Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Hunting outlook: good

 

September 26, 2019



Hunting season is upon us once again and Game Warden Chris Teter is confident it’s going to be a good one. Despite a few potential issues for those who don’t have access to private land, he says, populations are generally high and the opportunities should be broad.

Elk

Elk season will be something of a mixed bag this year, Teter says, depending on where you plan to hunt.

“Hunters who have good access to the private land where the majority of the elk are have being doing fairly well, while public land hunters are going to have a little bit less success,” he says.

“In Area 116 north of Sundance with that general license, on the public land the hunting pressure tends to displace those elk to private land. Expectations up there should be kind of tempered.”

There are still opportunities for private land hunting, he notes, especially for those who have connections with the landowners.

“One thing hunters should know in Area 116 is that we combined the cow-calf license types into a type 7 license. It’s just valid off the National Forest,” Teter adds.

In Area 116, general licenses are valid between October 15 and November 10 for any elk, while the general license season for antlerless elk is open between November 11 and 30 and a type 7 cow-calf license will be valid until January 31.

“In Hunt Area 1, that’s been relatively the same,” Teter continues. “We did ratchet back those license numbers a few years ago and that has seemed to help with success out there.”

In Hunt Area 1, Type 1 licenses for any elk and Type 4 licenses for antlerless elk are valid from October 15 to November 30.

“In Hunt Area 117, we’ve got some opportunity for anterlerless elk harvest,” says Teter.

“We’ve been having some success but with the crazy weather we’ve had this year, with the amount of water and forage, it’s been a little bit more difficult to get into some of those elk because they’re really not concentrated in any one place right now”

Type 1 licenses for any elk in Area 117 are valid from October 15 to November 30 and for antlerless elk from December 1 to January 31. Type 2 licenses for spike or antlerless elk and Type 4 licenses for antlerless elk are valid from October 15 to January 31; the season for Type 7 cow-calf licenses runs until January 31.

Antelope

“With the long winter we had and those cold February temperatures and the snowpack, we certainly lost some antelope, particularly in the western and south parts of the county,” says Teter.

“Hunters can expect to work a bit harder out in those areas. In the northern part of the county, the population is relatively good.”

All five hunt areas are open this year. In Hunt Areas 1 through 4, the season for Type 1 (any antelope) and Type 6 (doe or fawn) licenses will run from October 1 to November 20.

In Hunt Area 5, the season runs at the same time but the available license types are 1 (any antelope) and 7 (doe or fawn on private land).

Deer

The harsh winter of 2018-2019 has also affected Crook County’s deer population, Teter says.

“With the winter, we did experience some losses, especially with fawn deer. Of course, it’ll take a few years for that to affect the hunting,” he says.

“Mule deer are doing pretty well and have increased over the last couple of years, so we’ve got good densities of mule deer. The whitetails have been pretty productive over the last couple of years and, even with the losses we experienced, the population is doing well. We’ve kept those license numbers pretty high to try to limit conflicts with the landowners on that and so hunters should have a good quality hunt this year on both public and private lands.”

Additional licenses are still available.

“There are still lots of doe-fawn licenses in the northern part of the county that are valid on private land, so if people have some access to private land there are still plenty of those tags to buy,” he says.

For those looking for a hotspot, Teter suggests sticking north.

“As usual, the northern part of the county is more productive and so hunters will certainly see more deer in that part of the world as opposed to the south part,” he says.

For resident hunters in Hunt Area 1, the season for general licenses for antlered deer off private land and any deer on private land will run from November 1 to 20 and the general license for antlered white-tail off private land and any white-tail on private land will run from November 21 to 30.

In Hunt Areas 2 and 3, the season for general licenses for antlered deer off private land and any deer on private land will run from November 1 to 30. In Hunt Areas 4 and 5, this season ends on November 20 and does not include Ranch A.

A Type 7 license for a doe or fawn on private land will be valid between November 1 and 30 in Hunt Areas 1, 2 and 3. In Hunt Area 4 the season ends on November 20; in Hunt Area 5, the Type 6 license season for doe or fawn also runs from November 1 to 20.

Turkeys

Archery season for turkeys now lasts for the full month of September, says Teter, and purchasing an archery license at this time is not necessary as it would be for big game animals.

“Turkey numbers have declined a little bit. We’re seeing pretty decent polt survival this year, but turkey numbers are still probably down about 25 percent from where they were three years ago,” he says.

“There are still decent numbers of birds and that’s something you can certainly find on public land, although it’ll be a little bit down from where it has been. They are very well dispersed all through the county, I wouldn’t say there’s any place that’s way better than the next.”

The season for general licenses for any wild turkey runs from November 1 to 30.

Lions

Lion season, as always, will be open until the harvest is complete.

“We’ve certainly reduced the lion population from its peak. We’ve had very few conflicts with lions this year, but there are still good numbers of them and so I expect that season to be very similar to what it has been the last couple of years,” Teter says.

The season opened September 1 and, as of the end of last week, no successful harvests had yet been reported.

“There are three hunt areas and they each have a limit. When we reach those harvest limits, we will close the season because those hunters are required to report any harvests,” Teter says.

“However, if we don’t reach those harvest limits, the season will close on March 31.”

 
 

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