CHEYENNE – Governor Matt Mead’s new appointees to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission started their service this month. Those new members are Gay Lynn Byrd from Converse County, Pete Dube from Johnson County and Mike Schmid from Lincoln County. Each is appointed to a six-year term.
At the meeting in Riverton this week, the commission elected a new president and vice president. Keith Culver from Newcastle will serve as president for the next year and Mark Anselmi from Rock Springs will be vice president.
“Wyoming has an incredible wildlife resource. It makes this state a special place to live and helps our economy. I am honored to have the support of my fellow commissioners and I look forward to working to serve the public,” said President Culver.
At this meeting, the commission approved a preliminary budget for the next fiscal year, which starts on July 1, 2017. That budget keeps ongoing spending relatively flat. The other big topic this week was an update on how the winter impacted big game populations. This winter in western Wyoming was one of the worst on record and Game and Fish personnel are monitoring impacts on populations, mortalities are expected to continue through May.
“In western Wyoming we have already documented elevated mortalities for deer and antelope. In central and eastern Wyoming, if the winter conditions continue to moderate and the current trend of milder weather sticks around then mortalities may not be as severe for deer and pronghorn,” said Doug Brimeyer, deputy chief of the Wildlife Division. “However, a few bad spring storms could exacerbate what has already been a harsh winter for many species, but especially mule deer and pronghorn.”
The Game and Fish Department is factoring increased mortalities in western Wyoming into the proposed hunting seasons in that part of the state.
The commission received updates on, grizzly bear monitoring and sage grouse wing counts and projections for 2017 lek counts. The commission also discussed future appointments to various boards and committees including the Governor’s Brucellosis Coordination Team, the Wyoming Wildlife Foundation, the Animal Damage Management Board, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Board of Outfitters and Professional Guides, the Internal Budget Committee, and the Expo Steering Committee.
The Commission will meet next April 20-21 in Casper. This meeting will focus on setting 2017 hunting seasons.