Wyoming Game Wardens perform a myriad of duties besides enforcing the State Wildlife Statutes. The following photos just give a sampling of Wyoming Wardens in the field.
Osprey Issue in the Park
Rawlins – In July, Teal Cufaude began trapping and banding mourning doves near Rawlins. Wire mesh traps were set, which capture doves as they walk through funnels following a trail of millet or sunflower seeds. Once in the trap the doves are unable to walk back out since the opening is smaller on the inside of the trap. The age, gender, and molt stage of each dove captured is recorded, before being banded. Once the doves are banded, they are released. Hunters and the public are encouraged to report band information for any banded dove that they may harvest or find deceased. The information from the reported bands provides data on the distribution, movements, relative numbers, life span, and causes of death for mourning doves.
Teal Joseph and volunteer checking a mourning dove for age and molt stage before banding.
Black bear trapping in Sierra Madres
Baggs – Baggs Game Warden Kim Olson went along with the WGFD bear trapping crew doing the Sierra Madres study. As part of an upcoming effort to monitor black bear populations in Wyoming, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department will conduct trapping operations in the Sierra Madre Mountains of southern Wyoming beginning in early July after the 4th of July holiday and potentially continuing through late August.
All areas where trapping is conducted will have major access points marked with warning signs. It is critical that all members of the public take note of these signs.
Similar to monitoring elk or deer populations, the monitoring of black bears in Wyoming is vital to their ongoing management. To attract and capture bears, biologists utilize natural food sources such as fresh road-killed deer and elk. Trapped animals are immobilized, processed, released on site, and then monitored in accordance with strict protocols developed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
When bear trapping activities are conducted for monitoring purposes, the vicinity of the site will be posted with warning signs to inform the public of these activities. The signs will be posted along the major access points to the trapping site. It is important that the public observe these signs and not venture into posted areas.
Cheyenne Field Archers make generous donation
Cheyenne – A hardy thank you to Cheyenne Field Archers for their $1,000 donation to Access Yes on July 10. CFA president Mac Wilson in (black shirt) presented the check in July. This donation puts CFA at over $15,000 in access donations since they started their fund-raising shoots in 2006. Every dollar donated to the Access Yes program opens up roughly 3.2 acres of private land for public hunting and fishing. The benefits of this program are far reaching, not just for bow hunters, but for all sportsmen. Funds donated to Access Yes help pay for the Walk In Hunting, Walk In Fishing and Hunter Management Area programs that provide access to thousands of acres of private land across Wyoming.
No-wake zone ahead
Glendo – Game Wardens Mitch Renterria (pictured) and Dylan Bergman placed "No Wake" buoys on Sandy Beach at Glendo Reservoir earlier this summer. The buoys ensure that swimmers don't have to deal with fast-moving boats, and prevents other boats from navigating excessive wakes. The wardens also placed new "No Wake" buoys at the marina in response to boats leaving the marina area at high rates of speed.
Mule deer in basement
Cody – On July 7, South Cody Game Warden Grant Gerharter and Wildlife Biologist Tony Mong responded to an unusual call. Early that morning, a Cody area resident reported hearing a crash and then discovering a live deer in her home. When Gerharter and Mong arrived at the residence at 6:30 a.m., they found an injured, but alert mule deer buck laying in the basement. The deer had fallen into the window well outside and in its struggle to get out, kicked the window in and then fell though into the home. Gerharter and Mong used a tranquiller gun to immobilize the deer and carried it up the stairs and out of the house on a tarp. The deer had several broken legs and a laceration on its neck and was euthanized due to its extensive injuries.
Keyhole Reservoir-Fishing and Boating Enforcement
Pine Haven – Game Wardens Luke May, Ryan Bagley, John Davis and Dustin Kirsch spent considerable time in July on Keyhole Reservoir conducting fishing and boating enforcement. The wardens indicated that recreational boating increased in July at Keyhole while the number of fishing boats decreased. Walleye fishing slowed down in July but northern pike fishing remained good with one angler catching 14 northern pike in one day. Boating regulation compliance among recreational boaters was good, however one arrest was made for boating under the influence.
Game Wardens Ryan Bagley (on left) and Luke May (on right) patrol Keyhole.
Wandering moose finds it way to LaGrange
LaGrange-Wheatland Game Warden David Ellsworth and Torrington Game Warden Rob Hipp teamed up to remove a wandering moose from the LaGrange area. With the help of deputies from the Goshen County Sheriff's Department and several local residents, the moose was successfully darted and loaded into a horse trailer. Local residents also supplied a hose and water to cool the moose off prior to transport. The moose was transported to the Pole Mountain area where it was successfully released. It's not uncommon for moose to wander onto Wyoming's eastern plains by following streambeds down from the mountains.
