Regional Offices > Laramie Region > Laramie Region News > Early winter puts big game on the move

Early winter puts big game on the move

January 22, 2020
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Laramie -

Winter started early in southeast Wyoming, but relatively mild conditions in recent weeks have kept most areas of winter range open and made forage available elk, deer and pronghorn. However, many big game animals have been lost to vehicle collisions while trying to access these winter ranges.
Early and heavy snow pushed elk out of the mountains to private lands and made it difficult for hunters to access them. Lower harvest rates in Platte County and eastern Albany County will make it difficult for wildlife managers to reach their goals in Hunt Areas 6 and 7, which are both well over their population objective. In the Saratoga district, a herd of more than 500 elk has been consistently spotted about13 miles north of Saratoga since late October. These elk, along with other big game animals, have been spending a substantial amount of time along roadways on their way to winter ranges, resulting in several mortalities along highways 130 and 487.

Numerous pronghorn were also lost to vehicle collisions along Interstate 80 and Highway 30 as they attempted to take refuge near the Platte River and in Bates Hole. Several pronghorn crossed the North Platte River to access winter ranges in the South Ferris herd unit. In the eastern part of the region, snow moved pronghorn from the Laramie plains to the Wheatland flats where they have been milling around ever since. Wildlife biologists expect an increase in winter mortality for pronghorn in this area. 

- WGFD -

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