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GILLETTE, WY PERMIT NO. 170

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Northeastern Wyoming

Hunting guide 2011

Inside S Antelope, deer, elk season outlooks for all of northeastern Wyoming S Maps, harvest update charts and area-by-area big game highlights S Licenses, stamp requirements

S Where you can hunt and walk-in areas S Photos of hunters and the big game they bagged last season S Game processing, hearts for raptors, the top 10 hunting violations and more

Brought to you by the Gillette News Record and The Gillette Advertiser


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2

Horse Creek Pheasant Farm.............. Page 11 Jack’s Drive In Liquors....................... Page 35 Koehler’s.............................................. Page 27 Lakeway Laundry.................................. Page 5 Locken Taxidermy................................Page 21 Maria’s..................................................Page 39 Marshall Jewelry................................... Page 7 Mule Deer Foundation.........................Page 15 Nelson Auto Glass................................ Page 5 Olds Processing...................................Page 17 Perkins Family Restaurant.................. Page 8 Pokey’s BarBQue & Smokehouse......Page 15 Prime Rib Restaurant.........................Page 39 Restaurant & Bar Listing...................Page 39 Rocky Mountain Sports.............. Inside Front Shell Food Mart............................. Back Cover Skyline Grille....................................... Page 19 Spotted Horse Bar............................... Page 9 Surf ‘N Suds........................................Page 29 T&T Guns And Ammo Inc...................Page 17 Tire Rama.............................................Page 17 Tlc Liquor........................................... Page 37 Town of Wright...................................... Page 7 Walmart................................................ Page 27 Wright Hotel & Open Range Steakhouse.......................................Page 29 Wright Napa Auto Parts.................... Page 19 Wyoming Marine................................. Page 35


Welcome to northeastern Wyoming Inside this guide, you’ll find information on the 2011 forecast for antelope, deer and elk from some of the most knowledgeable Game & Fish hunting officials in the area. And, while you’re in the heart of the nation’s richest coal fields, between two of the West’s most beautiful and historic mountain ranges, on the path to our great national parks and monuments ... stop for a while in Gillette, Wyoming.

What’s inside? Deer outlook............................................... .Page 4 Deer harvest updates................................. Page 6 Deer area map............................................ Page 8 Antelope outlook..................................... .Page 10 Antelope harvests............................Pages 12 & 14 Antelope area map....................................Page 13 Elk outlook..................................................Page 16 Elk harvest updates...................................Page 18 Elk area map............................................. Page 20 Licenses and stamps.................................Page 21 Trophy pictures................................ .Pages 22-26 Walk-in areas............................................. Page 28

Who can you call?.................................... .Page 29 Top 10 violations.......................................Page 30 Alcohol, gun & seat belt laws...................Page 30 Game processors..................................... .Page 32 Digital GPS maps..................................... .Page 33 Phy. Challenged Bowhunters..........Pages 34&36 Hearts for raptors..................................... Page 37 CWD testing............................................. .Page 38 Small game birds......................................Page 40 What else can I kill?...................................Page 41 Regional hunting outlook............... .Pages 42&43 Visitors Center......................................... .Page 44

The 2011 fall hunting guide for northeastern Wyoming is a special project by the

Gillette News Record and The Advertiser On the cover: Jonathan Russell bagged his second turkey April 10, 2010, off of Bitter Creek Road in Recluse. He killed the turkey with one shot from 11 yards away with a 16-gauge shotgun.

3


Deer hunting

News-Record Photo/Alton Strupp

Mule deer forage for food south of Gillette off of Highway 50.

Winter harsh on deer herds By KATHY BROWN News Record Sports Editor sports@gillettenewsrecord.com

While Campbell County’s prairie and wildlife habitat has flourished during an unusually green spring, the winter took a harsh toll on deer herds this past year. Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials dropped license numbers in 2011. “It was a nasty winter, in the northeastern part of the state, especially,” said Heather O’Brien, the Gillette area wildlife biologist. “The Black Hills in areas 1, 2 and 3 also were hit pretty bad.” Deep snow in northeastern Wyoming from Gillette to Newcastle also hampered the herd’s survival. “It was ugly,” O’Brien said. “We lost a lot of deer in that part of the state, especially in the eastern and northeastern portion.” As a result, Wyoming Game and Fish has reduced type 6 doe/fawn and white-tail doe/fawn licenses by 1,350 in the 2011 season. Part of the state quotas in Regions A, B and C also have been reduced. Most of that reduction involves does or fawns, in an effort to bring the herd populations up again. Nearly all the Campbell County deer herds are slightly below objectives. “We’ve changed it (the hunting season) to antlered deer only. You can’t shoot a doe this year,” 4

O’Brien said. Area 21 within Region B (southeastern Campbell County) licenses sold out because of the reductions. “Our numbers are down about one-third. That’s the biggest change,” O’Brien said. “Our deer population is really down.” That’s just not a Campbell County or Wyoming problem, either. It’s something that’s been occurring in the intermountain West. “It’s not an isolated trend,” O’Brien said. “A lot of herds in the West have been in decline.”

Wyoming Range deer Wyoming’s Game and Fish Department started a statewide mule deer initiative several years ago to explore the reasons behind the declines. “It’s a western-wide issue,” O’Brien said. “In other states, it’s also a very contentious issue.” In Wyoming, mule deer herds in the Wyoming Range in western Wyoming also were hammered by winter conditions, said Jeff Obrecht of the Game and Fish. “In short term for this season, there will definitely be some challenges around the state due to the severe and prolonged winter we had,” he said. The high-profile Wyoming Range herd, known regionally and nationally for its trophy-size deer “got clobbered over there,” Obrecht said. See DEER, Page 6


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Deer hunting PUMPKIN BUTTES DEER HERD: AREAS 19 & 20

POWDER RIVER MULE DEER HERD: AREAS 17&18

2011

2010

DIFF

2011

2010

DIFF

ESTIMATE

10,782

12,108

-1,326

ESTIMATE

40,196

50,450

-10,254

OBJECTIVE

11,000

11,000

SAME

OBJECTIVE

52,000

52,000

SAME

2010

2009

DIFF

2010

2009

DIFF

HARVEST

605

818

-213

HARVEST

2,925

3,476

-551

RESIDENTS

159

638

-479

RESIDENTS

880

2,111

-1,231

NONRES

446

524

+78

NONRES

2,045

2,724

-679

SUCCESS

62%

70%

-8%

SUCCESS

64%

72%

-8%

n 2011 SEASON: Wyoming Game and Fish reduced the total amount of type 6 (doe/fawn) licenses available in the area by 250. The population of this herd fell below objective for the first time in the past six years. In surveys this past season, most landowners said they would prefer to see more deer in three of the four hunt areas. The 2010 harvest was the lowest overall harvest, buck harvest and doe/fawn harvest in the past six years. The season will extend from Oct. 1-Oct. 20 in areas 19 and 20, and Oct. 1-Oct. 31 for doe/fawns in those same areas. n HIGHLIGHTS: The two areas in Campbell County are Clarkelen (Area 20) and Pumpkin Buttes (19). ... Even though buck harvest and hunter success has decreased, the buck ratio remains high, exceeding 40:100 in each of the last five years. Buck ratios in all hunt areas, except 20, meet the criteria for trophy management, although the herd is managed as a recreational herd.

n 2011 SEASON: Type 6 doe/fawn licenses for the area were reduced by 850 from the 2010 season. Type 3 licenses (limited quota white-tailed deer) also were reduced by 75 and there were 175 fewer type 8 (limited quota doe/fawn white-tail deer). Landowner perceptions of low deer numbers will likely result in more restricted hunting access on private land in 2011. Many landowners in areas 17 and 18 expressed alarm over the low number of deer compared to two or three years ago. Many complain of increased predator numbers, including coyotes and mountain lions. The general mule-deer season in areas 17 and 18 will be from Oct. 1-20 and the general season for white-tail deer in area 17 will be from Nov. 1-Nov. 30. n HIGHLIGHTS: The type 6 licenses were cut, leaving landowners only with enough permits to address damage issues. To avoid excessive pressure on public lands and walk-in areas, the nonresident license numbers also were cut. Still, the herd is expected to decline after the season to its lowest level in six years because of poor fawn recruitment.

