Counseling available for students, parents, staff and community (posted 10/19/14)
Sublette County School District #1
On Sunday, October 19th, 2014, the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) issued a press release indicating that the body of missing 15 year old Pinedale High School student Logan Dobkins, had been located near Fremont Lake outside of Pinedale. Logan had been missing since late in the evening on Tuesday, October 14th. The Sublette County Sheriff’s office reported that the cause of death appears to be self-inflicted, and no foul play was suspected. Sublette County School District #1 (SCSD #1) would like to offer our deepest condolences to Logan’s family.
Pinedale High School will be hosting a meeting for students, parents, staff and others in the community at Pinedale High School on Monday, October 20th at 6:30 PM. Local mental health professionals will be present to provide information about common reactions following a suicide and how adults can help youth cope. They will also provide information about suicide and mental illness in adolescents, including risk factors and warning signs of suicide, and will address attendees’ questions and concerns. A meeting announcement has also been posted on the SCSD 1 Facebook page and the district website. If parents have questions regarding this event, or would like more information, they are encouraged to contact their building principal or counselors for more information.
Trained crisis counselors will be available to meet with students and staff starting Monday morning, and continuing over the next few weeks as needed.
www.pinedaleschools.org Sublette County School District #1
Sublette County School District #1 Facebook page
Body of missing teen found (posted 10/19/14)
Sublette County Sheriff’s Office media release
Sunday. October 19, 2014, 10:45AM
At 8:20 this morning a Tip Top Search and Rescue member on horseback found the body of missing 15 year old Logan Dobkins near Fremont Lake outside of Pinedale. Logan had been missing since late in the evening on Tuesday, October 14th. Cause of death appears to be self-inflicted, no foul play is suspected.
The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office, Tip Top Search and Rescue and all those involved in the search offer our deepest condolences to Logan’s family.
Authority: Sheriff Dave Lankford
Stephen Smith, Public Information Officer
Coming together for wildlife (posted 10/17/14)
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Wyoming Governor Matt Mead sign 9 agreements with ranchers.
Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
On Wednesday, October 15th dignitaries from across the state and nation gathered in Pinedale to celebrate a public-private partnership to sign nine agreements to conserve of sagebrush habitat to benefit sage-grouse and other wildlife species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the Sublette County Conservation District have been working with area ranchers for years to protect and conserve sagebrush habitat that is important for sage-grouse and many other species.
Sage-grouse are an important species to plan for because in 2015 U.W. Fish & Wildlife Service must make a decision about whether or not to list the bird on the Endangered Species list.
The event on October 15th included a morning tour of the Brad Bousman ranch near Boulder, and a signng ceremony at Trappers Point around noon. The ceremony involved the signing of nine agreements between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and nine ranchers. The ranchers were recognized as the first landowners to enter into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) program for the greater sage-grouse in Wyoming.
Landowner stewardship of sage-grouse habitats is promoted through the CCAA, which provides private landowners with incentives for engaging in voluntary proactive conservation through assurances that limit future conservation obligations. Specifically, landowners are provided the assurance that if they implement various conservation measures, they will not be subject to additional restrictions if the species becomes listed under the ESA.
The day’s events were attended by U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell; Wyoming Governor Matt Mead; Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Don Simpson, Wyoming State Director of the Bureau of Land Management; Brad Bousman of Bousman Livvestock, Inc.; and many private landowners and local stakeholders.
Here is a list of the ranchers honored.
1. Brad Bousman - Bousman Livestock, Inc. (Sublette County)
• Approximately 1,400 acres enrolled; all within Sage-Grouse Core Area
• Involved with Pilot Project for cheatgrass control
• Converted windmill stock watering tanks to solar to eliminate perching by ravens and other birds that preys on the eggs and young of sage-grouse.
• Installed wildlife escape ramps in solar tanks that he manages both on private and public (BLM) lands.
• Implemented (for many years) conservation practices such as flushing bars on his hay tractor to avoid and minimize collisions with sage-grouse that use his hay meadows; also delays haying until after the GSG nesting season.
• Is an active Sublette County Conservation District Board Member and NRCS partner who supports the development and implementation of conservation programs for landowners.
