“Setting herd objectives is one of the most important things the public can be involved in since objectives shape the future management of a herd,” said Heather O’Brien, Casper wildlife biologist for Game and Fish.
Herd units are a grouping of hunt areas the Game and Fish Department uses to manage big game populations. The post-season population objectives of these herds are important because they establish the number of game for Game and Fish to manage with hunting. The population objectives are set using biological data and public input. O’Brien adds, “They are not population estimates, rather they are population goals.”
The Game and Fish is proposing to keep the same post-season population objectives for both the Rattlesnake deer and pronghorn herds, which would mean continuing target management goals for 5,500 mule deer and 12,000 pronghorn. Game and Fish is proposing to decrease the postseason population objective for the Bates Hole/Hat Six Mule Deer Herd from 12,000 to 8,000. This proposed decrease does not mean Game and Fish intends to manage for a reduced number of deer from current levels, but rather to manage for a more realistic and responsible target goal. The current objective of 12,000 has never been attained, and is not biologically responsible given habitat quality and availability.
A public meeting will be held at 6pm on Thursday, May 14 at the Wyoming Game and Fish Casper Region Office, 3030 Energy Lane. Everyone interested in the proposed changes to the management of mule deer and pronghorn are encouraged to attend and voice their opinion.