|Airplane surveys the first week of August have convinced the Wyoming Game and Fish Department not to sell all or some of the remaining doe/fawn antelope licenses in eight hunt areas. The G&F believes the severe drought has reduced antelope numbers to the point some licenses should be removed from the market.
The licenses being pulled, which were scheduled to go on sale August 15 at license agents in the hunt areas, are:
Hunt Area; Number of Licenses Removed
In areas 11-13, the flights discovered a 34 percent reduction in the overall number of antelope usually seen in the region in August. G&F personnel suspect the animals redistributed in response to the drought. The other areas have depressed doe/fawn ratios ranging from only 25 to 31 fawns per 100 does. Fawn production was expected to be considerably higher.
The fawn decline is blamed on the severe drought the areas have been vexed with this spring and summer. "With poor forage conditions, does were probably not able to pass along enough nutrition in their milk to sustain many of the fawns," said Mark Nelson, Cheyenne game warden.
Removing the licenses does not affect the hunters who were issued buck, officially called "any" antelope licenses or the hunters who drew doe/fawn licenses in the initial drawing. Licenses that have already been issued will still be valid, Nelson said.
"When hunting seasons are set in April, we make some general assumptions about upcoming production and once in awhile the weather proves us wrong, be it late spring storms sometimes or in this case, drought," Nelson said.
Several times in the past seven years the G&F has removed licenses from the market in response to population declines. The G&F was commended for this responsiveness in a 1997 Wildlife Management Institute review of Wyoming big game management.
Leftover Doe/Fawn and Cow/Calf Licenses
Leftover doe/fawn antelope and deer and cow/calf elk licenses went on sale August 15, first-come, first-served at license agents in the respective hunt areas.
"Even though this was the third year doe/fawn licenses were issued by drawing, overall demand was still light and licenses are leftover in almost all areas they were offered," said Jean Cole, Wyoming Game and Fish Department license section manager.
Cole reports demand has increased significantly for cow/calf elk licenses and leftovers are available in less than half the hunt areas.
Hunters are alerted the doe/fawn and cow/calf licenses, except for Pioneer license holders, can only be purchased at the license agents. Some license agents accept mailed applications, others do not. Check with the specific license agent to find out their policy.
To get their reduced license price, Pioneer hunters must stop by or send their doe/fawn application to the G&Fs Cheyenne office. Pioneers can purchase their doe/fawn licenses at license agents, but must pay the full price. Pioneers are hunters who are at least 70 years old and have resided in Wyoming for at least 40 years.
Nonresidents can have friends purchase doe/fawn and cow/calf licenses for them at the license agents. The purchaser will need to supply the nonresidents vital statistics: name, birth date, height, weight, hair and eye color.
If someone is purchasing doe/fawn licenses for a resident friend, a signed application is needed because a signature is required to verify residency. Resident doe/fawn licenses are $20; $14 youth. Resident cow/calf elk $30; youth $20. Nonresident doe/fawn $80; youth $50. Nonresident cow/calf $200; youth $150.
For information about doe/fawn and cow/calf license availability and location, call (800) 842-1934 or (307) 777-4600 out of state, or visit the G&F website at gf.state.wy.us.
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