Hunting laws are an important part of sound wildlife management. However, every year wildlife officials see common errors arise. We will discuss this below in Wyoming’s most common wildlife violations.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse. This saying cannot be truer than when hunting in the state of Wyoming.
Each year, hunting regulations from the year prior are re-addressed and, in many instances, changed. It is the responsibility of the individual hunter to research and know the regulations of the game they pursue and the areas in which they pursue it.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department annually releases their top ten list of the most common wildlife violations in the state reminding hunters to be mindful of their responsibilities. The ageless notion that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
“Most hunters follow hunting laws and regulations. Occasionally, some folks inadvertently or intentionally run afoul of the law. The most common hunting violations can be easily avoided by paying attention and double-checking regulations.” – Game and Fish Law Enforcement Coordinator Aaron Kerr
The top ten most common Wildlife Violations
Hunters in Wyoming most often fail to follow these regulations:
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 are as follows:
-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
Most Wyoming big game licenses require proof of sex to remain with the animal until the said animal is processed. This could be in the form of visual proof of sex organs on the animal, the head of the animal harvested, or his antlers.
3. Get your conservation stamp
If you hunt in the state of Wyoming you must purchase a $12.50 conservation stamp annually. The conservation stamp is good for one year after the date of purchase. The money from this stamp also goes directly to conservation projects.
4. Don’t shoot from a vehicle
The pursuit of big game from a motorized vehicle is illegal in the state of Wyoming – it is also illegal to shoot from a motorized vehicle in the state. Disabled hunters may be exempt from this rule.
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 are considered the public road. Two-track trails on public land are not considered public roads for this purpose.
“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.” – Wyoming Game and Fish press release
The list of Violations continues
6. Know the hunt area and boundaries
Hunters must know the boundaries of their hunting area. There are a number of resources at the disposal of hunters to ensure they are hunting within legal boundaries. For hunters that have questions, the Wyoming Game and Fish website is an excellent resource. You can also call the Game and Fish office.
7. Do not trespass
It is illegal to harvest big game animals on private property without the landowner’s signature on the license you are using to hunt with. Understand that landowners do not have to mark their property as private in the state of Wyoming. There are a number of resources for a hunter to use that will lay out in detail what lands are state, national forest, wilderness, and private lands.
8. Wear fluorescent orange or pink clothing
Hunters are required to wear one exterior garment of fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink, visible from 360 degrees. Archery hunters hunting during rifle season must also follow these guidelines. Bird hunters on Game and Fish Wildlife Habitat Management Areas are also required to wear hunter orange/pink.
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 in Wyoming. The exception to this rule is the Wyoming Hunter’s Mentor program in which a hunter accompanied by an individual with the same license and a valid hunter education card can participate in the hunt. The mentor program is valid for one hunting season.
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 from harvested animals and answer questions from the public. They are also to check hunters for compliance with hunting laws and regulations.
Hunting can be enjoyable for the whole family. However, it is crucial that we follow the proper laws to ensure we all do our part in protecting ourselves, other hunters, and our wildlife. We hope this article helps hunters avoid some of the most common wildlife violations.
So, what are your thoughts on Wyoming’s most common wildlife violations? Have you ever made a mistake? Likewise, have you ever had to call someone in for committing a wildlife violation? Let us know in the comments below!