It is a new year. The holiday season has past. The shortest day has passed. The historically coldest days will soon be over. It is time to plan for the hunts this year.
Wyoming elk is the first draw due. I will cover that on down the page, but first, let me vent a little about the predator management is Washington.
I said predator management. That should have been the "lack of predator management". It seems that all other western states do better, well, maybe not California. The following sounds gloomy, but the cavalry in on the way. A lawsuit is being prepared. The WDFW will be pushed to manage responsibly. The clubs, the cattlemen, even the Indians are wanting change. We hear from those wanting to breach dams for salmon. But, they screamed when the Corp of Engineers finally killed some of the cormorants that are taking 20,000,000 newly hatched salmon a year. We do need to deal with mergansers as other states do. What about the thousands of sea lions that not only take salmon, but they are killing the sturgeon. we now have only catch and release. The Marine mammals act was modified to help with sea lions problem. I have a picture with 6,000 seals digesting their catch. The orcas need to quit eating the salmon and dine on seals. Sage grouse--They scream habitat and that is important. But, every study confirms that predation is serious. Ravens are spelled out every time. I was told they are federally protected. I asked the US Fish and Wildlife. They said a permit is not a problem. Nevada has killed thousands. WDFW went to Nevada to bring sage grouse for Swanson. We then killed some ravens. We now have sage grouse there, but a high up WDFW official told me that would only work on a small scale. Guess he did not go to Nevada. When I told a biologist that there were more raptors in the air than rabbits on the ground, he stated that, well, they evolved in this environment. No, they did not. They evolved under a canopy of sagebrush and bushes of all types, not the clean farming that has transformed a lot of habitat. We lose habitat, but not predators. Utah pays a bounty on Coyotes. Arizona guns them from the air when antelope recruitment is low. I have been pessimistic about the release of antelope here without coyote control. Other states have programs to keep numbers down. An initiative was passed outlawing baiting bears. Another outlawed hunting cougars with hounds. These can be overturned after two years. There are 25 or 30 cats collard in 117 and 121. You must wonder how many there are. I think WDFW came up with how many, then made the estimate fit the answer. I know those of us with eyes and cameras are seeing many. We know a cougar kills a deer a week from other studies. The department passed a terrible wolf management plan. A plan they could not follow. Control was based on ungulate numbers that they did not have. And letting them multiply unchecked in one area because they were not in another has not done our ungulate number in the Northwest corner any good. We don't manage other wildlife that way. The FEDS delisted that area, but not Washington.
Projects Are any of you interested in a deer rodeo? As you know, WDFW is conducting a predator - prey study. Catching deer has been difficult and they have not captured the numbers they want. The NWSC teamed up with INWC and purchased a capture net that will be arriving shortly. WDFW will welcome volunteers to help with the captures. Let me know if you are interested.
Big Game Draws Wyoming elk applications are due January 31st Wyoming has different application for different species. Elk is first. They have true preference points, but also a random draw in some, not all, areas. Unlike other states, whether you have no points or less than maximum points, you get one chance at the random draw. The point here is that if you don't have enough points for an area and you want to go, then apply only in an area with a random draw. Many applicants think they apply, but they have no chance. Another item is the cost. A "regular" elk tag application costs $707.00. A "special elk tag application costs $1283.00. Same tag, same hunt, same dates. The idea is that fewer will apply for the special, so they pay more than the ones that apply for the regular. It does not always work that way. Sometimes the odds are better for the regular tag. By the way, the costs listed do not include the 2.5% credit card fee. I have hunted in and killed a six point bull in unit 31 and another in unit 32. both of these are great. The areas South around Rocksprings without wolves are my preference. I applied and drew unit 111 last year farther East and closer to Casper. I wanted to scout bighorns in that area, and the elk success rates looked good. OOPS, there was a ton of private land. there was a blizzard. Temperatures dropped to single digits. Pipes froze in the trailer. The generator would not start. I left with my tail between my legs. I ate the tag. I will put Cathy in unit 100 this year, but even with 13 points, she has maybe a one in ten chance, but it is an easy area. The random draw odds are 5 or 600 to 1.