Wyoming’s Game and Fish cover the true American big game, small game, beautiful birds, eagles, and splendid fish to tempt you to cast a line.
If you’re looking for recreational activities in Wyoming, you will find few better hunting and fishing places. But what exactly are the game and fish of Wyoming? This article will break down the species one is likely to find in the state — and outline some regulatory guidelines regarding hunting or fishing there. Please note, however, that this is not a complete list of rules and regulations; you should only consult the Wyoming Game & Fish Department ( WGFD [https://wgfd.wyo.gov/] ) for official rules regarding hunting and fishing.
TYPES OF GAME IN WYOMING
Wyoming is a state located at the convergence of the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains — making it a place of forests, grasslands, and mountainous terrain.
As a result, diverse wildlife is abundant there. The American Bison is the state’s national mammal, for example, and other animals common throughout the state.
The WGFD divides game animals into several different categories, including:
- Big Game,
- Trophy Game,
- Wild Bison,
- Upland Game Birds and Waterfowl,
- Small Game, and
- Fur-Bearing Mammals.
We will take a detailed look at each of these categories, below.
Wyoming’s big game includes several large hoofed mammals. Species like the Pronghorn antelope, Mule deer, White-tailed deer, and Elk are all considered a big game.
The Bighorn Sheep (OVIS CANADENSIS) is considered big game as well, with numbers just above 5,000 throughout the state.
Also considered big game is the Moose (ALCES ALCES) — an increasingly rare find in the state, with numbers under 3,500 animals, down from around 10,000 in the mid-1990s.
Rarer still in Wyoming is the Mountain Goat (OREAMNOS AMERICANUS). This high-altitude dwelling ungulate has 130 to 150, located primarily in the northwestern corner of the state.
Trophy Game animals include species like Black Bears, Grey Wolves, Mountain Lions, and Grizzly Bears.
Black Bears (URSUS AMERICANUS) are the smaller and more common bear species in Wyoming. In fact, they are so common that no official count has been made (although the WGFD has started surveying the animal recently).
Grey Wolves (CANIS LUPUS) are common in the northwestern forests of Wyoming. Once endangered, their population hovers at just over 300 animals.
Mountain Lions, or cougars, (PUMA CONCOLOR) number at around 2,000 adult animals. They inhabit the northwest and central areas of Wyoming.
Grizzly Bears (URSUS ARCTOS HORRIBILIS) are a very large (around 300 to 800-pound) bear species that number at around 700 animals statewide.
The American Bison (BISON BISON) is Wyoming’s state mammal and is featured prominently on the state’s flag. There are around 3,500 to 5,000 Bison in Wyoming.
UPLAND GAME BIRDS AND WATERFOWL
Upland Game Birds and Waterfowl include Grouse, Partridges, Pheasants, Wild turkeys, Canada Geese, Ducks, Mergansers, Doves, Rail, and Snipe.
Though not a particularly rare species, the Sandhill Crane (ANTIGONE CANADENSIS) is an impressive and popular gaming bird, standing at 2.5 to 4.5 feet. There are an estimated 17,000 to 21,000 Sandhill Cranes throughout Wyoming.
Small Game animals include Cottontail rabbits, Fox, Grey, and Red Squirrels, and Snowshoe hares.
Fur-Bearing Mammals include smaller, trappable species like Badgers, Muskrats, Beavers, Weasels, Martins, and Minks.
Bobcats (LYNX RUFUS) and Canada Lynx (LYNX CANADENSIS). are known to inhabit Wyoming. While the former is more common, the sightings of the latter are extremely rare.
The coyote, various fox species, and the prairie dog are common in Wyoming as well.
GENERAL HUNTING LICENSE REQUIREMENTS IN WYOMING
In Wyoming, you must meet certain specific requirements in order to hunt legally. These include:
- Hunting Licences – for the specific species you intend to hunt for,
- Conservation Stamps – an absolute yearly requirement in Wyoming for hunting and fishing,
- Hunter Safety Proof – hunters, must pass an official safety course proving competency with firearms,
- Fluorescent Orange or Pink Clothing – a statewide requirement for hunter safety,
- Archery License – if participating in bowhunting,
- Hunter Management Area (HMA) Access – for permission to hunt on private land,
- Permission to hunt – a signature verifying landowner’s consent is necessary for hunting in private areas,
- Outfitters and Resident Guides – are required for out-of-state hunters.
This list is by no means a complete list of rules and regulations. For that, please visit the WGFD site [https://wgfd.wyo.gov/] .
HUNTING SEASONS IN WYOMING
In Wyoming, the start and the end of the hunting season depending on the species, area, and license type a hunter has. There are numerous season dates for antelope, elk, and deer at various locations alone — though indeed, many seasons start in the late summer or early fall and end in January. For a complete detailed list, visit the WGFD site [https://wgfd.wyo.gov/].
TYPE OF FISH IN WYOMING
Wyoming is home to numerous freshwater fish species. These can include the Grass Carp, Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Lake Trout, Northern Pike, Tiger Muskie, Walleye, Whitefish, Brown Trout, White Sucker, Utah Sucker, Shovelnose Sturgeon, Splake, Goldeye, Gizzard Shad, Freshwater Drum, and Utah Chub, among others.
Though Wyoming is best known for its trout fishing, an interesting introduced species is the Kokanee Salmon (ONCORHYNCHUS NERKA). This non-oceanic relative of the Sockeye Salmon has a bright reddish body and green head. It has been stocked in Wyoming waters at a volume of 1.6 million annually.
GENERAL FISHING LICENSE REQUIREMENTS IN WYOMING
Resident and non-resident fishing licenses, for different amounts of time, are available annually at different fees. Like hunting, a Conservation Stamp is absolutely required. See the WGFD site [https://wgfd.wyo.gov/fishing-and-boating] for more details.
FISHING SEASONS IN WYOMING
Though fishing licenses are typically valid for one year after the issuance date, there are different dates [https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Regulations/Regulation-PDFs/WYFISHINGREGS_BROCHURE.pdf] for fishing depending on species, location, and methods. Please visit the WGFD site [https://wgfd.wyo.gov/fishing-and-boating] for more information.
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Wyoming is home to numerous animal species, and hunting and fishing for these animals require the completion of different regulatory obligations. This, however, should not daunt but only encourage those who truly appreciate the outdoors, ensuring that the state’s natural environment is preserved for years to come.
I hope this list has been an excellent start for you in getting some ideas. Now, feel free to enjoy the rest of the year out, catching your favorite countryside.
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I hope this list has been an excellent start for you in getting some ideas. Now, feel free to enjoy the rest of the year out, catching your favorite fish species of fish.
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