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Editorial

Game & Fish


Hunter Management Areas offer easy access to many hunt areas



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Hunter Management Area Map (click for larger version)
10/01/2007 - Reprinted courtesy Wyoming Game and Fish Department

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department doesn't want to see access to hunting areas disappear. In 1998, the department formed the Private Lands Public Wildlife Access Program in an effort to encourage landowners to allow access to hunters and anglers.

One facet of PLPW is the Hunter Management Area program. Management areas are created when one or more landowners allow the department to facilitate hunting on their land. In the last decade, the number of HMAs administered by the Game and Fish has risen to 34, covering 842,538 acres.

All wildlife laws apply when hunting on HMAs, and landowners may require additional restrictions. Some HMAs may allow hunting for only one or two big game species, while others may be open to all big game, waterfowl, upland game birds, and even mountain lions.

Also, there may be motorized vehicle restrictions on an HMA. Some allow ATV or snowmobile use, but in most cases, traveling off-road with these vehicles is not allowed.

If you're fortunate enough to get permission to hunt on an HMA this year, please follow the rules and respect the land. It only takes one incident to cause a landowner to shut down an HMA, and we did lose one after the 2006 season.

To hunt on a Hunter Management Area, you need permission. However, for most HMAs, that permission is relatively easy to get. If you have access to the Internet, you can apply online at http://gf.state.wy.us/ and follow the links to Public Access, Private Land/Public Wildlife, then to Hunter Management Area Program.You can also request applications through the mail by writing Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Access Permission— (HMA name), 3030 Energy Lane, Casper, WY 82604. Include a 7.5 x 10.5 inch self-addressed, stamped envelope. Requests received without a stamped return envelope will not be processed. The envelope will need 97 cents of postage for one permission slip, $1.14 for two, $1.31 for three and $1.48 for four.Your vehicle information and a clear photocopy of your hunting license are also required.

Some areas have limited permission. Only a certain number of hunters will be allowed on these HMAs during the season. For most of these areas, permission slips are given on a first-come, first-served basis, and in most cases, the application can be completed online or through the mail.Others use a drawing to determine who gets to hunt.

Hunt an unlimited permission area this year, and remember to apply for the limited permission areas next year.

If you're looking for an HMA, try one of these:

Muddy Mountain

At 49,077 acres, the Muddy Mountain HMA near Casper is big enough to offer some great hunting. You can hunt elk, deer and antelope on the Muddy Mountain HMA. It provides access to three elk areas, two deer areas and two antelope areas, and the permission slips are unlimited.

Soldier Creek

The Soldier Creek HMA has some unique rules. Permission slips are unlimited, but each hunter must appear in person at the Sheridan armory (3219 Coffeen Ave.) with their hunting licenses, vehicle information and a photo ID to receive permission. Hunters must also check in 24 hours prior to each hunting trip.

The HMA is on Wyoming National Guard land, so the strict policies are for the hunters' protection. And it's worth it. You can hunt elk, deer, antelope and mountain lions on this HMA, as well as sharp-tailed and sage grouse, partridge, doves, wild turkey, pheasant, waterfowl, rabbits, predators and prairie dogs.

Carter Mountain

The Carter Mountain HMA, like the other three HMAs in the Cody Region, allows hunting for antelope, deer and elk. The Carter Mountain and Absaroka Front HMAs also offer moose hunting for those lucky enough to have a license.

Carter Mountain covers 78,185 acres and offers access to parts of three elk areas, two deer areas, one antelope area and four moose areas. Permission slips are unlimited.

Bear River Divide

The Bear River Divide HMA is the state's biggest. It's made up of 98,480 acres belonging to eight different landowners, and you can hunt just about anything there. It's open to elk, antelope, deer, moose, waterfowl, upland game birds, mountain lions and rabbits.

It's also an unlimited area, so permission is easy to get. It's open from Aug. 15 to March 1.

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