GILLETTE, Wyo. — Drought conditions and disease concerns will have some impact on harvest numbers during the 2022 hunting season, though there should still be ample opportunity for a successful hunt, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Drought conditions and impacts from epizootic hemorrhagic disease, as well as blue tongue virus, are affecting pronghorn, mule deer, and white-tailed deer populations in the Sheridan Region, game and fish says.
Conditions and concerns over the number of disease-related mortalities among pronghorn populations have resulted in reduced license quotas for the species this year, per WGFD, though those who draw should still have a good shot at harvesting an animal.
Mule deer harvest strategies this year are designed to provide ample buck-hunting opportunities while maintaining conservative antlerless deer harvests, with the goal being to maximize herd growth.
White-tailed deer seasons are liberal with seasons for harvesting any deer open in November with some fawn-doe seasons extending into December, per WGFD, which should allow maximum harvest to manage the population.
License holders in areas 27, 29, 30, 32, 33, and 163 are no longer eligible to apply for and receive an unlimited number of limited quota, reduced-priced doe-fawn licenses after the leftover drawing is complete, game and fish says.
There are ample opportunities for hunters to harvest an elk this year, according to WGFD, especially if they are willing to hunt anterless elk. Additionally, there are changes in opening dates, season limitations, and license types this year, all of which were reportedly designed to help achieve desired harvest levels.
Drawing a limited quota, any-elk tag continues to be difficult to draw but those that do manage to get their hands on one have a good shot at harvesting a mature bull, game and fish says.
Hunters can expect a shorter release season at the Sheridan Bird Farm this year with the numbers down due to concerns over Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza across the Sheridan Region, according to WGFD.
As of Aug. 15, the disease has been confirmed in wild turkey populations, though the extent to which it may have affected the species and other upland game birds is unknown, per game and fish.
Areas in Sheridan and Johnson counties that require a Pheasant Management Stamp will not be open for hunters to harvest any pheasant, which is a change over last year, WGFD says.
There are several hunt areas this year that fall inside the state’s chronic wasting disease focus areas; hunters who harvest an animal in any of the following areas are encouraged to get it tested for CWD to help game and fish monitor and manage the disease.
Deer Hunt Areas 1-6 and Elk Hunt Areas 33-34, 41, 45, 47-19, and 120 are all in CWD monitoring focus areas.
For more information on CWD testing and monitoring efforts, please visit the WGFD website.