Wyoming – Old

2020 Projected Application Deadlines

State Deadline Species TagHub Data Access
Wyoming January 31, 2020 Elk December 18, 2019
Arizona February 11, 2020 Elk/Pronghorn December 18, 2019
Wyoming March 2, 2020 Moose/Sheep/Goat January 16, 2020
Utah March 5, 2020 All Species January 16, 2020
Montana April 1, 2020 Elk/Deer January 16, 2020
New Mexico March 18, 2020 All Species January 16, 2020
Colorado April 7, 2020 All Species February 18, 2020
Idaho April 30, 2020 Moose/Sheep/Goat February 18, 2020
Montana May 1, 2020 Moose/Sheep/Goat February 18, 2020
Nevada April 20, 2020 App Species March 17, 2020
Oregon May 15, 2020 All Species March 17, 2020
Washington May 20, 2020 All Species March 17, 2020
State Deadline Species TagHub Data Availability
Wyoming January 31, 2020 Elk December 18, 2019
Arizona February 11, 2020 Elk/Pronghorn December 18, 2019
Wyoming March 2, 2020 Sheep/Moose/Goat January 16, 2020
Utah March 5, 2020 All Species January 16, 2020
Montana April 1, 2020 Elk/Deer January 16, 2020
New Mexico March 18, 2020 All Species January 16, 2020

2020 Application
Dates & Deadlines

Species Date Type Resident Nonresident
Elk Application Deadline June 1st Jan 31st
Draw Results June 18th May 21st
Deer/Pronghorn Application Deadline June 1st
Draw Results June 18th
Moose, Sheep, Goat Application Deadline March 2nd
Draw Results May 7th
Bison Application Deadline March 31st
Draw Results May 7th

License Costs & Fees

Species Resident Nonresident
Elk $62 $707 or $1,283
Deer $47 $389 or $677
Pronghorn $42 $341 or $629
Moose $157 $1,997
Sheep $157 $2,335
Goat $157 $2,177
Bison (Bull) $419 $4,417
Bison (Cow) $265 $2,767
Conservation Stamp $15.50
Archery License $18 $30
Application Fee (Non-refundable) $5 $15

Outlook & Overview

There’s no question, Wyoming’s elk herds are in pretty good shape going into the 2020 hunting season. The official results from the 2019 elk season are not yet available but I would guess them to be very solid, maybe a tick lower than last year as far as success rate goes. The overall quality of the bulls taken was almost surely off a bit this year. From preliminary results and feedback from other hunters and stories that have come in to the magazine this year, it seems like the antler growth was certainly off this year versus prior years, in not only the elk but also deer and antelope. I think the culprit was probably the very rough spring we experienced. The months of March, April and May were beyond rough for the wintering wildlife with record low temperatures during the months of March and April being the norm. This very unseasonably cold spring got our bucks and bulls off to a very slow start which they just could not seem to fully rebound from. In a nutshell, when it comes to elk, the 2019 hunting season brought about average opportunity, maybe a tick lower than last year, but when it came to quality the results will be lower than we have seen over the past few years. 

As for the upcoming elk season in 2020 I would say we should see about average success as our herd continues to find a new normal at about 120,000 animals. While the quality has yet to be seen, with a good winter and normal spring we should see average to a bit above average horn growth, depending. So far, the late fall and winter has been very mild, giving our wildlife a good head start into the new year. 

Just like last year, many of the best elk units in the state continue to remain well above objective levels along with expanding bull to cow ratios in most of the better units. If the 2020 winter continues as mild the 2020 elk season could be very solid for those lucky enough to draw an elk tag in the Cowboy State. 

Why Hunt Elk in Wyoming?

The overall elk herd estimate in Wyoming continues to expand beyond the 20-year high to over 120,000 animals and growing. To give a little perspective, the Wyoming elk herd in 1987 hovered right around 65,000 elk. Elk are definitely a bright spot for Wyoming when it comes to herd size and growth. The question now remains, how is the trophy quality of the bulls in the Wyoming elk herd? The data shows that Wyoming is not only growing its elk herd, but also growing the quality of the bulls again as well. With the onset of more limited quota areas, more elk, better habitat and improved management, Wyoming has secured its place as one of the best blends of opportunity and quality of any state in the West. 

