wyoming game and fish department

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Scientists discussed new discoveries about big game migrations this week at a conference at the University of Wyoming. The forum—called “Sustaining Big Game Migrations in the West”-- brought together experts to discuss how to protect migration routes without hurting the state’s economy.

Wyoming Migration Initiative Director Matt Kauffman says such a forum is important right now because new science shows migrating animals are easily affected by development.

Photo By Yathin S Krishnappa, Wikipedia Commons

As mule deer populations decline, new research shows just how important migration routes are to the species’ survival. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission met last week to discuss whether to make stricter recommendations to federal land managers about how to protect those migration routes.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesman Renny McKay says, one of the commission’s goals is to better identify where animals stop to graze and rest—and perhaps offer stronger protection to those areas.

The Jackson elk herd is not wintering in locations that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department say can support such high numbers. While the overall population of 11,000 is healthy, several locations have more elk than they can support.

The National Elk Refuge and the Snake River Corridor areas are both bursting at the seams with elk this winter. Game and Fish Spokesman Mark Gocke says two issues are to blame animals are migrating down from better range to the north and they have unusually high birth rates this year. He says hunting could help the problem.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is asking Fremont County residents to keep their dogs away from deer, moose and other large game. The county has seen an increase in dog and wildlife conflicts in recent weeks, and several deer were found dead.

Rene Schell is the Department’s Lander Information Specialist and says with big game on the move, it’s important not to interfere with their migration. Schell also says cities like Lander have had to ban wildlife feeding, because that’s led to additional problems.  

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says that Sage grouse chick production was unusually high this year.

The agency has discovered that grouse hens had more chicks this year than usual, over two per hen.  That’s over double from last year.

Chief Game Warden Brian Nesnik says hunters submit wings of grouse they harvest to the department for analysis.  That’s how they determine what is happening with the bird.

Wyoming Game and Fish

The Wyoming Game and Fish will be reaching out for public input about the future of the state’s Game Bird Farm Program. It will hold public meetings until November 18th and an online survey until the 20th. The program stocks several hunting areas across the state and is now under review to gauge hunter’s willingness to help fund the program.

Wyoming Game and Fish Spokesman Robin Kepple Game and Fish says the results from meetings and survey are crucial to the future of the program.

The Wyoming House of Representatives again discussed whether to provide money to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for health insurance and for management of grizzly bears. 

Wednesday the House voted down an attempt to remove the Grizzly funding and Thursday the House defeated an amendment that would have removed health insurance funds.  House Floor Leader Kermit Brown says the additional money is needed because lawmakers won't approve license fee increases.

EJS, Prior to 1970 / National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center, Archives Center

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission voted Monday to impose limits on what types of motorized craft can be used on Teton County’s Snake River, and when.

Willow Belden

INTRO: Each year, the Game and Fish Department discovers dozens of wildlife crimes in Wyoming. They range from hunting without a license, to killing an animal from the road. The department takes these infractions very seriously, and runs a cutting-edge wildlife forensics lab to investigate them. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow visited the lab and filed this report.

Next week the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will begin a series of public meetings. They’ll gather public input on the rules and regulations the department will use to manage wolves in the state.   The rules will be finalized by the Game and Fish Commission in April. Chief Game Warden Brian Nesbit and the Department Director Scott Talbott talk with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.

     Wyoming authorities are stepping up warnings about moose-vehicle collisions along Highway 390 in Teton
County after some game wardens had to shoot and kill a suffering mother in front of her calf.  

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department says wardens had to shoot the cow moose Dec. 16 because her right leg had been shattered by a car. Afterward, her calf moose pawed at the corpse and ran around
in circles in distress.

New Wyoming fishing regulations take effect
beginning in January.
    Wyoming anglers generally will be allowed to keep six trout of
any size in lakes and rivers around the state but will only be
allowed to keep three trout from a river or stream, with only one
of the three trout being over 16 inches. There will be exceptions
to the general limit in certain waters around the state.
     The new regulation will allow anglers to keep up to 16 brook
trout of any size. The old regulation specified only six brook
trout could be over 8 inches.