Wyoming Supports Sage Grouse Populations Through Translocations

Cheyenne – The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission held its January meeting in Cheyenne this week. The volunteer board voted on several topics and had other substantial discussions related to Wyoming’s fish and wildlife. Commissioners Mark Anselmi and Keith Culver finished their terms as commissioners. The Game and Fish Commissioners are appointed to six-year term by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate. Each Commissioner gives up over a dozen days from his or her own lives and businesses per year to serve the public and the public’s wildlife. Two incoming commissioners will be appointed by Governor Mark Gordon and begin their terms in March.

The commission furthered discussions on fair chase related to new hunting technologies. Over the past 12-months, by direction of the commission, the Game and Fish Department conducted a public survey of Wyoming hunters and presented a set of recommendations in November 2018. At this meeting, the commission directed Game and Fish to draft proposed regulations and take them out for public comment. Specifically, the Commission directed the department to draft regulations that would:

Prohibit the use of smart rifle technology for big or trophy game take
Authorize trackable arrow technology for big or trophy game for the purposes of game retrieval
Authorize holographic and magnified sights for archery hunting for big or trophy game take

Any regulations discussions on technology would include considerations for hunters with disabilities.

The commission voted to continue the translocation study of Wyoming greater sage grouse to North Dakota. The study that has been underway for two years helps develop a range-wide protocol for translocating sage grouse and will help maintain the interconnected populations throughout the region. Wyoming is seen as a stronghold for sage grouse and a source to help bolster populations. The translocation study will be evaluated on an annual basis dependent on impacts to the source population. In return, North Dakota will provide Wyoming with 200 pheasants.

The commission heard an overview of the ungulate migration corridor strategy actions and research. Game and Fish is hosting a statewide forum on migrations Feb. 11, 2019 at the Game and Fish Casper Regional Office beginning with an open house at 4 p.m. and a panel discussion at 5 p.m. The panel will present on the designation process and strategies for formulating recommendations to land management agencies. It will include presentations from federal and state partners and clarification of agencies roles and public commenting opportunities.

The Commission will meet again March 20-22 in Cody.