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Wolves Collared for Continued Monitoring
MARK GOCKE, PUBLIC INFORMATION SPECIALIST, 307-249-5811
March 26, 2021
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JACKSON - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is continuing its wolf monitoring effort this winter with the capture and collaring of several animals across their range in northwest Wyoming. The Game and Fish Department is responsible for management of the state's wolf population outside Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation.


Wyoming Game and Fish Wolf Biologist Ken Mills inspects a sedated young adult female wolf from the Pacific Creek Pack near near Moran, WY. The animal was captured in the Spread Creek drainage, which is an unusual location for them as they are typically north of Togwotee Pass.

So far this winter, approximately 43 new collars have been deployed, bringing the total number of marked animals to over 75 within the state's trophy game management area. Managers like to have at least 1-2 collared animals in each pack to monitor the changing distribution and derive an accurate count for the population. The Department has also been deploying additional GPS collars to assist in cooperative research projects with University of California-Berkeley, the National Elk Refuge, and Grand Teton National Park. Regular aerial surveys are flown to keep tabs on the collared animals and their associated packs.


Game and Fish Wolf Biologist Ken Mills reads the scale as a young adult female from the Horsetail Creek pack is weighed at a handling station near Kelly recently. The animal's GPS collar had failed and was being replaced.

Most of the captures are handled in the field away from people by a contracted professional wildlife capture crew. The crew will typically net-gun the animals, collect blood and other biological samples, fit it with a GPS collar or traditional VHF radio collar and release it on-site. The battery life will allow the GPS collar to record the animals' travels in detail for approximately 2-3 years; traditional radio collars last 7 years. In addition, the Department’s Large Carnivore biologists also venture into the field to follow-up on reported sightings, which helps gain accurate counts of wolves, as well as assist with the aerial captures each year.


Game and Fish Wolf Biologist Ken Mills collects a blood sample from a young adult female wolf from the Pacific Creek pack as wolf researcher Kristen Barker looks on. After biological samples are collected and the animal is fitted with a GPS collar, it is flown back to the area where captured and released.

To learn more about wolves in Wyoming visit the Game and Fish website or click this link: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Wildlife-in-Wyoming/Large-Carnivore/Wolves-in-Wyoming.

- WGFD -
 

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Discussion Starter · #202 ·
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Always Busy improving the resources.......Hats off to these divisions that are fully engaged in protecting and improving their wildlife resources.

Pronghorn Collared to Supplement Migration Data
MARK GOCKE, PUBLIC INFORMATION SPECIALIST, 307-249-5811
March 22, 2021

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Game and Fish collars 75 pronghorn to learn their migration patterns!

PINEDALE - This winter a Game and Fish-contracted wildlife capture crew deployed 75 GPS collars on doe pronghorn in the Sublette herd, which covers much of southwest Wyoming north of Interstate-80. This was in addition to 19 collars that were deployed last winter in an effort to fill in ‘holes’ in an existing dataset.

The Sublette pronghorn herd is among the Cowboy State’s largest, currently numbering some 35,000 animals with a herd population objective of 48,000. In multiple studies between 2004 and 2017, nearly 600 individual pronghorn from the Sublette herd were fitted with GPS satellite tracking collars, bringing to light one of the longest intact big game migration corridors in North America. It was discovered that some pronghorn in the Sublette herd seasonally move nearly 200 miles between summer ranges in Grand Teton National Park and winter ranges north of Rock Springs.

With the large number of animals that have been collared over the years, the dataset for the Sublette herd is very robust. However, wildlife managers and researchers realized there were still important portions of the herd where no pronghorn had been collared.



These newly-collared animals will provide the fine-scale location data needed to not only delineate migration routes, but also reveal important stopover areas where animals stock up on nutrients along the way. The data will also inform managers on where to locate local conservation measures such as fence modifications and improved highway wildlife crossings.

