WYOMING

Deer Forecast 2004 -- WEST

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Hunters looking for a trophy buck in Wyoming's legendary southwestern units will find fewer tags available.

According to Al Langston, information officer for the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish, the region suffered a hard winter, requiring some cutbacks and shortened seasons. Langston says the winter was actually more like a "regular" winter, one that hasn't been seen lately because of the recent string of drought years. He also says that even though deer numbers are down, there still are some trophy bucks roaming the mountains in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

Overall, the drought continues to suppress deer numbers, with the eastern areas looking grim. The Medicine Bow area has fair deer numbers, but populations are below normal. The Black Hills country in the northeast is holding its own, with decent numbers of whitetails and mule deer.

Nonresidents must apply for a tag in a lottery and can apply for one region only. Some regions are often undersubscribed, primarily because they don't produce consistent trophy bucks and many of the units are private land. The top units are in the southwest, and they historically offer the toughest drawing odds.