Game and fish commission makes changes, looks at building new office
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission met in Cheyenne for their January meeting to approve black bear hunting seasons, to discuss the next steps on employee housing in Jackson and to approve both sage grouse and pygmy rabbit translocations to other states. The Commission also heard updates on ongoing Game and Fish projects and took action on several Commission regulations and department projects.
In the meeting, the Commission was presented with location options and approximate costs for different types of housing structures for department employee housing in Jackson. The Commission directed the department to bring forward specific costs options for state constructed employee housing on Commission owned lands. They also asked the department to continue collaboration with other state agencies and identified partners for joint housing solutions.
Game and Fish provided an update on the progress to construct a new Cody regional office. This month the department will meet with the selected architectural firm, Plan One, to begin the design process for a facility that will best serve citizens and wildlife in the Bighorn Basin.
The Commission reviewed and approved several regulation changes. Chapter 3, black bear hunting seasons for 2020-2022 seasons, was approved with an increase to female mortality limits in certain hunt areas, bolstering hunter opportunity. Other bear hunting regulation changes included: clarity regarding the registration and reporting periods for black bear harvests a requirement for a person to meet provisions to have preference to register the same bait site for the immediately following year the permission for an individual to use his or her sportsperson identification number to properly identify their bear bait container.
Chapter 61, collection of shed antlers and horns, was revised to include a shed antler and horn collection closure in the Platte Valley area as authorized by 2019 legislation. The Commission also approved changing the opening date and start time for the shed hunting season to begin at 12 noon on May 1. Chapter 32, regulation governing firearm cartridges and archery equipment, was revised pertaining to legal bullet requirements. The revised regulations are online.
In continued partnership with the State of North Dakota, the Commission approved a request to translocate sage grouse. Additionally, the Commission approved a request by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to translocate pygmy rabbits to Washington state.
The Commission heard an informational presentation on invasive annual grasses from Game and Fish habitat experts. Non-native annual grasses like cheatgrass, ventenata and medusahead pose a threat to important habitats, like the sagebrush ecosystem, that are important to wildlife. The department has developed a multi-tool strategy to address the threat of non-native invasive annual grasses. The effort will integrate with the Governor’s Task Force on Invasives.
The Commission’s next meeting is March 19-20 in Cody.