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Mandatory CWD Reporting: Wyoming Deer & Elk Areas

Wyoming Game and Fish Department has ramped up mandatory CWD testing across the state for mule deer, whitetail deer and elk in efforts to continue the tracking and study of Chronic Wasting Disease. There are now six mandatory CWD reporting areas across Wyoming.

Mandatory CWD Reporting Deer Hunt Units: 59, 60, 64, 65, 157, 171

WGFD is also requesting CWD samples from hunters who take deer (either species) in hunt units: 1-6, 59, 60, 64–66, 124, 130, 131, 134, 135, 138–146, 150–157, 165 and 171. 

Elk hunt units that have been selected for CWD sampling include: 7, 19, 33, 34, 41, 45, 47-49, 67–71, 75, 77–85, 88–91, 93, 95, 96, 102–105, 120 and 127. 

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Elk Blood Sampling by WGFD

If you’ve ever drawn an elk tag in Wyoming, resident or non-resident you’ve probably received a small cardboard box from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department containing brucellosis sampling materials. DO NOT disregard this package and while you’re field dressing/quartering your elk this fall take a moment and fill that little vial with elk blood. You can either mail it in or drop it off at any Game and Fish office or elk blood collection site. Many times the latter will be at gas stations, look for the little signs. 

Wyoming Game and Fish relies almost exclusively on hunters to monitor the current status and spread of any possible brucellosis in our elk herds. Please do your part to help out. 

I have only failed once to participate in the sampling process when mailed a kit and it was simple forgetfulness. It is quick and easy and Wyoming will notify you of your test results if you mail your sample in. 

I nor anyone I know have ever found a brucellosis positive elk but that could all change quickly given the disease’s pestilential nature. In the end it is not something that keeps me up at night before going elk hunting or even consuming elk meat but if you’d like some food for thought Google it. I’ve also included some informative links below and the history and monitoring of the disease in Wyoming. 

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Man’s Best Friend: Tracking Dogs Find Lost Game

At the crack of the rifle the big buck stumbled and went down hard but within seconds he was up and into the thick timber. My buddy had just shot the largest buck of his life but recovering the deer would put our tracking skills to the test. The year was 2013 and tracking dogs were not legal yet in Wyoming. If they had been we would have recovered the buck in minutes instead of hours. Our story ended well but it could have easily been the opposite. 

Wyoming legalized the use of tracking dogs for the recovery of wounded big game animals in 2019 and countless deer and elk have been recovered since then that otherwise would have been lost. This is especially true in areas where thick timber, brush and rugged terrain conceal game easily and hamper recovery efforts. 

It took awhile but tracking dogs are now legal in most western states with the exception of Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona. United Blood has a comprehensive list of state regulations on tracking dog regulations, follow this link…

If you find yourself in need of a blood tracking dog this fall, start by contacting the local game warden as they will most likely have a list of folks willing to render their trailing services. Some people will require a fee but a lot of folks offer their services free of charge as they like to know they are helping hunters and game animals. Just remember, gas money, tips and of course dog treats are always welcome. 

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The Lighter Side: Sasquatch In Wyoming – Are You A Believer?

As my soon to be wife and I drove a road known to locals as “Red Grade” we were engaged in conversation and I was only half paying attention to the road due to our slow speed. As we rounded a sharp bend we both noticed a grayish-brown figure standing next to the road. Dismissing it as a mule deer it took a moment for what we were seeing to register. The animal quickly moved off with a fluid, swinging, gait… upright! 

The speed, albeit slow, of our vehicle had us on the spot the creature stood in the blink of an eye and the forest was quite open in that place but when we stopped to inspect the strange animal it was nowhere to be seen. This was quite unlike mule deer that inhabit that mountain range which normally stand and watch approaching vehicles, especially in the summer. 

“What was that?” my bride to be asked.


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Feral Or Wild, Horses Destroy Habitat

“Whether the mustangs are wild or feral is a matter of debate. In general terms, animals are considered wild if they’re native to the landscape and untamed. The term “feral” refers to animals that aren’t native to the landscape – those that have escaped captivity or been abandoned to live in the wild — and their descendants.”

The fact is, that left unchecked and unmanaged, feral horses out compete mule deer and pronghorn for precious resources, plain and simple. In an era of mule deer decline and plummeting pronghorn populations that is quite simply unacceptable. The horses on the landscape of the West are not native and if they have a traceable bloodline it begins and ends with the Spanish Conquistadors. Most feral horses destroying today’s habitat are simply animals that have been recklessly abandoned to eke out a pitiful existence on their own. 