The Department is currently reviewing this large dataset and following the steps outlined in the Governor's Executive Order 2020-1 to evaluate the Sublette pronghorn herd's seasonal movements for potential identification or designation as a migration corridor.

- WGFD -
 

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Discussion Starter · #203 ·
Utah checking on Denning Bears- This is pretty cool.....

Each year biologists climb inside bear dens to quantify reproduction and recruitment of Utah's black bear population. This usually means tranquilizing the mother bear, performing a health assessment, checking her GPS collar fit, and determining how many cubs, if any, were born during the winter. They are too cute not to share!


 

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Discussion Starter · #204 ·
Video taken yesterday-
 
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Discussion Starter · #205 ·
Bighorn Sheep Trail Cam Video-

Enjoy this short compilation of footage from trail cams on one of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Wildlife Habitat Management areas in southeast Wyoming.

 

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Discussion Starter · #206 ·
Mule Deer Trail Cam footage-

This trail camera video compilation shows mule deer in Wyoming wintering on the Thorne/Williams Wildlife Habitat Management Area.

 

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Discussion Starter · #207 ·
This is why the Western States lead in Wildlife Management. Here is Nevada flying in water when needed for their resources.....

2020 was a dry year for Nevada. Over the summer, each new day seemed to bring with it a new record high temperature. Combined with no measurable rain for 220 days, those conditions put extra pressure on the area’s bighorn sheep. To give the animals a helping hand, NDOW biologists used a helicopter to haul nearly 20,000 gallons of water to four different guzzler locations over the course of four days. This video looks at those water hauls at the guzzler known as 5 Ram in the Muddy Mountains.

 

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Discussion Starter · #208 ·
More good data-Buck and Doe Winter Mortality by age structure. Really enjoy their focus on their resources to learn the opportunities to make it better.






How do they get this data- Using up Boot leather, Volunteer Groups and Technology.

The biologists gather their data from grid walks done with large public volunteer groups on established winter range die-off areas. They are always a fun walk to get out and participate. I have enjoyed a few of them over the years if the weather is good. These surveys do have big gaps and limitations as only a few set grids are walked each year then a “Modeling” accomplished.

The radio collar tracking gives us more precise data and with the bucks they have only recently started monitoring those as the lifeblood of the herds are the does/fawns. It wasn’t a good year in 2017 according to the radio collars. This from the 2017 Migration Initiative.

“Fawn Winter Survival
Winter conditions tend to have the greatest effect on survival of fawns, and this winter was no exception. We observed 100% mortality of the fawns we collared in summer 2016. Mortality rates of that caliber can have substantial repercussions on population dynamics because the majority of an entire cohort of deer is gone. Although these numbers are staggering, winter die-offs, as the one observed this winter, do occasionally occur and populations do eventually rebound. We have now found ourselves with a unique opportunity to evaluate how mule deer populations rebound from harsh winters.“

The blood bath on the Highways in past years during those bad winters has been horrific and particularly gruesome. Some good over/underpasses and fencing have been installed to try and stop that but still more work needs to be done. It really sucks when a big buck makes it to age 5, only to get broad sided on a cold winter night by an unprepared motorist barreling along at 70 mph. https://www.wyomingnews.com/rocketm...cle_aa6cdea5-19cc-5545-adb0-c1020ac35699.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #209 ·
BigHorn Sheep Video-

Trail cam footage featuring an up-close view of bighorn sheep on one of Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Wildlife Habitat Management Areas in southeastern Wyoming's this past winter. Subscribe to our YouTube channel: http://bit.ly/2jwNfv0