Picking up fawns is wrong
Saratoga- Saratoga Game Warden Biff Burton reports that a Saratoga resident thought she was doing a good deed by rescuing what she believed was an abandoned pronghorn fawn from a road in the Jack Creek area. However, as pronghorn mothers typically keep their distance from their fawns to avoid attracting attention to them. Once removed from the wild, it can be quite difficult to reunite a young animal with its mother. This young buck fawn was saved by a request for pronghorn fawns from a Minnesota zoo. Warden Burton reminds residents that it is illegal to possess big game animals and many other species in Wyoming. If you find a young wild animal it is always best to leave it alone unless you are certain its mother will not return. In such a case, contact the nearest Game and Fish Department office or your local game warden.
Rare melanistic barn owls found in Wheatland
Wheatland- Wheatland Game Warden David Ellsworth responded to a house west of Wheatland where a woman reported that an owl had flown down her chimney the night before. Warden Ellsworth removed the fire place insert and discovered a deceased barn owl that was very dark in color. He initially thought the dead owl was covered in soot from the fireplace, but after cleaning it off he discovered that the plumage was in fact black.
Approximately an hour later, he received another call from the same woman that another owl had flown into her house through the fireplace. Warden Ellsworth responded to find yet another black barn owl. This owl was captured alive and eventually released. Game and Fish Department's Nongame Bird Biologist Andrea Orabona confirmed that this is a melanistic trait or "reverse albinism." Melanism, or melanosis, is a condition caused by a genetic mutation that gives a bird excess amounts of melanin, or dark pigmentation, in its feathers. This makes the feathers much darker than normal plumage, and many melanistic birds appear completely brown or black or may only show accents of other colors. While a true melanistic bird is rare, many bird species have regular color morphs that show some degree of melanism.
Coffee with a Warden
Lander - Warden Brady Frude held several Coffee with a Warden sessions in May. The first, located at the Lander Bake Shop, was to assist folks with big game applications and help with the process as well as answer any last minute questions. Brady brought maps and regulations and a laptop from the regional office.
The second, also at the Lander Bake Shop was to provide information for the Wyoming Outdoor Weekend. About a dozen different people came to talk and one individual said he'd wanted to come to a Coffee with a Warden session ever since we started them and just hadn't had a chance to yet. One landowner came to discuss ongoing issues with elk damage along the North Fork Popo Agie and left satisfied with what answers we could provide.
Warden Brady Frude visiting at the Lander Bake Shop 'Coffee With a Warden'.
The Antler Opener
Jackson- May 1 has become known as the "antler hunting opener" here in western Wyoming. It is the date state law again permits the gathering of antlers or horns after a Jan 1-April 30 closure on all public lands west of the Continental Divide. It is also the date big game winter range closures are lifted on many federal and state lands. Regional game wardens actively patrol big game winter ranges to ensure everyone is playing by the rules and not harassing wintering big game. After a busy year last year, wardens report the number of citations handed out this year was considerably less.
Access to forest service lands adjacent to the National Elk Refuge near Jackson continues to be a focal point for many antler hunters with 200 or more vehicles typically waiting to cross the refuge at 12:01 am when all closures are lifted. With the midnight opener, antler hunters use powerful lights and headlamps, which light up the hillsides adjacent to the National Elk Refuge. This year Wyoming Public Radio came to Jackson to do a story on the event and Jackson Game Warden Kyle Lash was one of those interviewed for the story. You can check it out online here: https://goo.gl/7WN3xh
Jackson Game Warden Kyle Lash issues an interstate game tag to an antler hunter. All antlers still attached to the skull must be reported to a game warden and tagged to show it was legally harvested.
Game Warden Saves Moose Calf
Jackson- South Jackson Game Warden Kyle Lash responded to a call of a moose calf that had become separated from it's mother and appeared stranded on an island in the middle of the swift-moving Snake River near Wilson. Lash and his brother-in-law paddled his raft out to the moose calf as a crowd gathered on the shore to watch. The young calf proved difficult to catch, but they were finally successful and able to bring the calf back across to the safety and security of it's mother. The incident received considerable local publicity.
Warden Lash brings a moose calf back to safety and its mother.
Game and Fish Informational Booths at Campbell Ag. Expo.
Gillette- Game Wardens Dustin Kirsch, Luke May and Ryan Bagley, Terrestrial Habitat Biologist Todd Caltrider, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator Mike Locatelli and AIS Technicians Dennis Green and Ally Torongeau set up and ran three informational booths at the Campbell County Ag and Natural Resources Expo.