Deer: Harsh winter conditions hurt area’s herds Continued from Page 4

“What it knocked flat was last year’s fawns. We’re missing that age class.” License numbers weren’t reduced in the Wyoming Range in the upcoming hunting season because a good group of older deer with trophy potential still populate the herd. But that could change in a few years when the impact of the fawn loss is felt. “The trophy potential the Wyoming Range is known for is still there and intact,” Obrecht said. “But it will have an impact down the road.” Obrecht said the moisture from the spring has improved forage conditions, and officials hope that will help with fawn recruitment this year. Another hard hit area in Wyoming was the Steamboat herd north of Rock Springs and Lander. “It was hit fairly hard, too, and fawn losses were pretty significant,” he said. Nonresident deer licenses were reduced from 1,200 to 1,000 this upcoming season in that herd as a result. Still, Wyoming remains a “premier destination for mule-deer hunting,” Obrecht said. But Game and Fish does realize that this is not 6

a tremendous mule-deer era, as the state has had in the past.

Wyoming deer initiative That concern sparked the initiative to study the species and develop long-range plans for deer development in the state. “The species sure has some challenges, not just in Wyoming but in the West,” Obrecht said. “We continue to be concerned.” Among the challenges for deer are the changing weather patterns, housing developments in previously undisturbed areas, energy development, and some predators. Obrecht said the state initiative is focused on the Platte Valley herd and the Wyoming Range, including the Mesa near the Jonah Field. “We’re focusing on the two highest profile herds and what we learn we’ll be able to apply to other places,” he said. “So stay tuned. ... It’s just a different playing field, a different game than it was in the 1960s.” Here’s the outlook for the Campbell County hunt areas: See Deer, Page 8


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deer hunting

Wyoming Game & Fish Map

Deer: Pumpkin Buttes herd below objective Continued from Page 6

Powder River mule deer herd This herd is the largest in Campbell County and also all of Wyoming, but it’s below objective and has declined since the 2010 population surveys. Encompassing areas 17-18, 23 and 26, the Powder River mule deer herd has an objective of 52,000. Heading into the 2011 hunting season, the population is estimated at 40,196, a 23 percent reduction. After the hunting season, the population will likely be around 37,715. That reflects a trend of slight declines in herd numbers stretching back to a peak of 54,472 deer in 2005. License numbers were cut back in 2011, including some nonresident permits. That cutback includes 75 fewer type 3 (any white-tailed deer) in area 18; 650 fewer type 6 (doe/fawn on private land) licenses in areas 17, 18, 23 and 26, and 175 fewer type 8 (white-tailed deer doe/fawn) permits issued. O’Brien said fewer landowners may allow hunting access during the 2011 season because of a perception of lower deer numbers. “Many landowners who have been contacted in hunt areas 17 and 18 have expressed alarm over the low number of deer compared to two to three years ago,” she said. 8

Those landowners also feel increased predator numbers, including coyotes and mountain lions, are behind the decline in poor fawn recruitment, rather than the harsh winters and cold springs the past few years.

Pumpkin Buttes mule deer herd This herd, which was slightly above the objective of 11,000 deer a year ago, now numbers below that. The herd has experienced a decline of 2 percent, with about 10,782 estimated in the population heading into the 2011 hunting season. It’s the first time since 2005 that the herd size is below the objective. “It’s declining, not really as quickly, but it’s still a red flag,” O’Brien said. The herd includes hunt areas 19, 20, 29 and 31. The biggest change is in general licenses for areas 19 and 20. That’s been changed to just antlered mule deer only. A total of 250 type 6 licenses (does/fawns on private land) also were issued in areas 19, 20 and 29. The 2010 hunting season harvest was the lowest for bucks and doe/fawns in six years. Most of the landowners in the areas also thought deer numbers were too low and most of them also wanted to see more deer.


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9


Antelope hunting

Wyoming Game & Fish Photo

Pronghorn antelope roam on the outskirts of Gillette.

Antelope cut by 2,000 licenses By KATHY BROWN News Record Sports Editor sports@gillettenewsrecord.com

The antelope big-game hunting season has been reduced by more than 2,000 licenses in 2011 because of the impact of severe winter storms this past year. “It was a nasty winter in northeast Wyoming and northern Campbell County especially,” said Heather O’Brien, the Gillette area wildlife biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “It was ugly. We lost a lot of antelope in that part of the state.” Deep snow covered forage and hammered antelope and fawns in areas 18 and 19 north of Gillette and area 24 southeast of Gillette, and all the way to Newcastle, O’Brien said. “The eastern and northeastern part of the state took a hit.” Only one of the four herd units in Campbell County is actually below population objectives, however. Still, the 2011 season will be more conservative or average. The north Black Hills herd, in hunt areas 1, 2 and 3, saw the most cutbacks in licenses. The Wyoming Game and Fish cut its licenses in that area by 850 type 1 (any antelope) permits and 600 type 6 (doe/fawn) permits. “The north Black Hills pronghorn herd unit is slightly below its population objective,” O’Brien said. “Several harsh winters in succession, combined with low fawn recruitment, has slowed the 10

growth of the herd.” O’Brien said deep snow covered much of the herd unit in 2010, with only a few isolated low areas that remained relatively open and exposed forage. That created severe conditions for the pronghorns. “Winter mortality of pronghorn is expected to be high and fawn numbers this spring are predicted to be much lower than average,” O’Brien said. Several antelope also migrated along the southern boundary of areas 3 and 19 along the right-ofway fence for Interstate 90. “One group of pronghorn near Moorcroft managed to find their way into the right of way and proceeded south across the BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) railroad corridor and into areas 7 and 24,” she reported. But several antelope were hit by vehicles on the Interstate in the process. Other pronghorn in the area may have moved into Montana or across the border into South Dakota. The Highlight herd in area 24 also experienced a difficult winter, especially in the northern part of the area. “There was lots of deep snow and forage covered up by snow,” O’Brien said. But she hopes the herd redistributed itself a bit in the area because of the conditions. Game and Fish reduced doe/fawn type 6 licenses by 300, but added 100 type 1 any antelope permits in the Highlight area. See antelope, Page 12


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11


Antelope hunting HIGHLIGHT: AREA 24

GILLETTE HERD: AREA 17

2011

2010

DIFF

2011

2010

DIFF

POPULATION

13,108

12,331

+777

OBJECTIVES

11,000

11,000

SAME

ESTIMATE

12,038

14,570

-2,532

OBJECTIVE

11,000

11,000

SAME

2010

2009

DIFF

2010

2009

DIFF

HARVEST

1,020

1,151

-131

HARVEST

1,208

1,128

+80

RESIDENTS

438

482

-44

RESIDENTS

360

485

-125

NONRES

881

804

+77

NONRES

848

814

+34

SUCCESS

93%

90%

+3%

SUCCESS

86%

87%

-1%

n 2011 SEASON: The season will include 1,000 type 1 licenses for any antelope, an increase of 100 from the 2010 season. The licenses for type 6 does/fawns has decreased by 300 to 500 overall. The season will run from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31. The herd has been managed near objective for the past three years and Game and Fish estimates a harvest of 1,020 pronghorn in 2011, similar to 2007-09. Although much of this area includes private lands, access has improved in recent years. n HIGHLIGHTS: Much of this area is southeast of Gillette near coal mines and is in privately owned. ... In 2008, the type 1 any antelope licenses sold out. In the past two years, those licenses have come close to selling out. ... Since the herd unit is now beginning to decrease toward its population objective, Game and Fish will slightly reduce the total number of licenses to maintain the population.

n 2011 SEASON: A total of 400 fewer licenses were issued for this area, including 200 less type 1 any antelope permits. A year ago, the area undersold type 1 licenses by 204. A total of 123 type 6 (doe/fawn) licenses were unsold 2010, and those were reduced to slow the population decline and keep the herd close to objective. The season will run from Oct. 1-31 with 1,200 licenses for any antelope and 400 doe/fawn permits. n HIGHLIGHTS: The projected harvest in 2011 would be the lowest since 2005 in this area, if it meets expectations. Landowner surveys indicate a majority of landowners want a season similar to 2010. ... Poor fawn recruitment has also been reported the past few years. ... New walk-in areas are being actively sought to provide more hunting opportunities to the public, since a majority of the area is in private hands. ... There also have been increased complaints from landowners about predators taking fawn antelope.

