CASPER - Simplifying and modernizing the legal firearm regulations and establishing a big game baiting regulation to help with harvest in developed areas highlight regulation proposals being discussed at public meetings through Oct. 4.
The Game and Fish is also proposing to update its regulation governing license agents for the first time in 11 years and finalize late migratory regulations.
“The 2012 Legislature provided the Game and Fish Commission the authority to regulate firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment for the taking of game animals and birds,” said Mike Choma, Game and Fish law enforcement supervisor. “This statutory change gives the commission more flexibility toward managing the take of game species.”
Specifically, the Game and Fish is proposing to allow pronghorn, deer, mountain lion, and gray wolf (where designated as trophy game) hunters to use calibers .22 and larger that have a cartridge of at least 2 inches in overall length. Bighorn sheep, elk, moose, mountain goat, black bear, and grizzly bear hunters would be required to use at least .24 caliber firearms with a cartridge at least 2 inches in overall length.
In addition, for all the above species, hunters could also use: firearms of .35 caliber and larger with a cartridge of at least 1.5 inches, a .40 caliber and larger muzzle-loading rifle with a minimum of 50 grains of black powder, shotguns loaded with buckshot 00 (double ought) or larger or slugs. Turkey hunters could use any shotgun, center-fire firearm,muzzleloader or archery equipment, plus .22 magnum and .17 HMR rimfire firearms.
In response to another law passed by the legislature, the Game and Fish is establishing a new regulation on big game baiting. The regulation would allow big game baiting only by special permit from the local game warden on private land in areas with problematic big game populations but where traditional hunting is dangerous or prohibited due to surrounding development. Baiting permits may be issued to address damage to private property, human safety, disease issues, or population management. The permit would specify the bait sites so safe shooting lanes would be established. The permit period would only be within established season dates and access fees could not be charged to hunters during the permit period. If passed, this regulation will go into effect Feb. 1, 2013.
Another proposal to be discussed at the meetings involves license selling agents in Wyoming. “Selling hunting and fishing licenses has changed tremendously with the advent of computer automated license agents, and the Game and Fish needs to update its license agent regulations accordingly,” said Jean Cole, Game and Fish license manager.
The proposal will define specific rules for computer automated agents versus traditional book agents and stipulate all new agents must be computer automated. Cancellation of license agents was formerly Game and Fish Commission policy and is being proposed to be adopted into regulation. The new regulation would also permit the department to suspend a license agent prior to the cancellation hearing at the next commission meeting.
Also proposed are changes to the Late Migratory Bird regulations. Based on results of a public survey conducted last summer, all of Park and Big Horn counties, and Fremont County excluding those portions south or west of the Continental Divide will be moved to the late season zone (Zone C1) in the Late Migratory Game Bird Regulations. In addition, the late dark goose season in Goshen and Platte counties will open and close a week later (Nov. 21 – Feb. 17) and the scaup restrictions will be eliminated from the duck bag limit.
All interested parties are encouraged to attend one of the following public meetings:
Sept. 10 - 6 p.m. Laramie Game and Fish Office
Sept. 17 - 6 p.m. Cody Game and Fish Office
Sept. 17 - 5 p.m. Sheridan Game and Fish Office
Sept. 18 - 6 p.m. Lander Game and Fish Office
Sept. 18 - 7 p.m. Pinedale Game and Fish Office
Sept. 20 - 7 p.m. Casper Game and Fish Office
Sept. 25 - 7 p.m. Green River Game and Fish Office
Oct. 4 - 6:30 p.m. Jackson Game and Fish Office
If unable to attend a meeting, written comments will be accepted through 5 p.m. Oct. 19, 2012, by mailing: Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Regulations, 3030 Energy Lane, Casper, WY 82604 or through the Game and Fish website at wgfd.wyo.gov.
All comments will be presented to the Game and Fish Commission prior to their Nov. 14-15 meeting in Rock Springs.
The Game and Fish supports the Americans with Disabilities Act. Every effort will be made for reasonable accommodations by contacting the corresponding department office.
(Contact: Mike Choma (307) 473-3400 or Jeff Obrecht (307) 777-4532)