Over 780 3rd graders from Campbell County schools and numerous teachers and chaperones attended the event where they were taught about bird beaks, animal hides and skulls, and invasive aquatic species.
Game Wardens Luke May (foreground) and Dustin Kirsch (background) help Campbell County third graders identify hides from Wyoming mammals.
Game Warden Ryan Bagley teaches Campbell County third graders about "Fill the Bill", a fun activity that demonstrates how specialization of bird beaks helps the bird obtain food.
Cow elk wrangling in Kemmerer
Kemmerer - Kemmerer Game Warden Chris Baird shared an interesting elk story and these photos: "This elk calf had been living by itself just north of the interpretive pullout on HWY 189 at Fontenelle Reservoir. Many elk had been hit within several miles of this spot this winter. She had been outside of the right-of-way and was perfectly fine. However, she decided that the highway right-of-way was the place to be and I decided to change her mind." "As we all know, most wild critters will simply run away when you approach in a vehicle, but she did not respond to my honking, lights, or even sirens. She simply laid back her ears and ground her teeth at my truck. At this point, I thought that she must be hurt or sick and prepared to dispatch her. As I got out of the truck and moved closer I could see nothing wrong with the animal and attempted to move her on foot. She continued grinding her teeth and stomping as I yelled and waved a ski pole at her." "When I was about five yards from her she reared and charged me. I fended her off with the ski pole and retreated. I continued to try and move her out of the highway for quite awhile, when it became apparent that, although skinny from the long winter, she was perfectly healthy and would not move from the spot she had chosen. I decided to attempt to capture and relocate her. With some effort, I corralled her with my truck between the fence and some greasewood. I roped her with a water rescue rope, threw her to the ground, and hog-tied her." "A couple of Kemmerer residents on their way home from work saw this and stopped to help me load her in the bed of my truck. Once loaded, she was quite content and behaved better than many dogs in the bed of the truck, as we drove several miles into the Slate Cr. winter range, where many elk were wintering. I was able to untie her without too much trouble, but once free, she was reluctant to get out of the truck. She wouldn't let me close to the truck and reared and lunged as I tried to move her out. After some time and help from a ski pole she exited the truck and resumed her tooth grinding surliness as I left. We sure hope she makes it!"
Game & Fish Sets Up Informational Booths
Gillette- Informational booths set up by G&F and the Wyoming Game Wardens Association at two events in Gillette attracted hundreds of interested people to observe the animal furs, skulls, antlers and horns, as well as the Poach Coach. The booths were set up at the Wyoming Sportsman's Group Banquet and the Children's Festival. The Poach Coach seemed to be especially attractive to those youngsters that wanted their photos to be taken while they were "behind bars."
The Poach Coach attracted many youngsters to have their photos taken while in the Coach.
Saratoga - Teal Joseph assisted with a Kid's Ice Fishing Workshop, on Saratoga Lake in January. The Ice Fishing Workshop was held by Mother Mountain Anglers in anticipation for the Saratoga Ice Fishing Derby. Joseph taught the attendees about ice safety and demonstrated using ice picks and rescue ropes.
Winter is tough on game wardens too
By South Laramie Game Warden Bill Brinegar
Laramie- We've probably all heard the phrase "survival of the fittest" at some point in our lives. Fortunately, most people never have to witness the brutal reality of this being carried out. Over the course of a warden's career there are countless injured or suffering animals put to rest by our hands. This inherently makes you a cheerleader for those animals that still have a glimmer of hope for survival.
One such call I will never forget came in during the middle of our coldest weather so far this winter. The area west of Laramie was blanketed with nearly 40 inches of snow and the wind chill had reached 50 below zero. I received a call about a fawn antelope curled up in a ball on the edge of the pavement near Twin Buttes reservoir. At first glance I thought it was dead until it slowly lifted its head. Just as I was about to end its suffering, the young antelope jumped up, bolted through a fence and started to feed on a few pieces of vegetation poking through the snow. Deciding it might survive and catch up with the rest of the herd, I left it alone.
As the sun was setting that evening I checked on the fawn again. Blowing snow and the white background of the snow covered landscape masked the barely visible body of the young antelope. This time the fawn was barely able to lift his head. Although I was rooting for its survival, I knew he wouldn't make it and I had to put him down.
Help... I'm Stuck
Sundance - Sundance Game Warden Chris Teter was out patrolling damage to haystacks when he observed a white-tailed deer in a haystack. Turns out the deer was stuck after falling in between the bales. Teter managed to reach in and help the deer out.
