Game and Fish Commission meeting in Powell next week

Migration corridors, chronic wasting disease on agenda

Posted 11/12/19

In a rare Powell stop, Wyoming Game and Fish commissioners are bringing their meeting to the Northwest College campus next week. For president David Rael, it’s his last chance to formally meet …

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Game and Fish Commission meeting in Powell next week

Migration corridors, chronic wasting disease on agenda


In a rare Powell stop, Wyoming Game and Fish commissioners are bringing their meeting to the Northwest College campus next week. For president David Rael, it’s his last chance to formally meet with outdoor enthusiasts in Park County before stepping down from the commission’s top post.

The meeting will be held at NWC’s Yellowstone Conference Room on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 18-19. The public is invited to attend and provide input.

Rael said it’s a chance to put a face to the names of the commission as well as many department officials.

“It’s important we get into all communities and I’m ecstatic it’s in Powell. It says we’re statewide, not just in Cheyenne,” Rael said. “Most don’t know [commission and department administrators] other than to read their names in the paper. It’s a chance to ask the questions that we all have in person.”

It also means a lot when you can put a face to the people making and enforcing regulations in the Big Horn Basin, Rael said.

“It’s a rare chance to meet those with their boots on the ground as well as administrators,” he said. “That, to me, is extremely important. Commissioners come and go, that’s the reality. But many of these guys, wardens and biologists, are here for the long haul.”

The two-day meeting starts on Monday. The commission and Game and Fish staff will gather at 1 p.m. for a work session to discuss operations in Teton County, Whiskey Mountain Conservation Camp activities and commission policy changes in relation to the Governor’s Advisory Committee recommendations for migration corridors.

“We’re trying to get at this before it becomes a problem,” Rael said of migration corridors. “It’s very important. This could affect hunter and recreational opportunities.”

There will be no official agency business conducted or decisions made during the work session. While the public is welcome to attend, the work session will not include a call to the public.

Beginning Tuesday, the commission will hear informational presentations and updates on the chronic wasting disease statewide collaborative process and the 2019 surveillance and management plan revision, an overview of the current aquatic invasive species (AIS) program, use of dogs for AIS detection and AIS rapid response plans as well as guest presentations from the National Bighorn Sheep Center and the Wyoming Wildlife Federation. The commission will be asked to vote to approve changes to Game and Fish policy relating to “Terrestrial Wildlife Furnished to Others,” habitat and migration projects for the statewide Mule Deer Initiative Program and applications for special antelope hunt event licenses.

Additionally, the commission will hear an update about plans for a new Game and Fish office in Cody and Cody Region Fish Biologist Jason Burckhardt will be honored for 20 years of service to the department.

A full agenda is available on the Game and Fish website.

At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, the public will have a chance to comment on each specific agenda item and can speak to the commission about any matter. The meeting will be live-streamed online for those who cannot attend in person.

Following the Tuesday meeting, the public is invited to attend an open house from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Park County Fairgrounds in Heart Mountain Hall (see related story). During the event many youth will have a chance to win a lifetime hunting and fishing license — a program Rael started when appointed to the commission.

The Cowley resident said he has spent much more time than anticipated working on the commission, though he feels privileged to serve, and is happy to have a meeting close to home during hunting season. Rael is an avid upland game bird hunter and recently returned from an elk hunt with country music singer Aaron Tippin and former NFL player and coach Jeff Fisher.

“You get them away from the glitz and glamour of their usual lives and they let their hair down,” he said. “It’s fun to watch.”

When Rael is finished serving his term on the commission in March 2021, the next commissioner appointed will come from Park County.


(Tribune Staff Writer Mark Davis contributed reporting.)


Public invited to open house with Game and Fish

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department invites the public to an open house with commissioners and department staff from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the Park County Fairgrounds in Heart Mountain Hall. During the event, lifetime licenses for game bird/small game/fishing/conservation stamp donated by local businesses and individuals will be raffled off to youth in attendance.

The open house’s sponsors — Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Wyoming Wildlife Federation and the Yellowstone Chapter of Muley Fanatics — will provide refreshments and chances to win several Wyoming wildlife conservation license plates. (Proceeds from the plates are used on projects that prevent vehicle/animal collisions along migration corridors.)

Cody Regional Wildlife Supervisor Dan Smith said it’s a great opportunity to meet Game and Fish commissioners and local staff in an informal setting.

“Anyone interested is welcome,” Smith said. “Families are encouraged to attend as there will be activities for kids and a chance for youth to win a lifetime license.”

The lifetime licenses that will be given away at the event have been donated by local businesses and individuals. Each donated lifetime license is valued at $681.50 and includes a lifetime conservation stamp.

“It’s incredible how the local community has stepped up to donate multiple licenses that affords the winner the opportunity to fish, hunt small game and hunt game birds for their entire lifetime,” Smith said.

Youth under the age of 18 who meet residency requirements and are at least 10 years of age will have the opportunity to win the lifetime small game, bird and fishing licenses. Youth must be present at the time of the drawing to win. There will be dozens of opportunities for children to win a license, said Game and Fish Commission President David Rael.

To win wildlife conservation license plates, adults must have a vehicle currently registered in Wyoming or a vehicle they intend to register in Wyoming. Winners will be responsible for annual renewal fees.