Tucked away in the heart of the American West, Hunting in Wyoming is a hidden gem for those seeking for their next unique and big adventure.
As an overlooked gem, the state boasts a unique combination of sustainable and huntable wildlife populations, diverse and picturesque landscapes, and vast public lands, making it an exceptional destination for hunters from all walks of life.
In this article, we will take a deep dive into the world of hunting in Wyoming. We’ll look at the general hunting seasons and the popular game species in the state. I will also show you the incredible opportunities offered by the state’s extensive public lands and programs.
So, pack your gear, and join us as we uncover the treasures that await you in the wilds of Wyoming.
Table of Contents
In Wyoming, hunting seasons are established and managed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD).
The state curates these hunting seasons to complement the ample hunting opportunities and wildlife conservation. Here are the hunting season dates for different games in Wyoming:
|Antelope Hunting||General Season: Early October to late November|
Archery Season: Mid-August to late September
|Black Bear Hunting||Early September to late October|
|Deer Hunting||General Season: Early November to late December|
Archery Season: Throughout September
|Bison Hunting||Mid-August to late January|
|Elk Hunting||General Season: Mid-August to late January|
Archery Season: Throughout September
|Moose Hunting||General Season: Mid-September to mid-November|
Archery Season: Throughout September
|Wild Turkey Hunting||Fall Season: Early September to late December|
Spring Season: Early April to late May
|Upland Game Bird Hunting||Sage Grouse: Mid- to late September |
Ruffed & Dusky Groouse: Early September to late December
Partridge: Mid-September to late January
Pheasant: Early November to late December
|Small Game Hunting||Rabbit & Hare: Early September to late March|
Squirrel: Early September to late March
Wyoming Popular Hunting
Wyoming hunting opportunities mirror Montana’s. It has a vast selection of big games and offers unique hunting to hunters worldwide.
Here are the famous hunting hunters can dive into:
Wyoming is home to one of the largest elk populations in the United States. The state boasts approximately 110,000 elk across various herds, providing ample hunting opportunities in different regions.
The state’s abundant elk populations, diverse landscapes, and well-managed hunting seasons make it a top destination for elk hunting.
To hunt elk in Wyoming, resident and nonresident hunters must have a valid Wyoming hunting license and an elk tag specific to the area they intend to pursue.
Nonresident elk tags are distributed through a lottery-based permit system due to the limited number of available tags.
Black Bear Hunting
Wyoming is home to a healthy and huntable black bear population, primarily in the western part of the state. They inhabit forested areas, mountainous terrain, and the edges of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Black bear hunting in Wyoming can be done using various methods, including spot and stalk, calling, and hunting over bait. It’s important to note that baiting is allowed only in specific hunt areas.
To hunt black bears in Wyoming, resident and nonresident hunters must have a valid Wyoming hunting license and a black bear tag specific to the area they intend to pursue.
Nonresident black bear tags are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, with limited tags available.
Deer hunting in Wyoming is a popular and rewarding outdoor activity, offering excellent opportunities to pursue mule and white-tailed deer.
Wyoming is known for producing quality deer with impressive antler growth. Many hunters pursue deer in Wyoming to harvest a trophy-class animal.
To hunt deer in Wyoming, resident and nonresident hunters must have a valid Wyoming hunting license and a deer tag specific to the species they intend to hunt.
Nonresident deer tags are distributed through a lottery-based permit system due to the limited number of available tags.
The WGFD manages the application process for bison and moose hunting in Wyoming. The process involves obtaining a bison/moose hunting permit through a limited quota draw system, as the number of available permits is restricted to ensure the sustainability of wildlife populations.
If you’re interested in these hunts, you can apply for the limited quota hunting permit draw through your account on the WGFD website. The application period for the limited hunting permits typically runs from January 1 to February 28.
Bison hunting in Wyoming is a unique and challenging experience, as these iconic animals represent the American West’s spirit and symbolize the country’s natural heritage.
The opportunity to hunt bison in Wyoming is limited and strictly regulated to ensure the sustainability of bison populations.
Each year, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) allocates a specific number of bison hunting permits to resident and nonresident hunters through a random draw.
If drawn, nonresident hunters must also possess a nonresident conservation stamp.
Moose hunting in Wyoming is managed through a lottery-based permit system due to the limited number of available tags. Each year, the WGFD allocates a specific number of moose hunting permits to resident and nonresident hunters through a random draw.
Moose in Wyoming are primarily found in the western part of the state, particularly in the mountainous regions of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the Bighorn Mountains.
Their preferred habitat comprises dense forests, riparian areas, and mountain meadows.
Top hunting Locations
Wyoming offers a variety of top hunting locations, providing opportunities for hunting various game species in diverse landscapes. Here are some of the top hunting locations in Wyoming, known for their game populations, scenic beauty, and unique hunting experiences
Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
This region covers the northwest corner of Wyoming, including Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and surrounding national forests.
The GYE is home to a diverse range of game species, including elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, pronghorn, bison, black bear, and mountain lions. The area also offers hunting opportunities for smaller game, such as upland birds, waterfowl, and small mammals.
Due to the vastness and complexity of the GYE, many hunters hire professional hunting guides and outfitters to help navigate the terrain, locate game, and ensure a successful and enjoyable hunting experience.
Hunting in the Bighorn Mountains offers a unique and challenging outdoor experience, with diverse game populations and stunning natural beauty.
The Bighorn Mountains are home to various game species, including elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, pronghorn, black bear, and mountain lions. Additionally, hunters can find small game species such as blue grouse, ruffed grouse, and wild turkey.
This hunting location is a popular destination for elk hunting, with the region supporting a healthy elk population. Elk hunting typically occurs during the fall months, with season dates varying depending on the specific hunt area.
The Red Desert in southwestern Wyoming is a vast and unique landscape known for its sagebrush-covered plains, dunes, and striking geological formations.
The area provides a range of hunting opportunities for various game species, including pronghorn, mule deer, elk, and smaller game species.
Pronghorn are abundant in the Red Desert, making it a popular destination for pronghorn hunting. The hunting season typically occurs in the fall, with tags allocated through a limited quota draw system.
Wyoming law requires all hunters born on or after January 1, 1966, to complete a certified Hunter Education course before applying for or purchasing any hunting license.
Like any other state, Wyoming requires every hunter to obtain a hunting license before going afield. WGFD offers different hunting licenses to cater to hunters’ diverse demographic and game preferences.
Here are the general rundown of the available hunting license in Wyoming:
|Game Bird/Small Game||$27.00||$92.00||$15.00|
Nonresident hunters can access public lands such as national forests, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands, state lands, and wildlife habitat management areas.
Private land hunting is also possible, but hunters must obtain landowner permission. The Access Yes! Program, managed by WGFD, helps hunters gain access to private and landlocked public lands through partnerships with landowners.
Wyoming has several designated wilderness areas, federally protected lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service or the National Park Service. These areas are characterized by their pristine natural conditions, and human activities are limited to maintain the wilderness character.
A licensed outfitter or resident guide must accompany nonresidents who wish to hunt big game in these areas.
Access Yes! Program
Access Yes! is a program initiated by the WGFD to enhance and maintain public access to private and landlocked public lands for hunting and fishing.
The program aims to create partnerships between the WGFD, landowners, and sportspeople to promote responsible and ethical use of private and public lands while fostering good relationships between landowners and outdoor enthusiasts.
The Access Yes! Program benefits both landowners and outdoor enthusiasts. Landowners receive financial incentives and support in managing hunting pressure on their property. At the same time, hunters and anglers access thousands of acres of private and landlocked public lands that might otherwise be inaccessible.