Antelope: Area 17 herd is slightly above objective Continued from Page 10

The statewide outlook Other areas in Wyoming experienced some of the same harsh winter conditions and impacted the antelope populations. “But overall, it’s better than mule deer,” said Jeff Obrecht of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in Cheyenne. “There’s still more pronghorn in Wyoming than we’ve got people,” he added. “The pronghorn seem to be rolling with the challenges better than the mule deer are. “When it comes to Wyoming, pronghorn are premier. We have good habitat for them and so few people.” Obrecht said the state is still hoping to see a rebound in antelope numbers in the legendary Red Desert area. “We’re hoping, with all the moisture, that we start turning the corner there,” he added. Here’s a look at the Campbell County hunt areas:

Area 17 Gillette herd The population of the herd is estimated at 12,038, just slightly over the objective of 11,000. But the population is lower than it was a year ago at this point and more than 3,700 below the 12

average for 2005-09. “In some areas, it seems like the antelope just moved out,” O’Brien said. “Much of northeastern Wyoming had deep and persistent snow accumulation that affected the movements and over-winter survival. In the Gillette pronghorn herd, deep snows persisted in the north central portions of the herd unit, particularly in the Echeta and Recluse areas north of Gillette,” O’Brien said. Some areas near Powder River, Little Powder River and Horse Creek had less accumulation of snow than other parts of the unit, so antelope were seen congregating there. “While there were a low number of mortality reports from landowners and the public, it is suspected that winter mortality for 2010 was higher than average due to the persistent and deep snows that covered much of the unit,” she said. Surveys will be conducted later this year to determine population estimates. The hunting season dates are the same in 2011 as they were in 2010: Oct. 1 through Oct. 31. A total of 1,200 type 1 licenses were available and 400 type 6 licenses for doe or fawn. That’s a decrease of 200 type 1 and 200 type 6 permits from a year ago. See antelope, Page 14


antelope hunting Hunting areas in northeastern Wyoming

Wyoming Game & Fish Map

Antelope: Black Hills herd down about 9 percent Continued from Page 12

But most of those licenses cut were leftover from a year ago. The cutbacks are an effort to slow population decline and keep the herd close to its objective.

Areas 1, 2 and 3, Northern Black Hills The population estimate for this herd unit is 12,832, about 9 percent below the objective of 14,000. The herd actually covers five different hunt areas. Most landowners in the areas sought a more conservative hunting season, especially those in areas 1, 2 and 3. Most of the landowners also were not willing to take more hunters in 2011. Heavy spring snows and cold spring tempera-

tures in 2009 and 2010 greatly decreased fawn rations, particularly in areas 18 and 19. The private-land restriction was reinstated in type 6 licenses for areas 18 and 19 to protect antelope numbers on the public Thunder Basin National Grasslands and Burnt Hollow Recreation Area. The 2010 harvest in the herd unit (1,311) was much lower than the previous three years, a reflection of the low antelope numbers and less access for hunters on private land. Hunter success also decreased to 88 percent, a drop from the five-year average of 96 percent. Nearly 700 licenses offered in 2010 went unsold, including 432 type 1 (any antelope) permits. See antelope, Page 14

13


antelope hunting NORTHERN BLACK HILLS HERD: AREAS 18 & 19

PUMPKIN BUTTES HERD: AREA 23 2011

2010

DIFF

ESTIMATE

23,593

23,206

+387

OBJECTIVE

18,000

18,000

SAME

2010

2009

DIFF

HARVEST

2,378

2,591

-213

-25

RESIDENTS

405

621

-216

1,973

2,005

-32

89%

95%

-6%

2011

2010

DIFF

ESTIMATE

12,832

15,210

-2,378

OBJECTIVE

14,000

14,000

SAME

2010

2009

DIFF

HARVEST

1,311

879

-85

RESIDENTS

315

340

NONRES

996

627

+369

NONRES

SUCCESS

86%

90.6%

-3.4%

SUCCESS

n 2011 SEASON: Licenses were reduced drastically in this herd unit, including 850 type 1 for any antelope and 600 type 6 for doe/fawns. Much of that cutback is in areas 1, 2 and 3, including Crook County, Bear Lodge and Keyhole. The Campbell County areas of Rocky Point and Rozet were reduced by a combined 500 licenses. The Campbell County season will run from Oct. 1-20 for any antelope, with 500 licenses issued, and Oct. 1-31 for does/fawns, with 150 available on private land only to protect numbers in the Thunder Basin National Grasslands. n HIGHLIGHTS: This herd unit includes five different hunt areas, and landowners wanted hunting pressure to be conservative or remain the same for the most part. But in 2010, because of a harsh winter, more landowners wanted a more conservative season, especially in areas 1, 2 and 3. ... Placing hunters on private lands has been difficult in previous years and likely will be more difficult during the 2011 season.

n 2011 SEASON: The season will run Oct. 1-Oct. 31, with 2,000 limited quota any antelope licenses issued and 1,500 type 6 doe/fawn permits. No changes are proposed for the season. The herd has been at or above population objectives since 1999. The 2010 harvest of 2,378 pronghorn is similar to totals over the past three seasons. That’s due in part by more licenses available and higher doe harvest and over-the-counter licenses sales. A total of 201 type 1 and 250 type 6 licenses were unsold in 2010. n HIGHLIGHTS: The Pumpkin Buttes herd has been above population objectives for 13 straight years and increased in size despite drought and poor range conditions from 2002-06. ... While most of the area is privately owned, access has been the biggest issue in managing the herd. ... Landowners appear to be increasing access to hunters willing to harvest does. ... Increased level of coal bed methane activity also has limited hunters. ... More human-pronghorn conflicts have occurred with increasing development.

Antelope: Pumpkin Buttes herd exceeds objective Continued from Page 12

Area 23, Pumpkin Buttes

Area 24, Highlight

This herd continues to exceed its objective of 18,000. Game and Fish estimates the population at 23,593, about 31 percent above objective. So no change will take place in the 2011 hunting season. A year ago, licenses undersold in the area, which is prime pronghorn habitat. “With flat to rolling terrain, even if it snows in winter, the ground blows clear,” O’Brien said. More pronghorn are usually found within the agriculture lands on the eastern half of the area, because of the availability of water and greener forage later in the summer. “While there were a few reports of antelope stuck in fences or chased by domestic dogs in the northern portions of the herd unit, the majority of the Pumpkin Buttes herd ... appeared to survive the winter with few reports of mortality,” O’Brien said. The 2011 hunting season will stretch from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31 and includes 2,000 type 1 (any antelope) licenses and 1,500 type 6 (doe/fawn) licenses.

A total of 13,108 antelope are estimated in this herd, which has an objective of 11,000. The herd is located south of Interstate 90 from Gillette to Moorcroft, between Highway 59 and the Rochelle Hills Divide, and north of Highway 450. There were some losses recorded this past winter, but much of it was restricted to the northern portions, where range conditions were poor and had been dry over the previous summer and fall. “Some landowners in the area expressed concern about reduced numbers of pronghorn and deer available for hunting,” O’Brien said. “The southern portion of the herd, conversely, didn’t appear to experience any significant losses.” The Game and Fish added 100 type 1 any antelope licenses to help handle a high buck ratio in the area. At the same time, the doe/fawn type 6 licenses were reduced by 300. Overall, 1,000 type 1 licenses and 500 doe/ fawn type 6 licenses were available for the 2011 season. The season stretches from Oct. 1 through Oct. 31. 14


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Elk hunting

Wyoming Game & Fish Photo

An elk moves through the high grass in northeastern Wyoming.

Rochelle, Fortification herds look promising this season By WADE McMILLIN News Record Writer wmcmillin@gillettenewsrecord.net

Elk hunters should be able to find some luck when stalking two promising herds in northeast Wyoming. The elk herds in hunt areas 113 and 123 (Rochelle Hills) and area 2 (Fortification) have been above objective for at least the past six years. Populations are slightly below what they were last season, but that won’t affect license numbers this season, said Heather O’Brien, the Gillette area wildlife biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. A total of 75 type 4 antlerless elk licenses were offered in hunt area 123, an increase from the 50 sold last year. The season is from Oct. 21-31. Area 123 also will reopen its type 1 any elk season from Sept. 10- Sept. 30 and 50 licenses were offered. That’s an increase of 50 from a year ago when no type 1 licenses were available. This year, area 113 won’t have an any elk season, but 75 type 4 (antlerless) elk licenses were offered, an increase of 50 from a year ago. That season in scheduled from Nov. 5-Nov. 30. 16

Once hunters nab those tags, history shows they have a good chance to take down a goodsize elk, possibly even some trophies. Last season, hunters had a 70 percent success rate in Rochelle Hills — a high since 2007 — and 66 percent success rate in the more rugged Fortification area. “We had a really, really excellent harvest success rate,” O’Brien said. “Part of the reason for the harvest success being so high was because we have bull tags. People who want those tags put in a lot of effort to be successful.”

