Wyoming Game and Fish commission finalizes 2020 hunting seasons

h/t BLM Wyoming

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission held its April meeting online from the agency’s headquarters office in Cheyenne to set hunting seasons and address other matters. Setting hunting seasons is one of the main tasks before the Commission each spring, and the 2020 proposals were reviewed, some modified and all approved. Finalized information for hunters will be available on the Game and Fish website beginning May 1. 

The Commission discussed pressing impacts from COVID-19 on spring turkey and black bear hunting seasons as well as the nearing antler collection opener on May 1. Pending further directives from the Governor on closures and gatherings following April 30, the Commission did not forward a recommendation to delay the statewide antler opening date at this time, citing current health orders. 

“The Commission decided with the Governor’s order possibly expiring on April 30 it is premature to do anything with the horn hunting season at this time,” President Pete Dube said. “If something were to change then we can come back and reevaluate our situation. We have pledged to try to make 2020 as normal a season as possible with all aspects of hunting, fishing and recreating, and this is part of our choice.”

The Commission discussed a proposal to extend the turkey season in certain areas to offer flexibility to license holders. Any nonresident hunters or antler collectors are expected to  follow state and local health orders valid during their visit. 

The Commission heard an update on preliminary utility options and costs for the new Cody regional office and discussed the pros and cons associated with city annexation. The Commission ultimately decided against moving forward with annexation. Game and Fish, as directed by the Commission, will move forward with Northwest Rural Water District for water, which will involve the installation and use of a cistern on the property, and will work with Rocky Mountain Power for electricity needs on the property. The Commission also reviewed and approved the office building schedule, with anticipated completion in February 2022.   

Game and Fish is in the process of finalizing work on $14.3 million in Mule Deer Initiative projects. In an update, Game and Fish outlined the 45 total projects spanning the last five years. The projects are slated to be complete by winter 2020. MDI research has helped drive important habitat projects for mule deer. 

Commissioners heard updates on two hatchery infrastructure projects. Game and Fish  presented options to address water needs at the Dubois hatchery and received approval to hire a hydrologist to evaluate possible options for an additional hatchery water source. The Commission also received an update on the Boulder Rearing Station project. The Department will move forward with awarding the contract and begin construction in fall of 2020.