Wyoming Extends Elk Season in Cody Region

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In October and November of 2010, two livestock herds in Park County, in the Meeteetse area tested positive for brucellosis. "While the source of these infections is not confirmed by epidemiology, there is certainly a possibility that one or both infections resulted from livestock contact with aborted elk fetuses, tissues or fluids," said Game and Fish's Cody region wildlife supervisor Brian Nesvik.

According to Nesvik, extending elk seasons is not a common practice and is only recommended by the Game and Fish under unusual and highly selective circumstances. In this case, an extension of the elk season in the immediate area of the brucellosis discovery and adjoining elk hunt areas would allow the department to accomplish three goals. "Our first goal is to increase the number of blood and tissue samples from elk in an attempt to further define sero-prevalence levels in the Cody and Gooseberry elk herd units," Nesvik said. Seroprevalence is the number of individuals in a population who test positive for a specific disease based on serology (blood serum) specimens; often presented as a percent of the total specimens tested. A sero-positive test indicates an individual has been exposed to the disease.

The second and third goals are related to elk population objectives and reducing co-mingling between elk and livestock. Nesvik stated that according to the Game and Fish 2009 post-hunting season estimates, the Cody elk herd unit population estimate is 1000 elk over the population objective of 5600 elk; those same estimates indicate the Gooseberry elk herd unit is 1300 elk over the population objective of 2700 elk. "Therefore our second goal is to increase the harvest of cow elk," Nesvik said. "Our third goal is to displace elk from private lands occupied by livestock." Nesvik stressed that the actions the department is taking will not eliminate brucellosis in elk.

Even though the infected livestock herds occupy areas near the Greybull and Wood Rivers, increased hunting pressure will likely displace elk to adjacent hunt areas, therefore making it necessary to open the hunt areas east of Wyoming State Highway 120 and the north and west sides of Carter Mountain in the South Fork Shoshone River drainage. "Doing so will more equitably distribute elk on the winter ranges in this area," Nesvik said.

Harvest limitations for the extended seasons will allow the taking of antlerless elk only; bull hunting is not permitted. The Season runs from Jan 1 - Jan 31st. License type limitations are as follows.

  • Hunt Area 56 Limitations: Unused Area 56 Type 1, Type 4, Type 5 and Type 6 licenses valid for antlerless elk in that portion of Area 56 in the South Fork of the Shoshone River drainage
  • Hunt Area 58 Limitations: Unused Area 58 Type 1, Type 4 and Type 6 licenses valid for antlerless elk
  • Hunt Area 59 Limitations: Unused Area 59 Type 1, Type 4 and Type 6 licenses valid for antlerless elk
  • Hunt Area 61 Limitations: Unused Area 61 Type 1, Type 2, Type 6 and Type 7 licenses valid for antlerless elk; also valid in Area 62 and Area 63 for antlerless elk
  • Hunt Area 62 Limitations: Unused Area 62 Type 1, Type 4 and Type 5 licenses valid for antlerless elk; also valid in Area 61 and Area 63 for antlerless elk
  • Hunt Area 63,64 Limitations: Unused Area 63, 64 Type 1 licenses valid only in Area 63 for antlerless elk; also valid in Area 61 and Area 62 for antlerless elk
  • Hunt Area 63 Limitations: Unused Area 63 Type 4 and Type 6 licenses valid for antlerless elk; also valid in Area 61 and Area 62 for antlerless elk

It is important to note that only hunters who possess unused 2010 elk licenses for the designated hunt areas will be allowed to take advantage of this late season opportunity. Hunters will not be able to purchase a 2011 elk license," Nesvik said. "However, they will need to purchase a 2011 Conservation Stamp."

Nesvik also said that Game and Fish personnel will be very visible during the season extension. "We need to collect blood and tissue samples and incisor teeth from harvested elk, and the best time to collect samples is immediately following the harvest. Our personnel will attempt to visit each harvest site when that is possible. At a minimum, we are asking all hunters to collect blood samples and teeth for us," Nesvik said. "It is imperative that blood samples not be frozen. Once frozen, the blood sample is no longer usable so extra care and planning is necessary."

Most 2010 limited quota license holders were mailed a blood sample kit with collection and mailing instructions. However, hunters taking advantage of the extended season that do not have blood sample kits may pick one up at the Cody regional office or from the Meeteetse game warden.

A limited number of unsold, reduced price, cow or calf elk licenses are available for elk hunt areas 59 and 61. These licenses are currently being sold on a first come-first served basis through the Game and Fish website http://gf.state.wy.us and all internet point of sale license agents. Leftover licenses will not be sold after Jan. 1, 2011. A listing of agents is also available on the Game and Fish website.

Like any other hunting season, access to private land must be obtained prior to hunting. "The Absaroka Front, Pitchfork Ranch, and Carter Mountain HMA permission slips issued during the 2010 hunting season will be valid during the season extension," said Cody region Private Lands Public Wildlife coordinator Dan Smith. Hunters with valid licenses who do not possess a permission slip may obtain one on-line through the department's website by following the 2010 Hunter Management Area Permission Slip link.

The seasonal closure on the Sunshine Wildlife Habitat Management Area in elk area 62 will be lifted Jan. 1, 2011 to allow foot or horseback hunting and the Shoshone National Forest will reopen the Dick Creek road during the season extension. Both the road and wildlife management area will close for the remainder of the winter on Feb. 1, 2011.

For more information on the season extensions, license validity or hunter management area permission slips contact the Game and Fish's Cody regional office at 1-800-654-1178 or 307-527-7125.

Comments

jaybe's picture

That's Good!

It's usually a good sign when seasons are extended and/or bag limits are increased. It usually means that the herd is healthy and numbers are above the desired levels established by game biologists to maintain that health.

I'm so thankful that we have the freedom to travel around this great country of ours and be involved in all the outdoor activities that we have available. Whether it's hiking, camping, rock climbing, bird watching, fishing, hunting . . . (the list is almost endless) ... we can do it here!

Remember to vote for those candidates who support this freedom; they can't do this in France!