Area 113 and 123, Rochelle Hills herd The proposed harvest in Rochelle Hills for 2011 includes 60 cows, 15 calves and 40 bulls, which is higher than in 2010. In recent years, poor range conditions in the southern portion of area 123 forced elk to shift onto ungrazed private lands in the northeastern portion of the area. Over the past year, the herd is beginning to disperse again to the southern parts of the hunt area as forage conditions have improved. See Elk, Page 18

Addi area 11 in orde also are improve to coun The h season The pop number For th conside higher l others w Histo vatively at a tim men of quality formula bull hun consiste Area for elk. hunters The a 1-9 and “That like to g “It giv you can

Area 2

The p and the percent herd is After Fish ind Last f that O’B From But in 2 If the more ti the num less elk “You the mor O’Brien This restrict the first From request hunters A rad with GP is conti develop Fortifica More GPS co during e


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Elk hunting FORTIFICATION ELK HERD: AREA 2 2011

2010

DIFF

ESTIMATE

228

227

+1

OBJECTIVE

150

150

SAME

2010

2009

DIFF

HARVEST

50

49

+1

RESIDENTS

47

41

NONRES

3

8

SUCCESS

66%

70%

ROCHELLE HILLS ELK HERD: AREA 113, 123 2011

2010

DIFF

ESTIMATE

728

569

+159

OBJECTIVE

400

400

SAME

2010

2009

DIFF

HARVEST

81

107

-26

+6

RESIDENTS

76

95

-19

-5

NONRES

5

12

-7

-4%

SUCCESS

70%

67%

+3%

n 2011 SEASON: There's an increase of 20 type 1 limited quota licenses for any elk to 60 permits. There also is 10 less type 4 licenses for antlerless elk, for a total of 30, for the season from Oct. 21-31. For a three-day period from Oct. 21-23, landowners will restrict access. From Oct. 24-31, they will open private lands to hunters requesting access. n HIGHLIGHTS: This small elk herd has flourished in the rugged area. It grew well above objective from 1995-99. It has been over objective for 26 years and is an estimated 52 percent over the objective in 2011 ... Most of the occupied range for this herd is administrated by the BLM. Private land is scattered, but also surrounds the herd. ... Some landowners allowing access to this elk herd seem to be relatively happy with the management direction for this elk herd, and have allowed 100% access to hunters.. ... A study into the behavior and movements of this herd is in its third year this season. A graduate student continues to collect data from radio-collared cows.

n 2011 SEASON: Type 1 any elk licenses won’t be offered in area 113 because of an annual rotation between the two areas. However, there was an increase of 50 type 4 (cow/calf or antlerless elk) licenses in area 113. In area 123, a type 1 season was added and offers 50 licenses. There was also an increase of 25 type 4 antlerless elk licenses. Only a type 4 season will be in area 113 from Nov. 5-Nov 30. In area 123, the type 1 season is from Sept 10-30 and the type 4 season in from Oct. 21-31. n HIGHLIGHTS: Historically, this herd has been hunted conservatively, with hunt Areas 113 and 123 being closed for two years at a time to allow for trophy bull growth. ... There is a concern that more frequent seasons for this herd could result in fewer licenses per season. ... However, that pattern has changed the past two years to include a bull hunt every other year for each hunt area, along with a consistent low level of cow harvest. That change should help control the potential for climbing bull/cow ratios, while still improving bull quality.

Elk: Fortification is about 52% over the objective Continued from Page 16

Additionally, landowners in the southern portions of area 113 said they would like to continue harvest on cows in order to curb population growth. Those landowners also are participating in riparian and sage grouse habitat improvement projects and don’t want high numbers of elk to counteract their efforts to increase grass and forb cover. The herd is estimated at 728 elk heading into the 2011 season and likely will remain at that level after the season. The population objective is 400 and the herd is above that number for the 12th year in a row. For that reason, the Game and Fish may at some point consider adjusting the population objective for the herd at a higher level. But that is something private landowners and others would need to support. Historically, the Rochelle herd has been hunted conservatively, with areas 113 and 123 being closed for two years at a time to allow for trophy bull growth. While the regimen of hunting seasons had the potential to produce high-quality bulls, it also resulted in high bull to cow ratios. That formula has been adjusted the past two 18

years to include a bull hunt every other year for each hunt area, along with a consistent low level of cow harvest. Area 123 and 113 also will have separate archery seasons for elk. Area 123 has become a coveted license for bow hunters. The archery season for area 123 is scheduled from Sept. 1-9 and in area 113 it’s from Sept. 1-30. “That’s become a coveted thing, too,” O’Brien said. “They like to get in and call them in during the rut.” “It gives you first dibs basically. If you’re not successful, you can always try again with a rifle.”

Area 2, Fortification herd The population objective for the Fortification herd is 150 and the estimate heading into the season is 228, about 52 percent over the objective. It’s the 10th straight year the herd is bigger than the objective. After the 2011 hunting season, the Wyoming Game and Fish indicates the herd will include 210 elk. See Elk, Page 20


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Elk hunting Hunting areas in northeastern Wyoming

Wyoming Game & Fish Map

Elk: Radio collar study involves 58 cow elk Continued from Page 16

Last fall, a survey also indicated a high bull to cow ratio that O’Brien said may be too high. From 2005-09, the ratio averaged 44 bulls per 100 cows. But in 2011, the ratio was 52 bulls per 100 cows. If the ratio gets too high, O’Brien said, the bulls spend more time fighting with each other. So officials increased the number of bull tags by 20 and lowered the type 4 antlerless elk tags by 10 to try to lower that ratio a bit. “You might have a bunch of nice bulls in there, but the more you have, the more they fight with each other,” O’Brien said. This year, similar to previous years, landown20

ers will restrict access to paid hunters and family from Oct. 21-23, the first three days of the season. From Oct. 24-31, landowners will be open to hunters requesting access. In the past, they’ve opened access to hunters for free over the final week. A radio-collar study involving 58 cow elk equipped with GPS collars also is taking place. A graduate student is continuing to collect data to study the effects of energy development and disturbance on herd movements in the Fortification area. More elk were captured in March 2011 to replace old GPS collars and those additional elk will be monitored during energy development in the area.


What does it cost to hunt and fish? STAMPS S Conservations stamp: $12.50 (required to hunt in Wyoming) S Reciprocity stamp: $10 S Wildlife damage management stamp: $10

ARCHERY S Nonresident license: $30 S Resident license: $16

ANTELOPE S Nonresident: $272 S Nonresident doe/fawn: $34 S Nonresident youth: $110

S Nonresident youth doe/fawn: $19 S Resident: $33 S Resident doe/fawn: $22 S Resident youth: $15 S Resident youth doe/fawn: $14

DEER S Nonresident: $312 S Nonresident doe/fawn: $34 S Nonresident youth: $110 S Nonresident youth doe/fawn: $19 S Resident: $33 S Resident doe/fawn: $22 S Resident youth: $15 S Resident youth doe/fawn: $14

ELK

LICENSE AGENTS

S Nonresident: $577 S Nonresident cow/calf: $228 S Nonresident youth: $275 S Nonresident youth cow/calf: $100 S Resident: $52 S Resident cow/calf: $43 S Resident youth: $25 S Resident cow/calf: $20

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21


Proof photos of the hunt is in the

D

id you bag the big one? Just like a good fishing story, every hunter has a tale about the one that got away. But when telling a tale about the skill and tracking involved to bag the big one that now hangs on the wall, a good photo sure helps. As long as you bagged it in Campbell County or are a Campbell County hunter who took down the game somewhere else in the world, you’re eligible. If you want a shot at being included in next year’s photo wrap-up, send your 2011 hunt pictures to Gillette News Record sports department, 2012 Hunting Guide, P.O. Box

3006, Gillette, WY 82717 or e-mail them to dsutton@gillettenewsrecord.net. You MUST include: S The hunter’s first and last name (hunter must be in the photo.) S Where the hunter lives. S When and where the animal was taken. Be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you want it returned by mail. Or, you can stop by the New -Record office after the issue is published. But be sure and keep a copy of your trophy photo on hand because the News Record is not responsible for lost or damaged photos.

Dustin Harden of Gillette took down this bear from 19 yards away Sept. 2 in the Big Horns. 22


proof is in the photos

James Chick of Gillette shot a 71â „2-year-old ram in the Absaroka Range of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming.

Kenneth L. Bellack of Gillette waited 32 years to draw a moose tag and when he finally did, he bagged a bull with a 491â „2-inch spread Oct. 2 in the Big Horn Mountains on Freezeout Point. Randy Elliott of Gillette used a .308 caliber rifle to shoot this black bear Sept. 2 in the Big Horn Mountains. 23


Proof is in the photos

Bowhunter Tom Brower of Gillette shot his 14th elk on a self-guided archery hunt Sept. 3 above Dubois by the Continental Divide.

