What a difference a few days can make. With two big spring storms in the rear view and one more yet on the short-term horizon, the moisture situation in Wyoming has improved drastically over the past ten days. We can now say, this spring has been much more wet that last year’s spring so far, which is a much-needed slice of good news.
The statewide snowpack is now estimated at just shy of 98% of normal levels, a drastic improvement over the paltry 79% we saw only two short weeks ago. With yet another storm on the horizon near the end of April this should for all intents and purposes put us “over the top” to a normal snow pack year in most regions of the state.
As it sits now, the Black Hills (140%) region and the Northern Bighorn Mountains (111%) are well above 100% of normal snow pack levels. The two regions which were suffering the most as drought areas only a few weeks ago I might add. This welcome improvement all happened in one single spring storm that lasted the better part of an entire week. Add to that the fact that many of the largest mountain ranges in Wyoming are now at or above historic snow levels. The ranges of the Bighorn Mountains (105%), the Laramie Mountains (101%), the Wind River Range (101%) and the lower Absaroka Range (102%) are all slightly above their bench mark snow levels. The crucial ranges of the Teton (89%), Salt (94%) and Wyoming (92%) ranges are slightly below but there is still time for late spring weather to top off these ranges due to their historic tendency to get pounded by snow in the month of May at the highest of elevations.
Suffice it to say, we are now in very good shape when it comes to spring run-off, reservoir levels and spring green up conditions for wildlife.
As for herd conditions, I believe our original predictions are in even better shape at the possibility of coming true at this point. For antelope, I would look at the historic areas of the Red Desert and upper Sweetwater units as being possible big buck producers for this fall. Those would be areas in the 50s, 60s and 90s in unit numbers. I personally like antelope hunts in areas 53, 57, 58, 60, 92 and 96 to be very solid bets for this fall’s hunting season.
As for the deer hunts, I still like Region-G for this year. The reports I got last fall coupled with counts and herd conditions from earlier this spring seem to be pointing in a very positive direction for this deer herd as a whole. I am hopeful this deer herd was the first to collapse and now may be the first to rebound if conditions continue to hold up throughout the spring and summer months. Outside limited quota options may be the deer hunts inside or on the fringe of this region, areas such as 128-late season, Areas-141 and 130 also could see marked improvements in deer hunting conditions for this fall, particularly when it comes to over-all horn growth potential.
Glad to bring some good news finally to the pages of this blog. As always, we will keep you posted on the inner workings of Wyoming’s hunting and wildlife news and predictions for this fall’s hunting season. Our final update will be coming sometime in the middle of May right before the application deadline for the deer and antelope hunting season, so make sure you subscribe to our email newsletter so you don’t miss this critical information prior to the Wyoming draw deadline. And good luck. -Guy