Wyoming Pilots New program in Elk Hunt Area 7
A new pilot program underway in elk hunt area 7 near Douglas will provide more opportunities for hunters to harvest an antlerless elk while reducing damage these animals cause to private lands.
The North Laramie Peak Hunter Management and Access Program (HMAP) is designed to address increasing elk numbers in hunt area 7, primarily in the La Prele Creek drainage south of Douglas. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department estimates there are approximately 9,800 elk in the Laramie Peak/Muddy Mountain Herd Unit, with 8,000 of these animals residing within hunt area 7. The population objective for the herd unit is 5,000 animals.
Limited hunter access to private lands within this hunt area has provided refuge for large numbers of elk and made it difficult for wildlife managers to keep the herds within population objectives. The program will represent a unique new way for landowners, sportsmen and WGFD personnel to work together to address elk management issues.
The program provides a new opportunity for hunters to access private lands to harvest a cow elk," said Lee Knox, Hunt Management Coordinator for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Knox will work with landowners to identify areas where the elk are congregating on private lands and then help point pre-selected hunters to those locations. "We're trying to place hunters where the elk are to give them the best opportunity to harvest an animal," he said. Knox will not serve as a guide and will not necessarily accompany hunters in the field. He reminds hunters to come prepared for a day in the backcountry. "This is a real elk hunt in rugged country, so plan accordingly. It's not going to be like shooting fish in a barrel."
The program runs from Nov. 21, 2010 until Jan. 31, 2011. It is open to antlerless elk hunting for persons with valid elk area 7- type 1, 4, 6 and 8 elk license. Each 3-day hunt period will have a limit of 15 hunters. Once the limit has been reached that hunt period will no longer be an available option. All applicants will be required to attend an orientation session on the first morning of their hunt at the Old Moss Agate School. After applicants have selected an available time period they will be able to print off permission and vehicle identification slips, ranch rules and a map containing directions to the Old Moss Agate School from the WGFD website at http://gf.state.wy.us/". Hunters who have purchased licenses through the WGFD website or through the IPOS system will need to register as a new user. Hunters who have purchased licenses through any draw should already be in the system.
Hunters will only be granted access to hunt on specific dates, and are asked not to contact any participating landowners for permission or location of elk. Hunters with valid elk area 7 licenses may apply now.
Hunters may also sign up on a standby list used to "fill the gaps" throughout the elk season. Knox may call additional hunters from the standby list on a first-come, first-served basis if elk are still available after all the scheduled hunters have had a chance to harvest elk in each time period. However, if elk are not present on enrolled lands, there will not be a need to place hunters at that time.
It is essential that hunters practice good ethics and behavior while hunting on private lands. It is the hunter's responsibility to know and comply with all ranch rules as well as WGFD regulations, which are both on the WGFD website. "The chance to hunt on these private lands is a privilege. The success of this program and future hunting opportunities on these lands depends on hunter compliance with all ranch rules and Game and Fish rules and regulations," Knox said.