ASK GAME & FISH

"Brian, why does the Game and Fish have seasonal closures on many of its Wildlife Habitat Management Areas?"

The Game and Fish has Wildlife Habitat Management Areas (WHMAs) throughout the state that were purchased with sportspersons’ dollars to provide a safe and secure winter range and other important habitats for wildlife. Many of these WHMAs are closed to human presence in the winter and spring when wildlife are most vulnerable to disturbance and stress. During the winter months, big game animals need to conserve energy because the available forage they consume has limited nutritional value.     

The closures also reduce human impact on critical habitats and forage resources which are more vulnerable to damage during these seasons. As the winter progresses, big game animals burn excess fat reserves which reduces body condition until new plant growth occurs in the spring. Typically, the nutritional value of spring forage remains too low to allow big game animals to start putting on fat reserves again until May.

Please give wintering wildlife a break by abiding to the closure dates and other restrictions on WHMAs and big game winter ranges. Game wardens are patrolling WHMAs to protect your wildlife. Those individuals that violate WHMA closures could face a fine and loss of hunting privileges.

 

Brian Baker
Dubois Game Warden

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