Game and Fish to hear hunters on ’13 season
By Angus M. Thuermer Jr., Jackson Hole, Wyoming
March 18, 2013
Wyoming Game and Fish will host meetings this week on the 2013 hunting season, including a proposal to again offer only 10 moose permits in Jackson Hole.
Game and Fish has already explained its plans for elk hunting, which shouldn’t change much from last year. One exception would be in the Spring Gulch and Teton Pass areas, where some archery permits are proposed for antlerless elk.
In addition to worries about moose, biologists are uncertain about deer numbers. They anticipate antelope licenses to be on par with last season, when they were curtailed.
Meetings will run from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday in the Afton Civic Center, where the agency will host an open house. Game and Fish will host a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at its office on North Cache Street in Jackson and at 6 p.m. Thursday at its Pinedale office.
The new archery license would encourage the slaying of elk on private land south of Grand Teton National Park and along the Snake River. A growing number of elk find refuge there, perhaps pushed closer to residences by predators and hunters on surrounding public lands.
“Some landowners might be amenable to archery, as opposed to high-powered rifles,” agency spokesman Mark Gocke said.
Short-range weapons and archery hunts are widely used in built-up areas where managers fear wayward rifle bullets.
Moose continue to be troubled in Jackson Hole.
“It continues to be a pretty bleak picture for the Jackson moose herd,” Jackson biologist Doug Brimeyer said. “We have continued to scale back hunting for the past decade, but it doesn’t seem to be making a difference in this herd.”
The agency has closed four hunt areas in the Teton Wilderness and combined two areas in the Gros Ventre Range region in recent years.
The Sublette moose herd south of Jackson hasn’t seen the same decreases, but conservative seasons are being maintained there after significant reductions in 2005.
Deer are on the brink. Poor shrub production on winter ranges has biologists worried about animals in the Wyoming Range Herd and the Sublette Herd, which includes the Jackson area.
While the winter has been relatively mild, late-winter storms could spell trouble. Managers worry about winter range after “decades of drought,” the agency said in a statement.
Pronghorn in the Sublette Herd near Pinedale have stabilized after the hard winter of 2010-11. License numbers for 2013 are expected to be similar to last year, when they were somewhat reduced.
Bison will remain in the crosshairs as managers seek to reduce the Jackson herd from a winter count of about 850 to the goal of 500. Last year hunters killed 200 bison. Managers expect 200 to be born this spring.
Those seeking to comment on proposals can do so through April 1 by writing to 3030 Energy Lane, Casper, WY 82604. Comments will be submitted to the Game and Fish Commission before its public hearing April 25-26 in Casper.