Wyoming elk hunters are putting about twice as many elk into the Boone and Crockett records book over the last five years as they did in the late 1990s. Big bull powerhouse states like Arizona, Utah and Montana still manage to enter twice as many elk into the books as Wyoming, but not many elk states can offer up the volume of elk tags and elk country that Wyoming can. With over 120 elk units to choose from, in addition to a somewhat easy to draw general elk tag, Wyoming has a very good system in place for the elk hunter who wants to get out and hunt for a nice bull on public land. 

Wyoming does struggle to produce the mega-bulls like some other states. Bulls in the 400-class are very tough to find in Wyoming if you are in search of such a giant. The hunt areas in Park County can produce bulls in the 340-380-class each fall, but many of those hunts are hard to draw and tend to be very physically demanding. However, when it comes to records book bulls, Wyoming does produce more than its fair share of qualifying specimens, topping the great state of Colorado and sliding right in underneath the historic monster bull factory of Utah. Fact of the matter is, the state of Wyoming is the fourth best place on the entire continent to kill a monster bull. 

Most of the best elk states in the West have only a handful of counties that produce most of the biggest bulls in the state and Wyoming is no different in that regard. The counties of Park and Teton alone account for more than half of Wyoming’s largest bulls. Add to that the counties of Johnson, Fremont and Sublette and you have the five counties in Wyoming that produce the largest bulls in the state on a very consistent basis. These five counties alone account for over 75% of the records book bulls from Wyoming. In fact, Park County, Wyoming is now the third best county on the continent to find a big bull elk, only trailing the likes of the famed counties of Coconino, Arizona and White Pine County, Nevada. 

With the elk herd in Wyoming hovering near an all-time high and trophy quality continuing to remain solid, Wyoming is without a doubt a “must apply” state when it comes to elk applications and elk preference points. Wyoming is one of the most stable elk states in the entire West. The Game and Fish in Wyoming has a very stable and consistent management strategy for elk. This strategy continues to produce plenty of good elk hunting opportunities for hunters, resident and nonresident alike. Even with Wyoming’s wolf and grizzly bear issues, the state still manages to produce some very good hunting for some very nice bulls. 

 

Preference Points

Wyoming has a very robust and yet complicated preference point system for the nonresident applicant. There is no preference point system for resident hunters for elk, deer and antelope. For the nonresident applicant the point system in Wyoming offers a split opportunity to draw a tag with both a preference points draw chance and a random draw chance if unsuccessful in the preference point draw. See the sidebar for clarification on how the nonresident draw actually works in Wyoming. 

 In 2019 the total nonresident preference point pool for elk jumped dramatically to over 103,000 hunters. This is a far cry from the “good old days” of 2017 when there were only 67,000 nonresident applicants with elk points in Wyoming. This huge influx of applicants is most likely a result of other states systems becoming more and more stingy with their elk tags and draw odds putting more and more applicants into the Wyoming system. This is one of the drawbacks to running one of the most equitable and fair draw systems in the entire West. No other state even comes close to giving out the percentage of nonresident elk tags that Wyoming does. Point creep could become a serious issue in the years to come if most of these applicants come to hang on deeper into the system for better tags versus going after an easier to draw general elk tag. 

Historically, about half of the low point holders are continuously flushed through the system after only about three preference points or less in the general elk draw. Of the remaining higher point holders, roughly 1,400 applicants will go into the 2019 draw with max preference points of 14. With roughly 800 bull elk tags from the best (blue and green chip) elk areas going to nonresident applicants each year, these ultra-high point holders should actually move through the Wyoming system fairly quickly. Only about 9% of the Wyoming elk applicants have more than nine (9) preference points for the elk draw. 

The sweet spot where point holders seem to drastically drop off is currently around 6 or 7 points. Another point to keep in mind when looking at the preference points chart is the fact that 65% of the max points holders are applying for the preference points-only option, leaving less than 35% of those max point holders even competing in the draw in the first place. There could be as many as 1,050 of the 1,381 max point holders remaining patient and banking their preference points for the perfect season and the perfect year. If we remove the ultra-high demand areas such as Areas 22, 30, 31, 100 and 124, where nearly 70% of the remaining max point holders apply, the draw odds are not as bad as they may appear on the surface. 

Wyoming does allow nonresident hunters to purchase preference points for $52 up until the 31st of October on the Game and Fish website. Only one point or tag per year can be purchased per sportsman. I would highly suggest you explore this option even if you are not quite ready to actually apply. 

