Large Antelope 3 Letters
Large Antelope 3 Letters – Buck and fawn pronghorn roam the Green River Basin in 2019. While Wyoming wildlife officials cut 8,000 tags this year to combat drought and disease damage to the state’s livestock, they added tags around Pinedale and Jackson, where pronghorn are doing well.
Mule deer graze on Flat Creek on April 11. A decline in mule deer has prompted Wyoming Game and Fish managers to cut 3,300 tags statewide.
Large Antelope 3 Letters
Buck and fawn pronghorn roam the Green River Basin in 2019. While Wyoming wildlife officials cut 8,000 tags this year to combat drought and disease damage to the state’s livestock, they added tags around Pinedale and Jackson, where pronghorn are doing well. KATHRYN ZIESIG / NEWS&GUIDE FILE
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Concerned about habitat and population declines in the face of drought and disease, Wyoming wildlife managers are issuing 8,000 deer hunting tags and 3,300 deer hunting tags statewide.
The pronghorn and wildebeest populations in Jackson County are doing well compared to the rest of the county, wildlife officials said. But the picture elsewhere in Wyoming is not so good.
“And I thought the long-term disease outbreak was a very disappointing report,” Game and Fish Commission President Kenneth Roberts said at a press conference on April 19, reflecting on the report on the weather and drought and its impact on wildlife across the country.
Game and Fish Terrestrial Habitat manager Ian Tator issued the report, focusing on the current drought, which he said was the worst “coverage and intensity” since 10 years ago.
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As it stands, about 63% of the state is in severe drought, with severe drought in much of Teton and Park counties and the northeastern Bighorn Mountains. Along the Snake River, snowpack is at 85% of what it is this time of year, while the central areas of the state are at or above 90%; The Cheyenne River in the east is around 68% of the average.
“Lack of soil moisture will limit our shrub growth, which is an important part of our winter staples,” Tator told commissioners. “If things don’t get better now, next winter we won’t have enough bush to support people the way we want.”
Tator said drought often causes habitat loss, limiting vegetation growth in wetlands around rivers and lakes and stunting the growth of plants that wildlife depend on for winter.
Decreasing habitat is taking a toll on deer like pronghorn and wildebeest, which are struggling, said Doug Brimeyer, deputy director of wildlife. Unlike badgers, which have large mouths and can eat a lot of grass, moose and antelope are browsers and eat fewer types of plants, making it easier to destroy habitats.
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A new bacterial disease of the Wyoming pronghorn, as well as epizootic hemorrhagic disease, a virus that thrives in white-tailed deer and pronghorn during droughts, has brought pronghorn numbers down, Brimeyer said.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission also approved other hunting regulations, including some for the Jackson Hole area.
This included 20 new tags for bighorn sheep (four for each sheep, and 16 for ewes and lambs) in the Gros Ventre Mountains east of the National Elk Refuge, a new season and a six-fold increase in bucks and tags. of cattle. for hunting grounds south of Jackson, and reduced 44 mountain goat licenses in areas surrounding Grand Teton National Park.
The goal of hunting the bighorn sheep is to eliminate part of the Jackson Herd to reduce the population and prevent the spread of pneumonia that killed 40% of the cattle in 2012. The bighorn cattle are different from the Teton herd where the authorities are looking for new ones. winter closures to protect vulnerable people.
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The increase in elk tags, meanwhile, is intended to bring the number of animals in the Fall Creek Herd, which frequents Camp Creek and Horse Creek in the winter, back to the state’s goal.
The reduction in mountain goat licenses comes after Grand Teton ended aerial goat shooting and two seasons of hunting goats in the park that were aimed at killing the mountain goat population. Forest biologists say the herd competes with the forest’s bighorn sheep for winter habitat and threatens to spread disease to vulnerable populations.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has approved 48 tags to hunt mountain goats outside the park over the past few years. This year, the department reduced that number to four.
“We did a lot better than last year when we had about 3% hunter success,” Wyoming Animal Wildlife Department Deputy Chief Doug Brimeyer told wildlife officials. “So we’re going to leave those licenses. We’re going to keep a few there but for the most part, it’s been very successful. It’s done its job.”
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Brimeyer told News&Guide that he is not worried about the 91% reduction in mountain goat tags that is causing the goat population to increase, which threatens the bighorn sheep.
“We can always get rid of them if users come home saying they’re starting to show up again,” Brimeyer said of the numbers.
Drought is a complex phenomenon that affects habitat and disease, Brimeyer said. Dry weather increases the risk of EHD because it creates favorable conditions for mosquitoes to transmit the disease.
The sample said that the number of people who hunted after it was 363, 200 in 2021, about 84% of the government’s goal. The number of blue deer was 291, 700, about 61 percent of the national goal.
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21 animals came out of 74,900 animals in 2021, about 20% more than the population.
“That’s the only place in the state where the numbers have stabilized a little bit and we saw a few places where we wanted to increase the numbers,” Brimeyer said of the Jackson and Pinedale antelope herd.
Deer population trends in the Jackson area are declining, Brimeyer said. But he added that there are reasons for optimism: A higher fawn-to-doe ratio compared to previous years, fewer die-offs this past winter due to milder conditions and stronger numbers of bucks and rabbits.
At a climate change meeting in Lander last week, state wildlife managers faced minor disagreements over pronghorn management plans.
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But hunters looked at other state deer management proposals near Laramie and Greybull.
Although population numbers are down, the long-term prevalence of the disease in both areas led Game and Fish to create a new, smaller hunt for November in those areas, in hopes of reducing the spread of the disease.
“The areas that later hunt bucks are very small,” Brimeyer said. “If you can hunt before the big bucks, you can affect the spread.”
But the department took back the Laramie proposal — where it allowed hunting near Greybull to go forward — after receiving public comments from hunters like Zach Key, of the Muley Fanatic Foundation.
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“We left this out because we wanted to spread the word a little bit and make people understand the importance of why we’re reporting this,” Brimeyer told commissioners.
Key has argued against the new hunt, worrying that mass winter killings will not meet the government’s goal of reducing the devastating disease, particularly because of the long-lived prions that cause the disease. Game and Fish officials said at the climate policy meeting that prions, which are the unstable proteins that cause CWD, can live in the soil for 16 years. They are difficult to destroy.
This long life is what makes Key ask for the power of money tracking to control the disease.
“You killed a bunch of healthy deer that didn’t have it, you killed a few that had it,” Key told News&Guide, expressing his concern about the proposal. “But how do you get in front of a prion?”
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Brimeyer said similar hunts have been used in Wisconsin and Colorado and have been successful in areas where there is little to no invasive disease.
Sublette and Wyoming Range deer herds in western Wyoming have reported an incidence of less than 5%. Increases in Mountain Sheep and Laramie Mountain cattle are between 10% and 25%.
Mule deer graze on Flat Creek on April 11. A decline in mule deer has prompted Wyoming Game and Fish officials to cut 3,300 tags statewide. KATHRYN ZIESIG / NEWS&GUIDE
A state wildlife official said managers will return to the Laramie hunting area next year, possibly with a study to determine how hunting fall bucks can help control the devastating disease.
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“The only way we’re going to know if it’s going to work is to go out and do a pilot study in one area and compare it to places where we don’t use things like that,” Brimeyer said.