What a strange winter this has been! As I sit down to write this the Snotel reports are being updated and we are watching as the mountains absorb their last bits of precipitation. With the Wyoming big game deadline staring at us I am going to take some time to break down by region the prospectus for everyone looking to burn points in Wyoming this year.
Precipitation in the Cowboy State, especially in the spring, is a double-edged sword. Do we need the moisture for fawn recruitment, spring growth, and of course driving antler growth through the summer? Absolutely! However, spring storms can and often are the last nail in the coffin for the animals that are in transition from one end of their migration to another.
Let’s take Wyoming antelope for example. The late storm that hit this spring put our antelope numbers in need of a little more protection, which corresponded into 3,000 fewer tags available for hunters in 2021. This storm probably pushed many antelope over the edge as the forage was in pretty rough shape in the Red Desert from a very dry summer last year.
Wyoming overall isn’t in bad shape but I am going to be very interested in seeing the update to TagHub that will be coming early next week. TagHub has a drought layer that we update quarterly and will be just in time for the Wyoming deadline with the latest information overlaid on top of the units you are planning to apply in.
The Bighorn Mountain region looks the best from a snowpack perspective, for residents who regularly apply here the region is looking good for elk growth. The Park County region has had a few late rain and snow storms that have helped green things up but we will need continued moisture through the region to see the area live up to its potential for elk antler growth. A lack of spring showers means less green grass for the bulls to graze.
Now for the regions all of the deer hunters are here to read about. Regions G and H appear to be sitting at about 75% of normal precipitation. IF THIS pattern holds through the summer I would expect to see bucks that may not finish well except for the really mature brutes who know how to pack on the weight. Many of you sitting on a lot of points should plan accordingly. Be watching for an update from Guy on the region as well, it will be very insightful.
South of I-80 will also be a challenge as the entire region is sitting between 50 and 75% of normal precipitation. Deer hunters looking at 101 and 102 should be prepared to encounter a dryer than normal high desert hunt thanks to the low winter precipitation. Will there still be big bucks to be had there? Of course, but it may be more of a challenge than normal to find the bigger bucks that have historically come from the region.
The best tool in my pocket for tracking the drought in relation to where I will be hunting is the drought tool inside of Eastmans’ TagHub. All of the information that I pulled from Wyoming can be seen in TagHub and is updated four times a year minimum. Every membership level can look at it as it is part of the data. Right now we have a deal for elite members that includes a YETI Rambler, Black Rifle Coffee Company instant coffee packets, an Outdoor Edge knife and both journals heading to your door. Good luck and read about that offer HERE.