Harvest survey results available from 2019 big game hunts

Reports available online

4/6/2020 7:55:24 PM

Cheyenne - Harvest surveys from 2019 hunts are finalized and available to help plan fall hunts. Reports for moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, deer and pronghorn are posted on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website.

Wyoming hunters saw varied success in 2019. Moose hunters, on average, saw 92% harvest success. Pronghorn was also notably high at just over 90%. Elk hunter harvest success averaged  42%, which is typical for the species.

Many factors contribute to harvest success rates for hunters. Harvest Survey Coordinator Emily Gates cites three potential factors. The first, which is hard to quantify, is motivation.  

“Hunters who draw a once-in-a-lifetime or a highly-sought after license, like moose, are typically extremely motivated to fill their tag,” Gates said. “That means plenty of research, potentially hiring an outfitter or guide, hunting on private land or lots of scouting.”

Further, varying habitats contribute to how difficult it is to harvest. A species like pronghorn is easier to pursue on open landscapes. But, animals like elk reside in steeper areas with more timber, which are harder to traverse. 

Changes in regulations can also influence hunter success, and lower success rates do not always indicate a worse season. 

“For example, the new Type A mountain goat license reduced overall mountain goat hunter success to 64% in 2019 from 90% in 2018,” Gates said. “However, Type 1 hunters still experienced high success around 90%, and more hunters were ultimately able to hunt for and harvest mountain goats in 2019 with the inclusion of Type A licenses.”

For all big game species, nonresidents typically see higher success rates and lower days per harvest when compared to residents. Does this mean that they are better hunters? Gates said not necessarily. 

“Nonresidents may have only a limited amount of time while visiting Wyoming to fill their license. That means they might be less selective in the animal they choose to take or hunt harder in a shorter amount of time than residents,” Gates said.

Harvest reports are one of the tools Game and Fish offers to help hunters plan their fall excursions. For more resources, including maps and drawing odds, visit the Game and Fish Hunting webpage.

(Rebekah Fitzgerald (307) 777-4594)

- WGFD -

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