The Wyoming Game and Fish Department recently discovered errors in the road data stored in a program produced by onX maps, called HUNT Chip, available for use on GPS units and computers. These onX HUNT Chips for Wyoming incorrectly show some roads in Crook County as public or county roads when they are in fact private roads.
Game and Fish has informed onX maps of the errors and are hoping they will be corrected in a timely manner. If a hunter has questions on the status of the corrections, they should contact onX maps support staff as outlined in their HUNT Chip manual.
Sundance Game Warden, Chris Teter, stated, “I’ve been getting calls about hunters accessing isolated parcels of public land by way of abandoned county roads. Hunters were stating they followed GPS units equipped with a HUNT Chip. Unfortunately, even if they are given wrong information, it is still their responsibility to know where they are at all times. As a reminder, all maintained county roads in Crook County are marked with a blue and yellow sign with the road number.”
“The commercial GPS chips are good, but not perfect,” said Newcastle Wildlife Biologist Joe Sandrini. “This is an example of why hunters need to use paper maps in tandem with electronic devices. People also need to remember not all the land displayed in color by the HUNT Chip or the roads with names are public.”
Wyoming law states no person shall enter private land to hunt, fish or trap without written permission from the landowner or person in charge of the property. The license must bear the signature of the landowner, or agent of the landowner, on whose property the hunting is taking place, or legitimate proof the landowner gave permission to hunt.
It is the responsibility of hunters to know if the land is public or private. To assist in this, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has maps showing public and private lands, most of which also indicate public roads.
Hunters can obtain maps from the BLM office in Newcastle or by calling 307-775-6256 or the U.S. Forest Service office in Sundance or by calling 307-283-1361. County road maps are available at local county offices as well.
Many Wyoming sporting goods businesses also carry BLM and Forest Service maps for their local area. We encourage hunters to get their maps and study them well in advance of their hunting trip.
“The Black Hills area of Wyoming hosts around 10,000 deer hunters each year. That is a lot of people who may have the wrong information. We are encouraging hunters who use the onX HUNT Chip in these areas to make sure they have accurate road, Forest Service or BLM maps as well,” advised Teter.