Lack of water leads to poor hunting prospects at Table Mountain, Wyoming
CASPER, Wyoming – Waterfowl hunters hoping to harvest birds in Wyoming’s Table Mountain Wildlife Habitat Management Area (WHMA) can expect a “tough hunting season,” the Wyoming Game said Thursday. and Fish Department.
Drought conditions have resulted in a lack of water in some of the ponds located about 15 miles southeast of Torrington. Game and fish biologists say there is no water available to fill them.
The Table Mountain Diversion Pond remains full, but eight other ponds have little or no water.
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“This is the third year of drought in the region; water is just not available for these ponds at this time, ”said Jerry Cowles, habitat and access supervisor for the Laramie area.
Water for the Table Mountain ponds comes from Dry Creek, a tributary of Horse Creek. Horse Creek drainage gets a flow of 32 to 33 acres from October to the end of December in a year with normal precipitation.
“The state engineer’s office monitors water flow through a meter on Horse Creek near the county line of Goshen and Laramie, and there are currently only 22 acres of feet entering. “said Cowles.
Game and Fish said the water from Horse Creek is first used to fill the Hawk Springer Reservoir and other areas before it is piped to Table Mountain Ponds under current water rights.
“When Hawk Springs is partially full (approximately 13,000 acres), the water then goes to Springer Reservoir, Packers Lake and other ponds in the area before Table Mountain WHMA receives it,” said the Department. “With irrigation a priority for water rights during the growing season, Table Mountain typically receives most of its water from February to the end of April. “
Cowles said there would typically be about five acre-feet of water flowing into Table Mountain ponds at this time of year, but the ponds only get about a tenth of a acre debit foot.
“At 0.32 cubic feet / second, that’s barely enough to make up for the evaporative loss over a day,” Cowles said.
Game and Fish runs well water in Pond 2 to complete the ponds in Tabnle Mountain. H
“But it only delivers 100 gallons per minute, so that’s not a lot,” Cowles said.
Recent storms that dropped more than an inch of precipitation were not enough to make a difference to Table Mountain ponds, according to Game and Fish.
“As a result, waterfowl hunters will have limited opportunities at Table Mountain WHMA this season,” said Game and Fish. “The Rawhide WHMA is always open for waterfowl hunting, and there are a few walking areas that offer a field hunting option. Waterfowl hunters can also hunt at the Bump Sullivan Reservoir, which is currently half full.
Game and Fish has stated that Table Mountain WHMA’s Pond 1 and part of Springer Reservoir are closed to hunting. Hawk Springs Reservoir closes Nov 12 for waterfowl.
Table Mountain WHMA is located approximately 15 miles southeast of Torrington. Game and Fish has managed approximately 1,716 acres of Canada goose habitat since 1962 under a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
“Game and Fish has made significant improvements to the wetlands, creating one of the most significant wetlands in southeastern Wyoming,” the department said. “This area is an important staging area for thousands of ducks and geese each spring and during fall migration. During the winter, the Habitat and Access team set up and monitor ice eaters on Pond 1 to create open water for waterfowl.
“Game and Fish, in partnership with the BLM and the Goshen County 2-Shot Goose Hunt, have worked to increase vegetation in the lush marshes and by installing geese nesting structures. But without water in ponds, waterfowl hunters have a tough hunting season ahead. “