Dale Russell took down his first elk in September. He made the kill in area 129, north of Gillette. The elk is a 5-by-5.

Above, Natasha Bungert of Gillette shot her first antelope Oct. 26 in area 17 with a .300 caliber rifle.

At left, Darla Sissel of Gillette shot her first buffalo Dec. 11 in the National Elk Refuge near Jackson Hole. 24


proof is in the photos

Tanya Harden of Gillette shot this deer Sept. 14 from 40 yards away. She was hunting on public land near Devils Tower.

George Cooper of Gillette took this 13x5 mule deer on Nov. 24 in the Black Hills of Wyoming. It has a non-typical score of 2015â „8. Cooper took down the deer with three shots from his Winchester 30.06 rifle. The deer weighed 350 pounds and was one of the largest bucks ever bagged in the Black Hills.

Chris Jarvis killed this six-point bull elk in October on the Wyoming side of the Black Hills. The bull scored 326 points.

25


Proof is in the photos

Marty Weilhelm of Tennesse shot his deer in area 18. The kill came during a guided hunt with High Plains Outfitters of Gillette.

Jack Schilbe of New York shot his deer in area 18. The kill came during a guided hunt with High Plains Outfitters of Gillette. 26


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walk-in areas

No. 9 area near Recluse removed from walk-in list By WADE McMILLIN

8-Dec. 31. Waterfowl, sharptail grouse, doves, partridge and rabbits can also be hunted in the area. Hunters must park in designated areas wmcmillin@gillettenewsrecord.net along Bishop Road and county road vehicle travThe Wyoming Game and Fish Department el is prohibited. S No. 7: It’s the biggest walk-in area with 3,680 slightly changed the layout of Campbell County’s walk-in areas, but hunters still have plenty of acres along and northeast of Beaver Creek, with a portion including Johnson County. The area opportunities to find open land. The Game and Fish removed walk-in area No. includes antelope and deer hunting in hunt areas 23 and 19, respectively. Dogs and campfires aren’t 9, near Recluse, during this past season. But the state agency is replacing it with a new allowed, and there is no access beyond Beaver Creek. The Wyoming Game and area No. 2 just north of Recluse. Fish Department also limits motorDespite the change, Campbell ized vehicle access to only estabCounty still has six walk-in areas lished roads. that offer more than 10,000 acres S No. 10: This 1,680-acre walkof private land. in area is in the northwestern part The private land is open to any of the county near Spotted Horse hunter through the public access and is accessible from Oct. 1-31. walk-in hunting program offered It includes hunt areas 17 for anteby the Wyoming Game and Fish lope and 18 for deer. Dogs aren’t Department. The statewide proallowed and there’s no smokgram is designed to improve ing outside your vehicle. There access to hunters because 80 perare three parking areas along Elk cent of prime hunting territory Creek Road. is privately owned in Campbell S No. 13: This walk-in area County. features 1,160 acres of land in Hunting for deer and antelope Wyoming Game & Fish Photo the Thunder Basin National is offered in five different areas in the annual program, and many of Hunters can pursue doves Grassland and it’s surrounded by Forest Service land, with a piece of the walk-in areas also allow hunt- in walk-in area No. 13. state land bordering the two secing for pheasant, waterfowl, four tions. The walk-in areas includes grouse species, doves, partridge, hunt areas 18 (antelope and deer), 5 (turkey) and turkey and rabbit. The walk-in areas offered in Campbell County 4 (sage grouse). Hunters also can pursue doves, partridges and rabbits. One portion of the walkinclude: S No. 2: The newly added walk-in area No. 2 in areas is bordered by Heald Road. S What else you should know: Other walkis north of Recluse and is about 1,310 acres bordered at the south by Broyles Road. It includes in areas have been established in Crook, Weston, hunt area 10 for pheasant from Nov. 5-Dev. 31 Johnson and Sheridan counties. Brochures on and you can also bag sharptail grouses. All vehi- those walk-in areas are available at license sellcles entering the walk-in area must park in desig- ing agents in the area, and a list of the areas and regulations can be found online. nated areas only. Landowners receive monetary rewards based S No. 3: It’s the smallest walk-in area and includes a total of 720 acres bordered at the north on the amount of acres leased or deeded to the by Union Chapel Road where there is a desig- Wyoming Game and Fish. Access is restricted to nated parking area. In the territory is hunt area foot traffic only. Hunters don’t have to, and are 4 (sage grouse), 24 (antelope) and 21 (deer), with advised not to seek landowner permission to access dates from Aug. 15-March 1. Hunting for hunt the approved species. All of the walk-in areas are posted by signs. doves, partridges and rabbits is also allowed. State Some of the money required for the program lands are enrolled in the walk-in area, so vehicle is donated by hunters and anglers through the restrictions do apply. S No. 6: This area near Piney has about 1,800 Wyoming Game and Fish Access Yes project. The walk-in areas fishing brochure also is availacres of land and includes some state land off of Bishop Road. The area includes hunt areas 4 able at license selling agents and online. (sage grouse), 5 (turkey), 24 (antelope) and 21 S Online: http://gf.state.wy.us/wildlife/access/ (deer). The walk-in area is accessible from Aug. News Record Writer

28


Who can you call? State and federal land managers Bureau of Land Management: 1425 Fort St., Buffalo, WY 82834 or call 307-684-1100 for maps and hunting information on BLM lands

U.S. Forest Service: 2250 E. Richards St., Douglas, WY 82633 or call 307-358-4690 or maps of Thunder Basin National Grasslands State Land Office: 122 W. 25th St., Herschler

Building, third floor west, Cheyenne, WY 82002 or call 307-777-7331 for questions on administra-

tion of state lands Wyoming Game and Fish Department District office: P.O. Box 6249, Sheridan, WY 82801 307-672-7418; in-state toll free, 800-331-9834

Area Personnel

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the law

Top 10 hunting violations By News Record staff

Even the smartest hunter can sometimes overlook regulations. Compiled with help from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department area wardens, here are some of the most common infractions and how hunters can avoid them: S 1. Tagging violations These violations range from forgetting to sign your license in the excitement of having just bagged a big-game animal to a “slick license” where the hunter intentionally omits all the tagging procedures, hoping to use the license again. Hunters can avoid any of these violations by following detailed tagging instructions that are printed on each big-game license and regulation. S 2. Shooting from a public road It is illegal to shoot from or across a public road while hunting or target shooting. That includes the shoulder or borrow pit. If the road is fenced, a hunter must be on the other side of the fence before shooting. If the read is not fenced, the hunter must be past the borrow pit. S 3. Failure to retain evidence or gender on a big-game animal Hunters must always be aware of a big-game animal’s gender because some licenses and hunt areas require a specific gender for harvest. When there are gender restrictions, the head or sex organs must be naturally attached to the carcass. S 4. Hunting in the wrong area Always be aware of your surroundings and where your hunt area is by knowing the territory. A general license is only valid in general areas. A limited quota license is only valid for the areas listed. S 5. Hunting without hunter education certification Wyoming law requires all hunters born after 1965 to have passed a certified hunter education course. At all times while hunting, hunters must carry their

hunter education card with them. S 6. False oath This violation is when a nonresident buys resident licenses. You must reside in Wyoming for at least one year to qualify as a resident. You also can’t apply for any resident license in another state. S 7. Trespassing Hunters must have permission to enter private land in Wyoming, even if the intent is to just cross the private land to reach public land. Private property does not have to be posted to deny access in Wyoming. S 8. Waste of a game animal Hunters are forbidden to abandon or let any edible portion of meat from an animal spoil. That includes big-game animals, game birds, game fish or any small-game animal. This boils down to letting some of the carcass go to waste, which is slightly different from wanton destruction, which is when an animal is simply killed and left to rot at the kill site. The most common occurrence of wanton destruction is a hunter who is just looking for “high grades” or abandons a big-game animal, wanting one with larger antlers or horns. S 9. Failure to wear fluorescent orange Some hunters still refuse to wear fluorescent orange, but it’s the law. In Wyoming, hunters must visibly wear at least one garment of fluorescent orange such as a vest, coat or hat. Camouflage hunter orange patterns are allowed. S 10. No conservation stamp All hunters, except Pioneer License holders, must buy a conservation stamp for $12.50. Stamps are available for purchase online.

More Wyoming laws Drinking: You must be at least 21 years old to consume any form of alcohol. Many bars and liquor stores will ask anyone who appears younger than age 30 for identification.

An officer can write a ticket for a seat belt violation without issuing any citation before the seat belt ticket. If the driver is not wearing a seat belt, the person will be responsible for a $25 fine.

