The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 1 - 8/31/00
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Drought Won't Alter Sage Grouse Season
The severe drought does not warrant closing Wyoming's sage grouse hunting season and the season will proceed as planned, the Game and Fish Commission concluded after reviewing a department report on the state's most popular game bird.
The Commission set the sage grouse season, along with other hunting seasons in April, but requested a review of the Sept. 16 - Oct. 1 season in July as the 2000 drought intensified.
The review recommended the season proceed as planned because breeding ground surveys since 1998 reveal a significant increase in the sage grouse population. Although the drought has diminished chick production is some areas, the drought in other parts of the state has not been as severe.
"With Wyoming being in the core of the sage grouse range and supporting more sage grouse than any other state, we're confident the population is stable enough to endure drought without closing hunting seasons," said John Baughman, G&F director.
Baughman cites the "law of diminishing returns" as having a strong influence on bird hunters' behavior. "When bird populations are down, hunters go afield less often because the birds are harder to find and they hear the poor hunting reports from other sportsmen," Baughman said.
Baughman adds the G&F will continue to monitor drought impacts on many species. "We removed some doe/fawn antelope licenses from the market this month in response to drought," he said. "This drought could have impacts on wildlife in upcoming years, and if it does we will adjust management accordingly."
The sage grouse season is Sept. 16 to Oct. 1 with limits of three daily and six in possession. Hunters are alerted the Snake River drainage in Lincoln, Sublette and Teton counties and Goshen and much of Albany counties are closed this year.
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