Game and Fish seeking public comments on hunting regs

SHERIDAN — As the first day of spring came and went this week, promising warmer days, local hunters were already dreaming of long, cold treks through Wyoming’s great outdoors to take that trophy deer, elk, moose, antelope or turkey this fall 2013 hunting season.

Dozens of area hunters attended an open house at Sheridan’s Game and Fish office Monday to discuss proposed fall 2013 hunting regulations.

“Game and Fish provides maximum opportunity with their resources. They really do a good job,” Mike Watkins said.

He attended the open house to discuss extending the season on Type 3 white-tailed deer licenses.
Game and Fish personnel from the Sheridan region will accept public comments regarding the proposed fall 2013 hunting regulations through the final Sheridan region meeting to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the C TEL presenation hall at Sheridan College. Staff will then compile the comments and send final recommendations to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.

Public comments may also be mailed to Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Attn: Regulations, 3030 Energy Lane, Casper, WY 82604. Mailed comments must be received by 5 p.m. April 1. Written comments regarding proposed regulations for the 2013 hunting season will be given to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission for review prior to its meeting in Casper April 25-26, at which the fall season will be set.

“So far I haven’t heard any major concerns brought up yet, at this point,” said Tim Thomas, district wildlife biologist.

Overall, the proposed regulations are similar to 2012, Thomas said. There are a few bigger changes, however.

One major change involves white-tailed deer in Area 24. The proposal for type 8 licenses is an unlimited quota, compared to 1,500 last year, to help Sheridan and Big Horn areas control large white-tailed deer populations, Thomas said.

Area 24, Type 6 licenses for doe/fawn white-tailed and mule deer will be reduced from 1,200 to 600 to try to preserve the mule deer population. Currently the North Bighorn, Powder River and Upper Powder River mule deer herds are onlytwo-thirds to three-fourths of management objectives.

The department is considering opening the Area 38 cow elk season for Type 4 licenses 15 days earlier, on Oct. 1, to help reduce the cow population. Areas 39 and 40, which compose the northern end of the Bighorn Mountains, would also be open Oct. 1 for antlerless elk harvest. Thomas said opening these hunt areas earlier will allow more time to get samples to test for brucellosis, which was found in the Bighorns in the 2012 hunting season through hunter testing programs.

Moose seasons will remain similar to years past. However, hunt areas 42 and 43 on the western side of the Bighorn Mountains will be combined into one hunt area 42 since the areas have been hunted together for several years.

The proposed sage grouse season will be three days, Sept. 21-23, with a limit of two per day, four in possession.

In fall 2014, the hunt areas for wild turkey will be combined into three areas instead of eight or nine, Thomas said. This will help make regulations simpler to understand.

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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