• Actively participates in monitoring GSG use on his BLM grazing allotments.
2. John Erramouspe - G & E Livestock, Inc. (Sublette County)
• Approximately 1,200 acres enrolled; 97% in Sage-Grouse Core Area
• Buries power lines
• Uses solar power
• Created overflow to provide access for sage-grouse, but limited use by livestock and wildlife
3. John Boroff - Boroff Land and Livestock (Sublette County)
• Approximately 1,300 acres enrolled; 100% in Sage-Grouse Core Area
4. John Blaha - Blaha Ranch, Inc. (Sublette County)
• Approximately 1500 acres enrolled; 100% in Sage-Grouse Core Area
5. Donald W. Rogers, Jr. (Sublette County)
• Approximately 400 acres enrolled; 100% in Sage-Grouse Core Area
6. Fred Pape - Pape Ranches, Inc. (Sublette County)
• Approximately 10,000 acres enrolled; 100% in Sage-Grouse Core Area
• Philosophy that wildlife was there first, so they work with wildlife, and enjoy having wildlife on their property
• Recipient of Regional Leopold Conservation Award in 2008
• Worked with NRCS to create a mosaic patterned brush treatment to benefit sage-grouse
• Promotes wildlife friendly fences where possible
• Usually takes about 1.5 hours to cut a 10 acre area of oats. Last year there was about 20 sage-grouse in that area. Landowner walked through the oats to flush the birds out of the field before cutting. This extra effort took more than 4 hours to complete, but landowner didn’t want to harm any sage-grouse.
7. Jennie & Mark Gordon - Merlin Ranch (Johnson County)
• 8,428 acres enrolled; 55% in Sage-Grouse Core Area
• Family owned ranch – established in 1988
• Angus cattle ranch
• Holistic management and cell grazing
• Recipient of Excellence in Rangeland Stewardship Award – 2009
• Manager: Kevin Rodriguez
• Owners: Mark and Jennie Gordon
8. Roy Liedtke, Kelly Hardy, Wendy Hutchinson- Longreach Buffalo Co., LLC (Campbell County)
• 3,240 acres enrolled; 100% in Sage-Grouse Core Area
• The members of Longreach Buffalo Company, Kelly Hardy, Wendy Hutchinson, and Roy Liedtke, have spent their professional careers as caretakers of the environment. This dedication to the ecosystem is one reason they chose to diversify their ranch by raising buffalo, along with beef cattle, bringing this magnificent species back to its native range. The ranch is in NE Wyoming in core sage-grouse habitat, with a diverse mixture of rolling plains and timbered lands. The owners’ previous work in the coal industry allowed them to pool their resources and experience to purchase the ranch in 2001, where they have been a steadfast team devoted to creating a sustainable ranching environment for livestock and wildlife.
9. Priscilla Welles - HIP Investments, LLC (Johnson County)
• 12, 236 acres enrolled; 80% in Sage-Grouse Core Area
• HIP Investments, run by the Welles family, is a cattle operation that runs on a contiguous swath of rolling prairie sagebrush country west of the Powder River Basin in NE Wyoming. The middle waters of Crazy Woman Creek run through its western border, and the ranch supports both riparian areas and prime sage grouse breeding and nesting grounds. A significant portion of the ranch lands lie in the recently described "core" area for supporting areas to be managed for sage-grouse habitat. This designation has helped the landowners re- affirm their historical dedication to running their livestock operation with a high regard for the safety and viability of the wildlife that share in the land's resources.
• Initiatives that have been taken have involved: o Removal of woven wire fencing. Installation of fence markers to avoid bird collisions.
• Buried power lines in areas of energy development.
• Rotational grazing program utilizing recommendations and monitoring according to the Wyoming Rangeland Monitoring Guide.
• Placement of stock watering tanks in upland areas to remove cattle from the riparian areas.
• Bird escape ramps in all watering facilities.
• Mosquito larvae application in réservoirs to prevent the spread of west Nile Virus to bird populations.
vLimited activity in pastures with lek areas during bird breeding season.
It is the goal of the land owners to have a healthy ecosystem through dedicated management for both the economic and ecological success of the operation.
Click on this link for more pictures.
