Category archive

Hunting

California Man Killed In Hunting Accident Near Ten Sleep

in News/Hunting
14202

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A California man was killed in a hunting accident last week near Ten Sleep, the Washakie County Sheriff’s Office announced on Tuesday.

According to the department, law enforcement officials in Washakie County were alerted to the report of a hunting accident on Oct. 6 off the top of Smilo/Sand Draw Road, east of Ten Sleep.

The report indicated a man had been accidentally shot with a hunting rifle.

Ambulances could not travel up the road due to adverse conditions, so private vehicles and a sheriff’s unit transported emergency medical staff to the Cabin Spring area, where units proceeded to the scene on foot.

The reporting party used cell phone contact with Worland dispatchers and handgun shots to steer units to the scene.

A helicopter life flight was launched to the area.

At the scene, medical personnel conducted triage and stabilized the victim for transport. The man was taken to the hospital in Worland for further treatment.

The victim was identified as 63-year-old Californian Ron Blank, who was elk hunting with his son, Dan Blank.

The pair were traveling back to their pickup truck and climbing up a ridge. They encountered a rock face and climbed over it. While handing rifles up to his son so he could climb the rock face, the rifle discharged and Ron Blank was struck in the upper right chest area.

His son rendered immediate first aid and then called for assistance.

Ron Blank passed away at the hospital in Worland due to massive internal trauma and a loss of blood. The family has been notified and arrangements have been made to transport his body back to California.

Th case is still under investigation by the Washakie County Sheriff’s Office and the Washakie County Coroner’s Office.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

New Wyoming Task Force Dives Into Hunting Controversies

in News/Hunting
11979

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Mark Davis, Powell Tribune

On paper, the agenda for the inaugural meeting of the Wyoming Wildlife Task Force seemed pretty tame. Intended to be an introduction to the new advisory group, the members instead immediately attacked one of the most controversial issues before them: the allotment of limited quota tags.

Wyoming legislators, government leaders and citizens from across the state were picked for the panel among many applicants, being chosen jointly by the governor and legislative and Game and Fish leaders. Local appointees include state Rep. Jamie Flitner, R-Greybull, Park County Commissioner and outfitter Lee Livingston and Meeteetse landowner Duaine Hagen.

The panel is being tasked with studying top-priority, in-state wildlife issues related to the allocation of hunting opportunities, sportsperson access and other top wildlife issues. 

One of the first major topics at hand was the distribution of “big five” tags, said Livingston. The proposal — which is still up for debate — would suggest a big change to the licenses allotted for the top species in the state: moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, bison and grizzly (if they are ever delisted from protection under the Endangered Species list and managed by the states).

“We’re looking at 90% of the licenses being reserved for resident hunters and 10% going to nonresident hunters,” Livingston said. “We’re also toying with a once-in-a-lifetime [limit] on all five of those species.”

The task force members are studying the issue closely because non-resident licenses and the purchase of non-resident preference points are extremely important revenue for the Game and Fish Department, so any change to the current regulations could affect the department’s bottom line. It could also raise the price of licenses for residents, said Flitner. The lawmaker said she has taken an informal poll of resident hunters and most said they don’t want to pay more to hunt. But if the allotment percentage changes, Flitner said there is little else that could be done to make up for the losses.

“There’s really no other way,” she said. “Currently, [resident] hunts are subsidized by non-resident hunters.”

The Game and Fish doesn’t receive general tax revenue or general funds from the state. It’s a self-funded agency, relying on fees and license sales for the bulk of its budget, plus a share of federal taxes on the sale of hunting and fishing equipment.

Due to the State of Wyoming’s current budget deficit, the department returned $800,000 it normally receives from the state to compensate for free and reduced price licenses. It represented less than 1% of the department’s $88.5 million in annual revenues, but was the only way the department could help the state on the 2021 budget, said Game and Fish Deputy Director John Kennedy.

Both Livingston and Flitner are keenly aware that boosting the percentage of resident tags is a favorite subject of Rob Shaul and his litigious outdoor organization, Mountain Pursuit. It’s hard to debate the issue without it seeming like a win for the organization, Flitner said, as much as she would like Shaul to find alternative ways to debate issues.

“He offends everybody. He has no filter,” she said of Shaul. “I’d be curious to know just how many people actually think like him.”

Added Livingston, “he seems to me like a spoiled kid who wants to get everything and then some.”

Cody Regional Health

Shaul often accuses the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and Department of being unduly influenced by the state’s outfitting industry, sometimes with harsh rhetoric.

