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Hunting Unit Boundary Changes in Wyoming
Photo By: DIY Maps 'Wyoming Deer Units - Changes from 2015 to 2016'

Hunting Unit Boundary Changes in Wyoming

Posted In: Scouting, The Hunt

Posted By: Jordan Ongstad (June 9, 2016)

It seems every year for the last 4 years, the Wyoming regulations are littered with new boundary changes, some major, removing entire Units and merging them to another. This year was no exception; however the changes were limited to Deer and only a handful of units.  See the map above, or the descriptions down below of the 3 changes around the Powder River Basin area in Wyoming.

What has changed this year?

The 17 and 18 Deer Boundary Shift
As you can see in the above photo, there has been a drastic change to Wyoming Deer Unit's 17 and 18. To get a closer look and read the new legal description check out the links below.

Deer Unit 17 Unit Page
Deer Unit 18 Unit Page

The 19 and 20 Deer Unit Merger
Wyoming Deer Units 19 and 20 have merged into one unit. The new legal description matches the outer boundaries of both units, so hunting the New Deer Unit 19, is basically having access to the old 19 and 20 units together.  To get a look at the new unit, here is the link to the unit pages.

New Deer Unit 19 Unit Page

The 8, 10 and 21 Deer Tweak
The change on these units is outlined below.  Although the legal descriptions have not changed, the digital boundaries have moved a bit to represent the actual roads the boundary follows in the legal description. The reason I am including them, is other maps you may have both Digital and Paper showing unit boundaries may be slightly off. Us map companies rely heavily on the G&F Department to give us the unit boundaries.  So if you think you can get a little extra acreage out of one of these units, stick to the legal description, not to prior digital copies of the boundaries.Changes to Wyoming Deer Units for Units 8, 10 and 21A close-up the unit changes for 8, 10 and 21. Red being the 2016 Unit Boundaries.

Why do changes keep happening?

If you find yourself asking "Why do the boundaries keep changing?", the answer falls down to herd management. The unit boundaries in Wyoming are managed by recommendation from the field biologists. These biologist in return work closely with on-going research, which in Wyoming, is done fairly exclusively with the University of Wyoming. With the explosion of Oil, Coal, and Natural Gas throughout the state, there has been intensified measures to better understand movements of animals in the areas of energy exploration. It's data from these monitoring programs (funded in part by the energy developers), that can aid biologists to make more informed decisions, with data the Commission couldn't normally afford to obtain.

For those of you unfamiliar with the area in which these units are changing, it's the Powder River Basin where there has been tremendous oil expansion. It was a research job in the Powder River Basin, more specifically the Fortification Creek area that brought me to Wyoming back in 2009. Just like many studies across the state, Radio Collar tags provide crucial movement data. With thousands of animals now collared across Wyoming, it's no doubt these changes over the past 4 years are reflective of new insights from these monitoring efforts. While they can be quite an annoyance, especially for me, they are often reflective of more informed management techniques.

If you're interested in the effects from these types of disturbances in this area to elk, the original field position I had in Wyoming resulted in my buddy Clay Buchanan getting his PHD from the University of Wyoming with his disseration on 'ELK RESPONSE TO DISTURBANCE FROM DEVELOPMENT OF A COAL BED NATURAL GAS FIELD IN NORTHEASTERN WYOMING'.

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