CHEYENNE - Archery season is just around the corner with most antelope areas opening on Aug. 15 and most areas for deer and elk open to archers on Sept. 1. A few areas have different openers so bow hunters should check regulations for seasons in the area they want to hunt. The following are the most common questions asked by archers:
• Do I need an archery license in addition to my big game license? Yes – usually. Archers hunting in the archery pre-season need an archery permit in most areas. The exception is for holders of Type 9 archery only licenses. Persons holding Type 9 licenses do not need a separate archery license. The archery license does not allow a person to take an extra animal – it simply allows the archer to hunt in the early archery pre-season.
• If I don’t get my elk with my bow can I hunt with my rifle when the gun season opens? Usually. Archers who do not fill their tag during the archery season may return and hunt with firearms during the gun season. Once again, the exception is that holders of Type 9 archery only licenses may only hunt during the archery season and may not hunt with firearms during the gun season.
• Do I need a separate archery license for each species? No. Only one archery license is required to hunt all big and trophy game animals.
• Do I need an archery license to hunt with a bow during the firearm season? No. The archery license is only required to hunt in the archery pre-season.
• Can I wear camouflage clothing when archery hunting? Yes, as long as you are hunting in the archery pre-season. If you are archery hunting during the firearm season, fluorescent orange clothing is required.
• Are mechanical broadheads legal? Yes, as long as it has a cutting width of one inch. Wyoming law requires that broadheads must be of sharp steel and have a minimum cutting width of one inch.
• Can I carry a firearm while archery hunting during the archery season? Yes. However, the law does prohibit the use of firearms in taking or even “finishing off” any big or trophy game animals during the special archery season.
• Are crossbows legal during the archery hunt? Yes, as long as they conform to certain specifications. Crossbows must have a minimum draw weight of 90 pounds, a minimum draw length of 14 inches, a positive safety mechanism, and the bolt must be at least 16 inches long. The broadhead requirement is the same as with conventional archery equipment and must have a minimum cutting width of one inch.
• Can I use the same archery equipment to hunt elk that I use for deer? Possibly –as long as it conforms to minimum draw weight requirements. Regulations require the bow to have a minimum draw of 40 pounds for deer and antelope and 50 pounds for elk and moose.
• Are lighted nocks legal? There is no regulation prohibiting the use of lighted nocks.
• Is a bowhunter education or hunter safety course required to archery hunt? No. There is an archery section in Wyoming’s hunter safety course, but completion of a bowhunter education course or a hunter safety course is not required to archery hunt in Wyoming.
• Are tree stands, blinds, and decoys legal? Yes in all instances. You may put up a temporary blind on public lands,but the blind must be removed once the archery season is over.
More detailed information on archery seasons, regulations, and hunting equipment is found in the archery section in the big game regulations for each species.
(Contact: Al Langston (307) 777-4540)