By Tom Carpenter
WEATHER AND CONDITIONS
“Southeastern Wyoming experienced average to above average precipitation throughout the spring and summer that helped with plant production, and there were no major hail events,” reports Martin Hicks, wildlife biologist with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “Winter was mild compared to past winters, so adult survival was somewhat favorable too.”
“However, based on spring crow counts, rooster numbers were down,” Hicks adds. “Not sure of the explanation there, other than habitat conditions are in poor shape compared to the late 1990s and early 2000s.”
HATCH AND BROODS
"Wyoming does not conduct official summer surveys, just spring crow counts. Those adult male numbers were down compared to previous years,” says Hicks. “But good broods were spotted in areas with the best cover, so there were some successful hatches.”
“Hunters going to the field in Wyoming’s pheasant range, primarily the Southeast, should not expect to see an increase in wild birds compared to previous years,” says Hicks. “Some hunters will rely upon hunting areas where the WGFD releases pheasants for hunting opportunity.”
HABITAT AND PROGRAMS
"Until USDA/FSA puts emphasis on CRP enhancement, similar to the late 1990s and early 2000's, hunters will not expect to see an improvement in habitat conditions in Wyoming,” says Hicks. “It appears the focus has changed from CRP enhancement projects and even overall enrollment. As such, habitat will remain in poor condition.” It simply needs rejuvenation.
"Hunters that hunt the WGFD's Springer Wildlife Habitat Management Area and the lands enrolled into the Department's Access Yes Program will have success and plenty of opportunity,” says Hicks. “In southeastern Wyoming, Goshen County will be the main county to hunt.”
“WGFD tentatively plans to stock pheasants in Platte and Laramie counties,” adds Hicks.