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How Will Covid 19 Affect Western Hunting Seasons?



Life is returning to normal for much of the West. Here in Wyoming Covid 19 didn’t have as large an impact on daily life as it did in other parts of the country and for that we are grateful. I went bear hunting this weekend and my drive to a favorite trailhead was surprisingly busy; campgrounds had folks in them, and not just residents, people were wandering the hills looking for antlers and others were driving the roads gawking at the scenery and wildlife – pretty much normal for a spring weekend in Wyoming. 

I’m not saying that life is hunky dory, it’s not, a lot of our businesses are struggling and Wyoming isn’t alone in this regard. All the western states, like the entire country, have and continue to suffer as the economic impact of the pandemic continues to crush business owners across the West and the question arises, what impact will the pandemic and ensuing economic crisis have on western hunting seasons? 

The only concrete answer I have for that is that only time can tell. However, if the reopening measures and quarantine cessations are any indication I’m betting that hunting seasons will not be impacted one wink.

The elk will still bugle, the deer and the antelope will still play, predators will still be a worry and the mountains and plains of the West will remain as indifferent to it all as they have since the dawn of time. 

The point is this, DO NOT cancel your plans! As long as you’re able, come and hunt. At this time not a single state agency has closed or even hinted at closing fall hunting seasons and the draws for tags are still taking in money in anticipation of pulling one of those coveted Region G or Missouri Breaks tags

Besides the fact that hunting seasons will go on and you’ll not want to miss it, small business owners are literally at the make or break stage in many places. They count on those Autumn dollars from hunters to pay the year’s bills. It is no secret that non-resident money keeps many western entrepreneurs fed through the winter and this year more than most they need all our help. 

So come hunt; eat in the restaurants and cafes, celebrate in the taverns. Buy your firewood from the kid with the plywood and rattle can sign by the highway. Get the camp groceries from the local IGA instead of Wal-Mart. Tip your guide or outfitter a little more, if they earn it. Afterall, it’s hunting season and you’ve survived a pandemic, life is good.

About Todd Helms

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  1. Randy Roderick

    I read that Colorado is giving refunds to out of state hunters. Won’t swear to it.

  2. Jeremy Kusmin

    I’m a diehard hunter, it’s all I do. However, your article clearly implies that the pandemic is over. It is not, not even close. You are promoting a continuous and rapid increase in spreading this virus across our beloved state and the West. Covid-19 is our biggest predator concern.

    • Todd J Cotter

      It is not over, and when it is, there will be another. You cannot stop mother nature, nor can you stop people getting infected, and/or dying. You can spread out the time it takes for this disease to run it’s course, but staying inside will not change the inevitable. It is an unfortunate disease, but it will run it’s course, unless a proven vaccine comes out, and that is a long way off. I don’t believe Eastman’s is promoting anything more than common sense, certainly not the unfounded panic that has hit the media. Life will go on, now and in the fall. And by the way, my son had COVID19 and it ran it’s course and he is fine. Protect yourself if you feel the need: that has always been good common sense.

  3. Excellent article, Todd! very well put. We all need to be sensible and patient thru these unprecedented and uncertain times. Oil tanking hasn’t helped the western economy either. I am hopeful I can make a trip or two out west to camp, fish, & hunt as we beat this thing. God Bless!

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