This access information in this document is a summary and not intended to contain all the necessary information pertaining to hunting the lands outlined below. Hunters are encouraged to contact the appropriate land management agency and refer to hunting regulation brochures for additional important information. Any risk or liability resulting from the use of the websites, maps, etc. referenced in this information is assumed by the user. The maps and other information are only as accurate as the source of such maps or other information. Therefore, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) cannot and does not accept any responsibility for any errors, omissions or positional accuracy.
HUNTING ACCESS IN WYOMING
The nation’s 10th
largest (and least populated) state, Wyoming offers vast expanses of territory to roam. Nearly half (48%) is federal public land and the State of Wyoming (State) owns another 5.6%. With a little research and basic understanding of Wyoming’s access laws, you can plan your trip armed with good information about accessible areas to hunt. Land status maps (1:100,000 scale) available from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) display the major patterns of land ownership. These maps can be ordered online from the BLM (refer to: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/resources/public_room.html
) or they can be purchased in person at the BLM State Office in Cheyenne and at BLM district offices. National Forest maps can be purchased at U.S. Forest Service (USFS) district offices, or can be ordered online through the individual forest web links at: http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/map/state_list.shtml
. Land status and topographic map layers are also commercially available from private venders for download onto portable GPS units. Reminder: Land status can change without notice so be sure to update your GPS unit with the latest information.
Public Land Access:
The two major categories of federal public lands in Wyoming are:
- BLM – 27,860 square miles; and
- USFS – 14,460 square miles.
In addition, State lands total approximately 5,500 square miles and lands administered by the WGFD total approximately 800 square miles.
BLM land status maps display BLM lands in yellow, USFS lands in green, National Park Service lands in purple, state lands in blue and private lands in white. USFS maps use similar color coding, but check the map legend for ownership color coding. The largest contiguous areas of accessible public land are in central and western Wyoming. The eastern third is dominated by private lands, however smaller tracts of accessible state and federal public lands are also found there.
BLM and USFS lands provide access for public recreation including hunting. State lands are also open for hunting except on cultivated crop land (refer to: https://sites.google.com/a/wyo.gov/osli/resources/recreation
In order to legally access public or state lands, the person must travel onto those lands either:
- Via a public road or highway;
- By floating on a navigable water;
- By walking from bordering public or state lands that are legally accessible; or
- By entering from bordering private land that you have permission to cross or hunt on.
PLEASE NOTE: This map is for general reference only.
Crossing or entering private lands without landowner’s permission may result in a violation of Wyoming’s game and fish or criminal trespass statutes. The game and fish trespass statute prohibits a person from entering private land to hunt or intend to hunt without permission. In Wyoming, some public lands adjoin by only the corners of the public land parcels touching. In 2004, the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office issued an opinion that “corner crossing” from one parcel of public land to another in order to hunt that other public parcel, depending on the factual situation involved, may not violate the game and fish trespass statute, but may be a criminal trespass violation. The factual situation would include whether the person doing the “corner crossing” was hunting or intended to hunt private land at the time the corner was crossed.
The amount of accessible public land within each big game hunt area ranges from very minimal to nearly 100%, and should be researched thoroughly if you intend to hunt on public land. Other hunters may also be planning to hunt the same public or State parcels, especially in hunt areas with limited public access, so take that into consideration. License types in areas with difficult access are identified with an asterisk (*) in the Department’s license application information. The Wyoming BLM also provides maps showing land ownership within big game hunt areas. (Refer to: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/resources/public_room/gis/datagis/state/huntareas.html
). State law requires nonresidents hunting big or trophy game within a designated wilderness area to be accompanied by a licensed guide or outfitter, or a resident guide (refer to Wyoming Game and Fish Commission (WGFC) regulation brochures for additional details). Wilderness areas are delineated in portions of several national forests and should also be considered before applying for a nonresident big game or trophy game hunting license (consult current USFS maps and WGFD big/trophy game hunt area maps).
Permission of the landowner is required to hunt on private lands in Wyoming. By statute, the hunter’s license must bear the signature of the landowner, lessee, or agent of the owner on whose private property he is hunting or the legitimate proof as evidence that permission to hunt has been granted. Verbal, written or signature on a license are valid forms of landowner permission. Some landowners charge a fee to hunt on their property or to cross their private land to access public land.
