NEWS

Wyoming Game and Fish Department rounds-up year with top stories of 2020

As we approach the end of a year unlike any other, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is proud to reflect on some of our top accomplishments over the year.

12/28/2020 4:50:54 PM

Cheyenne - As we approach the end of a year unlike any other, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is proud to reflect on some of our top accomplishments over the year. Notably, the Department worked tirelessly to conserve more than 800 species of fish and wildlife that call Wyoming home. 

“The pandemic certainly impacted how the Wyoming Game and Fish Department carried out business, but it didn’t stop us. Game and Fish took our charge to conserve wildlife and serve people more heartily than ever. Because when seemingly nothing was certain, one thing was: the Wyoming outdoors,” said Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik. 

The following is the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s look back on some of the highlights of  the year with a collection of top stories from 2020: 

Wildlife Crossing launch
More than 6,000 big game animals like deer, pronghorn, elk, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats die each year from collisions with vehicles on Wyoming’s highways and interstates. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department along with the Wyoming Department of Transportation is hoping to change those statistics with the launch of a new initiative, Wildlife Crossing, to keep wildlife and drivers on the go. The new initiative focuses on raising funding and awareness for reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions.
 
Wyoming CWD management plan approved
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved the Wyoming Chronic Wasting Disease Management Plan. The plan is the result of a year-long collaborative process led by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, alongside the public and stakeholders, to develop a path forward to manage the fatal disease in the state's deer, elk and moose populations.

Inspire a Kid offers 100 outdoor activities
Kids need the outdoors, now more than ever. Game and Fish officially announced the launch of Director Nesvik’s Inspire a Kid initiative with a checklist of 100 ideas and activities to help families have fun all year long. It’s called the WYO 100: An Inspire a Kid checklist of outdoor activities.

Successful kokanee captive broodstock program
After years of work and research, Wyoming has found success in managing the only active kokanee salmon broodstock program in the United States. It’s good news for anglers heading into spring fishing as interest in pursuing the state’s landlocked salmon grows.

More residents applying for hunting licenses in 2020
Wyoming big game hunting applications continued to swell in the 2020 draw with more people seeking licenses for nearly every species and type. Applications increased especially by residents, meaning licenses were more difficult to draw.

Wyoming Outdoor Expo heads online
To keep kids and families wild about wildlife and Wyoming’s outdoor resources, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and conservation partners are bringing the outdoors inside. Anyone, in any type of classroom, can learn about the outdoors, wildlife and fish with Expo@Home.

Riverton angler breaks white sucker record
Wyoming’s white sucker state record has been broken for the first time since 2011. The new record white sucker was caught in the Wind River on March 20, 2020. Riverton angler Patrick Edwards set the new record with a fish that weighed in at 5 pounds 6.45 ounces. Edwards’ fish was 22-inches long with a girth of 13.5 inches.  

Commission recognizes section of Pilot Hill as critical wildlife habitat
The Commission approved a lease to manage 3,076 acres within the Pilot Hill land project. Pilot Hill is a community-driven effort that worked collaboratively with the Office of State Lands and Investments and Albany County to acquire 7,086 acres of land for recreation, habitat conservation and aquifer protection. The new Game and Fish lease will create an additional wildlife habitat management area (WHMA) in Albany County that provides critical habitat for elk, mule deer, pronghorn and numerous species of conservation need. 

Game and Fish stocks 6,000 jumbo channel catfish
Grab your rod, choose a bait and head to the water. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department stocked 6,000 channel catfish into 19 community fishing ponds statewide. The fish are considered “jumbo-sized” at 13 to 14-inches and make great table fare.

The catfish come from the Wyoming Women’s Center in Lusk from their in-house aquaculture program. It is the first time Game and Fish has worked with the Women’s Center aquaculture facility to raise and provide fish for the state, and the collaboration has benefits for anglers.

Special Wyoming Wildlife on grizzly bears
The award-winning magazine, Wyoming Wildlife, announced a special issue on the grizzly bear for December. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s flagship publication tells the remarkable story of the bear’s recovery over four decades and the Department’s immense efforts to maintain the species. The special issue is available for free through the Wyoming Wildlife e-edition.

Elk Feedgrounds Public Collaborative Process
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has become increasingly concerned about the spread of wildlife diseases in Wyoming, the implications chronic wasting disease (CWD) and other issues may have on elk attending winter feedgrounds in western Wyoming. To address these challenges, Game and Fish is inviting the public to participate in the development of a long-term management plan, beginning with a series of virtual meetings.
 

Game and Fish Commission earns regional award
The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has been recognized as the best in the west. The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies named the Commission the Commission/Board of the Year for 2020. WAFWA represents 24 states and Canadian provinces.

(Sara DiRienzo (sara.dirienzo@wyo.gov))

- WGFD -

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