WGFD proposes changes to hunting regulations

SHERIDAN — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has proposed several changes to its hunting license regulations — including extension of several deadlines and increases in gray wolf mortality quotas — that will be open for comment until 5 p.m. May 30.  The WGFD-Sheridan Region office held an open house Wednesday to discuss the proposed changes.

Comments not made at the open house can be directed through the Game and Fish website or through the mail.

Sheridan Region Public Information Specialist Bud Stewart said many of the changes were proposed to give hunters greater opportunities and ease of access and submittal for hunting licenses, especially since all applications must now be submitted online.

Proposed mortality quotas for gray wolves were nearly doubled from the 2013 hunting season. Gray wolf licenses and quotas apply only to the trophy management area in the northwest portion of the state, Stewart said.

In the rest of the state, gray wolves can be shot on site any time of year with a permit that can be obtained from local WGFD offices.

Stewart said 2012, the first year in which gray wolf hunting licenses were issued, the quota was high based on the management objective for the desired number of wolves in the state.

“We were able to knock that quota down, so in 2013, we had a pretty low quota,” Stewart said. “The animals responded like they so often do, and now we know we have a few more, so we’ve upped the quota a little bit because we know we can harvest a few more gray wolves and still maintain our management objective and maintain what is required as far as so many packs and so many breeding pairs.”

Out of 12 total gray wolf hunt areas in the trophy management area, the 2013 quota was 26 wolves. The proposed quota for 2014 is 43, with about half of the areas doubling their quota, a few increasing by one or two and a few remaining the same.

Other proposed regulation changes include:

• Application deadlines extended from 5 p.m. to midnight on all hunting license applications.

Stewart said the change seemed appropriate now that all applications are made online and don’t have to be processed by hand in the Cheyenne office.

• The Super Tag and Super Tag Trifecta deadline will be extended to July 1, with notification to be made on July 15.

“Originally that deadline was May 1, but we decided to extend it to July 1 because we were hearing from some people who said, ‘I won’t know until after May 1 if I’ve drawn my deer or elk or whatever, so I’d like to wait and see what I’ve drawn, and then I can buy these chances,’” Stewart said.

The Super Tag and Super Tag Trifecta is a new license raffle that was authorized by the Wyoming State Legislature in 2013. It allows hunters to enter a raffle for a chance to win the opportunity to buy additional hunting licenses.

The Super Tag includes 10 species, and hunters pick which species they would like to buy chances for such as elk or bison. Each raffle ticket is $10, and there is no limit on how many raffles can be purchased.

The Super Tag Trifecta allows one winner to pick which three species they want to hunt. Super Tag Trifecta tickets are $30 each.

• Only the preference points associated with the Sportsman Identification Number provided on an application will be considered in the preference point drawing.

Stewart said some hunters have ended up with two ID numbers, which has caused confusion. This can happen, for example, when a hunter goes by both Robert and Bob and ends up with two ID numbers.

“We’re specifying that if you have preference points, then they have to be associated with that sportsman’s ID that’s provided on the application. We can’t go back and search, and search, and search and see if you have preference points for that. The applicant has to have their stuff in order and it should be under one sportsman ID number,” Stewart said.

Hunters can call the Sheridan Region office to see if they have multiple ID numbers. If they do, they need to call the Cheyenne WGFD office to rectify the problem.

• Nonresident antelope and deer deadlines extended to May 31 and nonresident landowner antelope and deer deadlines extended to May 15.

Stewart said the deadline used to be March 15. It was extended because with online applications the Cheyenne office no longer has to bring in  a crew of 10 people or more to hand sort applications and do data entry.

“Now, when people do their own online, they’re all there, so we don’t have to have that whole period of data entry. The data is there, so we thought, well, if that’s the case, we can extend it for a couple months,” Stewart said.

• There will be no duplicate license fee charged when an applicant does not receive their license at the address specified on their application.

• General Sandhill Crane permits are now available only online.

• Central Visual Acuity Disability Permits will be available at WGFD headquarters and in regional offices.

Stewart said this change was recommended to better accommodate people who need such permits.

 

 

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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