The point here is clear, if you want to hunt elk in the West, Wyoming continues to be your best bet when it comes to both opportunity and quality. 

 

Applying for Elk in Wyoming

Once an applicant decides it is time to actually apply for an elk hunt in Wyoming the first question to be answered is to apply for a general elk tag or go for a limited quota elk tag. A general elk tag will take one preference point to draw, making this an option that can be had at least every other year. 

The general elk tag in Wyoming is a great option for the hunter that is willing to hire a guide and venture deep into the wilderness areas in search of adventure to have a decent chance at a nice 6-point bull with the outside chance at a 350+ bull. The general hunts also offer of a good opportunity for the hardcore backcountry bowhunter who wants to experience a backpack or horseback hunt for a nice bull elk. With low elk densities and plenty of grizzly bears in most areas, the general tag is a good option for those with some sort of an edge on the general hunting public. If you don’t find yourself in this category, then a limited quota hunt will most likely be the route you will want to take. These hunts offer a better experience with less hunting pressure and a bit better bulls on average when it comes to quality. 

The general elk tag in Wyoming gives an elk hunter lots of hunt and area options to choose from. With plenty of public land to hunt elk on, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department also does a very good job of garnering public access to private property with very robust and effective Walk-In Area (WIA) and Hunter Management Area (HMA) programs. Even the general elk hunts in Wyoming usually average nearly 20% success rate on branch-antlered bull elk, much higher than most comparative states such as Colorado, Idaho and Montana. The top 10 general elk areas in Wyoming have an average hunter success rate on bull elk of over 33%, an incredible statistic that I would put up against any general elk hunting state in the country. 

A good limited quota elk tag in Wyoming can usually be had for about 6 or 7 preference points. A really high-quality hunt will cost you more along the lines of 12 or 13 points. 

Wyoming has a very good mixture of seasons, including some very prime rifle hunts during the tail end of the rut and a very favorable, not to mention a lengthy bow season in most areas which stretches through the entire month of September. A majority of the limited quota elk hunts in Wyoming open around the 1st of October, leaving a little bit of hardcore elk rut action on the table for the rifle hunter who wants to have a chance at a big bugling bull. 

One drawback to applying for an elk hunt in Wyoming is the cost. Wyoming has basically three options for nonresident elk applicants. First, just apply for a preference point only. This can be done easily online any time after July 2nd up until the 31st of October at a total nonrefundable cost of $52. The other two options are to apply for either the “regular” or the “special” elk drawing. There is no difference in the tag once drawn. The only differences are the odds and the PRICE. The regular elk tag will cost $759 to apply for with a preference point included and the application fee of $15. The more expensive and slightly easier to draw in most cases, special elk tag will add an additional special fee of $576 to the regular elk tag cost for a total special elk tag for a total cost of a whopping $1335. 

A few additional drawbacks to the Wyoming license and draw system are, the draw process can be difficult to figure out at times and nonresident hunters cannot hunt in designated wilderness areas without the use of a registered guide or outfitter. Wyoming has no muzzleloader elk seasons and very few archery-specific elk tags available (17), leaving hardcore bowhunters to swim in the regular drawing along with the rifle hunting masses. As of recently, the cow elk tags and cow seasons in Wyoming continue to be very abundant, which can make hunting a big bull that much tougher when the elk herds are being banged on for months on end in some of the best elk hunt areas. These are just a few minor things to keep in mind when applying for an elk tag in Wyoming. 

A nonresident elk applicant who does his homework and researches with diligence can usually hunt a very good elk area in Wyoming with about 7 or 8 preference points. The average green chip elk unit is Wyoming takes about 8 points to draw in the special draw. Compare that to the average blue-chip unit which could theoretically take nearly 18 preference points to garner a tag. Wow!

The Wyoming draw system makes nearly 12,000-limited quota elk tags available to hunters each and every fall, of which nearly 2,500 will end up in the hands of nonresident hunters. Not many other states, if any, can say they offer up more than 5,600 total nonresident bull elk tags (limited quota and general) to nonresident hunters through a draw process. The fact remains, Wyoming is probably the best place to apply for an elk tag in the West. Always keep in mind that education and research are the keys to understanding and maximizing the process of taking a good bull elk in the Cowboy state. 

 

Blue Chip Areas Analysis

With a total of 84 limited quota elk hunt choices to choose from, Wyoming gives a prospective applicant a wide array of possibilities to choose from including a very robust general tag choice that offers some very solid elk hunting particularly on a guided wilderness hunt. 

