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Wyoming Bison - Letter from WYGFD
Got this letter today from WYGFD:
March 25, 2019
Dear Hunt Area 2 Wild Bison License Applicant,
You are being contacted to make you aware of recent circumstances associated with bison hunting in Area 2 and how it may impact your hunt if you are successful in the 2019 draw. During the 2017 and 2018 hunting seasons, very few bison moved onto the National Elk Refuge during the hunting season and were therefore mostly unavailable to hunters during the season. As a result, hunter success was exceptionally low in 2018 (40% for Type 1 “Any Bison” hunters, 28% for Type 4 “Cow or Calf Bison” hunters). It is possible this same situation could occur in 2019, with a similar impact on bison hunter opportunity and success. Due to the relative cost of licenses, nonresidents should be especially aware of this possibility.
Applicants not comfortable with this situation have until April 15, 2019 to withdraw their application. If an applicant chooses to remain in the draw and receives a license, they assume an inherent risk when applying for a license to be used in the future, and that license fees are generally nonrefundable once a license has been issued. Refunds shall be denied in any circumstance where the licensee hunted on the license for the designated species as specified in Commission rules and regulations, including special archery seasons, during the year for which the license is issued.
Please consider this risk when determining if you would like to remain in the drawing for a Wild Bison License in 2019 and refer to Wyoming Game & Fish Department Regulations in Chapter 44, Section 26 for more information. This can be found on the Department’s website under Regulations; License Information; Regulation for Issuance of Licenses, Permits, Stamps, Tags, Preference Points and Competitive Raffle chances; Section 26 - Withdrawal or Modification of Application, Refund of License Fees and Reissuance of Certain Licenses.
Thanks and we hope this information is helpful.
buddy of mine, with me helping at times, had a bad hunt. the critters would not move out of the park. mild weather played a part.
Heard from one of the commissioner's tag holders, who also had no luck in '18. I know this has been the nature of this hunt historically. Just thought it was interesting that they would go to the trouble of sending out this letter, this late after the close of the draw.
Probably due the tag price and number of complaints they were receiving last year.
A gambler may hang in! Good luck!
It’s nice they let you know and give you an out. Wyoming is alright.
I had a tag this year. It was a terrible hunt. I honestly wouldn’t call it much of a hunt even if they cross. It is what it is. Just not for me.
Teton tag can be a great hunt if you can find them in the Teton forest. Not so fun in the refuge. I got mine first day i hunted in the forest; October 2014.
Free-range at 40% success, even if takes 2.5 tags on average, is still about the same price as a trophy bull bison hunt on non-public land.
Serious question. What does one do with over 1000 pounds of meat? If my wife and I ate 1/2 pound a day, well, years would go by.
Didn’t get that much from mine. More like 600 lbs. double wrapped plus vacuum sealed and we have a little left from 2014. Still delicious.
Snag I agree. Montana would cash your check with a smile on there face and say that’s why they call it hunting.
I'm not sure there any high-success, archery-friendly, true free-range, DIY, bull bison hunts in the lower-48. The Kaibab hunts may be the best option, but even those are nowhere close to being a slam dunk. This Wyoming hunt has one thing going for it...most likely you will end up with some pretty good draw odds if you're a NR who hangs on, esp after this warning letter.
Great bull Bullbuster!
"As a result, hunter success was exceptionally low in 2018 (40% for Type 1 “Any Bison” hunters, 28% for Type 4 “Cow or Calf Bison” hunters)... Applicants not comfortable with this situation have until April 15, 2019 to withdraw their application. If an applicant chooses to remain in the draw and receives a license, they assume an inherent risk..."
Am I missing something? My local deer unit in CA has a year-in-year-out success rate of 4-8% and that's for rifle. 40% and 28% sounds pretty damn good to me...
Most cows are killed after they migrate out of Grand Teton National Park. If the weather doesn't cooperate, you almost have a 0% chance of even hunting them. You can watch them, but not hunt them. I don't think it's comparable to your CA deer hunting unit. At least you have an opportunity to hunt. If the bison aren't pushed onto the NER or National Forest by the right combination of winter weather, there is no chance at all. Success rate for the bison hunt is usually very high with the correct weather.
Unfortunately, if a couple years in a row of a low success rate happen, I'm afraid that hunting may not be the preferred population control option. It could turn into what I believe Montana did and just round them up for slaughter.
Not an expert on the situation, but I did kill a cow bison on that hunt a few years ago and talked to the WY and US fish and wildlife people quite a bit while I was there. (Don't think they had seen too many people kill one with a bow up to that point, so they were literally spectators from a couple hundred yards away)
Plus the tag is pretty darn expensive to be a spectator for the entire season with potentially 0% chance of even hunting. I think that's why they sent out the information.
INDBow, I understand that. I apply for all the GYSE bison hunts; and Utah/AK/etc - I used to even apply for Custer till I heard that they don't run away. I'm not naive to the fact that the hunt is migration-dependent. Still, 40% success rate is not bad. Even 28% is still almost 1/3 of tagholders and is much higher success than most western archery tags on average. I realize rifle hunters are used to better odds on LE tags...
Still, I don't understand the disclaimer. They mentioned NR hunters and the cost... If you're a NR, you already have swallowed the idea of not taking an animal and the costs of the hunt if you hunt out of state. It's not like NR hunters are saving a buck at the grocery store... the meat already costs more than lobster even if they're successful.
Idyll, I agree with you. They probably just got a lot of complaints, especially with the tag fees more than doubling in price. I wasn't sure if you were knowledgeable about how that hunt usually happens. I apologize for that.
I'll probably apply when I'm eligible next year. 5 year wait is a long time. Good luck
There are other areas to hunt that would make me stay in and hope for a better odds that combined with the change in the draw will see the best odds in years. Weather slowed the migration particularly for elk. First time I ever got skunked on Cow elk