Jackson- North Jackson Game warden Jon Stephens responded to two separate incidents involving bull bison that had become a safety hazard, one occurring at a ranch north of Jackson and the other taking place in the town of Kelly where it was frequenting several homes and the Kelly Elementary School. Stephens and other Jackson Game & Fish personnel invested many hours trying to haze both animals away from these locations as they were posing safety concerns, damaging property and injuring livestock. While attempting to haze the bull bison in the Kelly area, it became very aggressive, striking Stephens' truck numerous times, denting the rear quarter panel and knocking out a taillight. Eventually, the hazing efforts were successful. However, the other bull continued to wreak havoc by damaging property, injuring livestock and presenting a safety hazard, so it was put down. The animal was quartered and the meat was donated to local families in need.
Jackson Game warden Jon Stephens attempts to haze a bull bison with his truck in the town of Kelly.
An aggressive bull bison in front of the Elementary School in the town of Kelly.
Warden Stephens quarters a bull bison to donate the meat to local families in need. The bull had to be put down at a ranch north of Jackson for injuring livestock, damaging property and presenting a human safety hazard.
Shop with a Cop
Jackson- Jackson game wardens Jon Stephens and Justin Dodd participated in the annual "Shop with a Cop" Christmas event. Officers from multiple agencies gathered to help kids buy and wrap presents for their families.
Here Warden Dodd helps Bailey wrap a present for one of her family members.
Afton- Afton Game Warden James Hobbs received a call about a moose stuck in a gate and arrived to find it lodged between the gate and a large log support. The cow and its calf both tried to slip through the gap between the two. The calf made it, but the cow was too big and had gotten stuck. The cow moose waited patiently while Warden Hobbs and the landowner were able to remove the gate, allowing her to rejoin her calf and be on her way.
Hunter Mentor Program Allows First Time Hunters to Harvest a Deer
Buffalo - For the past several years Buffalo Game Warden Jim Seeman and Buffalo Wildlife Biologist Dan Thiele have been involved with the hunter mentoring program through the Catholic Church in Buffalo. During the 2016 hunting season two hunters signed up and Seeman and Thiele took them hunting. Both of the first time hunters were successful in harvesting doe white-tailed deer. After the hunting season, the church sponsors a wild game dinner (The Beast Feast) where many hunters discuss the past hunting season while enjoying great food.
One of the two hunters involved in the hunter mentor program with the doe white-tailed deer he harvested.
Jackson - North Jackson Game Warden Jon Stephens received a call of a lion that had been seen on multiple occasions near homes on West Gros Ventre Butte in early November. Upon arrival, Stephens was able to capture this photo with his phone of the mother lion with two kittens crossing the road in front of him. Further investigation revealed an elk carcass the lion family had been feeding on in some shrubbery next to the road. The lion family soon moved on and hasn't been seen since.
Come with me...
Jackson - In early February Jackson Game Warden Kyle Lash received a call about elk acting strangely off Broadway Street in Jackson, adjacent to the National Elk Refuge. Warden Lash attempted to haze the elk back to the refuge; however the elk had no fear of people and would not move. With help from National Elk Refuge Law Enforcement Officer Bryan Yetter, they were able to slip a tow strap around the sick elk's neck and slowly lead the elk back into the National Elk Refuge. Photo by Bryan Yetter
Jackson- Jackson Region Wildlife Supervisor Brad Hovinga got out of the office for a day to help shovel snow off one of the Game Warden patrol cabins. There are a handful of patrol cabins maintained by the Game and Fish across the state to allow game wardens to stay in the field during hunting seasons and other busy times of year, as needed.
August 8, 2015
Slain game wardens remembered
The Wyoming Game Wardens Association conducted a ceremony to honor the service and sacrifice of game wardens Bill Lakanen and Don Simpson at Jack Creek Park on the Medicine Bow National Forest west of Saratoga on August 8, 2015. Lakanen and Simpson were murdered by John Malten, a German immigrant, at his cabin on Jim Creek on October 31, 1945. Approximately 60 people attended the memorial service and heard accounts of the incident by Bill Robertson, president of the Wyoming Game Wardens Association and Greybull Game Warden, and Saratoga Game Warden Biff Burton. The Wyoming Game Wardens Association Honor Guard also gave a 21-gun salute and played taps for the solemn occasion.
WGWA President and Greybull Game Warden Bill Robertson (L) and Saratoga Game Warden Biff Burton (R) at the Ceremony.
On August 10, 2014 the Wyoming Game Wardens Association Honor Guard paid respects to retired Chief Game Warden Jay Lawson during his memorial service. Jay passed away on July 15, 2014 in Cheyenne at the age of 65.