The real crux of the feral horse dilemma is that there is no winner. Overpopulated horses destroy precious habitat that ultimately hurts native ungulates, sage grouse, and other denizens of the sagebrush ecosystem including the horses themselves. I have witnessed this first hand on hunts for sage grouse, antelope and mule deer. Trampled springs and water holes that no longer provide sustenance for anything, decimated sagebrush that will likely never recover from horses eating it to death and sickly, malnourished horses that are shadows of what they could be under the human care they deserve. 

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OnX Exaggerated 3D Maps

This Eastmans’ review features the new 3D Elevation Exaggeration tool inside the onX hunt desktop platform. It’s a powerful new tool that will make e-scouting even easier, especially in terrain with subtle elevation features. Brandon Mason breaks down how he uses the tool to his advantage on specific hunts.

The post OnX Exaggerated 3D Maps appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Wyoming Preference Point Transfer Bill

Thank you for taking time to listen to me about my son Tyler and his Wyoming Preference Points. Tyler and I have hunted Wyoming since he was 14 and have been buying mule deer points together for 9 years and were looking forward to drawing in 2021. Tyler died January 19, 2021. I have made several requests to Wyoming to transfer Tyler’s points to his wife, back to me or another family member and they are very clear that this is not allowed under current regulations.  

Pursuing this further with Senator Lummis’ office they referred me to Representative Cyrus Western from Sheridan that had sponsored a Bill to make these very changes in 2021 ( but the legislative session ended before it could get traction.  

I have spoken to Cyrus and he is willing to re-submit the Bill in the 2023 Session that begins in January and welcomed me to work on public opinion in support of the Bill. Unfortunately, under current regulations Tyler’s points will be wiped out as he did not buy a point for 2020 or 2021.  This Bill will fix that and make preference points transferable to family members which supports more hunting in Wyoming by hunters that have taken time and spent money to invest in the opportunity of drawing a tag.

I realize it’s most likely too late for Tyler’s points but am hoping this change can and will benefit others in the future. ” – N. Jones via email

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Facing Off with a Giant! Bow Hunting Backcountry Bulls in Grizzly Country

Bow hunt elk in the September rut with Eastmans’ Dan Pickar. With the help of horses, Dan heads deep into the backcountry to hunt from a drop camp. The action picks up quickly on this public land hunt. Dan is able to use his experience to close the deal on this episode of Beyond the Grid by Eastmans’.



The post Facing Off with a Giant! Bow Hunting Backcountry Bulls in Grizzly Country appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Commission License Distribution Workshop

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is in the process of considering changes to policies and regulations that could potentially impact how big game hunting licenses are distributed in the state. Some of the topics being considered are resident and non-resident elk and deer license allocation, preference points, weighted points, and Over-the-Counter (OTC) elk licenses. This process began a-while ago with Phase 1 below, collecting feedback from hunters. Phase 2 was recently completed, and then this unofficial License Distribution Workshop was scheduled so CPW members could update/educate the Commissioners on the status of issues being considered. Phase 3 will occur next month when the Commission considers potential changes/solutions.

February and April 2022 – CPW conducted a survey of hunters to assess their perspectives about the topics listed above and held focus groups to help inform the development of alternative strategies. The Big Game Attitude Survey was mailed to randomly selected resident and non-resident hunters.May and June 2022 – CPW hosted stakeholder workshops and public meetings to provide opportunities to review and discuss possible alternative strategies.September and November 2022 – The Parks and Wildlife Commission will consider proposed policy and regulatory changes with opportunities for further public comment.

During this License Distribution Workshop, CPW members updated/educated the Commissioners on the following topics:

Making changes to license Allocations (proportion of licenses for Resident vs non-residents), Limiting Over-the-Counter (OTC) license distribution, Changing how Preference Points are used,More substantial changes to the Draw System.

The Commission is considering whether any changes are warranted and if so, whether changes should be implemented incrementally or all-at-once (before 2023 Big Game season). This was a 4:56 minute Virtual Meeting with no public comments.

I imagine if you currently apply for licenses and/or hunt Colorado you are already aware of our more pressing issues. From a hunter’s perspective, many of our limited draw hunts require massive amounts of preference point to draw, and point creep is exacerbating this problem. Also, many residents are dissatisfied with how many licenses are set aside for landowners, youths, and non-residents. If you decide to hunt an Over-the Counter (OTC) unit to avoid all that, you’ll likely encounter overcrowding. 

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Easy Digiscoping! Magnetic Mount by MAGVIEW

This review features the MAGVIEW magnetic spotting scope and binocular attachments. Eastmans’ Dan Pickar tests them out on an early season scouting trip for elk. Using your phone’s camera grid makes it simple and quick to attach your phone to snap photos and videos.

The post Easy Digiscoping! Magnetic Mount by MAGVIEW appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Hunting Boot Giveaway!