For example, he’s filed a lawsuit arguing that two commissioners were wrong to donate commissioner complimentary licenses to the Wyoming Outfitters and Guides Association  When the attorney general’s office asked a judge to dismiss the suit, Shaul sent out an opinion piece questioning whether Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, who oversees the AG, was “yet another corrupted puppet of the Outfitters.”

Many politicians and officials in the state say they wish Shaul would look for ways to debate in a positive manner, rather than trying to push his way into the headlines by tearing down the efforts of the Game and Fish and the governor’s office.

“Everybody else is trying to find the middle ground” to debate the issues, Flitner said.

The task force is also looking into limited quota draws for hard-to-get licenses for ungulate species.

“My thoughts are going to be looking at a waiting period on those on those tough-to-draw ‘type one’ licenses,” Livingston said. “Hypothetically, if you draw one of those licenses, you might have to sit out for three years before you can apply again.”

Flitner said the task force might also be looking at making proposals to change the allocation of landowner licenses.

“We’re eager to dive into the tough issues head first,” she said.

Livingston, Flitner and Hagen are offering an opportunity for local sportspersons to discuss the issues at a Tuesday listening session in Powell. The event will run from 6-8 p.m. at Heart Mountain Hall at the Park County Fairgrounds.

Meanwhile, the full task force is meeting today (Thursday) and then again on July 19. Both of those gatherings are being held in Casper, but members of the public can watch and participate via Zoom.

The agenda for this week’s meeting is available on the Wyoming Wildlife Task Force website at www.wyomingwildlifetaskforce.com. Meetings will be recorded and available for viewing online within a week.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Wyoming Hunting Group Encourages Use Of Lead-Free Ammo, Tackle

in News/Hunting
Hunting with Heroes
11378

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Mark Davis, Powell Tribune

A new Wyoming hunting group wants to prove the value of switching ammo and tackle to local sportsmen and women. They know success won’t come easy, but the journey will be worth it if they can keep poison off your plate.

Sporting Lead-Free hopes to reduce lead consumed inadvertently by people and wildlife and is proposing ways to help anglers and hunters see the positives of choosing tackle and ammo that doesn’t poison the environment.

Programs include X-raying your packaged meat to help get the lead out of your wildgame meals and demonstrating the advantages of new, non-lead ammunition.

“A lot of us hunt because we want to know where our food is coming from and being able to know that you’re providing clean meat to you, your kids, your grandkids and other family and friends,” said Brian Bedrosian, director and co-founder of the group.

So far, he said the group has X-rayed about 1,200 packages of wild game meat — finding lead fragments in about 15% of the ground meat packages.

It’s almost impossible to keep lead fragments out of meat from harvested animals, Bedrosian said. The metal rarely causes severe issues in humans as long as exposure is low. However, it’s particularly deadly to; scavenging birds who consume gut piles; animals that have been shot but not found by hunters; and waterfowl that eat lead pellets in fields and wetland areas.

Every year, as hunting season comes to an end, wildlife biologists, veterinarians and rescue workers in the state start seeing raptors, including golden and bald eagles, being brought to raptor care facilities with lead poisoning. Bedrosian has spent the past 15 years documenting the link between lead-based ammunition and ingestion in wildlife in his role as conservation director of the Teton Raptor Center. He’s also the former president of the Wyoming Chapter of The Wildlife Society and is co-chair of the Wyoming Golden Eagle Working Group.

“We have arguably the best population of breeding golden eagles in the western United States,” he said in a Tuesday interview. “What we do here has a profound effect on the continental population of golden eagles.”

As an avid big game hunter, Bedrosian knows how hard it is to persuade outdoors enthusiasts to change. But those on the front lines have grown frustrated watching waterfowl, raptors and some of the most endangered species suffer and die due to lead being introduced into the environment.

In 2018, a condor moved into an area near Laramie, exciting wildlife enthusiasts. It was the first verified condor sighting in Wyoming in decades. But the news soon turned sour when condor T2 died of lead poisoning near its perch on Medicine Bow Peak in the Snowy Range.

“I think it’s a fair statement to make that California condors cannot survive in the wild without getting rid of lead in ammunition and other sources,” Bedrosian said.

In Park County, Susan “the bird lady” Ahalt, founder of Ironside Bird Rescue in Cody, has struggled to keep up with the number of eagles and other birds suffering with lead poisoning. She often runs out of freezer space after hunting season due to the number of carcasses she has to store. When an eagle dies, it has to be shipped frozen to the national repository for eagles in Denver.

“I’d like to defrost [the freezer], but it’s never empty,” Ahalt said in 2020.

Ahalt is also a hunter and said she never gave her ammo a second thought until seeing how lead poisoning affected wildlife.

Bedrosian watched lead levels in raptors drop after the Teton Raptor Center distributed free non-lead ammunition. He said getting hunters to switch to nontoxic ammo comes down to education and availability of alternatives.

