From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 7, Number 1 - March 29, 2007
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Reporterís Notes

Resource Management Plan

The Pinedale Resource Management Plan draft environmental impact statement (EIS) issued by the Bureau of Land Management is available for public review. The public is encouraged to comment on this plan in writing and at public hearings that will be held around the field office area.

Public meetings on the RMP will be held Wednesday, April 11 in the Sublette County Library in Pinedale, and on Thursday, April 12 in the Marbleton Town Hall. Both sessions will begin with open houses from 3 to 6 p.m. The public hearing portion will begin at 6 p.m. both dates.

The public comment period closes May 18. For more information, check out the draft EIS online at www.blm.gov/rmp/wy/pinedale.


Arts blog

The Wyoming Arts Council (WAC) now has a new blog for arts news and events in the state. It's called "Wyoming Arts" and it can be found online at: wyomingarts.blogspot.com/. Mike Shay and Linda Coatney of WAC area headed this new arts news spot. Shay encourages all artists, writers and poets to e-mail their blog and/or website links. The new blog's sidebar features links to the state's arts organizations, writers, artists, performers and folk artists.


Wolf delisting

The period for the public to comment on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceís (FWS) proposal to delist the gray wolf in the northern Rocky Mountain states was extended until May 9. Comments should continue to be electronically mailed to NRMGrayWolf@fws.gov, or mailed to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wolf Delisting, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT 59601.

FWS will hold a second open house and public hearing in Wyoming at the Cody Auditorium in Cody on Thursday, April 19.

The open house will be from 3 to 5 p.m. and the public hearing will be from 6 to 8 p.m. A brief presentation on FWS proposal will be given during the public meeting at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and will be followed by a question-and-answer period. During the public hearing, formal oral testimony will be accepted. Written comments also will be accepted at the public meeting and the hearing.


Wolves and elk

A new report released by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department takes a detailed look at the effects that wolves are having on elk populations in northwestern Wyoming. In the report, department biologists analyzed statewide elk population data from 1980 through 2005. Wolf reintroduction began in 1995, when the federal government released 14 wolves in Yellowstone National Park. Wolf populations reached recovery goals established by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2002 and continue to grow. At the end of 2006, there were an estimated 36 packs in Wyoming, including 311 individual wolves.

To determine the impacts wolves are having on elk, biologists looked at trends in calf:cow ratios over a 26-year period, both in areas where wolf populations have been established and in areas where wolves are not present. Of the 21 elk herds included in the analysis, eight are currently occupied by wolves.

Biologists feel an elk herdís population can be maintained at objective and provide some hunter harvest when the ratio of calves to cows is around 25 to 100. Once ratios fall below 20:100 there is very little opportunity for hunting. Four elk herds in Wyoming with wolves present have dropped below 25 calves per 100 cows, and two of those herds are below 20 calves per 100 cows. All four herds had declining ratios before wolves were present, but the rate of decline increased significantly after wolves were established. Currently, the only elk herds in the state with recruitment rates that will not support hunting, or possibly even stable populations, are those with significant wolf predation.


Hunting

Increases in some antelope quotas, shortening some western Wyoming deer seasons and lengthening chukar and Hungarian partridge seasons to run Oct. 1- Jan. 31 highlight the final hunting season and regulation meetings being held across Wyoming the first week of April. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WG&F) is also proposing to lengthen the sage-grouse season to run Sept. 20-Oct. 10.

Statewide, 6,500 more antelope licenses are being proposed, including 4,500 doe/fawn licenses. Nonresident deer regions C, F, G and H would be reduced slightly and B and D increased slightly. Most areas in regions G and H in western Wyoming would be shortened. Overall, elk seasons would remain liberal with increases in many areas outside of northwest Wyoming, including a jump of 100 any elk licenses and 600 antlerless and reduced price cow/calf licenses in area 7 south of Douglas. An increase of four licenses is being proposed for bighorn sheep area 1 northwest of Cody.

Final regional meetings start at 7 p.m. at locations around the state, with the closest sessions to be held April 3 at the WG&F office in Green River, Teton County Extension Building in Jackson, and the Fremont County Library in Lander.

If unable to attend a meeting, written comments will be accepted through 5 p.m. April 9 by mailing: Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Regulations, 3030 Energy Lane, Casper, WY 82604. Copies of the proposed regulations can be viewed at WG&F offices.

All comments will be presented to the WG&F Commission prior to the public hearing at its April 24-25 meeting at the Casper WG&F office.

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