NEWS

Eclipse visitors safe on waterways and few wildlife incidents

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department stayed busy during the historic solar eclipse on Aug. 21 but reported low incidences of violations, no human-large carnivore conflicts  and no damage to Game and Fish properties.

8/23/2017 1:40:41 PM

Cheyenne - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department stayed busy during the historic solar eclipse on Aug. 21 but reported low incidences of violations, no human-large carnivore conflicts  and no damage to Game and Fish properties. Game and Fish had over 200 personnel working statewide to keep the thousands of eclipse viewers safe on state waterways, back country areas and to provide information on Commission owned or managed lands.

“Throughout the state we talked with thousands of visitors who had a great time in Wyoming and recreated on Game and Fish lands. We’re glad visitors enjoyed the eclipse and took time to learn more about the ways we manage wildlife and provide services to the public,” said Mike Choma, Game and Fish law enforcement supervisor. 

Field personnel contacted and provided information to over 7000 individuals. Game and Fish set up information stations at Commission owned or managed properties to answer questions and provide information about bear safety, fire bans and camping information. Employees also worked to keep boaters safe and keep aquatic invasive species out of Wyoming’s waterways.  Another task for Game and Fish personnel was patrolling wilderness areas and assisting federal, state, county and local agencies. 

“Many of the people we talked with in the field were glad to see us, asked a lot of questions about wildlife and felt safe with us on the ground,” said Jason Hunter, Lander regional wildlife supervisor.  

Game and Fish encountered very few violations during the eclipse. From Aug.18-21, Game and Fish law enforcement reports 60 citations and 99 warnings were issued. Citations and warnings were mostly related to boating safety violations, aquatic invasive species (AIS) non-compliance and fishing violations. One boating while under the influence arrest was reported. 

Three moose and one deer were hit and killed by vehicle collisions; some of these accidents included serious injuries to people who received medical care. Game and Fish reminds drivers  to be aware of wildlife on or near the road and slow down when there could be wildlife in the area. 

AIS check stations were staffed with more Game and Fish personnel than usual to be vigilant about keeping AIS out of Wyoming waters with the expected increase in boaters for the event. Twenty-nine check stations throughout the state conducted 2,466 inspections, 175 considered high-risk for potential transmission of AIS. Thirty-five of those boats were decontaminated upon inspection; no boats were found to have attached mussels. A total of 846 watercraft did not have an AIS decal, a requirement for launching in Wyoming;  66 percent compliance. 

“From a public safety standpoint, these incidents were average or even below average for this time of year,” said Choma.

(Wyoming Game and Fish (307) 777-4600)

- WGFD -

 

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