Grizzly Bear relocated from Jackson residential area (posted 10/13/14)
Wyoming Game & Fish
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department trapped and relocated a sub-adult male grizzly bear October 10, 2014.
The bear was captured for frequenting residential areas near Jackson, Wyoming. In cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Shoshone National Forest, the bear was relocated to the Five Mile Creek drainage approximately five miles from the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park within the North Fork of the Shoshone River drainage west of Cody. The release site is located in currently occupied grizzly bear habitat.
Grizzly bear relocation is a management tool afforded bear management personnel to minimize conflicts between humans and grizzlies. The decision to relocate and the selection of a relocation site is made taking into consideration the age, sex, and type of conflict the bear was involved in. Since grizzly bears are listed as "Threatened" under the Endangered Species Act, consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the appropriate land management agency is also made to minimize the chance of future conflicts and maximize the survival potential of the relocated grizzlies. Bears are relocated in accordance with federal law and regulation. When selecting a relocation site, the department makes every consideration to minimize potential conflicts with livestock and people.
Bears can create conflicts after they have obtained food rewards. The department continues to stress the importance of keeping all attractants (food items, horse feeds, bird seed, and others) unavailable to bears. Reducing attractants reduces human-bear conflicts.
Cattle-killing griz relocated from Upper Green Oct. 6, 2014
Man killed by bear believed to be missing Utah man Sept. 15, 2014
Another cattle-killing grizzly bear relocated from Upper Green Sept. 12, 2014
Another grizzly bear relocated from north of Pinedale Sept. 8, 2014
Grizzly Bear relocated from north of Pinedale August 28, 2014
Grizzly Bears relocated away from Pinedale July 30, 2014
Grizzly Bear relocated from north of Pinedale July 23, 2014
Blood Moon (posted 10/12/14)
Blood Moon - lunar eclipse. Photo by Dave Bell.
Those who stayed up between 3-4AM on Wednesday, October 8th, were treated with seeing a "Blood Moon," a total lunar eclipse. During a total eclipse, the earth lies directly between the sun and the moon, casting its shadow upon the moon. The sun’s rays of light are bent while passing through the earth’s atmosphere, which extends about 50 miles around the exterior of the earth. The green to violet spectrum is filtered out and the reddish portion of the spectrum is the least affected. The light rays are bent again as they leave the atmosphere. The double bending of the light makes the moon’s surface appear red during a total eclipse.
Here is a link to Dave Bell’s photos of the event.
Why does the moon look red during a total lunar eclipse?
Yellowstone Wolf Update (posted 10/9/14)
Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
The fall 2012 wolf hunting seasons in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming sparked outrage from wolf advocates when it was revealed that 12 wolves that primarily lived within Yellowstone National Park boundaries were legally harvested outside of the park.
The Yellowstone wolf population responded with an increase in the number of wolf packs producing pups (9 out of 10 packs), and having more pups per litter (up from 2.5 to 4.6 pups) in 2013. By the end of 2013, total wolf population numbers were up slightly, and no wolves that primarily lived in Yellowstone National Park were harvested during the hunting or trapping seasons in adjacent states.
And once again, the primary mortality factor for wolves in the park was intraspecific aggression (wolves killing wolves).
Both wolf numbers and elk numbers for the northern region of Yellowstone Park have declined 60% since population peaks in 2007.
Due to a federal court decision last month, wolves in Wyoming are once again under federal protection. Prior to that, there had been 19 wolves killed in the state since the start of the year that were removed in control actions due to livestock depredations. There were 41 head of livestock or dogs verified as wolf killed or injured since the start of the year (by wolves classified as trophy game animals).
In the 2013 trophy wolf hunting season in Wyoming, 24 wolves were harvested (2 less than the quota), in addition to 39 wolves killed in the predator zone. In the 2012 trophy wolf hunting season in Wyoming, 43 wolves were harvested (10 less than the quota), in addition to 25 wolves killed in the predator zone.
For more information, click on the links below.
Yellowstone 2013 Wolf Report - View or download here.