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The post Hunting Boot Giveaway! appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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WYOMING 2022 Hunt Forecast- Wyoming Elk: (A-), Wyoming Mule Deer: (C-), Wyoming Pronghorn: (C+)

By harrycollinsphotography

With fall just around the corner and the velvet antlers getting ever harder, the pieces are beginning to fall into place giving us a better outlook on what this hunting season may in fact hold for those of us who intend to head afield in the Cowboy State. 

Coming off a very mild winter, wet spring and damp warm summer, things tend to be looking up for the big game herds in Wyoming for this fall’s hunt. The elk herds in Wyoming continue to fare very well in most regions, while the mule deer herds continue to struggle as expected. Wyoming’s antelope herds look to be somewhat of a mixed bag for this fall as drought conditions have finally eased statewide in comparison to the past few years. 

Elk hunters in Wyoming should see very solid results this fall on good to large bulls. With a very robust elk herd on the map, Wyoming continues to deliver a very solid elk hunting experience for those lucky enough to have a tag in their pocket for the fall season. Elk numbers in Wyoming should be as good as ever this fall with trophy quality about as good as it gets. The bulls in the higher elevations should be of very good quality with plenty of bulls to choose from this year as our elk herds have continued to expand in most areas of the state. The elk hunting in the more arid portions of the state should be solid with herd numbers near the Game and Fish objective levels. The good moisture levels seen this spring and summer should have the bull quality at a much higher level than the past few years have seen with some elk herds possibly even moving back into some of the more traditional ranges after being displaced by the drastic drought conditions of the past few years. Overall, I would put the elk hunting forecast level in Wyoming at a very solid “A-” for the 2022 hunting season. 

As good as the elk forecast is, the mule deer outlook is so often the other side of the coin and this year should be no different. With mule deer numbers in a drastic decline statewide, the deer in Wyoming and the entire West for that matter continue to struggle. With numbers down drastically, the moisture levels and habitat improvements should actually have buck quality and antler growth on the upside for this fall, particularly when compared to the past few years. The largest bright spot should be the high-country bucks on the western side of the state who have stood to benefit the most from a mild winter and wet summer. Last year was a very solid season for high-country buck deer and this year should be even better, as the drastic winters of 2016 and 2017 are now, finally, five years behind us. The deer in the more arid portions of the state continue to struggle with numbers and quality. Although, I do expect this year to be better than last for bucks in the lower elevations, these hunts will still lack in quality and abundance again this year. In a nutshell, deer hunting in the Regions of G, H and K should be much improved, along with hunt areas 141 and 130. The remaining general regions and hunt areas should be about the same as last year. As a summary, I would grade the mule deer hunting in Wyoming this fall to be a very shaky “C-” at this point in time. 

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Wolf Populations in Montana

FWP released data from 2021 which concludes that wolf populations in Montana are stable at about 1,141. This has been the case since 2017, where populations have been stable or slightly up on any given year since then. Harvest was good in 2021 but the amount of trappers in the field was down compared to years prior. Population estimates have been as high as 1,256 in 2011 to as low as  1,113 in 2017 which shows that populations have been very stable over the past decade. 

The state legislature approved legislation in 2021 which gives hunters and trappers more tools to harvest wolves such as an increased bag limit and extended season. Ultimately the goal is to get populations down a bit as they are well above the minimum recovery goals. The state is run on a quota system so when a quota is met the season is closed. The law is being followed and ultimately, FWP wants to keep wolves off the endangered species list. 

Wolf populations are estimated as there is no exact way to count a population of the super elusive animal. FWP uses an integrated patch occupancy model when data is pulled from a variety of sources to produce population estimates. One of the sources comes from hunter harvest surveys where deer and elk hunters are asked if they saw wolves while hunting and where they were. I can imagine population estimates are still lower than actual numbers just for the fact that wolves are just plain hard to count. 

All that said, animal rights groups are constantly pushing to take away state’s rights to manage wolf populations. The actual number of wolves could be three or four times the “estimate” and it still wouldn’t be enough for these groups. They will not stop there either, next on the list will be lions, coyotes, bobcats… we are seeing that push in every state that has apex predators like bears, wolves and cats. There has never been a more critical time to have your ear to the ground for game and fish public comment, meetings and any opportunity to provide your support for state management of all apex predators, especially wolves. 

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NEW FOR 2022 – Refine EKO Compound Bow by Bear Archery

Dan Pickar reviews the Refine EKO, Bear Archery’s 2022 flagship bow. Get a close look at what makes this bow unique before Dan speed tests it with a chronograph. Improved vibration reduction and the new Align Lok technology are highlights on this bow.

The post NEW FOR 2022 – Refine EKO Compound Bow by Bear Archery appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Ozonics HR500 – One Touch Scent Elimination!