Package liquor sales are legal starting at noon on Sundays in Gillette, and bars are open until 10 p.m. Restaurants with liquor licenses can serve alcohol on Sundays. Liquor sales are legal from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. the rest of the week. Open containers of alcohol are not allowed inside vehicles.

Concealed weapons: Beginning July 1, you no longer need a state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon as long as you meet a list of criteria, including being

Seat belts: Seat belts must be worn, but officers cannot stop a driver for not wearing a seat belt. Several years ago, state laws were enacted regarding seat belt and child-safety restraint use. Children who have not reached their ninth birthday must be in child safety restraint systems. 30

S At least 21 years old S Are a U.S. resident S Are not a convicted felon S Have not been committed to a mental institution. There also are a list of places you can’t carry a concealed weapon. For details call the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office at 307-682-7271.


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Game processing

News Record Photo/Steve Remich

Todd Koehler adds jalapeño powder to a sausage mixture at Koehler’s Wild Game meat processing. Koehler and his wife, Lara, have a custom meat processing and retail meat sales business in Gillette.

Options are limited for area meat processing By WADE McMILLIN News Record Writer wmcmillin@gillettenewsrecord.net

After bagging the big kill, options are limited in Campbell County for where a hunter can go to get their meat processed. Campbell County has only two meat processors — Olds Processing and Koehler’s Wild Game in Gillette. Of the two businesses, Todd and Lara Koehler perhaps feel the most pressure. The couple spends most of the year making domestic meat products such as jerky and sausage. But when the antelope archery season begins Aug. 15, that side of the business takes a back seat. For the past eight years, the Koehlers get hit hard when hundreds of hunters bring in their trophies for processing during the big-game season. 32

“It’s not terrible,” Todd Koehler joked. “It used to be a lot worse. Our setup is a lot better. We did a lot of improvements to make the load better and to help everybody else out.” It’s not unusual for Koehler and his wife to work 16 to 18 hours a day in the middle of hunting season. But that’s what it takes when you offer a service that is scarce in the area. And Koehler has made the appropriate adjustments to handle the thousands of pounds of meat that come through his business on a daily basis throughout the fall. “From last year, we put in an additional area for smoking, an additional area for sausage and an additional game freezer,” he said. Now equipped with even more storage space, Koehler guessed he could store between 350-400 See meat processing, Page 33


maps

Try a digital GPS map By News Record STAFF

Hunters who are involved in new technology can buy GPS maps for Campbell County hunt areas before the upcoming season. Digital GPS maps are available in Gillette through Rocky Mountain Discount Sports. However, there usually is a run on the items just before the season opens. GPS maps also are available at a variety of websites on the Internet and include chips or downloads of software. Hunters can order those before the season begins. Maps can show the topography, hunt area boundaries, public land, notable features and

even landowners. They are available at the Wyoming Game and Fish Web store or directly from the maker. Those who still want to see maps on paper of the hunt areas they’ve drawn can do so at the annual hunter assistance service offered at the Campbell County Visitor Center near Flying J Truck Stop at the intersection of Interstate 90 and Highway 59.

Online http://www.huntinggpsmap.com https://gf.state.wy.us/ae/default.aspx

Meat processing: Koehler has on-site taxidermist Continued from Page 33

animals. But he isn’t completely confident with that number because he hasn’t reached capacity since making the upgrades. During his first three years, Koehler would have to turn hunters away and could hold only about 225 animals in his freezers and coolers. Now, he advises hunters to come in quickly after their hunt through the company’s first-come, first-serve basis. “They’ll get it processed no matter what,” he said. “The tip is to get them in as soon as they get the kill. The sooner you get them in, the sooner you get it back.” Koehler also has hired an on-site taxidermist. Rusty Bell, who owns Rusty Taxidermy in Gillette, can speed things up by helping customers prepare their animals for processing. Hunters can also make arrangements for Bell to mount their animals at Koehler’s.

“That has helped quite a bit to have it all in one place instead of sending a customer to another shop to do taxidermy,” Koehler said. “Customers can do all the paper work in one place.”

Game meat processing services S Koehler’s Wild Game: It’s at 4709 Rocky Point Drive in Gillette and can be reached at 307-682-7673. Owners Todd and Lara Koehler keep the business opened year round. S Olds Processing: It’s at 9081⁄2 East Fifth Street in Gillette. Bill and Mary Smith are the owners and can be reached at 307-682-3385. Olds will open Aug. 15 and should stay open throughout November from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Tips for meat processing If you’re out in the wilderness and can’t make it to a meat processing company right away, there’s no need to worry. Here’s some tips Koehler offered to those who might find themselves in that situation: S Keep it cool: “If you can get air to it, it will be cool,” Koehler said. “The worst thing for meat is heat. Lay it on its back and prop the legs open, especially the hind quarters, and lay a pallet underneath them for air flow.” S Ice and bags: Hunters can also keep their kill cool by stuffing ice in the chest cavity. The key is not to cover it, though, and animals should always be stored in dark places. Koehler also

suggested the use of game bags. S Spoilage: Any part of the animal stored against a flat surface with no air to it will spoil. S Elk and buffalo: It is more difficult to keep elk or buffalo fresh, so bring it in as soon as possible after the hunt. S Less rush: Koehler said in- and out-of-state hunters have been good about staggering their hunts to the second or third week of the season. That’s crucial to avoid the rush. S An old trick: Using black pepper is a unique technique to keep flies away. Hunters should spread black pepper on exposed game meat. 33


bowhunting

News-Record Photo/Joy Lewis

John Hopper sights his bow at Rocky Mountain Discount Sports in September in preparation for the 2010 Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America Antelope Archery Hunt.

Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America

Mid-October hunt is one of the largest By WADE McMILLIN News Record Writer wmcmillin@gillettenewsrecord.net

Tim Norton said he could speak for the handful of volunteers who help physically challenged bow hunters find an animal every year in Campbell County. “We all love it,” he said. The 22 disabled hunters coming to Gillette in 2011 from as close as Sheridan and as far away as the East Coast share the same feeling. For the past decade, Norton and many other volunteers have received nothing but positive feedback from hunters involved in the national program. “From sitting in a blind with these guys, they 34

can’t tell you enough in words how much they appreciate it,” Norton said of his experience with helping disabled hunters in the past. “They are just blown away every year they come. From the guys who have been here since day one, to the guys who are doing it for the first time, they all leave ecstatic.” The guided hunt for physically challenged archers is sponsored by the Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America. The organization provides opportunities all across the country for physically challenged hunters to bag a trophy animal. Campbell County is among the largest hunts and it’s the only one the PCBA offers for antelope. See PCBA, Page 36


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bowhunting

News-Record Photo/Joy Lewis

Jesse Mulder, right, of Granger, Iowa, sights his bow at Rocky Mountain Discount Sports in preparation for the Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America Antelope Archery Hunt in September.

PCBA: Gillette hunt is only one in the nation Continued from Page 34

Bowhunters will arrive in Gillette on Oct. 14 and this fall’s three-day hunt in scheduled from Oct. 15-17. The PCBA hunters will site-in their bows for free at Rocky Mountain Discount Sports at 3 p.m. Norton said anyone from the public is encouraged to come see the out-of-town hunters site in their bows. “It gives the hunters a chance to shoot their equipment and make sure it is on,” Norton said. “It makes them confident and in turn, we’re confident with them because of it. It also gives us a chance to interact with people who are here for the first time.” After the site-in, hunters will have dinner at Family Life Church. The public is encouraged to attend and meet the hunters face-to-face. Hunters have breakfast every day at the church at 5:30 a.m., and are provided with a sack lunch for their hunt. They then return to the church for nightly dinners. Volunteers are still needed to make and provide the food for the event. “The women, to be honest with you, are the 36

ones who work the hardest because they are providing a meal for all of these guys,” Norton said. This year’s field of hunters, some of whom use wheelchairs or have missing limbs, will work nearly every antelope hunting area surrounding Gillette. Norton said hunts will be in hunt areas 17, 19, 23 and 24. Landowners also have been generous to allow disabled hunters on their property and make the entire program possible. “We are hunting on some property that hasn’t been touched for close to 20 years,” Norton said. “The landowners have been phenomenal. They have helped us out a lot.” The PCBA was founded in 1993 and has established a handful of annual hunts in North America.

Online Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America: www. pcba-inc.org Interested? If you want to participate in the hunt, either as a volunteer or hunter, call Norton at (307) 660-7205 or Tim Carsrud at (307) 698-3922.