Additional Access Opportunities:
National Parks are closed to hunting except in designated portions of Grand Teton National Park (GTNP). In GTNP, only Elk Hunt Areas 75 & 79 are open to elk hunting with a valid elk license and Park permit (refer to Chapter 7 Elk Hunting Regulations). The National Park Service (NPS) also administers the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway and Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, both of which are open to public hunting. Prior to hunting these NPS administered lands, please review current species- specific hunting regulations for any specific restrictions that may apply.
National Wildlife Refuges
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) administers 7 national wildlife refuge units totaling approximately 128 square miles in Wyoming. Some refuges or portions thereof are open to hunting. Contact the individual refuge managers and refer to specific refuge regulations to determine access status and other restrictions that may apply (also see: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/refuges/wy/
). The National Elk Refuge (Elk Hunt Area 77) is open to elk hunting with a valid elk license and a National Elk Refuge Permit (refer to Chapter 7 Elk Hunting Regulations) and to holders of wild bison hunting licenses (refer to Chapter 15 Wild Bison Recreational Hunting Season). Seedskadee, Cokeville Meadows, and Pathfinder national wildlife refuges are open to hunting during established hunting seasons.
Bureau of Reclamation
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) administers over 150 square miles in Wyoming, predominantly associated with reservoirs and irrigation projects. Recreation facilities on BOR lands are often managed by other governmental units such as the State of Wyoming, counties, or other federal agencies. BOR lands are not technically public lands, but are withdrawn from the public domain for special project purposes. By policy, Wyoming BOR lands are open to hunting unless specifically closed. Closed lands such as within Wyoming State Parks are usually posted with signs. Areas within or near facilities are also considered closed for safety reasons.
State Trust Land
The Board of Land Commissioners extends to the public the privilege of hunting and fishing on legally accessible
state lands, unless otherwise closed
by direction of the Board. Anyone crossing private land to reach state land must have the permission of the private landowner. This privilege does not extend to lands classified and used as cultivated cropland. Off-road vehicle use, overnight camping, and open fires are prohibited on state lands. This privilege is for the public to fish in any streams, lakes or ponds and to hunt, pursue and harvest game animals, and game birds in accordance with applicable state and federal hunting and fishing laws and regulations. Activities that would damage state lands, roads, improvements, or lessee property interests are also prohibited. (Refer to: http://slf-web.state.wy.us/Surface/brochure.pdf
; also see: http://gis.statelands.wyo.gov/GIS/OSLIGIS/StateLandAccess/
Wildlife Habitat Management Areas
The WGFD administers 38 Wildlife Habitat Management Areas (WHMAs) totaling over a half million acres throughout the State (See: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Public-Access/Access2
). Nearly all are open to public hunting. Seasonal closures and vehicle travel restrictions are posted with signs. In addition, the WGFD maintains 119 public access areas. Most were established to provide fishing access, however several were acquired to provide hunting access (Refer to: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/accessto/access.asp
WGFD Access Yes Access Program
The Access Yes Access Program was created in 1998 to enhance and maintain public hunting and fishing access on private and landlocked public and State lands in Wyoming. Hunting access is provided by enrolling lands in one of 3 subprograms: the Walk-In Area Program (WIA); Hunter Management Area Program (HMA); and Hunter/Landowner Assistance Program. (See: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Public-Access/Access-Yes
Lands enrolled in the Access Yes Access Program can vary from year to year and current year landowner enrollment information is not published until summer. Although the majority of properties are enrolled for multiple years, be aware that a property enrolled in your area of interest the previous year could potentially drop out of the program at any time.
