Articles written by Mike Koshmrl

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  • As disease threatens feedground elk, Wyoming mired in planning and consensus-seeking

    Mike Koshmrl,|Mar 21, 2024

    For the first time in its history, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has a formal plan in place for managing the state's 21 winter elk feedgrounds. The 96-page document allows for changes to feedgrounds that could avert the worst consequences of an ugly disease that's ramping up - a sickness that scientists expect will devastate Northwest Wyoming's six fed elk herds in the long term if feeding continues. Notably, the plan does not compel reform or call for closing feedgrounds, but it does... Full story

  • How sage grouse eke by in Wyoming's carved-up coalbed methane country

    Mike Koshmrl,|Jan 11, 2024

    Newly published research exposes the role gas drilling infrastructure played in shrinking habitat for northeast Wyoming's dwindling sage grouse population - and it also provides a blueprint to help the imperiled species continue to exist on industrialized landscapes. In the Powder River Basin, a coalbed methane industry boom around the turn of the century brought with it some 30,000 wells, thousands of miles of roads, power lines and pipelines, along with scores of wastewater ponds resulting... Full story

  • Montana to start trucking grizzlies into Yellowstone region to improve delisting prospects

    Mike Koshmrl,|Dec 14, 2023

    Fresh grizzly bear bloodlines are expected to arrive in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem this summer, adding genetic diversity to a population of animals that's been isolated for a century. The infusion of genetics will come from the North Continental Divide Ecosystem, and it will roll down the highway in the form of a slumbering grizzly or two. Why truck in grizzly bears to a population last estimated at nearly 1,000 animals? Montana and Wyoming - which have hashed out an agreement - are... Full story

  • Path of the Pronghorn at 'high risk' of being lost

    Mike Koshmrl,|Nov 16, 2023

    The pathway of a highly migratory western Wyoming pronghorn herd that's been known by researchers for a quarter-century is at "high risk" of being lost. That's according to a draft "threat evaluation" released Thursday by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in conjunction with an announcement that the state agency will consider identifying or designating migration corridors used by the Sublette Pronghorn Herd. "In summary, the known current and potential threats pose a high risk to the... Full story

  • Western Wyoming's big buck country sees slowest hunt in 30 years

    Mike Koshmrl,|Oct 26, 2023

    ALPINE - Gary Fralick's calm demeanor shifted to a hustle for the hour that a steady stream of severed heads made its way through his check station on the last Saturday of deer hunting season. The Thayne-based Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologist and his colleague, Kelsie Hayes, checked one ungulate deadhead after another. The red-shirted duo was posted up where Greys River Road exits the Wyoming and Salt River mountain ranges. Fralick knows the spot well: This fall marked his 30th... Full story

  • Problem grizzly? Tribes find success diverting hikers in the Winds

    Mike Koshmrl,|Sep 28, 2023

    Art Lawson wanted to show actor Martin Sensmeier what the Wind River Indian Reservation was all about when he came through town this summer. So Lawson, the Shoshone and Arapahoe Fish and Game's director, took Sensmeier fishing in the backcountry. The actor - star of the upcoming film, "Wind River: The Next Chapter" - got a good glimpse of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho's 2.2-million-acre reservation's wild landscape. "A bear just popped up right in front of camp," Lawson recalled of t... Full story

  • Shorn down, growing back: Woolgrowers eye opportunity

    Mike Koshmrl,|Jul 20, 2023

    WIND RIVER RANGE FOOTHILLS-Kristy Wardell dawned rain gear though the skies were clear. The lifelong rancher was dressed in protective garb to guard against manure and urine that 366 ewes and 442 lambs had discharged along the wheeled journey around the Winds. On her hands and knees, the 59-year-old crawled into the bowels of a big rig she'd driven to flush out the animals, which will summer on Jim Magagna's pasture land along the banks of Lander Creek. Not used to being trucked, the band "had a...

  • What's in store for the devastated Wyoming Range Deer Herd?

    Mike Koshmrl,|Jun 15, 2023

    WYOMING RANGE-At nearly 14% body fat, mule deer F14 was plump in the rump, and expecting two fawns, going into this most recent winter. The 8-year-old doe's dual pregnancy was par for the course - F14 was prone to birthing twins. She was good at raising them, too. Four of her eight previous fawns had survived to independence. "F14 was a really good mom," University of Wyoming ecology PhD candidate Tayler Lasharr recalled. No track record of success could save F14 and her peers from the brutal...

  • Grizzly mama of the Tetons sets out to break a record

    Mike Koshmrl,|Apr 6, 2023

    She's 27 years old, reputed for being a stellar mother and knows her way around a crowd. If you live in Jackson Hole she might be your nosy neighbor. Regardless, her olfactory senses are terrific. Wyoming resident Grizzly 399 has lived a wild life that has garnered attention around the world. Like the best of us, she's endured trials and tribulations and heartbreak. And her extraordinary life has inspired untold fans near and far. Hordes of the grizzly's faithful fan club will surely be staked...

  • Bruce Moats' retirement blows another hole through the fraying fabric of Wyoming journalism

    Mike Koshmrl,|Mar 16, 2023

    Bruce Moats has been accused of never having met a document that shouldn't be public or a meeting that shouldn't be open. "Largely I plead guilty to that, though not totally," the grayed, wiry 66-year-old Cheyenne attorney said. Moats' mindset and bias toward transparency was born partly from his upbringing, he said. Growing up in a massive family, with 10 kids, decision-making was a collective effort. Functioning as a family wouldn't have worked, he said, "unless all of us [knew] what's going... Full story

  • Resolution calls for gathering, slaughter of wild horses for meat

    Mike Koshmrl,|Feb 2, 2023

    Rep. John Winter (R-Thermopolis) rode horseback into the Red Desert to see some new country last year. An outfitter and rancher, Winter was accompanied by a rangeland specialist and members of the Rock Springs Grazing Association. During the outing he learned a good bit about a growing natural resource concern in that corner of the state: Wild horses. "I'll tell you, there are just too many horses," Winter said. "They're affecting sage grouse and other wildlife, and it's ruining the range." Newl...

