Game and Fish Uses Elk Decoy To Curb Poaching
by Wyoming Game & Fish
October 23, 2006
(Jackson/Pinedale) - For the second time in five years, Wyoming Game and Fish law enforcement officers from the Jackson/Pinedale Region recently implemented an elk decoy in the upper Green River drainage north of Pinedale to reduce the number of hunting violations occurring there. The young bull elk decoy was set up on October 1st in an elk Hunt Area that didn't open for antlered elk until October 15th.
From sunrise to sunset, a total of 62 vehicles passed by with 29 of those observing the decoy. Of those 29 that saw it, nine, or 31%, shot at the decoy. A total of 19 citations were issued over the course of the day totaling some $7,700 in fines.
Following is a break down of the vehicles passing the decoy and associated violations.
Total number of vehicles: 62
Total number of vehicles that observed the decoy: 29
Total number of hunters that shot the decoy: 9
Shooting from roadway: 6 ($1260)
Taking elk from vehicle: 3 ($1230)
Taking elk during closed season: 6 ($2460)
Taking elk without a license: 3 ($2340)
Transfer of license: 1 ($410)
Shooting from roadway: 3
No elk management stamp: 1
Elk area 95 has had a history of violations due to a later opening date, relatively abundant elk, good road access and the fact that it is limited quota hunting only. Regional Game and Fish officers have identified this as a problem area and used special enforcement task forces to increase the Department's presence there in recent years. In 2002, an elk decoy was used and proved very effective, resulting in 17 citations and 3 warnings being issued.
"We don't use decoys a lot," says Jackson/Pinedale Game Warden Coordinator, Scott Werbelow. "But we have certain problem areas where they are pretty effective and this is one of those areas. They're effective in that they put the wildlife, the game warden and the violator all at the scene of the crime at the same time. They're just a good tool to keep hunters playing by the rules."
In other Game and Fish news, wardens in the Jackson area have reported their third case this season of a hunter mistaking a cow moose for an elk. The first two were near Jackson occurring September 10th in Horse Creek and September 26th in Spread Creek. The most recent case was October 15 near Salt Pass south of Afton. Two were Wyoming residents and one was a non-resident.
"This is one of those violations that should never happen, but this is our third incident in just over a month now," said Jackson Game Warden, Nathan Johnson. "It just underscores one of the first things you learn in a hunter safety course, which is to be absolutely sure of your target, and beyond."
Enforcement officials are also reminding hunters to avoid a few other common violations they are seeing which include: no evidence of sex, no elk management stamp and no hunter safety card.
Many hunt areas and licenses are specific to antlered or antlerless animals and a hunter must leave evidence of the sex of their animal attached to the carcass. Also, most elk hunting in the Jackson/Pinedale region requires an elk management stamp, which can be purchased at any license selling vendor for $10.50. The specific elk Hunt Areas requiring and Elk Management Stamp areas 7072 and 7498. And finally, any hunter born on or after January 1, 1966, must carry a card proving they have successfully completed a Hunter Safety course. All hunters hunting elk in Grand Teton National Park or the National Elk Refuge must have a hunter safety card.
Wyoming Game & Fish, www.gf.state.wy.us