Walk-In Hunting Access (WIA) Program
Private lands, and in some instances, state lands, enrolled as a WIA are open to hunting for the species and time periods specified in the WGFD’s online Walk-An Area Atlas. A permission slip is not required to access these lands for hunting or fishing purposes; however the species, time periods, travel restrictions and other rules applicable to each specific WIA will vary. (Refer to: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Public-Access/Walk-In-Hunting
Hunter Management Area (HMA) Program
Lands enrolled in the HMA program are predominantly open for big game hunting. A permission slip is required for each HMA and can be obtained through the WGFD’s website. Permission slips may be unlimited, first come first served, or issued through a limited quota drawing prior to the hunting season. Each HMA has its own set of rules provided with the permission slip. (Refer to: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/plpwhmprogram/frmHunterManagementHome.aspx
Hunter/Landowner Assistance Program
Some landowners who are not enrolled in a WIA or HMA seek hunters via this program. The Hunter Assistance Program enables landowners to post their contact information online so hunters can contact them directly for permission to hunt. The landowners may require conformance with additional rules or fees. (Refer to: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/plpwhmprogram/frmHunterAssistanceHome.aspx
). Additional lists of landowners who allow hunting may be available from WGFD regional offices or local chamber of commerce offices upon request.
Walk-In Fishing Access Program
The WGFD has negotiated Walk-Iin Fishing Area (WIFA) access on numerous tracts throughout the state. Public access to WIFAs is limited to fishing only during the time period and only for the specific species agreed upon by the landowner and theWGFD.
(Refer to: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Public-Access/Walk-In-Fishing
(Must be legally accessible by public road or highway, through bordering public lands, floating a navigable water or from bordering private land that you have permission to cross or hunt on)
||BLM Map Color
||Additional Permit Requirement
|Bureau of Land Management
||Off-road vehicle travel restrictions apply – see BLM Rules.3
|US Forest Service (Includes national forests, national grasslands, and Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area)
(Bankhead- Jones Lands are pink)
||Off-road vehicle travel restrictions apply – see USFS Rules.4
Guide requirement for nonresidents hunting in designated wilderness areas – see WGFC Regulations.
|WY State Lands
||Approx. 5,500 mi2
||No public use of cultivated crops.
Off-road vehicle travel restrictions apply. No camping and No open fires – see State Land Board Rules.5
National Wildlife Refuges
||All or portions of some refuges – refer to specific refuge rules.
||None except on the National Elk Refuge (Elk Hunt Area 77)2
||Off-road vehicle travel restrictions apply – See individual refuge rules.
|WGFD Habitat Management Areas (WHMAs) & Access Areas
(38 WHMAs; 119 Access Areas)
||Off-road vehicle travel restrictions apply. Seasonal closures apply on some WHMAs and are posted by signs. Some access areas are not open to hunting (signs posted).
|Bureau of Reclamation
||Stippled pink or tan
||BOR lands are open unless specifically closed. Areas within and near facilities are considered closed whether posted or not.
||All national parks are closed except elk hunting is allowed in the portions of Grand Teton National Park in ElkHunt Areas 75 & 79.
||Park Permit Required in addition to an Elk Hunt Area 75 and 79 elk license,2
||Restrictions including designated parking areas and closed areas are outlined in the Park Permit rules.
|Other Park Service Administered Lands
||John D. Rockefeller Jr. Parkway (24,000 acres)
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (68,000 acres)
||Off-road vehicle travel restrictions apply. Specific area closures as posted by signs.
||Requires landowner permission to hunt1,2
||Permission of the landowner is required to hunt on private lands in Wyoming. By statute, the hunter’s license must bear the signature of the landowner, lessee, or agent of the owner on whose private property he is hunting or the legitimate proof as evidence that permission to hunt has been granted. Some landowners charge a fee to hunt or cross their property.
|WGFD Walk-in Areas (WIA)
||Varies from year to year – 660,000 acres in 2014
||Open for species and time periods shown in the online WIA Atlas. Additional rules may apply to each property.
|WGFD Hunter Management Areas (HMA)
||Varies from year to year – 1.1 million acres in 2014
||Permit required for each HMA1,2
||Open for species and time periods specified on permit. Other rules provided with each HMA permit.
|Hunter Assistance Program
||Varies from year to year
||Landowner permission required. Contact information posted online.
Landowner will specify species, open areas and other rules.
A pheasant special management permit is required when hunting on lands that are stocked with pheasants by the WGFD. Refer to WGFC pheasant hunting regulations for specific requirements.
An elk special management permit is required when hunting in certain elk hunt areas with elk feedgrounds in western Wyoming. Refer to WGFC elk hunting regulations.