  • Understaffed, overworked wardens leery of predator night hunting

    Mike Koshmrl,|Feb 2, 2023

    CHEYENNE—An “unprecedented” shortage of Wyoming game wardens is adding to angst about a legislative proposal that would attract coyote hunters onto public land at night, adding to the thinned corps’ around-the-clock duties. “Our folks are feeling the pressure of their significant workload that is not shared by as many people as it should be right now,” Wyoming Game and Fish Department Chief Warden Rick King testified last week. “Our folks work really hard and they’ll do the best they can, but that’s really one of the things I worry about: The...

  • Goldfishing the Tetons

    Mike Koshmrl,|Jan 12, 2023

    GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK— It wasn’t AJ Duda’s first brush with angling for goldfish and other former aquarium dwellers within view of the Teton Range. The Pine Island, Florida teen, visiting Jackson Hole with family, had scouted this unlikely microfishing honey hole during a prior vacation. This time he came prepared. Armed with a spinning rod rig, line tipped with flies and small jigs, Duda worked the geothermally heated water coursing out of Kelly Warm Springs as it left the small pond....

  • Game and Fish leaders pressed on migration designation delays

    Mike Koshmrl,|Jan 12, 2023

    Pointing to a three-year delay in implementing Wyoming’s big game migration protection policy, some members of the Wyoming Wildlife Taskforce encouraged wildlife managers to act during the group’s final meeting. “We’re missing opportunities,” Sen. Larry Hicks (R-Baggs) said at the Dec. 14 meeting in Cheyenne. “It frustrates me to no end to sit here and say, ‘Well, we have to have the best-available science.’ We can’t afford the best-available science for every single wildlife population [or] corridor in the state of Wyoming. If that becomes t...

  • Study reveals Yellowstone elk reliance on unprotected private land

    Mike Koshmrl,|Dec 8, 2022

    Millions of visitors flock to Yellowstone National Park each summer to gawk at geysers, waterfalls and charismatic megafauna like elk. Bugling bulls and their harems of cows are a major part of the draw to the iconic western park that's been protected for the past 150 years. Down the Yellowstone plateau dozens of miles to the east, however, the landscape is privately owned, increasingly valuable and changing rapidly. And the same elk spend much of their lives there. "These herds are important...

  • Wildlife task force takes shaky aim at hunting license abuses

    Mike Koshmrl,|Jun 23, 2022

    Elk hunt area 124 south of Interstate 80 in the Red Desert, has been held up as a poster child for what’s wrong with the way Wyoming distributes special hunting licenses to landowners. The hunting zone reaching from Rock Springs to Baggs is 70% public land, and its northern half is dominated by the checkerboard-style land distribution which complicates or prevents the public from accessing federal lands. Limited-quota licenses to hunt a bull elk are hard to come by, especially for non-residents: 10 were available in 2021. And seven of those c...

  • Following Cheney censure, Wyo. Republicans evaluate allegiances

    Mike Koshmrl and Dustin Bleizeffer,|Feb 10, 2022

    ROCK SPRINGS - To Lenore Perry's eye, the Holiday Inn ballroom Saturday night was packed with red dresses, scarlet shirts and a lot of Harriet Hageman supporters. Perry, an attorney, has the same profession as Hageman, who also attended the adult-prom themed "Conservatives in Crimson" gala. Hageman's appeal as a candidate to replace sitting U.S. House Rep. Liz Cheney stems not from their dealings in the courtroom, she said, but rather from getting to know her as a fellow Republican in the... Full story

  • Influencers get a hand on federal lands filming

    Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole Daily Via Wyoming News Exchange|Jun 3, 2021

    JACKSON — New legislation spearheaded by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso proposes to do away with permit fees for small film crews and social media influencers shooting video on most federal land. The bill introduced by Wyoming’s senior senator, called the Federal Interior Land Media Act, would codify a recent legal decision that led the National Park Service to suspend permit fees for “low-impact” filming outside wilderness areas. While that change in policy is confined to 85 million acres of Park Service property, the law that has been pitched...

  • Bear's diet takes concerning turn

    Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole News&Guide Via Wyoming News Exchange|Nov 25, 2020

    JACKSON - Bear biologist Mike Boyce was staked out on a road in south of Wilson for much of Tuesday keeping tabs on five grizzly bears that were napping, playing and feeding on a deer carcass. "They devoured it in just a matter of a couple hours," Boyce said from the scene. For three weeks and running this has been what the Wyoming Game and Fish Department employee's workdays look like: keeping tabs on grizzly 399 and her four cubs, spreading the word of their whereabouts and trying to keep...

  • Foresters try to keep up with demand

    Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole News&Guide Via Wyoming News Exchange|Aug 12, 2020

    JACKSON - It was mid-morning when Lesley Williams Gomez's Bridger-Teton National Forest pickup truck inched up onto the sagebrush to make room along the seldom-traveled, graveled northern stretch of Antelope Flats Road. Not one, but four vehicles were headed her way, and the roadbed wasn't big enough for the both of them. The caravan of campers was pointed north toward Lost Creek Ranch and the quickly filling dispersed camping area along the ridges above Triangle X Ranch. They'd already been to...