From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 104, Number 43 - October 25, 207
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Use caution with area wildlife on the move

by Jonathan Van Dyke

Some people might want a pet moose. Many have had a close call with a deer in the headlights. Few wish to encounter a grizzly. However, this time of year, the likelihood of an encounter with each one of these wild animals has increased as many of nature’s finest move from the high country to avoid the impending harsh winter.

“Right now we have antelope moving south, deer have begun their migration for a few weeks and elk are moving to lower ground,” said Scott Werbelow, game warden supervisor of Jackson and Pinedale.

Couple that with the increased highway traffic absent 10 years ago, and you have some increased risk for automobile accidents, Werbelow added.

“Residents are pretty in tune with the animals, but we’re still hitting plenty,” he said. “It would be wise for [motorists] to slow down, especially at night.”

Heightened areas, according to Werbelow, include Trappers Point, Highway 191 between Pinedale and Jackson, and near the airport.“Last year and even two years ago I’ve seen more wildlife deaths than I ever have,” he said.

Moose will also be seeing increased traffic around the area.

“Moose are migrating as well,” Werbelow said. “They will typically move from high country to the willow area.”

He added that not all moose will come down, but that north of Daniel was a good moose cross.

“We do have some moose, and typically we have a few resident moose along Pine Creek and the New Fork,” added Dean Clause, wildlife biologist at the Game and Fish. “It seems like we may have just a few more moose around town.”

According to Clause, it is still uncertain whether there is any particular explanation for a few extra moose in closer proximity to town.

A natural predator of any of the above, the bear, will also be a bit more active during this time.

“Bears are eating day and night putting on fat,” Werbelow said. “We’ve had to relocate a lot of bears. We are bear country, grizzly bears.”

He added that beyond traditional cautionary tips about bears, hunters should be specifically careful if they do not immediately remove their game. There’s a good chance a bear could have found the game the next day if it was left behind, Werbelow said. Both experts implored residents to not feed the animals, as it could upset several “It’s not good for folks to feed the animals,” Werbelow said. “If they lose their fear of humans, that’s what can get them ornery.” Feeding animals can also disrupt the animal’s natural diet, Clause added.

“[Residents] think they’re doing them a favor, and that’s something we discourage,” he said.

Most of the food humans attempt to feed animals can be difficult to digest for them. “They can become poor in condition and health,” Clause said.

Suspicious behavior by animals or humans, who may be illegally poaching, should be reported to the Wyoming Game and Fish at 1-877-943-8848.

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