Sporting Lead-Free’s outreach coordinator, Hannah Leonard, will be handing out non-lead split shot to anglers during the state’s free fishing day. She is also willing to travel Wyoming, X-raying meat and presenting ammo seminars.

The group feels it’s a better approach to educate outdoor enthusiasts rather than seeking legislation outlawing the use of lead ammo.

“We are 100% behind a voluntary educational approach,” Bedrosian said. “We have no interest in going down any kind of regulatory or legislative route.”

Leonard hopes to do at least two shooting demonstrations a month, having groups shoot both lead and non-lead ammo and looking at the results of bullet fragmentation and ballistic performance. They will also be launching a mobile X-ray facility to better serve the entire state.

“If you’re worried that the meat you packaged might contain lead fragments, we will identify those packages that have that lead,” she said, adding, “If you have children or somebody pregnant in your life, you can make sure they don’t consume that [meat].”

Most ammunition manufacturers have a non-lead line now. Non-toxic ammunition “is available in every caliber and the performance is amazing,” Bedrosian said.

The price is a little higher, but the difference is between 25 and 50 cents a bullet. Cost could come down as more hunters adopt non-lead options.

Sporting Lead-Free is partially funded by a grant from the Knobloch Family Foundation.

“They’re an organization that has put a lot of time and investment into Wyoming protecting our landscape, funding migration initiatives with the ungulates, as well as land conservation easements,” Bedrosian said.

Sporting Lead-Free also takes private donations and hopes to grow the group through its educational efforts and social media. For more information go to www.sportingleadfree.org.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Several Wyoming Hunting Applications Due June 1

in News/Hunting
11018

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

June 1 is a big day for Wyoming hunters; it’s the deadline to submit applications for many fall hunts for residents and nonresidents. Applications must be submitted on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website before midnight.  Hunters have just a few days left to complete applications for:

Resident elk
Deer
Antelope
Springer and Glendo special pheasant hunts
Sandhill crane
Beaver
Fall Turkey

New for this year, anyone applying for licenses must create a username and password to utilize their Game and Fish account, including youth applicants. Creating a username and password is a simple process much like on other websites. To help, Game and Fish has step-by-step videos and written instructions. 

“Don’t wait until the last minute to create a user account to apply for licenses. If you have questions, we want to help you early,” said Jennifer Doering, Game and Fish license section manager. 

For big game species, turkey and crane, the Wyoming Game and Fish Hunt Planner can help hunters with their applications through interactive, in-depth mapping. For each species, hunters can see an overview of all the hunt areas in the state and choose individual areas to explore. Different colors designate private and public lands, and users can see public and county roads. Changing the map base layers also allows hunters to toggle between views like road maps or satellite imagery.

“The hunt planner maps are the best you will find anywhere. These are maps made from Game and Fish data, so if we make a change to an access area or hunt area boundary, it is updated here first,” said Sara DiRienzo, department public information officer. “And, our data is verified on the ground by our field folks.”

In addition to the hunt area maps, each area also has details about topography and how easy the land is to access. Other public hunting locations are marked with points for the Game and Fish wildlife habitat management areas, walk-in and hunter management areas.

“The hunt planner gives hunters an informed edge when applying for a license and strategizing their hunting trips,” said DiRienzo. “The updates we make to this tool are a direct result of comments and suggestions from the public on information they need to plan their hunts.”

All applications must be made online by midnight MDT on June 1. For those who may not have access to a computer or need assistance applying, Game and Fish has computer stations at each of the regional offices and at the Cheyenne Headquarters. Hunters who have questions about applying online can call Game and Fish at (307) 777-4600.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Buffalo Residents Fined, Lose Hunting Privileges In 2019 Poaching Case

in News/Hunting
9821

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

By Ryan Lewallen, County 17

Two Buffalo residents have been fined and will lose their hunting privileges for the foreseeable future in connection to a 2019 case where a bull elk was killed illegally, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) said Tuesday.

Christopher Morales and Keisha Filbert have both been convicted of wildlife violations stemming from an anonymous report to the WGFD that claimed Morales killed a bull elk in September 2019, using a hunting license issued to Filbert.

The WGFD charged Morales in 2020 with illegally taking wildlife and Filbert for illegally transferring ownership of a hunting license following an investigation that spanned several months.

Upon receiving the anonymous report, wildlife investigators reportedly conducted an online investigation, which revealed photos of Morales and Filbert posing in camouflage clothing with two bull elk in 2019.

Morales claimed to have taken his own elk with a crossbow Sept. 6, adding that Filbert killed hers likewise Sept. 12, per the WGFD.

