G&F Hunting Season Meetings

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Modest increases in eastern and central Cowboy State antelope and deer licenses, reductions in Jackson, Cody and Lander area moose licenses and setting upland game bird seasons for three years highlight the annual hunting season meetings being held around the state through April 1.

Hunters and other interested parties unable to attend a meeting are encouraged to mail comments by April 5 to the Game and Fish Department’s Casper Office at 3030 Energy Lane.

Also in the Jackson, Cody and Lander areas, antelope seasons will be similar to last year, but more conservative deer seasons are also being proposed.

The G&F is proposing to set upland bird seasons for three years, because hunting seasons as recommended will have little impact on upland game bird populations. The three-year duration will also reduce administration and publication costs compared to setting the seasons annually.

Through 2006, sage grouse season is proposed to run Sept. 23 – Oct. 3. In eastern Wyoming, the G&F would like to adjust the shooting hours during the general pheasant seasons at the Rawhide, Table Mountain and Springer wildlife habitat areas and the Glendo Pheasant Hunt to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to address pheasant release and safety concerns raised by the public. Last season, hunting on the areas began at one-half hour before sunrise.

Other recommended shooting hours adjustments include changing the closing time for all other upland game bird hunting from one-half hour after sunset to sunset. The change is proposed to make the shooting hours consistent with waterfowl and reduce disturbance to roosting birds.

In addition to setting fall turkey seasons, the G&F is also proposing to set the spring 2005 season so both fall and spring seasons can both be in one regulation pamphlet.

John Emmerich, the G&F’s assistant Wildlife Division chief, says conservative deer seasons are planned for western Wyoming. He said greater than usual winterkill in the Jackson, Star Valley, Cokeville and Big Piney areas contributed to the recommendations. Also of concern are low buck/doe ratios in the Cody and Lander area prompting four-point or better seasons being proposed for several hunt areas. Four-point restrictions are being lifted for deer areas on the west side of the Big Horn Mountains.

Continued low calf recruitment and declining hunter success is fueling another year of moose license reductions in the Cody, Jackson and Lander areas. Only five licenses are proposed for the combined areas of 11-13 and 31 east of Yellowstone National Park.

Northeastern Wyoming antelope populations are showing modest increases and with continued poor habitat conditions the G&F is recommending increased quotas to check herd growth.

The G&F is also proposing to reopen bighorn sheep area 22, the Dubois Badlands, and reducing the quota in area 2 west of Cody to 24 “any ram” licenses.

"Although almost all hunting seasons are at least a few months off, now is the time to air your opinion about the upcoming seasons," Emmerich said. "Although hunters are more likely to comment if they don't like a proposal, it helps us gauge public opinion if hunters would also comment when they support a recommendation.”

Wyoming's proposed big game, game bird and waterfowl seasons are being explained and discussed at local meetings across the state. Contact the nearest G&F regional office for locations. These final regional meetings begin at 7 p.m.:

The meetings start at 7 p.m. at the following locations:

March 31: Jackson, G&F Office
April 1: Casper, G&F Office.
April 1: Riverton, Riverton Library.
April 1: Green River, G&F Office
April 1: Laramie, Albany County Library
April 1: Sheridan, Sheridan College, Whitney Bldg. W136
April 1: Cody, Big Horn Federal Savings and Loan

If unable to attend a meeting, comments will be accepted through 5 p.m. April 5 by writing: Game and Fish Department, Regulations, 3030 Energy Drive, Casper, WY 82604. Copies of the regulation proposals are available by writing the same address.

All comments presented at meetings and received by mail will be presented to the G&F Commission before they establish 2003 hunting seasons at their April 26-27 meeting in Casper. The commission will also accept public comments at their meeting.

Anyone who requires auxiliary aids to attend a meeting should contact the nearest G&F office. The G&F supports the Americans with Disabilities Act. Every effort will be made for reasonable accommodations.