The Laramie Peak Wildlife Habitat Management Area is a location where serious rock climbers enjoy challenging themselves on the area's vertical rock formations. These same rugged cliffs provide the perfect habitat for bighorn sheep. Watch, listen and enjoy these trail cam clips of bighorn sheep on the WHMA. Keep an ear out for the bighorn sheep sound about 0:23 seconds in. Native wild sheep once thrived in the area pre-settlement but were in very low numbers around the turn of the 20th century. After 7 different translocations, starting in 1964 with the last one in 2007, the herd is doing quite well. In conjunction with the augmentations, several wildfires burned over 200,000 acres within the Laramie Range. The fires provided significant habitat values, particularly for the bighorn sheep. Bighorn sheep prefer the open vistas to avoid predators and take advantage of the plant species that are abundant post-fire. The peaks and valleys that lie within the Laramie Peak WHMA along with the public and private land that surrounds the unit are critical for the long-term survival of bighorn sheep in southeast Wyoming. Want to see more footage of bighorn sheep?

Check out the WildLIVE series on our website, where we feature close-upips of Wyoming's wildlife species: https://bit.ly/3g2bAYx Get additional details about the Laramie Peak WHMA by visiting the "Public Access" tab of our website: https://bit.ly/3fKQmPX


Bighorn Sheep Habitat - Southeastern Wyoming - YouTube
 
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Discussion Starter · #210 ·
Arizona Deploying Game Cameras for research on Mexican Wolf-

The Arizona Game and Fish Department's Terrestrial Research Branch is studying the viability of using trail cameras to get an accurate estimate of Arizona's Mexican wolf population.


 

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Discussion Starter · #211 ·
Recognized for the efforts in wildlife conservation-


Game and Fish GIS technology work recognized with international award

The department’s GIS section was selected by Esri as a recipient of the 2021 Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award for the enterprise reorganization and upgrades to Game and Fish map data systems.


6/21/2021 10:25:26 PM

CHEYENNE - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is being recognized for outstanding work with geographic information system (GIS) technology. The department’s GIS section was selected by Esri as a recipient of the 2021 Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award for the enterprise reorganization and upgrades to Game and Fish map data systems.

Game and Fish’s GIS section is responsible for the map data that biologists and policy-makers use to inform decisions for fish, wildlife and habitat management. That’s information like hunt area boundaries, Game and Fish property data, big game seasonal ranges or where invasive species like cheatgrass are growing.

“It’s authoritative data,” said Kirk Nordyke, geospatial technology supervisor. “That means, Game and Fish is who collects the data and manages it — including providing it to others for decision-making.”

Having an up-to-date GIS database for that authoritative data was important for the department, and was prioritized for upgrades in 2017. Fish and wildlife biologists - as well as others within the Game and Fish - needed to have easy access to all data, from anywhere in the state. The GIS section worked to move their data from internal storage to a cloud-based solution.

“This was innovative for data management in the State of Wyoming, and it put more - and current - information in the hands of people who are doing important work on the ground for wildlife,” said Denise Jensen, GIS developer.

Game and Fish was selected for the SAG from more than 100,000 Esri users worldwide.

“The department’s GIS section took on a robust challenge to modernize geospatial technology access. The SAG award is true recognition of the collaboration between many in Game and Fish to manage Wyoming’s wildlife with the best available data and science,” said Eric Wiltanger, chief of services who oversees IT operations.

The Game and Fish GIS section team members recognized include Kirk Nordyke, Denise Jensen, Troy Gerhardt, Erica Cirigliano and Thomas Koenig. Additional Game and Fish employees who assisted are Darby Schok, Paul Dey, Mark Smith, Brian Rognan, Nyssa Whitford, Micah Morris and Cheyenne Stewart.

“It’s nice to be recognized for the work, and we know this change will make a world of difference for our end-users, who are our colleagues, as well as wildlife, fish and the public,” Nordyke said.

This is the second time the Game and Fish’s GIS section has won a SAG award; in 2016 they were recognized for the Wyoming Hunt Planner, known today as the premier planning and map tool for anyone embarking on a Wyoming hunt.

(Sara DiRienzo (307-777-4540))
 

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Discussion Starter · #212 ·
A trail camera in Wyoming's Snowy Range captured footage of this bull moose early in the summer of 2021.

 
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