The new Ozonics HR500 ozone generator makes scent elimination easier than ever before. In this review, Brandon Mason and Dan Pickar share their hunting experiences using Ozonics. This new design is 40% quieter while destroying as much scent as previous models. Minimize your movement even more by using Ozonics new app or handheld remote control to run your HR500.

The post Ozonics HR500 – One Touch Scent Elimination! appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Feature Packed Rifle Scope! Leupold VX-6HD Series

This review features Leupold’s VX-6HD 4-24X52 CDS-TZL3 rifle scope for hunting and competition shooting. This scope is built for any hunting scenario featuring a wide range of 4-24 power, minimalist lens covers, and glass that has optimal performance in challenging lighting conditions. Todd Helms breaks down each unique feature of this VX-6HD rifle scope.

The post Feature Packed Rifle Scope! Leupold VX-6HD Series appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Lightning, An Indiscriminate Killer

The high country has plenty of things to be afraid of, the worst of which in my humble opinion is the summer electrical storm. The high peaks and ridge lines tend to attract the high powered bolts, making them unsafe places to ride out that type of storm. There is not much worse for rattling the sanity than having the crack of lightning hitting on the same ridge that I’m glassing from. I have had the misfortune of hearing static electricity gathering on the barrel of my rifle while a storm gathered to the west of our glassing point. We left that high point immediately and got to a lower elevation as quickly as possible to avoid the greatest threat in the high country.

Unfortunately this summer on August 2, here in Wyoming two campers were not as lucky as I was on that September hunt. On a trip to Enos Lake in Teton county, one hiker was killed and another seriously injured by lightning strikes. Teton County Search and Rescue responded and were able to bring the interagency helicopter to the scene twice to evacuate the man who was killed as well as the seriously injured man. The next day two other hikers who were experiencing trauma related to the entire experience were evacuated by helicopter with two Search and Rescue personnel who had stayed with the hikers to help manage the situation.

This is a terrible tragedy that we hope doesn’t happen again. Sources available don’t provide enough information to determine if the campers were taking unnecessary risks and we won’t assume they were in the face of tragedy. We will simply let this be a reminder that there are best practices for avoiding lightning strikes. Here are a few of them:

Don’t camp directly on a ridgeline, in particular on the highest points on the ridges. Ridgelines are notorious for lightning strikes and having a tent right on the edge with poles serving as grounding points is not a great plan. Pay attention to weather reports, knowing when the big storms are coming in will help plan when to head lower to avoid the lightning and in turn stay safe.Water is also a place where lightning likes to strike. Steer clear of the edge of large bodies of water, especially when on a ridgeline or in the alpine during a storm.

For more on lightning strikes check out Mike Eastman’s books inside of Eastmans’ TagHub. He covers lightning in depth and how to avoid it.

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Wyoming Receives $6 Million for Elk Habitat, Research, Public Access Work

August 10, 2022

MEDIA NOTE: For more information, including a high resolution image,
contact Mark Holyoak, RMEF, 406-523-3481 or [email protected]
This news release is also posted here.

Wyoming Receives $6 Million for Elk Habitat, Research, Public Access Work

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners allocated $6,046,939 in 2022 grant funding to conserve and improve wildlife habitat, enhance public access and assist scientific research in Wyoming. RMEF directly granted $310,656 that leveraged an additional $5,736,283 in partner dollars.

“This funding is extremely critical and goes on the ground for 20 different projects across the state including wildfire restoration, aspen enhancement, invasive weed control, stabilizing stream bank erosion, conifer thinning, water source improvement and three research projects,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Other projects include conserving more than 2,200 acres of elk habitat, providing funding to improve elk hunting access on private land and more than a dozen projects that support hunting, recreational shooting and outdoors-related endeavors.”

There are 22 RMEF chapters and more than 7,600 members in Wyoming.

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Ultralight Hunting Rifle Review – Bergara Premier MgLite

This review highlights the Premier Series MgLite rifle built by Bergara. Hunter’s don’t have to compromise performance for weight with this ultralight, packable rifle. Some of its features are an XLR Element magnesium chassis, proprietary CURE Carbon barrel, TriggerTech trigger and AICS detachable magazine. Eastmans’ Hunting Journals Todd Helms tests out Bergara’s guarantee to produce groups 1.0 MOA or less at 100 yards with quality, match-grade factory ammunition.

The post Ultralight Hunting Rifle Review – Bergara Premier MgLite appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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Western Spot and Stalk Tactics with Eastman’s- onX Hunt Masterclass

When it comes to spot and stalk archery hunting, few people are as consistently successful as Eastman’s Brian Barney and Dan Pickar. Join us for an in depth talk with Brian and Dan as they show you the tactics that help them find and take big bucks and bulls


Try the Hunt App risk free:

The post Western Spot and Stalk Tactics with Eastman’s- onX Hunt Masterclass appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

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