To help some of Wyoming’s most prized big game herds recover from devastating winterkill, hunters might be allowed to kill more mountain lions and black bears.
That will be up for discussion when the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission meets at 9 a.m. Monday. The public can watch and comment via Zoom; a link and meeting agenda are available on the commission’s website.
The commission will consider a “timeline for reviewing bear and mountain lion mortality limits,” the Wyoming Game and Fish Departmentsaid. Black bears and mountain lions may be hunted in Wyoming according to a mortality limit in each designated hunting area.
That means that once the predetermined limit of bears or mountain lions have been killed in an area, the hunting in that area is shut down regardless of how many hunters are still left holding unfilled tags.
Worried About Predation
During the commission’s April meeting, some Wyoming hunters and outfitters said they were worried that predation from black bears and mountain lions could further devastate big game herds already reeling from one of the worst winters on record.
They said the predators could be especially hard on deer fawns and elk calves.
So, the commission agreed to host a special meeting to consider altering predator hunts.
The full scale of losses from winterkill has yet to be determined, but it’s feared as many as half the deer and up to 80% of antelope might have frozen or starved to death in some of the hardest-hit areas. It was especially bad this year because much of the animals’ winter range was buried by record-breaking snowfall.
As a result, the commission decided to slash many antelope and deer hunting tags.
Mark Heinz can be reached at email@example.com.