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Wyoming “Rebrands” Elk Depredation Hunts

Elk populations in Wyoming are booming… well in some places, like the areas with no large carnivores and mostly private property, namely in the eastern half of the state, the elk picture is not nearly so bright in the shadow of the nation’s first national park. It’s the same story in Montana and with growing elk numbers comes management difficulties. Namely, how to keep landowners/stock producers from being eaten out of house and home or shuttering operations due to too much competition from wapiti. 

A proposal from the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association seeks to rebrand both the regulations and name of the state’s “depredation hunts” to allow for more flexibility. The new term would be “auxiliary management” and would supposedly open possibilities for expanded hunting of big game, wild turkeys and trophy species like grizzlies and wolves. 

What does this mean for Wyoming hunters? Well, it is possible that it means increased hunting opportunities, especially for elk in areas like the Black Hills and Laramie Mountains. The problem lies in that where the elk live is mostly private land that is leased by outfitters for hunting. If these changes are in fact put in place there will be a lot of ironing to do. For example, landowners managing hunting pressure, outfitters navigating demand for access and hunters jumping through hoops to tag an elk or two for the freezer. 

If done right this could be a winning scenario or hunters, stock producers, outfitters and the state of Wyoming. This burgeoning herd needs to be managed and responsible, limited hunting is the best tool for the job. Landowners would be relieved of having too many elk to compete with, outfitters could offer expanded services and hunters would gain more access to huntable elk. 

On the surface this all looks great! But I personally wonder why a more simple solution hasn’t been used… If you’ve got too many elk, let people hunt them! 

Admittedly, I’m not a livestock producer and my viewpoint may be overly simple. 

I’d love to hear what you have to say.

About Todd Helms

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  1. Orion-Cazadores

    Simple cause it’s a simple solution actually.

    They don’t actually want this problem solved if anyone is really honest.

    Just go / allow hunting late spring or when herd is bunched up – shoot em all, or late spring early summer when cows are on the calving grounds- shoot 2 for 1.
    Problem solved in 1 season and likely on public lands.

    Now that solution would be popular I bet. However, u ask for a solution and it’s there, just outside the box.

    Trying to solve problems inside the box, / within the current seasons, blaming the problem of private land etc is an ignorant solution by dishonest persons.

    Want it solved quit self constraining !

    Or just pass a law and go onto the complaining land owners property and solve the problem by force.

    Or let the landowner shoot them all ~ at will until they are under control and don’t allow any landowner tags, maybe give the landowner money for some ammo at most.

    How do they get rid of rat infestation- it’s landowners problem if they don’t want hunting as problem solvers..

    Finally Just give landowners lots of money for high fence ?

    How bout on call hunters system – u call they come shoot – year round !

    Lots of solutions ! The best one is – u guessed it legal ethical responsible regulated managed hunting.

  2. David C Fisher

    Get the dang outfitter, big business mindset out of hunting. Ranchers eager for big bucks and outfitters combine to ruin hunting and to basically become a regulatory body with more power than Game and Fish.

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