WYOMING MIGRATION CORRIDORS AT RISK – A draft bill may be headed to the Wyoming Legislature. Wyoming Hunters & Anglers Alliance (WHAA) recently shared the 16-page draft bill.
Importance of Migration Corridors
Migration corridors in Wyoming are important for the safety of both wildlife and to people on the road. As recent as July 2019, Wyoming approved new wildlife underpasses to facilitate the mule deer migration. Through biologist studies, collared mule deer have migrated as far as 250 miles.
Draft Bill Key Changes
- Removes the authority of Game and Fish to designate migration corridors
- Creates a process for corridor designation administered by county commissioners
- Allows a small minority of working group members to veto migration corridor designation
- Gives the wildlife duties for final corridor designation to the board of land commissioners
- “A requirement to be appointed as a Game and Fish Commissioner is to know and understand the propagation of wildlife. However, this standard is not required of elected officials such as members of the Board of Land Commissioners.”
- [Next paragraph paraphrased.] Politicians in the Wyoming legislature appear to potentially aim to undermine the authority of the Wyoming Game & Fish Commission. Effectively, their ability to designate wildlife corridors would be eliminated. The draft bill makes clear: politicians believe the board of land commissioners is better suited to be in charge of wildlife decisions as opposed to the WYG&F commission.
- “Since 1929, the WYG&F commission has had the statutory authority to manage game animals and provide for their protection…”
Suffice it to say, Wyoming claims some of the most impressive, even epic, ungulate migrations in North America. Including the record 250 mile doe migration, and the longest recorded mule deer migration in the world: the Red Desert to Hoback migration.
Should politicians or wildlife professionals get to decide on migration corridors?