DOE/FAWN DEER AND ANTELOPE HARVEST EXTRA IMPORTANT THIS YEAR
Contact: Jeff Obrecht, WY G&FD
For Immediate Release
CHEYENNE – With a concern for wildlife the hunter states, “Antelope and deer populations are in such tough shape because of the drought, so I’m not going to use my doe/fawn licenses.”
Although the hunter’s heart’s in the right place, that’s not the best decision for the long-term health of the herd, says Harry Harju, Game and Fish Department assistant Wildlife Division chief.
“Getting a good doe/fawn harvest is particularly important this year,” Harju said. “With the quantity and quality of winter range continuing to decline due to drought, there’s less nutrition out there to get the animals through the winter in good shape. High numbers of deer in the past actually killed the shrubs these animals depended on for winter food. By harvesting your animal, you reduce the chance this will happen again and give another doe a better chance to make it through the winter and be more productive next year.”
He compares the situation to a rancher who sells some of his cows when range conditions get bad. “Ranchers reduce numbers of cattle when there’s nothing to feed them,” Harju said. “If you reduce big game competition when forage is short, you increase production of big game.”
Even with depressed antelope and low elevation deer populations due to drought and poor range conditions, the G&F tries to set license quotas that consider the condition and health of the habitat. “We didn’t expect forage conditions to improve over the summer,” Harju said. “Shrubs on most winter ranges had little or no growth again this year, and there were no forbs in some places. So it’s important to try and reach the harvest goals that were set.”
Game and Fish revenues have been substantially curtailed due to the reduction in deer and antelope licenses over the last four years, meaning the money to help improve the habitat is in short supply, he adds.
That loss in income, combined with inflation and expanded responsibilities, has prompted the G&F to seek a license fee increase in the 2003 Wyoming Legislature.
Jeff "Jesse" James - Owner of Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors
You can always tell who's in 2nd place by who's whining and crying the most. - Old hockey coach.
Dum spiramus tuebimur
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