Antelope, deer and elk populations are flourishing in eastern Wyoming. With increasing populations, hunting is predicted to be good this upcoming fall.
“Wildlife populations in Eastern Wyoming continue to rebound this year with excellent fawn production in many of the region’s deer and antelope populations. In addition, most elk populations remain above population goals and hunters can expect another great hunting season this fall if they plan to hunt east of the continental divide,” says Doug Brimeyer, Game and Fish deputy chief of wildlife.
“While this past winter impacted big game populations west of the Continental Divide, there was a much different winter in the east.”
Because of the population growth observed over the past year, the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission approved increased license quotas in many eastern Wyoming hunt areas.
“There is a lot of opportunity in the east, and hunters will not be disappointed with the quantity and quality of wildlife they see this year,” says Brimeyer.
Hunting in eastern Wyoming is a little different than western Wyoming because there is so much more private land in this part of the state. But, that shouldn’t discourage hunters from applying in these areas as long as they make arrangements to hunt on private land before applying for a license, plan on hunting on one of the Game and Fish Access Yes areas or even hunting on the limited accessible public land.
“Hunters thinking about applying in eastern Wyoming should take advantage of the Game and Fish Walk-In Hunting Areas and Hunter Management Areas. These are two Access Yes programs that work with landowners to allow hunting on their private lands,” says Troy Tobiasson, Game and Fish’s Sheridan regional access coordinator. “Hunters should use these programs because they are supported by donations from hunters.”
To hunt on a Walk-in Area (WIA), no permission slip is needed – hunters simply walk-in to hunt. Hunters should visit the Walk-In Area website to get information on a specific WIA; each area has different species that can be hunted, dates they are open and other special rules for hunters.
To hunt on a Hunter Management Area (HMA), each hunter must obtain a permission slip from Game and Fish for that specific HMA prior to hunting the HMA. To apply for a permission slip, a hunter must hold a hunting license for the proper species and hunt area where the HMA is located.
Some HMAs have a limited number of permission slips; applications open for HMA permission slips in July. Permission slips must be printed and carried in the field.
HMA and WIA maps, HMA permission slips, and species information can be located via the Public Access page on the Game and Fish website.
“WIAs and HMAs are comprised of both private and public lands and each of these areas has its own rules. Be sure to review these before going hunting. Respect the landowner and the land. To ensure access in the future, donate to Access Yes when you apply for a license,” says Matt Withroder, Casper regional access coordinator.
Hunters also have the option of seeking permission to hunt on private land. Hunters who wish to hunt on private land must contact the landowner for permission, and should do so before applying for a license. Game and Fish does not keep a landowner list, but contact information can be obtained from the county government offices or online at http://gis.wyo.gov/parcels/#.
“Contacting landowners for permission to hunt before applying for a license is very important. Landowners are not obligated to allow hunters onto their property if you have a license for that area and Game and Fish does not refund licenses if you cannot gain permission,” says Jason Sherwood, Laramie regional access coordinator.
“It is the hunter’s responsibility to get permission to hunt private land and know whose property they are on.”
Planning ahead goes a long way for a successful eastern Wyoming hunt. Hunters can plan their hunt with some help from the Wyoming Hunt Planner which includes maps of all hunt areas including features like land status, the ability to plot scouting locations, harvest odds from past years and more.
May 31 is the deadline for residents to submit or modify applications for elk, deer and antelope and non-residents for deer and antelope. Applications are submitted online.