Pictured are(l to r) Game warden Mark DeHart, wildlife biologist Jeff Shore, WFGD district supervisor Steve DeCecceo and game warden Jessica Beecham at a meeting on elk depredation Feb. 27. PIONEER PHOTO/Timilee Wilber
By TIMILEE WILBER
LYMAN – Local ranchers and stock producers met Feb. 27, with representatives of the Wyoming Fish and Game Department at the Lyman Town Hall to share information and to discuss elk depredation on private land in southern Uinta County.
The meeting was moderated by Uinta County Farm Bureau president Kristi Ellis. The WFGD was represented by District Supervisor Steve DeCecceo, wildlife biologist Jeff Shore, and Mark DeHart and Jessica Beecham WFGD game wardens from the Valley and Evanston, respectively.
Depredation is defined in part as big game or trophy game causing damage to land, growing cultivated crops, stored crops (stack yards) and seeded crops.
Verl Bird, a Fort Bridger rancher, asked what the goal (number of elk) is for the southern part of Uinta County.
Shore responded and said, “This herd (the North Slope herd) is a very challenging herd to manage. Utah puts a lot of value in this herd. It is the only place in the State of Utah where antlered elk may be harvested on a general tag. But, we have to winter them. We are using Wyoming sportsmen’s money to pay for the depredation of Utah’s herd. About 700 head of elk are wintering in the Robertson area. Carl Larsen, a Lyman rancher, voiced his concern about the high elk calf ratio this year.
Richard Hamilton, a Robertson rancher, asked the panel if there is fencing material for stack yards.
“We’ll do whatever we can,” DeHart answered.
Larry Bugas asked about how and when depredation is budgeted. the answer was the funds are budgeted by region for each fiscal year. It was not clear whether fencing materials are available until the beginning of the new fiscal year.
Recently Shore and DeHart participated in an n aerial survey by helicopter, taking a count of elk, along with Utah Fish and Game. “It will be interesting to see the distribution,” Shore stated. “An ideal herd would be1500 to 1600 head. Even Utah Fish and Game officials think there are too many elk this year. Utah is going to try and help with some extra cow tags.”
The results of the survey at a cost of $1,200 per hour and totaling $60,000 to $100,000 are not in yet according to Shore. The flight covers both sides of the Utah/Wyoming border. “We’ll have a map with the numbers and locations once we get the data back.” He said.
According to WFGD District Supervisor Steve DeCecceo, the regulations for the 2013 hunting season will be drafted soon.
DeCecceo stated that one possibility to facilitate the reduction of the large number of elk this year would be to issue additional type 6 and 7 hunting licenses in Areas 106 and 107.
The number one thing according to DeCecceo is landowner feedback when drafting hunting regulations for the 2013 hunt. We want to work with landowners who have depredation. The late hunt can go no longer than January 31. But, beginning the rifle season earlier, possibly in mid-August, and ending it later in the season is a possibility.For the complete article see the 03-08-2013 issue.
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