CHEYENNE – A little light reading can get you a long way. With the hunting seasons getting underway across the Cowboy State, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is reminding hunters to familiarize themselves with the hunting regulations for the species they plan to pursue. Brushing up on the rules annually can help hunters avoid common field violations.
“Most hunters follow hunting laws and regulations. Occasionally, some folks inadvertently or intentionally run afoul of the law,” said Aaron Kerr, Game and Fish law enforcement coordinator. “The most common hunting violations can be easily avoided by paying attention and double-checking regulations.”
The following is a listing of the most common hunting violations Game and Fish wildlife law enforcement officers come across every hunting season.
1. Properly tag game animals. Every big game, trophy game, wild turkey and sandhill crane license has a carcass coupon attached with tagging instructions printed on the coupon. There are four steps to properly “tag” big game, trophy game, wild turkey or sandhill cranes:
- Detach the carcass coupon from the license.
- Date the carcass coupon by cutting out the entire date and month of the kill.
- Sign the carcass coupon (but not before harvest).
- Attach the coupon to the carcass before leaving the site of the kill.
The coupon may be removed during transportation to prevent its loss, but it must be in
possession of the person accompanying the carcass.
2. Keep evidence of sex. Many Wyoming hunting licenses require the taking of a specific sex of animal. There are also season dates in some hunt areas when only a specific sex of animal can be taken. To satisfy the proof of sex requirement the regulation states: “in areas where the taking of any big game animal is restricted to a specific sex of animal, either the visible external sex organs, head or antlers shall accompany the animal as a whole or edible portion thereof.”
3. Get your conservation stamp. Hunters and anglers must purchase a conservation stamp to hunt and fish in Wyoming. It’s $12.50 and valid for 12-months from the date of purchase. There are exceptions for holders of a Pioneer license or daily licenses. Refer to regulations for details.
4. Don’t shoot from a vehicle. It is illegal to take or pursue any game species from a motorized vehicle. This includes ATVs and snowmobiles. Hunters possessing a disabled hunter permit issued by Game and Fish may be exempt from this requirement.
5. Don’t shoot from a public road. It is illegal to shoot a firearm from, across or along a public road. A public road is any road that is open to vehicular traffic to the public. The road surface, the area between fences on a fenced public road or highway and the area 30 feet perpendicular to the road surface on unfenced roads is considered the public road. Two-track trails on public land are not considered public roads for this purpose.
6. Know the hunt area and boundaries. Hunters must know the boundaries of their hunt area. The Game and Fish Hunt Planner is a reliable tool for studying any hunt area. There are also many online applications and traditional paper maps from the BLM and US Forest Service to assist hunters. For questions about a specific boundary, talk to your local game warden or biologist.
7. Do not trespass. Hunters must have permission from the landowner to cross or hunt on private land. Game and Fish recommends licensees obtain the signature of the landowner, lessee, or agent of the landowner as evidence that permission to hunt or traverse the property has been granted.
8. Wear fluorescent orange or pink clothing. Big game and trophy game rifle and muzzleloader hunters are required to wear one exterior garment of fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink, visible from 360 degrees. This also applies to archery hunters hunting during the rifle season. This could be a hat, shirt, jacket, coat, vest or sweater. Bird hunters on Game and Fish Wildlife Habitat Management Areas are also required to wear hunter orange/pink. Fluorescent orange or pink camouflage is allowed.
9. Have proof of hunter education. Everyone born on or after January 1, 1966 must have successfully completed hunter education and carry proof to hunt with firearms on land other than that of his/her own family. Proof can be the hunter safety certificate or the Wyoming hunter education number printed on a hunting license. All hunters in Grand Teton National Park are required to possess a hunter safety certificate regardless of age.
10. Stop at hunter check stations. All hunters — regardless if they have harvested game or not — must stop all hunter check stations they come upon. The main purpose of hunter check stations is to collect biological data such as age, gender, health data and disease samples, such as CWD or brucellosis, from harvested animals and answer questions from the public. They are also to check hunters for compliance with hunting laws and regulations.
Hunters who see a wildlife violation can make reports to the Stop Poaching hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP or 1-877- 943-3847. Informants can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.
Hunting regulations can be obtained from Game and Fish and any hunting and fishing license vendor. For more information, call the Game and Fish Sportsperson Hotline at (307) 777-4540.