YODER - The severe drought and resulting haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acres has forced the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to significantly modify its southeast Wyoming pheasant releases for 2012. Releases in north-central Wyoming will be basically the same as previous years.
The only walk-in areas in southeast Wyoming to be stocked with pheasants this fall are 19, 29, and 63 in Goshen County. No pheasants will be stocked in Laramie or Platte counties in 2012.
“We regret that the walk-in areas in Laramie and Platte counties do not have sufficient cover to provide hunters anything close to a decent hunting opportunity,” said Steve Schafer, superintendent of the Game and Fish’s Downar Bird Farm near Yoder.
He reports that in addition to haying and grazing, one of the former pheasant release walk-in areas in Platte County is now a wheat field and a walk-in area in Laramie County is having a pipeline buried through it.
The three Goshen County walk-in areas to be stocked remain in CRP and have also been hayed or grazed. The Game and Fish hopes that although the cover has been reduced up to 75 percent compared to the good cover conditions of 2011, the walk-in areas should provide a satisfactory pheasant hunting experience. Weather permitting, the walk-in areas will receive two releases per week through November.
As a result of the lack of walk-in area stocking locations in southeast Wyoming, the Game and Fish will increase the number of pheasants stocked during the general season at the Springer/Bump Sullivan Wildlife Habitat Management Area near Yoder. The number of birds stocked at the Table Mountain HMA south of Huntley will also be increased and the stocking period will be extended through November.
After losing approximately 2,950 pheasants to botulism in August and September, the Downar Bird Farm has approximately 12,000 pheasants to stock this fall. The special pheasant hunts at the Springer HMA and Glendo State Park will receive the same number of birds as past years.
In addition, more than 800 juvenile pheasants were also released in Goshen County this August by the Goshen County Rooster Boosters, an organization dedicated to improving pheasant hunting in the county.
The general pheasant season for the Springer HMA (Hunt Area 8) runs Nov. 3-12 and Nov. 3 - Dec. 31 for the rest of southeast Wyoming, which is primarily Hunt Area 7.
Hunters, regardless of age, are reminded to purchase the Pheasant Special Management Permit to hunt pheasants on walk-in and habitat areas. Hunters are reminded to read the 2012 pheasant hunting regulations before going afield because of changes from the 2011 season.
The stocking plan for pheasants from the Sheridan Bird Farm, which didn’t experience any disease problems, is the same as past years.
Weather permitting, the Yellowtail WHMA (Hunt Area 5) near Lovell will be stocked twice a week through the week of Christmas and the Ocean Lake and Sand Mesa WHMAs (Hunt Area 2) near Riverton will be stocked twice a week through November.
Walk-in areas will be stocked in Campbell County (No. 2), Johnson County (Nos. 9 and 11), and Sheridan County (Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6). Plus, in the Sheridan-Buffalo area, the Bob Ruby Rock Creek and Buffalo Run state land areas, Bud Love WHMA, Welch Bureau of Land Management area, and Fort Phil Kearny Hunter Management Area will also be stocked. Weather permitting, these walk-in and other areas in the Sheridan-Buffalo area will be stocked once a week through November and possibly longer depending on the supply of birds. Hunters can contact the Sheridan Game and Fish Office for the specific locations of these release areas.
Hunters are cautioned if they follow the stocking truck, the driver will likely return to the bird farm and not release the birds until a later date.
(Contact: Jeff Obrecht (307) 777-4532)