A Hunter Management Area sign posted on a barbed wire fence in front of a mountainous landscape during sunset.

Access summary

Wyoming, the nation's 10th largest (and least populated) state, offers vast territory to roam. Nearly half (48 percent) is federal public land, and the State of Wyoming owns another 5.6 percent. With a little research and a basic understanding of Wyoming's access laws you can plan your trip with good information about accessible hunting areas. Land status and topographic map layers are commercially available from private vendors for download onto portable GPS units. Reminder: Land status can change without notice so update your GPS unit with the latest information.


Bureau of Land Management land status maps display BLM lands in yellow, U.S. Forest Service lands in green, National Park Service lands in purple, state in blue and private lands in white. Forest Service 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. Private lands dominate the eastern third of the state. However, smaller tracts of accessible state and federal public lands are found there. 
BLM and Forest Service lands provide access for public recreation, including hunting. State lands also are open for hunting except on cultivated cropland.

To legally access public or state lands, the person must travel onto those lands the following ways:

  • Public road or highway.
  • Floating on navigable water.
  • Walking from bordering public or state lands that are legally accessible. 
  • Entering from bordering private land you have permission to cross or hunt on.


The two major categories of federal public lands in Wyoming are:

  • BLM – 27,860 square miles. 
  • U.S. Forest Service – 14,460 square miles.


In addition, State lands total approximately 5,500 square miles and lands administered by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department total approximately 800 square miles.

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.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) administers seven 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.

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 but have 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.

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/​)

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.

Access Yes Program

The Access Yes Program was created in 1998 to enhance and maintain public hunting and fishing access on Wyoming's private and landlocked public and state lands. Hunting access is provided by enrolling lands in one of three subprograms: Walk-In Area; Hunter Management Area and Hunter-Landowner Assistance Program. Lands enrolled in Access Yes can vary from year to year, and current-year landowner enrollment information is published in the 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.

Access opportunities

Agency/Lands BLM map color Area available Additional permit requirement Restrictions
Bureau of Land Management Yellow 27,860 mi2 None1,2 Off-road vehicle travel restrictions apply – see BLM Rules.3 
U.S. Forest Service (Includes national forests, national grasslands, and Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area) Light Green
(Bankhead- Jones Lands are pink)
14,460 mi2 None1,2 Off-road vehicle travel restrictions apply – see USFS Rules.
Guide requirement for nonresidents hunting in designated wilderness areas – see WGFC Regulations. 
WY State Lands Blue Approx. 5,500 mi2 None1,2 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
Dark Green 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 Not Shown >800 mi2
(38 WHMAs; 119 Access Areas)
None1,2 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 >150 mi2 None1 BOR lands are open unless specifically closed.  Areas within and near facilities are considered closed whether posted or not.
National Parks Purple 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 Purple John D. Rockefeller Jr. Parkway (24,000 acres)
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (68,000 acres)
None1,2 Off-road vehicle travel restrictions apply.  Specific area closures as posted by signs.
Private White   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) Not shown Varies from year to year – 660,000 acres in 2014 None1,2 Open for species and time periods shown in the online WIA Atlas.  Additional rules may apply to each property.
WGFD Hunter Management Areas (HMA) Not shown 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 Not shown Varies from year to year None1,2 Landowner permission required.  Contact information posted online.
Landowner will specify species, open areas and other rules.


1A pheasant special management permit is required when hunting on lands that are stocked with pheasants by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Refer to Wyoming Game and Fish Commission pheasant hunting regulations for specific requirements.
2An 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.