Wyoming Peace Officer Memorial – Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy in Douglas - May 16, 2014
Wyoming Game Wardens Association Spurs
Retired Game Wardens Qualification Shoot May 21, 2014
(LtoR): Gregg Arthur, Bob Sexton, Jim Bradley, Mark Nelson, Chris Daubin, Jeff Smith, Jim Johnston
In August, 2013 Afton Game Warden Todd Graham recently placed this plaque at the Moose Creek Patrol Cabin in the Greys’ River Drainage. Longtime Afton Game Warden Duane Hyde built the cabin in 1976, and it has been maintained over the years by numerous Game & Fish employees, past and present.
Moose Creek Cabin
Established in 1976 by Game Warden Duane Hyde. For the Protection and Conservation of Wildlife
In Memory of Afton Game Warden Duane Hyde
Cody Region personnel spent eight days at the remote Thorofare Cabin located in the Bridger Teton National Forest, just south of Yellowstone National Park. The work crew spent time shingling the roof, staining the cabin, felling trees, and building saddle racks.
Chris Queen and Craig Smith replacing roof shingles.
From Left: Biologist Bart Kroger, Game Warden Jim Olson, Forest Service Ranger Ron Ostrum, Game Wardens Chris Queen, and Craig Smith, and Wildlife Supervisor Alan Osterland.
Jackson Game Warden Jon Stephens visits with a successful father-daughter hunt team.
Rawlins Game Warden Teal Joseph keeps watch on wintering mule deer in the Bennett Peak area during the Saratoga winter range task force.
East Casper Game Warden Cody Bish with a Black Bear that was immobilized in Casper and relocated.
South Jackson Game Warden Kyle Lash assists a young angler.
East Rawlins Game Warden Dillon Herman holds a mule deer fawn that was removed from a home where it was being kept as a “pet”. In Wyoming it is illegal to possess big game animals and many other species.
Lovell Game Warden James Hobbs sets up a solar charger to deter Canada geese from a field.
Saratoga Game Warden Biff Burton rides his horse Kookaburra to check anglers at Stovepipe Gulch in the North Platte River Wilderness Area. He met a group of Australian visitors who were delighted to meet a Wyoming game warden on a horse named after a bird native to Australia.
Cokeville Game Warden Neil Hymas releasing a Black Bear after it successfully completed rehabilitation in Idaho after being captured in Green River in 2014 as a 30 pound cub. The male bear weighed 162 pounds t the time of his release. All bears must be released back into the state of their capture upon completion of rehabilitation.
Game Wardens Craig Smith and Travis Crane and Large Carnivore Specialist Kyle Bales hobble a moose after the animal was chemically immobilized in order to transport him to an awaiting horse trailer.
Sheridan Region Office Manager Lori Roe (with torch), her son Nate (in white shirt) and Troy Tobiasson (far right) participate in the Special Olympics' Unified Relay Across America torch run.
Casper Game Warden Adam Parks with a couple of fledgling raptors.
Casper Game Wardens Cody Bish, Adam Parks and Daniel Beach promoting watercraft safety in the Game and Fish Department patrol boat for the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo in Casper.
Large Carnivore Conflict Training with the Green River Region.
Afton Game warden Todd Graham and IDFG warden Shane Bliss conducting boater checks on Palisades Reservoir. Photo Kyle Lash
Mountain View Wildlife Biologist Jeff Short, Green River Game Warden Andy Roosa, Green River Wildlife Supervisor Steve DeCecco and Kemmerer Game Warden Chris Baird began replacing the roof at the Labarge Creek patrol cabin. The project should be completed in a couple weeks, with a new steel roof, just in time for hunting season.
Game Wardens Shawn Blajszczak, Kelly Todd, Ryan Kenneda, and Access Coordinator Jason Sherwood participated in the Laramie Jubilee Days Parade in Laramie to help celebrate Wyoming’s 125th birthday.
North Jackson Game Warden Jon Stephens, and his steadfast sidekick Gus, scan the high country for bighorn sheep.
South Jackson Game Warden Kyle Lash collars a bighorn ewe.
North Jackson Game Warden Jon Stephens and Jackson Wildlife Biologist Aly Courtemanch checking hunters in the Teton Wilderness northeast of Moran and the Gros Ventre Wilderness.
Jackson Wildlife Biologist Aly Courtemanch and South Jackson Warden Kyle Lash remove plastic fencing from a moose’s antlers.
Meeteetse Game Warden Jim Olson and his string of fine mules head across a high plateau deep in the heart of the Absaroka Wilderness during the 2015 bighorn sheep season.
South Cody Game Warden Craig Smith assists with removing fencing as part of National Public Lands Day.