LARAMIE - Every year thousands of teeth from various big and trophy game animals are submitted to the Wyoming Game and Fish laboratory in Laramie where technicians analyze the teeth to determine the age of harvested animals.
The Game and Fish uses this information to monitor the age structure of the game herds and sometimes antler quality in deer and elk. This information is another tool the Game and Fish uses to recommend seasons and quotas for various species in different hunt areas.
Naturally, hunters are interested in the age of their animals, and to assist hunters in finding out this information the Game and Fish has launched a website application where hunters can go online at: wgfd.wyo.gov and determine the age of their animal. In previous years, the Game and Fish notified hunters of the age of their animals by sending a postcard, but that method is being phased out as the online notification will be more efficient, save money, and increase the public’s access to this information.
This coming year the Game and Fish will send out postcards to hunters who have submitted teeth from animals taken in selected areas. The postcards contain directions on how to access the age of their harvested animal on the internet. Ages are listed by species and license number. Hunters will need their hunting license number to be able to cross reference that information online. Currently Game and Fish ages teeth from elk, deer, moose, bison, mountain lion and black bear. Teeth from mountain lion and black bear are collected when hunters register their kill and tooth envelopes for other species are sent to hunters who have licenses in areas the Game and Fish is focusing on for additional harvest and aging information. Most hunters do not receive envelopes for the majority of elk and deer areas, but sometimes teeth of harvested animals are pulled at check stations and random field checks when biologists want to learn more about the age of a particular animal.
Hunters can go into the Game and Fish website wgfd.wyo.gov and click on hunting then on tooth aging to learn more about tooth aging and how the information gained from teeth is used in wildlife management. Directions on which teeth to pull and the correct way to extract teeth so they can be aged are also on the Game and Fish website.
(Contact: Tim Pridmore, 307-766-5617)