Fall hunting forecast for Pinedale region
Pronghorn antelope, mule deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep
by Scott Smith, Pinedale Region Wildlife Coordinator, Wyoming Game & Fish
August 20, 2009
Pronghorn antelope: For the 2009 hunting season in the Pinedale area, permit levels will be similar to 2008. Most seasons will open September 10th and run to the end of October providing ample time for hunters to enjoy the fall season. Hunters enjoy high success rates (average >90%) in this area of the state and have plenty of public land to pursue antelope. Good spring and early summer moisture should promote good horn growth for buck antelope this season.
Mule Deer: The Pinedale area hosts the Sublette, and Wyoming Range herds. These deer herds are two large populations with special management strategies designed to provide high quality hunting opportunities, older age class deer, and high buck : doe ratios (30-45 : 100 ). Deer hunting in 2009 should be similar to the past several years as the past two winters have not been severe and over-winter survival has been good. In the Upper Green River hunt areas, buck availability should be average to good considering the younger age classes that have survived the past several winters. In the Wyoming Range, fawn production was not as good and hunters may notice a slight decline in the number of yearling bucks they see this fall.
Elk: In Sublette County, liberal seasons have been in place for several years and will remain that way in 2009. Hunting seasons are designed to drive populations down to objective levels, while maintaining at least 20 bulls:100 cows in the post-hunt populations. Warm, dry weather conditions during much of the 2008 season resulted in poor harvest for many of the herds in the Pinedale area. Elk hunters are encouraged to pursue their quarry in the Piney Elk Herd - Hunt Areas 92 and 94. Rifle seasons will open October 1 for general license antlerless elk hunting and extend to November 15 while Type 6 licenses will be valid until November 22 to address an increase in elk numbers along the Piney Front portion of the Wyoming Range.
Moose: The Pinedale area supports the majority of the Sublette Moose Herd Unit and hunting seasons are designed to provide ample recreational opportunities (30 to 40 day seasons) and maintain high bull : cow ratios (60:100 in 2009). The Sublette Herd remains below postseason objectives (-13%) with a population estimate of 4760. The 2009 seasons are similar to the past several years. Quality bull moose are still available even though the population is below desired levels.
Bighorn Sheep: There is one sheep herd (Darby Mountain) plus a portion of the Whiskey Mountain Herd managed by Pinedale area personnel. A regulation change in the issuance of hunting licenses allowed the Darby Mountain (Hunt Area 24) herd to be hunted for the first time since 1997. A ten year old trophy ram was harvested in 2008. Surveys over the last four years have indicated that there are sufficient numbers of rams available to offer one license. That license is valid for any ram from September 1 through October 31. There are no proposed changes in 2009 for the Whiskey Mountain hunt areas 8/23 and permit levels will remain at 12. Quality rams are present in both sheep herds.
http://gf.state.wy.us/ Wyoming Game & Fish