Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Wyoming outdoors report


April 27, 2016

Courtesy Wyoming Game and Fish

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has approved the 2016 big game hunting seasons.

Jackson Mule Deer Poacher Sentenced

JACKSON- A Jackson man was recently convicted of charges relating to the illegal shooting and abandoning of a trophy mule deer buck on private land north of Jackson last fall.

Travis Gros pled guilty to illegally shooting a mule deer on private land without permission, failure to tag big game and wanton waste of the animal.

Teton County Circuit Court Judge James Radda handed down a sentence of $1,320 in fines, loss of hunting privileges for two years and ordered Gros to again complete his hunter safety certification. A 180 day jail sentence was suspended while he serves probation and 60 hours of community service. Gros is also prohibited from returning to the neighborhood where the deer was illegally shot.

On October 7, 2015, North Jackson Game Warden Jon Stephens received a trespass complaint from a landowner near the airport north of Jackson. Warden Stephens responded to scene and found the large mule deer buck that had been shot and left. When the reporting party provided a description of the individual, it matched that of a hunter Stephens had checked in the area several hours earlier that day. When Warden Stephens confronted Gros about the crime he admitted to having shot and killed the deer on private land without permission, claiming he had initially wounded the animal on property he did have permission on.

"This is a good example how a concerned citizen stepping forward with information on a wrong-doing can make a big difference," said Stephens. Stephens also commended the work of Judge James Radda. "I think the sentence sends a strong message that wildlife is a treasured resource in Teton County and such wildlife crimes will not be tolerated."

Anyone with information on a possible poaching incident should call the STOP POACHING hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847), any Game and Fish regional office, or any Game Warden. Information can also be reported through the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's website at . Any information leading to an arrest and conviction may result in a reward of up to $5,000.00.

Boat inspections protect Wyoming waters

CHEYENNE - For a second time the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is partnering with outdoor recreation businesses to thank boaters when they complete their watercraft inspection. Boaters who have their watercraft inspected by Game and Fish can enter into a raffle for prizes, including a trout float or walleye fishing trip for two with Two Dogs Guide Service, a Byerly Buck Wakeboard with Shift CT Boots from Marine Products, a Minn Kota Endura Max trolling motor from the West Laramie Fly Store and a Lost Creek 4 Float Tube from Sportsman's Warehouse.

This will be Wyoming's seventh boating season following passage of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) legislation in 2010. Last year, over 47,000 watercraft inspections were conducted for invasive plants and animals, including zebra and quagga mussels. This included over 4,000 inspections on watercraft considered to be a high risk for transporting AIS, and of those 1,298 required decontamination to eliminate the potential for AIS transport.

"We really appreciate boaters taking the time to help keep Wyoming's waters clear of invasive species. The raffle is a means to say thanks for taking the time to help with this effort from Game and Fish and our partners," said Beth Bear the AIS program coordinator for the Game and Fish.

The Wyoming AIS Boater Appreciation Raffle will provide boaters who go through an inspection a receipt with a unique identifying number allowing boaters to go to the Game and Fish website, fill out a short survey and submit their entry. All prizes are completely funded by raffle sponsors. The last day to enter the raffle is November 26 and winners will be selected and posted on the raffle webpage on December 1.

Check stations will be open April 30 through September 25 at various ports of entry in the state. In addition, Game and Fish conducts inspections at major waters and at regional offices throughout the state. From March through November, all watercraft must be inspected each time they enter the state before launching in any Wyoming water. During all times of the year, an inspection is required if a watercraft has been on a water positive for zebra/quagga mussels. Boaters are encouraged to follow the "Drain, Clean, and Dry" protocol each and every time they launch, even when an inspection station is not present at the water.

"It is more important than ever that the state continue our aquatic invasive species prevention efforts, that boaters continue to get mandatory inspections when entering Wyoming from out of state, and that all boaters remember to drain, clean, and dry every time they boat." Bear said. "This raffle is a thank you to boaters who help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species."

Information on inspection locations including Game and Fish offices and private locations can be found at on the AIS website.

Game and Fish Commission sets 2016 hunting seasons

CASPER - The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has approved the 2016 big game hunting seasons. This means the public can now look at the final details related to hunting season dates and quotas for Wyoming's big game, wild bison, small game, migratory game birds, fall turkeys and upland birds.

The approved regulations increases the number of hunting licenses this year for deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and antelope. Though in the Pinedale region there was a slight decrease in deer licenses and in the Jackson region there was no change.

"We are excited about the hunting opportunity available to sportsmen and sportswomen this year," said Commission President Carrie Little. "We thank the public for all of the interest and comments we received and believe their thoughts were incorporated to shape these hunting regulations."

The public had expressed a desire for conservative hunting seasons for mule deer. The population of mule deer has declined over the last two decades, but is stable to increasing throughout Wyoming this year.

After several years of record harvest for elk, there was a slight decrease in the number of elk hunting licenses that will be issued, predominantly those decreases are in the Cody, Green River, Pinedale and Jackson regions.

"Game and Fish presented the best science to the public about population trends and what we heard back is that Wyoming people care so much for wildlife. Sportsmen and sportswomen want healthy populations of big game, even if that means fewer hunting licenses in some areas. What passed this week reflect good stewardship of the public's resource," said Scott Smith, Deputy Chief of the Wildlife Division.

Here are the statewide changes approved this week:

Antelope +4220

Mule deer +1550

White-tailed +1970

Elk -1465

Moose -35

Bighorn Sheep +8

Mountain Goat +8

Another matter was a change to the regulation related to using aircraft with the purpose of spotting and taking a game animal. The regulations now state that no person can fly between August 1 through January 31 of the following year with the intent of spotting, locating and aiding in the take of game.

The Commission also approved an update to the state's Chronic Wasting Disease Management Plan. CWD is a prion-disease that impacts deer, elk and moose.

Improvements to Renner Reservoir slated for this summer

CODY- Renner Reservoir, a popular bass fishery south of Hyattville is scheduled to receive much needed improvements this year. An informational meeting is scheduled for May 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Worland Community Center (1200 Culbertson Ave) in Worland.

Cody Region Fisheries Biologist Joe Skorupski said that while Renner has historically provided a relatively high quality largemouth bass fishery, over the last few years fish populations and opportunities for quality angling have greatly decreased. "During the winter of 2014, the reservoir experienced a near complete winterkill," Skorupski said. "Game and Fish surveys found only stunted sunfish the following summer. While largemouth bass have been stocked since the winterkill, fishing opportunities remain very limited due to a variety of factors."

Skorupski said there is likely no better time to address the key factors that have contributed to the decline of the bass fishery in Renner. "The first step to rebuilding and maintaining a quality bass population is to drain the reservoir. By draining the reservoir, we would be able to remove the stunted sunfish population, fix the outlet structure, and potentially dig out sediment in select areas to increase water depth. We then propose to restock the fishery with bass and a small number of tiger musky to keep the bass population from overpopulating and stunting."

The dam will be breached as early as next month to initiate the draining process. Depending on dry time and a host of other factors, habitat work and replacement of the outlet structure will begin fall of 2017. "We recognize that the duration of these efforts will be difficult for local anglers who regularly fish Renner," Skorupski said. "In the long run, this will be the best course of action for optimizing the fishery."

An informational meeting is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. at the Community Center in Worland. Public input will be accepted related to how to manage this fishery after improvements are completed.


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