Don’t toss hearts, donate them By KATHY BROWN News Record Sports Editor sports@gillettenewsrecord.com

More big-game meat and hearts are being sought from hunters in northeastern Wyoming this hunting season to aid birds being nursed back to health by the Wyoming Bird Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Gillette. A similar facility closed in Casper three years ago, meaning more birds are being treated for injuries and illness at the Gillette center operated by Diane Morse of Gillette. Last year, 27 raptors were being cared for in the facility and 48 were admitted since the beginning of the year. Figures for 2011 weren’t available. Morse has operated NEW Bird since it opened in 1991. Hunters have been asked to donate the hearts and meat from their game every year to help feed the recovering birds and defray the rising costs the center incurs. It is a non-profit facility. “We get several hundred (game hearts) a year,” Morse said. “Not only that, hunters clean out their freezers too.” Old game meat steaks and roasts, from hunters who didn’t use it in the past year, can also help feed the birds, she said.

But Morse asked that no livers, sausage or hamburger meat be donated from game because it isn’t healthy for the birds. Donations can be dropped off at Olds Processing, the Gillette City/County Animal Shelter or All God’s Creatures in Camel Plaza. Game hearts and meat also can be donated at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s regional office in Sheridan from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Morse and other volunteers care for any bird of prey, including falcons, hawks, eagles and owls. Most of the birds are injured in collisions with vehicles, especially during the spring and summer months. Some birds reach the clinic as orphans after a parent was killed. Others have been hurt in encounters with power lines or lead poisoning. Morse also asked that hunters who spot an injured bird report their location so that one of the NEW Bird’s volunteers can drive out to pick it up. “The critical thing is getting the birds in here right away,” she added. For more information on the program, call the City/County Animal Shelter at 686-5249 or NEW Bird at 689-6483.

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CWD TESTING

State to continue CWD tests in 2011 for deer, elk By KATHY BROWN News Record Sports Editor sports@gillettenewsrecord.com

Testing for chronic wasting disease in deer and elk harvested in Campbell County will continue in 2011. Heather O’Brien, the Gillette area wildlife biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, said personnel will be at meat processing centers in Campbell County and northeast Wyoming to conduct the tests once again this season. They’ll also test wildlife harvested by hunters at check stations throughout the region. A year ago, a white-tailed buck deer harvested Nov. 1 in hunt area 3, about three miles northwest of Moorcroft, tested positive for CWD, a brain disease known to affect some deer, elk and moose. The sample was taken as part of the state department’s annual CWD survey. The discovery was the first positive test in area 3, but Hank Edwards, a Wyoming Game and Fish Department wildlife disease specialist said it wasn’t surprising. Area 3 borders endemic deer areas 2 and 18, and a small portion of 8, where positive tests have resulted in the past. There is no evidence that CWD in deer and elk is transmitted to humans, and experts say the risk of doing so is low. However, to avoid risk, the Wyoming Game and Fish recommends that parts or products from any animal that looks sick and tests positive for CWD should not be eaten. In 2010, the Wyoming Game and Fish conducted testing throughout the state, testing 500 to 600 deer from each region. The overall aim was to take 3,000 to 4,000 samples statewide. Lymph nodes from moose and deer were taken for testing. Results were reported to hunters within three weeks after samples were taken from their animals, and hunters having deer or elk testing postive for CWD also were notified individually by mail. As a result, the state took 4,233 deer, elk and moose samples in 2010. Of those, 127 tested positive for CWD, including 86 mule deer, 24 whitetailed deer and 17 elk. New cases of CWD were discovered in hunt areas 3, 18, 28, 39, 47, 51, 119 and 124 and elk hunt area 3. A total of 84 moose were tested and all were negative for CWD. The state began to take samples from moose in 2005. Wyoming Game and Fish recommends these 38

Wyoming Game & Fish Graphic

A map of Wyoming chronic wasting disease positive deer testing results from 19782010. A deer harvested near Moorcroft in 2010 was found to be positive for CWD, the first area in Campbell County to have an animal with a positive test for the disease. precautions when handling deer, elk or moose: S Wear rubber or latex gloves as a routine precaution when field dressing S Minimize handling of brain and spinal tissues and wash hands afterward S When butchering, meat should be boned out S Do not eat the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen or lymph nodes of harvested animals S Do not harvest or eat wild animals that appear sick

Online Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance, cwd-info.org Wyoming Game and Fish information, http:// gf.state.wy.us/services/education/cwd/index.asp


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Small game

Bird numbers are a little lower than 2010 By WADE MCMILLiN News Record sports writer wmcmillin@gillettenewsrecord.net

A harsh winter and a cold, wet spring have slightly lowered the numbers of small game and birds in Campbell County for the 2011 hunting season. Here’s a breakdown on the seasons:

Wild turkey The fall season for area 5 in Campbell County is scheduled from Oct. 1-Dec. 31 and the spring season is from April 1-May 20. However, the turkey population is slightly down in northeast Wyoming. Gillette biologist Heather O’Brien of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said the species can easily bounce back, though, because hens can lay between 10-15 eggs in each clutch. But that can only benefit Campbell County’s turkeys if the weather plays along. “When you have a cold, wet spring for a bird who lays their eggs on the ground, it’s not good,” O’Brien said. Although the turkey population declined during the winter and spring, hunters may be able to find good numbers toward the Big Horns and the Wyoming side of the Black Hills. The bag limit for turkeys is one and hunters can purchase a general turkey license for any male turkey or any bird with a visible beard.

Sharptail grouse The season in Campbell County is from Sept. 17 to Dec. 31 for any sharptail grouse, with a bag limit of three daily or nine in possession. Shooting hours for the hunting of sharptail grouse and the blue and ruffled grouse is a half hour before sunrise to sunset and the bird can be taken with a bow as well. 40

Game & Fish Photo

Sheridan Region information specialist Warren Mischke bagged a turkey in 2008. The blue and ruffled grouse season also will extend from Sept. 1-Nov. 30 in the entire state with a bag limit of three or nine in possession.

Sage grouse A three-day season will take place in Campbell County’s hunt area 4 from Sept. 17-19, with a bag limit of two daily or four in possession. Hunters can also use archery equipment to bag Sage Grouse. “I’ve never seen anybody with four Sage Grouse,” O’Brien said. “They’ll be lucky to get one.” A wing barrel has been placed near Weston, by the only public land available for sage grouse hunting in the county. Hunters are asked to put wings in the barrel for Game and Fish analysis. See game birds, Page 41


small game

What else can you kill? By News Record STAFF

In Wyoming, several small game species can be harvested without a hunting license. That includes prairie dogs, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, red fox, porcupine, jack rabbits and even stray cats. The small game seasons in the state requiring licenses include cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, and red, gray and fox squirrels. Here’s a breakdown on the small game seasons: Cottontail rabbit: Sept. 1 to March 1 with

a bag limit of 10 daily and 20 in possession. Shooting hours from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. Snowshoe hare: Sept. 1 to March 1, with a bag limit of four daily and eight in possession. Shooting hours from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. Red, gray and fox squirrel: Sept. 1 to March 1 with a bag limit of 10 daily and 20 in possession. Shooting hours from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset.

Wyoming Game & Fish Photo

A black lab retrieves a pheasant during a 2008 hunt.

Game birds: Partridge were making comeback Continued from Page 40

Gray partridge, chukar

Pheasants

Hunt area 1 includes the entire state of Wyoming. The season ranges from Oct. 1 to Jan. 31 and the bag limit is five gray or chukar partridge daily and 15 in possession. “They were making a comeback before winter,” said Heather O’Brien, the Gillette area wildlife biologist with Wyoming Game and Fish. “Now, we’ll just have to see.”

The season for area 10, which covers all of Campbell County, is from Nov. 5 to Dec. 31, and the newly added walk-area near Recluse also has a lot of pheasants. Hunters can take any pheasant, male or female, in Campbell County and archery equipment is allowed for the daily bag limit of three or nine in possession. The shooting hours for pheasants are from a half hour before sunrise to sunset.

41


Regional hunting outlook

Big-game hunting season offers extra opportunities, trophy animals in region By Warren Mischke Sheridan Region Information and Education Specialist

The outlook for big-game hunting in northeast Wyoming in the 2011 season ranges from very good to about average. Here is our forecast for the fall hunting seasons in the Sheridan Region:

Pronghorn (antelope) The outlook for antelope hunting in the Sheridan Region is once again very good. Although other parts of Wyoming may have well known reputations for antelope hunting, northeast Wyoming has abundant herds of pronghorn. The winter of 2010-11 was harsher than recent years in the Sheridan Region and did take a toll on antelope in some areas. However many antelope populations are at high levels, so hunting seasons have been designed to give hunters plenty of opportunity. In the Sheridan Region antelope hunt areas, hunters are allowed to purchase a second anyantelope license and up to four doe/fawn licenses. However, potential hunters need to be aware that most antelope hunting is found on private land and should make arrangements for a place to hunt before buying licenses. Hunters willing to wait until after the opening day and first weekend of the season may find it easier to get on private lands. It is possible to find some antelope on the parcels of public lands scattered around northeast Wyoming, but hunters can expect to find other hunters also using those lands.

