(Wyoming) – With winter and extremely cold temperatures in full swing, big game animals such as antelope, deer, moose and elk are being seen more frequently in lower elevation habitats, as well as in developed areas and along roadways. Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials are asking residents in Fremont County and Wyoming to be aware, give animals room and especially to keep their pets under control.
The Game and Fish office in Lander has recently received a number of reports of sick, injured, or dead wildlife in the Lander and Riverton areas. In a couple recent cases deer were found to have been killed and partially eaten by domestic dogs and several sickly deer had to be put down.
Wildlife are on their lower elevation winter ranges, and sometimes these ranges include developed areas. Animals are seeking forage and becoming more concentrated and vulnerable this time of year. In addition, people are getting out recreating on the same winter range. This increases the chances of conflicts between people, dogs and wildlife.
Wildlife officials are asking residents to be wary and exhibit patience when encountering wildlife. South Riverton Game Warden, Brad Gibb says “One thing we know is that dogs on the loose are going to eventually get into trouble. And generally, ungulates are not going to pose a threat to anyone as long as we give them their space, control our pets around them and so on. However, if an animal is charging people or posing a threat, we want to know about it and will respond.”
Wildlife, such as moose and occasionally deer and elk, can be potentially dangerous. Here are some tips to help avoid a conflict:
- Always control pets while walking them and make sure there are no wildlife around before letting animals out of the house.
- Always allow an animal an escape route.
- Never crowd an animal or surround it.
- Look for tracks or other signs of animals on trails, pathways, or around houses.
Lander residents are reminded that there is a ban on the intentional or unintentional feeding of deer in the town of Lander and feeding wildlife is discouraged throughout the county.