He denied shooting the second elk, stating that he had only tagged along during the second hunt, a story reportedly backed up by Filbert.

— Advertisement – Story Continues Below —

Host An Exchange Student!

The anonymous report, however, stated that Morales was observed leaving the area alone on Sept. 13 with elk antlers on his vehicle, the morning after Filbert’s elk was reportedly killed, according to the WGFD.

Search warrants yielded a video of Morales’ hunt Sept. 6 and cell phone data that did not match the story, the WGFD stated, adding that Filbert’s phone signal did not place her in the area the day of the second hunt.

During her interview, Filbert was reportedly unable to answer questions regarding her hunt. Instead, she described details from a video recording taken by Morales during his hunt on Sept. 6, per the WGFD.

Wildlife investigators reportedly tracked the path taken by Morales the day the second elk was taken using his cell phone data, locating two elk skeletal remains that matched the geographic location of the elk depicted in Morales’ and Filbert’s pictures.

When she was interviewed a second time in August 2020, Filbert allegedly admitted that she did not take the elk and was not with Morales when it was killed.

— Advertisement – Story Continues Below —

The case recently concluded with the approval of plea agreements between the offenders and the Johnson County Attorney’s Office, approved by Circuit Court Judge Shelley Cundiff.

Per the plea agreements, Morales has been ordered to pay $5,000 in fines, $2,000 in restitution, and has forfeited his hunting privileges for three years for taking wildlife without a license.

Filbert lost her hunting privileges for two years and was ordered to pay a $400 fine for illegally transferring a hunting license.

The case displayed a great deal of effort to deceive game wardens during the investigation, Buffalo Game Warden Jim Seeman remarked, noting how Filbert dressed up in camouflage clothing to pose with the elk as if she had been the hunter.

“Thank you to the concerned sportspersons that started this investigation,” he added. “Many wildlife crimes are never detected because people do not pass information to the (WGFD). Honest sportspersons can make a big difference in protecting Wyoming’s wonderful wildlife resource by reporting violations to the Stop Poaching hotline.”

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

After 80 Years, Women To Shoot In Lander One-Shot Hunt In 2021

in News/Hunting
7393

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

For the first time since 1940, women will be competing in the 2021 Lander One-Shot Antelope Hunt.

For reasons left to legends of the old hunt, only men were selected to be on teams that competed in the hunt until now. The One-Shot has often been called the Super Bowl of Shooting Sports. Over the years, it has featured hundreds of governors, U. S. senators, celebrities, astronauts and business leaders.

On Thursday, the One-Shot Antelope Hunt Club Board of Directors encouraged sportswomen and sportsmen to apply to be on new teams for the 2021 Hunt.

Darin Hubble, President of the One-Shot Antelope Hunt Club, states, “The organizations look forward to having sportswomen participate as team members.”

Hubble also indicated the teams of three shooters could be a combination of men and women, all men or all women.

Historically, women have played tremendous roles in the hunt. Many women have hunted with their husbands, served as guides and have always been at the range participating in shooting sports during the hunt.

Information on becoming a new team/team member is located online at
www.oneshotantelopehunt.com New team members are selected and qualified to be on a new team based on their ability to support the conservation work of Water for Wildlife® Foundation, sportsmanship and the desire to become affiliated with members who enjoy big game hunting.

The One-Shot Antelope Hunt has been hosted by 16 consecutive Wyoming Governors. It brings with it a very large economic impact for the city of Lander and wildlife conservation work in Wyoming.

The organizations are looking forward to supporting and encouraging women in the sports of hunting and shooting.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter***

Sheridan Police Department to Hunt Deer In Town

in Hunting
7277

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter*** 

It’s not going to be a free-for-all where Sheridan residents use grenade launchers, Howitzers, and flamethrowers to annihilate packs of deer or anything.

But there is going to be hunting inside the city limits. And it’s nothing that new.

The problem is an abundance of deer in the town and with that abundance comes deer and human conflict.

So how to take care of it? Bow hunting.

The Sheridan Police Department is launching a program again that will harvest deer from the city limits of Sheridan.

“The program has really suppressed the deer versus vehicle collisions,” Sheridan police Lt. Travis Koltiska said on a Sheridan Media talk show.  “We’re trying to address some of the aggressive deer in town and reduce the property damages.  It has been a very successful program.”

Officers will be conducting operations in the afternoon and evening hours. As in years past, all harvested deer will be donated to individuals in the community.

Any community member who deserves to receive a harvested deer, with the ability to process the animal, should call the Sheridan police and ask to be put on the deer donation list.

***For All Things Wyoming, Sign-Up For Our Daily Newsletter*** 

Go to Top