Having trouble drawing an antelope tag? There may be no help in sight.
On April 15th the Wyoming Game and Fish Department announced a substantial reduction in the antelope tag quota for the upcoming draw and 2021 hunting season. The total proposed reduction will amount to 3,650 buck antelope licenses and 5,775 doe/fawn licenses. Based on last year’s quota numbers this would be an overall reduction of about 10% for the coveted “any antelope” buck tags. This reduction would be in addition to a past reduction in buck antelope tags of nearly 4% seen the prior year.
The state contends, the massive spring storm seen in the southern half of the state in March was a major factor for the decision along with the substantial effects of the drought that our wildlife endured during the summer and fall of 2020.
I expect the majority of the tag reductions to be in the antelope areas inside of the counties of Carbon, Sublette and Sweetwater. These areas would be those in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 90s. Keep this in mind if you are applying for units in these regions, you might want to make sure you have one or two more points than these areas took last year to draw successfully.
“We believe that offering some conservative hunting seasons proposals this year will help each of those herds stabilize, and allow pronghorn populations to bounce back,” said the Wyoming Game and Fish Information Officer, Sara DiRienzo on Wednesday.
I do give a well-deserved “hat tip” to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for their very proactive stance on wildlife management and their courageous move to do what is best for the resource and not what is best for the budget.
Antelope are very prolific animals and a bounce back could be very rapid if we can get a few “normal” years under our belts when it comes to weather conditions and habitat improvement. With nearly 98% of does giving birth to twin fawns, a favorable season alone can increase the total antelope herd by nearly 30% in a single year.
The odds may be a bit stiffer this year but I think this is definitely the right decision to make at this point in time. Now we know why Wyoming is very late to set their big game quotas each year. Had the quota been already set, the state would not have the luxury of being as proactive as possible thus making a bad thing worse and possibly prolonging a population bounce-back for another year or two. Want to read our application Strategies for Wyoming antelope? Become a TagHub member!