Game and Fish, BLM close winter ranges to vehicles
SUBLETTE COUNTY – Wyoming Game and Fish delayed the start of shed-antler hunting season to May 15 at 6 a.m. and few horn hunters were visible Monday, the traditional opening day.
Also, a frozen solid Soda Lake near Pinedale is closed to fishing until the same time and date, as is the Soda Lake Wildlife Habitat Management Area.
“Given the amount of time the lake had a thick cover of ice and snow this year, the likelihood of some winterkill is high.” said Pete Cavalli, Pinedale fisheries biologist. “The estimate of the number of adult fish in the lake in the fall of 2022 was the lowest since 2011. Anglers can expect low catch rates in 2023.”
Last week, Game and Fish announced that “due to extreme snow levels in the Seminoe Mountains,” vehicles are banned from the Morgan Creek Wildlife Habitat Management Area near Sinclair until May 15. The HMA is open to walkers and riders and outside the area affected by the emergency antler-hunting regulation.
Last week, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Pinedale and Kemmerer field Offices extended their seasonal travel closures on big game crucial winter range until 6 a.m., May 15.
“Limiting the use of motorized vehicles will also prevent damage to sensitive habitat and ensure wildlife continue to live on healthy rangelands.”
Snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, pickups, e-bikes and sport utility vehicles are prohibited in these areas during the closure.
Non-motorized means such as walking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and mountain biking are allowed. Highways and county roads are not subject to this closure. Motorized vehicle use on public land is always limited to existing roads and two-track trails when a closure is not in effect.
In the Pinedale Field Office area, these areas are closed:
- The Ryegrass, Bench Corral, Deer Hills, Calpet and Miller Mountain winter ranges including lands north of Fontenelle Creek, east of the Forest Service Boundary, west of U.S. Highway 189 and south of Horse Creek.
- The Mesa winter range east of County Road 110/East Green River Road, north of County Road 136/Paradise Valley Road, west of the New Fork River and south of U.S. Highway 191.
In the Kemmerer Field Office area, these areas are closed:
- The Slate Creek area south of Fontenelle Creek, west and north of Highway 189 and east of the crest of Slate Creek Ridge.
- The Rock Creek area south of County Road 204/Pine Creek Road, west of the crest of Dempsey Ridge, west of Fossil Butte National Monument and north and east of Highway 30.
- The Bridger Creek area south of Highway 30, west of Fossil Ridge, west of the Bear River Divide, north of the Uinta-Lincoln County line, east of the Utah-Wyoming border and southeast of Highway 89.