This year’s blue-chip list has been trimmed slightly to 17 total limited quota elk hunts. I feel that any of these 17 hunts can and will produce at least a few bulls in the 350 or better class each and every year on a relatively consistent basis on a good year. The following blue-chip areas are the very best elk hunts Wyoming has to offer for the 2020 hunting season. Let’s take a bit closer and more detailed look at these 17 “best of the best” Wyoming elk hunts.

 

Area 16 (Shirley Mountains)                                                                                                                    

The Shirley Mountains have always been a very solid and consistent elk hunt for a good 280 to 320-class bull. The occasional 350 or 360-class bull has been taken here from time to time on a good year, but these types of bulls are certainly not the norm. This unit offers two different hunts for bulls. A Type 1 hunt in October and a Type 2 late hunt in the month of November. The later hunt has a tick better success rate (73%), but the earlier October hunt (67%) tends to produce the larger bulls on average. The Type 1 rifle hunters and bowhunters here can expect to have a good chance at a nice 300 to 330-type bull, while the late season, Type 2 elk hunters may expect to have a good chance at a 280-320 class bull. The access here can be very problematic, but if you can find a place to hunt, mostly with an outfitter, your chances of killing a good bull are very high. There are three HMAs in this unit to look into for public access is a bit more encouraging. This area will take close to max points to draw, in the 13 or 14-point range. The Shirley Mountain Unit may be one of the best places in Wyoming for an elk hunter to kill a nice 6-point bull with relatively little effort on a good year. 

 

Area 22 (Ferris)

The Ferris elk area in Wyoming has become somewhat of an all-star when it comes to elk hunting in the Cowboy State. With an elk herd way over objective, a bull to cow ratio that is nearly unheard of (60:100), and very few tags (40) available, this elk hunt could be one of the best in the state when it comes to hunter satisfaction. With an October 8th opener, this elk hunt can produce a very high-quality elk hunting experience for a good bull in the 320 and up class. This area is very small and the elk are somewhat concentrated. With almost 90% public land in the unit and a 71% hunter success rate, this hunt is very high on the list for both opportunity and hunt quality. On a good year like we had in 2014, the bulls in here can exceed 350, but a drought year like we experienced in 2012 can easily drop that down to the 320 class. A nonresident applicant will need maximum preference points (14) to even think about hunting here. This elk hunt would be a bowhunter’s dream come true, if you can manage to draw the tag. 

 

Area 30 (Aspen Mountain)

Of the Flaming Gorge trifecta of areas – Aspen (30), Little Mountain (31) and Pine Mountain (32), this elk area (30) is certainly the most consistent producer of the three. With a long, four-week season, the entire month of October, this area can be second to none when it comes to hunt quality and limited pressure. The past five years have seen the average bull quality here drop slightly from 340 to about 320. A summer drought here last year has the bulls in pretty rough shape, but things could be looking up for the 2020 season. I think a 350-class bull here is again a very strong possibility. Good access and extremely high hunter success rates, an unbelievable 89% over the past four years, have this elk area as one of the top units for a guy who wants to hunt elk in easier country with relatively limited hunting pressure. The elk habitat here is very concentrated and it is a glasser’s paradise with stable elk numbers and a very solid bull to cow ratio (53:100). With only 8 nonresident tags available the wait for a tag here might just be too much for most of us. 

 

Area 31 (Little Mountain)

Just to the South of Aspen Mountain sits the little brother area of Little Mountain. With a bit rougher terrain and double the tags (100) the Little Mountain unit tends to have a few more elk than Area 30 does on average. The hunting pressure is a bit tougher, but still not bad considering what most elk hunters are used to in this day and age. The Little Mountain unit has more elk habitat than Aspen and the elk tend to be a little bit larger on average here, as the older bulls have an easier time slipping through the cracks each year. The access is a bit better here and with almost 90% of the area in public hands, this hunt can be a great place to hunt for a 340+ bull if you know how to hunt this type of terrain. Nearly 80% of the elk hunters here killed branch-antlered bulls over the past four seasons.  Again, this area will cost you some serious points, much, much more than maximum (14) as near as my mathematical estimates can predict. The bowhunting in all three of the Flaming Gorge units is as good as it gets for those who can somehow manage to draw a tag. 