Deer hunting Deer hunting in the Sheridan Region is forecast to be about average. The winter of 2010-11 did result in the death of some deer, especially fawns so hunters may notice fewer young bucks. Deer populations in the Gillette area have declined 25 percent in the past three years. Hunters with access to private lands are expected to have high success, while hunters on public lands can expect large numbers of other hunters and comparatively lower success. Antler growth and the condition of deer appears to have benefited from a wet spring providing good growth of forage. There will likely be some real nice trophy bucks harvested this fall in 42

warren mischke Wyoming Game and Fish specialist forecasts hunting season ranging from very good to average.

the Sheridan Region. Hunters are advised that if they have access to private land, they should consider buying reduced price doe/fawn deer licenses. Several thousand doe/fawn licenses are available throughout the region, with many of them restricted to private lands. There is no limit on the number of reduced price doe/fawn licenses that can be purchased for hunt area 24, 27, 29, 30 and 33. That is new in the 2011 season. If a hunter really enjoys venison, this is a great opportunity to fill the freezer.

Elk hunting The Sheridan Region contains some of Wyoming’s well known elk hunt areas. Those hunters who were successful in drawing one of the highly sought after limited-quota any elk licenses for a hunt area in the Big Horn Mountains, the Rochelle Hills, or the Fortification will have the opportunity for a great hunt, with the possibility of bringing home a real trophy. For those hunters that did not draw a license, however, there are still some leftover antlerless elk licenses available and residents can purchase a general license to hunt in areas 36 and 37. Success for general license hunters and limited quota antlerless elk license hunters tends to be much lower than those who have a limited quota any elk license, but they can still enjoy time hunting with family and friends. See REGIONAL OUTLOOK, Page 43


Regional outlook

Northeast Wyoming: 90 percent moose success Continued from Page 42

Moose hunting Those hunters who were fortunate enough to draw a moose license for areas 1 and 34 will have a unique hunting opportunity. Hunted only by limited quota license holders, the harvest is controlled. Hunter success is expected to be 90 percent. Both areas have the reputation of producing nice, mature bulls.

Black bear The fall season will close when the female mortality quota is reached in a bear management unit or hunt area. It is the hunter’s responsibility to make sure the season is open. You can call the black bear hotline (1-800-264-1280) to see if the hunting area has closed.

Game birds Game bird hunters in the Sheridan Region are cautiously optimistic that the fall of 2011 might be similar to recent years. Although populations of sharptailed grouse and gray partridge are not as plentiful as they were before the “bust,” at least some hens appear to be successfully raising broods this summer. Spring “lek” (breeding ground) surveys of sage grouse showed that sage grouse numbers were low again this spring in northeast Wyoming. Nest success and brood rearing appears to be fair. Spring rains produced good cover and food, but had a negative effect on hatching numbers. Wild pheasants also appear to be doing well and pheasants from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department bird farm will again be released on several Sheridan Region walk-in areas. Turkey’s numbers are also good right now. Hunters will be able to buy a general turkey license from a local license-selling agent for areas 3, 5, and 7. There are 250 limited quota area 3 (near Sheridan) fall turkey licenses available for those that would like an opportunity to harvest an additional turkey. Hunters are reminded that most game bird hunting occurs on private land except for blue grouse hunting in the Big Horns and pheasant hunting in the walk-in areas.

Walk-in areas Area walk-in access areas continue to be popular in northeast Wyoming. These hunting and fishing areas are identified with signs. They can be located by using maps found in an atlas, which is available at the regional office and license agents. Separate areas have specific species for hunting, so be sure to check the atlas for those species and possible changes from last season The areas are made possible, in part, by contributing to the Access/Yes program. Hunters and anglers have the opportunity to donate to this program as a check off when they purchase

a license or can contribute any time. A donation form is available at the regional office or at local license agents.

Check stations Local wildlife biologists and game wardens will conduct temporary check stations throughout the region this fall to collect harvest data from specific hunt areas. Game and Fish workers also will provide information to hunters and monitor compliance with Irah Leonetti state hunting regulations. South Gillette game If you see one of these warden with state check stations, don’t department. forget that hunters are required to stop, even if you haven’t been successful on your hunt. Don’t forget to make arrangements with private landowners for access to hunt or fish on private property or travel through private property. Access information on hunt areas in the region may be obtained by contacting the Sheridan Regional Office. TROY ACHTERHOF Please call our regional North Gillette game office or our local person- warden with Wyoming nel if you have any ques- agency. tions concerning your experience in our region. The regional office is located one third of a mile east of Exit 23 on I-90. You can call our office at 672-7418 in Sheridan or 1-800-331-9834 from elsewhere in Wyoming. If you get a chance, stop by the Sheridan Regional Office. We have a visitor center with interesting wildlife displays. Hunter information heather o’brien stations also will be avail- Gillette area wildlife able again in Sheridan, biologist with Game Gillette, and Buffalo this and Fish department. fall during peak use days to answer questions about specific hunt areas. Please assist us in protecting your wildlife resource. Call and report any known or suspected wildlife violation. The toll-free “STOP POACHING” telephone number is (877-9433847). 43


News Record Photo/Joy Lewis

The Gillette Visitor Center is located on South Douglas Highway just off of Interstate 90.

Little log cabin near I-90 can clear up some confusion By WADE McMILLIN News Record Writer wmcmillin@gillettenewsrecord.net

If you’re a bit confused about hunting in northeast Wyoming or an out-of-state resident that simply doesn’t know the area, the Campbell County Visitor Center can help. It’s at the intersection of Interstate 90 and Highway 59, next to the Flying J Truck Stop and has helped many puzzled hunters each time hunting season rolls around. The Visitor Center — operated by the Campbell County Convention and Visitors Bureau — doesn’t know a lot of the ins and outs of hunting by itself, but through a partnership with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, it offers a temporary Hunter Assistance Center each year. A Game and Fish official will be available at the Visitor Center in the last week of September through the opening day of hunting season, which is Oct. 1. The assistance center will be open from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1. The Wright visitor’s center, which is located at a rest area on Highway 387 close to Panther Pond, also will offer a temporary Hunter Assistance Center during the same period. But a Game and Fish official will not be at that center. “We have so many people who have never been here or hunted here, and they have a lot of questions, so having people from the Game and Fish 44

here is very, very useful,” Visitors Center executive director Mary Silvernell said. At both centers, anyone interested can find lists that help hunters find private landowners who will allow access. Silvernell said there are about 280 landowners who will allow antelope hunts on their land and about 325 who will accept hunters looking to bag a deer in Campbell County. The centers also offer legal guidelines for hunters and maps of public land, which show boundries for public and private areas. Copies of hunting regulations and walk-in area booklets also are available, along with BLM and Forest Service maps, which can be bought for $6 each, plus tax. A big board also set up outside the center that displays the BLM maps of the county with all the latest land-ownership updates. Silvernell said 1,007 total hunters visited the centers in Wright and Gillette last year and this hunting season shouldn’t be any different. “We have so many out-of-state hunters,” she said. “We started getting requests months ago from people who had purchased their tags and now we’re getting a lot of calls because people are finding out there are leftover tags in Campbell County. ... We’ll get a lot of people from Wisconsin, Michigan and all over the Northeast.” For more information about the temporary hunting assistance centers, call 307-686-0040.


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Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. • Sat. 7 a.m.-Noon

45


Where Real Hunters Start Their Day! where convenience doesn’t mean expensive T

MAR OOD

LL F

SHE

106 N. H wy. 14-16

• Bre akf ast To Go Fresh, Hot & Ready wh en you’re ready • Fresh Made to Order Sub s & Wraps

Daily Specials • Breakfast • Lunch • Dinner Hunters Welcome!!

Bage l Sand wich es, Engl ish muffins, crois sant s, Biscu it Sand wich es and more ...

SHEL

L FO OD M ART

open

24

7

hours

days a week

99

¢

1 Liter of

Pepsi Products

Expires 10/31/2011

10800

Hwy

59

ree F24 oz. Coffee Expires 10/31/2011


Hunting Guide 2011