. Every effort will be made for reasonable accommodations.