Mule deer hunting licenses have been increased in the Green River, Casper and Lander and Laramie Regions compared to last year.
WYOMING — Hunting opportunities for elk, mule deer, and antelope are up notably in 2018.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved this year’s hunting seasons at its meeting in Lander this week.
The proposal came after Game and Fish managers spent thousands of hours in the field and met with hundreds of members of the public.
Mule deer hunting licenses have been increased in the Green River, Casper and Lander and Laramie Regions compared to last year, elk quotas are up 1,030 licenses and antelope licenses have been increased 5,300 statewide over last year.
“Wyoming is an incredible place for wildlife and hunting and we see that again in 2018. We hope folks will enjoy the upcoming season,” said Mark Anselmi, the president of the Commission. “Thanks to the biologists and wardens for all their work this year.”
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department does surveys to count herds, look at the ratios of bull to cows or does to bucks, analyze calf/fawn ratios. This data is used to make proposals. The public is highly involved as well.
Game and Fish surveys hunters each year; holds public meetings after the hunting seasons and each March; as well as meets in-person with hundreds of people. Nearly 1,000 people attended the 42 public meetings held this spring.
“What these new quotas and regulations reflect is that mule deer and antelope numbers are up east of continental divide, but in the west we are staying fairly conservative because the winter of 2016-17 was so harsh,” said Doug Brimeyer, deputy chief of the Wildlife Division.
Other big game changes include: bison licenses increased 75, moose down 5 licenses, bighorn sheep down 8 licenses and mountain goats staying the same as 2017.
“There continues to be concern about our moose population and so again we have reduced the number of licenses available to account for this. We have and will invest significant money into research and time into monitoring moose in Wyoming,” said Brimeyer.
The deadline for residents to apply for deer, elk and pronghorn and nonresidents to apply for deer and antelope licenses is May 31 by midnight. All applications need to be submitted online on the Game and Fish website.
The Commission also set seasons for game birds, small game, fall turkeys, migratory game birds and set a conservation order for light goose. The Commission did not change the special season for pheasants at Springer near Torrington.
The Commission also approved changes to the Wyoming Mule Deer Initiative and held an open house for the public. The Nature Conservancy donated four lifetime licenses to youth and the Wyoming Wildlife Federation donated one license to those from the Lander community.