The Big Sky State has some of the best hunting land and if you like to hunt as much as Wyoming native Buffalo Bill Cody you will want to learn everything there is to know about hunting public land in Wyoming. Hunts can be had with America's most challenging big game: black bear, elk, bison, mule deer, big horn sheep and more. With public land and a program that provides public access to private land, there are many ways to hunt Wyoming land accessible to the public.
What you'll need:
- Hunting gear
- Hunter safety certificate
- License for the game you wish to hunt
- Stamps or tags
- Knowledge of walk-in hunting areas, public land open to hunting and hunter management areas
- Meet Wyoming hunter safety requirements. Wyoming instituted hunter safety requirements beginning January 1966. Anyone born on or after that date must complete the workshop to hunt any land not owned by the hunters family, including public land.
- Buy licenses, stamps and tags. Depending on the game you plan to hunt on public land you will need to get licenses, stamps and tags, including a required conservation stamp for all licenses. Small game and non-migratory birds require a small game license, while large game requires a license and tags you must put on the game you harvest. Migratory birds require HIP stamps on your license. The funds garnered from these license and stamp sales go directly to environmental initiatives to positively impact game and non-game species.
- Learn about the Wyoming Public Access program. Wyoming's unique program provides public access to privately owned land. The state pays a stipend to landowners to allow the public walk-in access to hunt and fish on their land. You don't need to seek permission of the landowner to hunt their land during posted periods. Your conduct maintains access to this land, so be a good steward and report any violations of hunting or fishing laws and vandalism you might observe on hunting and fishing land accessible to the public.
- Identify public land under the Hunter Management program. Wyoming also has many lands that are government managed, such as military bases, that are open to outdoor sportsmen with written approval. These areas are closed during their primary use but are open under a limited status to the public. This controlled public access provides a great option to hunters willing to take the steps to request a letter granting access to hunt the public land under the Hunter Management program.
- Verify hunting season dates and approved times of day for hunting. Review the state-published pamphlet for each type of game you wish to pursue. Hunting out of season is poaching, and staying within the law is important to protect the opportunity for future hunts.
Scout the public land you wish to hunt. To prepare for your hunt, scout the public land where you will pursue your game. If you have limited access to the land use topographic maps to determine where water and food will be located that game will go to at various times of day.
- Make a plan. Before hunting any public land, write a plan for your hunt. Identify the items you will need, including a minimum of one hunter orange garment. Make sure you take game bags, a knife for cleaning your kill and plan how you will retrieve your game from the field so no meat goes to waste. Share your plan with a family member or friend who can call authorities in the instance you injure yourself or become lost while hunting public land.
- Have a great hunt. Wyoming is filled with vast, open areas, beautiful landscape and plentiful game. Hunting there harkens back to the time of Westward expansion and the pioneers and cowboys that settled the west. It also, as Buffalo Bill Cody identified as the West was settled, is a reminder of the importance of protecting the resources we have so they can be enjoyed by generations to come.