July 2021 - 13

On a mission for you
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department works throughout the year to fulfill the mission
of " conserving wildlife, serving people. " A variety of projects, surveys and efforts are
underway across Wyoming to meet this charge. Some highlights of recent work include:
New Fork River habitat: Work along the New Fork
River south of Pinedale will improve fish habitat and
reconstruct a boat access on the lower part of the river
at the Gas Wells site off Boulder South Road. The fish
habitat work is over two miles of river that runs through
Bureau of Land Management land. A variety of stream
structures made of rock and wood will reduce bank
erosion and provide cover for fish. This work is part of
a broader series of New Fork River restoration efforts.
Spiny softshell turtles: Game and Fish herpetologist
Justin Autz is leading a two-year research project to
understand more about eastern spiny softshell turtles
in the Bighorn Basin. The turtles are a species of greatest
conservation need in Wyoming due to their restricted range.
Populations are thought to be stable in eastern Wyoming,
but there have been reports of decline in the Bighorn River
Basin. If anyone sees this turtle contact Autz via email at
justin.autz@wyo.gov or by calling (262) 330-3027.
New boat docks: The Pinedale habitat and access crew
recently installed new boat docks at New Fork, Willow and
Half Moon lakes. A concrete extension also was added to
the boat ramp at Boulder Lake with cooperation from the
Bureau of Land Management Pinedale Field office. The
old docks will be repurposed as fishing platforms at the
UP Ice Pond in Evanston. Additional boat-ramp work is
planned at the Upper Fremont launch site this fall when
water levels are at their lowest. These projects were
funded with Federal Sport Fish Restoration money, and
are a cooperative effort between Game and Fish and the
Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Moose study: Game and Fish recently completed the third
year of collaring moose along the Snake River between
Jackson and Wilson. Twenty-three moose were collared
as part of this project, which began in 2019 in collaboration
with the Wyoming Department of Transportation, to
learn more about where and how frequently moose were
crossing Wyoming highways 22 and 390 in the vicinity of
the Snake River Bridge. This information is being used to
plan locations for wildlife underpasses as a part of WYDOT's
Snake River Bridge Replacement Project, which will begin
construction in 2023.
North Bighorns deer: Fourteen GPS collars were fitted
on doe mule deer in February 2021 as part of the ongoing
north Bighorns deer study. The study began in March 2020
and consists of 130 collared deer. Ten new collars were
provided through a collaboration with the University of
Wyoming Sheridan Research and Extension Center. This
collaboration allows wildlife and range managers to overlay
movement data with areas where invasive plant treatments
have been completed to see if the collared deer use these
areas during the year. The collars are recording and storing
GPS locations of each deer every two hours for three years.
Game and Fish will use the data to better understand
population dynamics and habitat use.
Black bear dens: Laramie Region wildlife personnel
assisted the trophy game section to locate black bear dens
to swap out very high frequency collars (VHF) with GPS
collars. The main advantage with GPS collars is that data
can be collected at any time of day or night remotely and
regularly. The collars will provide information for an ongoing
study on harvest vulnerability and will help establish a
baseline population estimate for the Laramie Peak Black
Bear Management Unit. In the summer of 2022, biologists
will use hair snare poles to collect hair samples from bears
for DNA analysis.
Wyoming Wildlife | 13
Mountain lion/mule deer: Game and Fish and the
University of Wyoming are investigating the influence
of mountain lion predation in a mule deer herd with
a high prevalence of chronic wasting disease south of
Casper. Researchers are working to determine if mountain
lion predation is additive, compensatory or potentially
mitigating in terms of CWD transmission by removing
infected mule deer in earlier stages of this disease. The
project will examine CWD transmission from adult does
to fawns, annual survival, movements, home-range size
and predation vulnerability. There are eight collared
mountain lions and 50 collared doe mule deer with plans
to collar fawns this spring.

July 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July 2021

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