Wolf Watch - By Cat Urbigkit
Remember to wipe dirt and mud off your vehicle lights (posted 10/7/14)
On October 4th south of Afton, Wyoming a collision occurred between a motorcycle and a pickup truck resulting in the death of the driver of the motorcycle. A contributing factor in the accident was the turn signals and brake lights on the truck were covered in dry mud causing the motorcycle driver to not see a turn signal and brake lights to realize the truck was about to turn in front of him. Wyoming Highway Patrol reminds drivers that with the muddy off-road driving that comes during the current hunting season and winter weather becoming more frequent by the day, it is important to remember to clean the mud and snow off all lights on vehicles. Something else to remember is that newer vehicles utilizing LED lights do not get hot and subsequently do not melt built up snow and ice like older lights with conventional bulbs.
Cattle-killing griz relocated from Upper Green (posted 10/6/14)
Wyoming Game & Fish
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department trapped and relocated an adult male grizzly bear on October 4, 2014. The bear was captured for killing cattle on a U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment north of Pinedale, WY. In cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest the bear was relocated to the Squirrel Creek drainage approximately 18 miles west of Flagg Ranch and approximately 2.5 miles east of the Idaho-Wyoming state line. The release site is located in currently occupied grizzly bear habitat.
Grizzly bear relocation is a management tool afforded bear management personnel to minimize conflicts between humans and grizzlies. The decision to relocate and the selection of a relocation site is made taking into consideration the age, sex, and type of conflict the bear was involved in. Since grizzly bears are listed as "Threatened" under the Endangered Species Act, consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the appropriate land management agency is also made to minimize the chance of future conflicts and maximize the survival potential of the relocated grizzlies. Bears are relocated in accordance with federal law and regulation. When selecting a relocation site, the Department makes every consideration to minimize potential conflicts with livestock and people.
Bears can create conflicts after they have obtained food rewards. The Department continues to stress the importance of keeping all attractants (food items, horse feeds, bird seed, and others) unavailable to bears. Reducing attractants reduces human-bear conflicts.
Hunters reminded to pick up stamps (posted 10/1/14)
Wyoming Game & Fish
Hunters are well aware of the necessity of having hunting licenses before going afield, but along with those licenses, certain stamps are also required. The following is a listing of the various stamps and permits applicable to Wyoming hunting.
Conservation Stamp - Required of all licensed hunters or anglers with several exceptions. It is not required of holders of daily fishing or hunting licenses. It is also not required of persons exercising hunting or fishing privileges granted by pioneer licenses or pioneer heritage hunting or fishing licenses. However, if a pioneer license holder is exercising privileges other than those granted by a pioneer license, a conservation stamp is required. For example, a person may hold a pioneer fishing license where no stamp is required, but may purchase a resident deer license requiring a stamp.
Pheasant Management Permit - Required of most pheasant hunters, including youth who do not need a bird license, and holders of the pioneer bird/small game license, who hunt areas wherever pheasants may be stocked from Game and Fish Department bird farms. These areas include Game and Fish wildlife habitat management areas, numerous walk-in areas, Glendo State Park and all state lands in Sheridan and Johnson counties. A complete listing or areas where the stamp is required is found on page 15 of the upland game bird regulations pamphlet. An exception is made for landowners and their immediate families who hunt pheasants on their lands enrolled in the walk-in program. An exception is also made for hunters who hunt walk-in areas in Bighorn, Fremont, Hot Springs, Park and Washakie counties where pheasants are not released by the Game and Fish.
Elk Feedground Special Management Permit - This permit is required of all hunters who hunt elk in areas 70, 71, 75 and 77-98.
Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp (Duck Stamp - Required of all waterfowl hunters 16 years of age and older. The stamp is required for ducks, geese and mergansers. (Not required for doves, sandhill cranes, coots, snipe, rails or crows.)
Harvest Information Program Permit (HIP permit - Required of all licensed hunters who hunt migratory game birds, including holders of pioneer and lifetime hunting licenses. HIP permits are nontransferable to other states. A separate validation is required in each state where migratory birds are hunted. HIP permits are free and are available on the Game and Fish website http://wgfd.wyo.gov. Click on "hunting," then "licensing," then "HIP" Permit.
