Get Involved / Inspire a Kid / Try big game hunting as a family

Try big game hunting as a family

Applications open until June 1

Hunting is a fun way to explore the outdoors with friends and family… and bring home food! Youth hunting license applications for big game are open until June 1. If you’ve been thinking about trying big-game hunting, 2020 is the year to head afield. 

On June 1, applications close for resident elk and nonresident and resident deer and antelope. Applications are submitted on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department website.

Chance Butler, a senior at Cheyenne High School, has some advice for new youth hunters. Butler is an experienced hunter who learned from his grandfather and dad. His first big game harvest was an elk when he was 12.

He says hunting is a good way for him to spend time with his family and an added reward is sharing meals from the meat he brings home.

“I remember every hunt, whether we say anything or it was successful,” Butler said. “In the end I have meat in the freezer and I made memories with family.”

Butler has a few recommendations for other youth who want to try hunting big game:

  • Think about the type of hunting you want to do. If you are going to be driving around more, maybe a pronghorn hunt would be more doable. If you are hiking, maybe focus on deer or elk.
  • Practice with your rifle. Butler shoots his rifle until he feels comfortable. 
  • Apply your hunter-safety knowledge. Those skills come in handy in the field. Butler said he always looks at what is behind his game to be sure it is safe to shoot. Youth must take a hunter education class before hunting. 
  • Remember you don’t always have to harvest. “It’s called hunting - not killing - for a reason,” Butler said. He believes it is important to enjoy the time outdoors. 

For families who are interested in trying hunting, the First Hunt Foundation - Wyoming, part of the Game and Fish #WYHUNTFISH initiative,  has resources and community support for new hunters. Connect on Facebook.

For questions about hunting in Wyoming, visit the Hunting webpage or call Game and Fish at (307) 777-4600.

Some notes and resources to get started

Big Game Basics:

Youth at least eleven (11) years of age and under eighteen (18) years of age at the time of application can apply for a big game youth license with a reduced fee. 

If a hunter receives their license at age eleven (11), it does not become valid until their twelfth (12th) birthday.

Youth hunters must have successfully completed a Hunter Safety Course or be enrolled in the Hunter Mentor Programs. Hunter Education programs main purpose is the prevention of hunting and firearm related accidents and helping young hunters stay safe in the field. These programs also help young hunters develop a strong sense of ethics and responsibility while hunting. Visit our website to learn more and find a class:

Hunter Mentor Program allows new hunters to hunt under the supervision of a mentor without having taken a Hunter Education course. Visit our website to learn more:

Age Requirements:
To hunt any big game or trophy animal, the hunter must be at least twelve (12).  A parent or guardian must accompany any young hunter under the age of fourteen (14). This person must meet hunter education requirements and must have been issued a big game hunting licence within the last five (5) years.  The hunter can be accompanied by another qualifying adult with a signed permission slip from a parent or guardian allowing them to do so.

Youth Elk Hunters:

Youth hunters with a full price youth elk license for an antlered elk may take any elk during an antlered elk season in the hunt area(s) where their license is valid (Check out Section 2 of this Chapter), excluding hunt areas within Grand Teton National Park (Hunt Area 75) and the National Elk Refuge (Hunt Area 77). 

Youth Deer Hunters:
Youth hunters with a full price youth deer license may take any deer during an antlered deer season where their license is valid (Check out Section 2 of this Chapter). However, youth hunters may not take a mule deer during a season in which their license is only valid for white-tailed deer.

- WGFD -

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