The Saratoga Sun -

Winter comes to Medicine Bow

Wyoming Game and Fish adds Jordan Winter to Medicine Bow staff

 


“There: lots of snow. Here: lots of wind.” That’s new Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) game Warden Jordan Winter, describing the differences he’s noted between his last post in Alpine, Wyoming and his new one in Medicine Bow.

Winter arrived early in Medicine Bow last year–by August, in fact–and he plans to stay well-past when snow usually starts to melt and flowers begin to bloom. He replaced former Medicine Bow Game Warden Jake Kettley, who transferred to Casper after years in the Medicine Bow warden district.

A Vast Territory

Winter’s district is vast, stretching from the “Miracle Mile” Platte River fishing grounds in the West to the Laramie Mountains in the East. South to North, it runs from the town of Medicine Bow up to to the Northern edge of the Shirley Rim.

The area encompasses antelope hunt areas 47 and 48 as well as part of area 42, and non-resident deer hunt area D. Winter also oversees all of elk hunt area 16 and a section of elk hunt area 7, which Winter described as “premier” and “very-well renowned.”

A Long Path to the Badge

Winter has been with WGFD dating to summer 2014, when he began working for the department as a damage technician in Sheridan. Since becoming a game warden in December 2014, Winter has served in Laramie, Alpine and now Medicine Bow.

The Cody native grew up guiding for his father’s outfitting business in Northwest Wyoming close to the Idaho border. After high school, Winter got his associate’s degree from Northwest College, followed by a bachelor’s from the University of Wyoming in 2014 and a degree from the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy in 2015.

At the academy, Winter was named his class’’ “Honor Graduate,” the most prestigious award given to matriculates of the institution.

“Access Yes (Please!)”

As a new warden, one of Winter’s favorite WGFD programs is “Access Yes.” The initiative’s aim is to increase access for sportsmen by convincing private property owners to allow hunting and fishing on their property.

Property owners can set restrictions on what times, days or seasons hunters and anglers can access their property, and owners can also set “take quotas” to limit how much game or fish or can be harvested before access to their land is closed.

“”It’s very landowner friendly,” Winter said. The program can serve the needs of “the hunter who wants more access,” as well as those of “the landowner who says, ‘we’ve got too many of these critters, what can you do to help me get rid of them?’”

Transgressions of

Trespass and Take

The biggest issues Winter said he encountered in the field are trespass and taking of the wrong sex, which, he said, happens a lot. Taking the wrong sex usually happens when a hunter is shooting from long range and mistakes a “spike,” or yearling buck, antelope or elk for a mature female of the species. It can be an easy mistake to make, “but it’s the responsibility of the sportsmen to know what they’re shooting at,” Winter warned.

Though he called trespassing a serious violation, Winter said most of the cases he’s seen didn’t seem premeditated. Typically, he catches “a decent person who just got so focused-in on going after that critter that they forgot they crossed a property boundary,” which Winter described as a case of hunter’s “tunnel vision.”

Even though the hunter may not have had bad intentions, “if they get caught trespassing the land owner gets upset–and I don’t blame them–then the opportunity for the public to have access decreases,” Winter said.

Perks and

Problems

Some of the perks of Winter’s job include being able to watch a child haul in their first fish or teaching youth hunting safety lessons.

He also said he enjoys the solitary task of collecting population data in the field, where he gets to observe animals as diverse as badgers, burrowing owls, raptors, song birds, blackfoot ferrets and fox. Before becoming a warden, Winter said he mostly paid attention to elk, deer and antelope while out in the wild, but now he realizes, “It’s not just about the big game.”

Being a warden can be tough, however, and it’s certainly not a profession for the soft or easily discomforted. Winter spends many hours a day patrolling remote areas in his truck, and he’s no stranger to breaking down or getting stuck far from help.

Particularly this time of year, “We go to a lot of places that, you know, you probably shouldn’t be going just because we have to get out there or you’re out and about trying to get somebody else unstuck,” Winter said.

When he runs into problems, or just wants to head out of town on vacation for a couple days, however, Winter said he benefits from a big support network.

“It’s a collaborative effort from everybody,” he said, “everybody” including WGFD biologists, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management personnel. Winter also enjoys partnerships with area hunters and outfitters, landowners and other members of the public.

“Every day is different. Every day is an opportunity,” Winter said of the warden life. “Wildlife needs to be respected. Wildlife needs to be looked at as a resource, but then also as something we want to cherish and something that we want to have for eons to come.”

You might be interested in:
 

Reader Comments
(0)