Call for artwork for the Wyoming Conservation Stamp Art Contest (posted 10/1/14)
Wyoming Game & Fish
Artists are alerted that beginning Jan. 1, 2015 the Game and Fish will begin accepting artwork for the 2015 Wyoming Conservation Stamp Art Contest. The swift fox, (Vulpes velox) one of Wyoming’s unique nongame animals, is the subject for the 2015 contest. The annual event is now in its 32nd year.
Each year the Game and Fish selects one species to be the subject of the competition and eventually appear on the printed conservation stamps. The winning artist also receives a cash award of $3,500. Second place receives $1,500 and third $750.
The competition is open to professional artists. Entries for the contest must be postmarked and/or delivered to Game and Fish office in Cheyenne between Jan. 1 and March 1. A change in this year’s contest allows submission of up to two entries per artist. Artists are also reminded that the March 1 deadline is a change from the March 15 deadline that was in place for a number of years. Game and Fish typically receives 50-80 entries each year. The contest will culminate with judging in Cheyenne on April 10, 2015. The winning artwork will appear on the 2016 Wyoming conservation stamp.
Information including rules and deadlines on the Conservation Stamp Art Contest is on the Game and Fish website wgfd.wyo.gov. Printed rules and entry forms are also available and will be mailed to requesting artists. Artists may also choose to review the rules and use the forms on the Game and Fish website.
Swift fox are the smallest of all canids, about the size of a house cat, and are found in a handful of counties in southern Wyoming. They are most common in prairie habitats in the southeastern corner of the state.
Sage Grouse numbers up (posted 10/1/14)
Good moisture helps bird numbers to increase
Wyoming Game & Fish
The numbers of male sage grouse on leks, or mating areas, was up around 10 percent this year over last year, according to data recently compiled by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Just under 20,000 male sage grouse were counted this year on about 1,100 leks. This summer’s crop of grouse chicks also appears to be much improved over recent years.
Game and Fish Sage Grouse Coordinator Tom Christiansen said the increased numbers of birds are largely due to the good moisture conditions.
"Green equals grouse," he said. "We have found when we get good moisture in the spring, but not cold wet weather during the peak nesting period, the birds will have better nesting success."
Echoing Christiansen’s comment, Bob Budd, chairman of Wyoming’s Sage Grouse Implementation Team, said the increase in males on leks and continuing indications of good chick survival are very encouraging.
"The weather this year coupled with many positive changes Wyoming has implemented in sage grouse core areas has helped to produce positive results," Budd said. "These trends should continue in the same cyclic manner that defines the species. The most compelling aspect of this data is the fact that the low points of these natural cycles continue to move upward, meaning that the highs are higher, and the lows less challenging. All of this points to a generally upward trend in the long term, which is the really critical need for sage grouse."
This summer Game and Fish personnel and grouse researchers, along with ranchers and the general public who recreate in sage grouse habitats, reported seeing good numbers of young birds. And this is being confirmed by preliminary information taken from grouse wings submitted by hunters that indicates a high proportion of chicks in the population.
Christiansen said that when studying a grouse population it is important to consider the long term trends. "For example, looking at the last 15 years, we had a peak in the grouse population in 2007 followed by a downward trend that has rebounded this year," he said. "Even though 2014 is not as good as 2007, it is substantially better than the low population Wyoming experienced in the mid 1990s."
Researchers have found that sage grouse population trends can often be compared to the well-known cycles of cottontail rabbits. Data comparing highs and lows of rabbit cycles often mirror with highs and lows of sage grouse as well. In Wyoming during the past number of years, low rabbit years were also low sage grouse years. When there were more rabbits there were also more sage grouse.
To determine sage grouse numbers, Game and Fish counts the number of males on leks every spring. Christiansen said that while there are different densities of birds in different areas of the state, numbers are increasing in most of the state. "Northeast Wyoming is still an area of concern," he said. "Densities are low and still decreasing in that portion of the state."
Christiansen added Wyoming isn‘t alone when it comes to improved outlook for sage grouse. Several of the more populous sage grouse states also reported increases including Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Colorado.
Time will tell whether the good numbers this year will continue into a long term upward trend, as much depends on the weather and continuing important conservation efforts.
"But it is positive to note that recent years have been better than the mid 1990s," Christiansen said. "There is optimism for sage grouse on the horizon."