 

Area 32 (Pine Mountain) | The furthest south of the three units, Pine Mountain is the easiest of the three areas to draw, which isn’t saying much. This area had a falloff a few years ago, and was removed from the blue-chip list, but seems to have bounced back a bit after a very solid showing during the 2017 and again during the 2018 hunting season that pushed the hunter success rates to 85%. The Pine Mountain unit is the roughest and least accessible of the three with some pretty remote country that can be hard to get to unless you hike or use horses. The area is still over 95% public, but Pine Mountain contains enough remote country for the older bulls to slip through the season a bit easier. Hunters here had to hunt nearly twice as long to fill their elk tags as the hunters in Area 30 did. This hunt is a very good place for someone who wants to be able to get away from the crowds and have a chance at a good 330-class bull with very limited hunting pressure to navigate with only 50 bull tags on quota. Just like the other two units in this trifecta, max points (14) will be a necessity to draw a tag here. 

 

Area 54 (Bald Ridge)The elk hunting in this area is probably about as good as it gets when it comes to a Wyoming backcountry elk hunt. With three total hunts available – North, South and archery-only, this unit has about anything a guy could ask for. The South unit, with an incredibly long season of two months in October and November and a limited tag quota of only 50 tags, is a very high-quality elk hunt.  

The elk numbers and bull to cow ratio here has waned in recent years a bit but there seems to be a possibility of an error in the counting process when the latest survey was conducted. This area is one of only a few in Wyoming with the potential for a 380-class bull on the right year. Be prepared to cuddle up with a grizzly bear each night here, however. The bear concentrations in this area and Area 53 are some of the highest anywhere in the Lower 48.

Access can be a bit tricky, but with some hard hiking or stock the situation is more than manageable. A boatload of points will be needed to hunt again next fall. The North hunt, Type 2, is not as good as the South hunt. With rougher country and less elk to the north, the southern end of the unit is certainly the more desirable of the two. Maximum points will be a must to hunt the South hunt. 

 

Area 58 (Sage Creek)

Area 58, or Carter Mountain as the locals call it, was historically speaking the best elk hunt in the entire state 20 years ago. A falloff in elk numbers, bull quality and access has made this area a bit of a tougher sell to applicants recently. However, a now increasing elk herd and expanding bull to cow ratio may have this area back on the right track. As further proof of a comeback, the hunter success rates in this area have begun to steadily climb back to above 70% on branch-antlered bulls. In fact, the 2018 hunting season posted an incredible hunter success of 83% on branch-antlered bulls. 

As it sits right now, this area is probably one of the best places I know of to consistently kill a 350” bull with relatively mild effort. With a skimpy tag quota of only 35 tags available and a very long two-month season this area is a very solid hunt with very little hunting pressure. Anyone who shoots a bull under 320 in this area has made a mistake in my opinion. Bulls of 330” and above can often be shot right from the trailhead parking lot in this unit on the right day with the right weather. If you are looking for a good bull and have max points to burn, this area should definitely be on your radar. 

 

Area 59 (Boulder Basin)

This is one of the few remaining late season elk hunts left in the state of Wyoming. In the right hands, this can be a hunt for a real monster bull. The state opens this hunt on the 1st of November for two weeks. This gives one of the 10 lucky elk hunters the chance at a big wilderness bull that is finally vulnerable to the weather conditions and has come out of the nasty backcountry that the upper reaches of this area contain. There is an early season general hunt in this area but the big bulls don’t usually get hunted during that hunt. 

Some snow and a cold snap in November can push the big bulls out of the wilderness, this area can produce a 360-class and better bull given the right conditions. The success rates on this hunt have been getting better and better each year and now average around 65% with the 2018 season producing a fantastic result where 91% of the hunters here filled with bull tag.  I believe this hunt continues to be one of the state’s up and coming big bull producers. 

 

Area 61 (North Greybull River)

With two separate hunts to choose from the North Greybull River unit continues to be one of the most consistent listings on the blue-chip list over the past 20 years. With very high success rates sometimes in the neighborhood of 80%-90%, this area is a go-to for resident hunters who want a decent chance to kill a 350+ bull. The country can be rough, tough, straight up and full of grizzly bears, but the odds of seeing a big bull here are very good. The Type 1 early tag is a wilderness-only tag, so a nonresident will need a registered and licensed guide, hence the easy draw odds that only require about 9 or 10 points. A little-known fact however is that a hunter who draws the wilderness-only tag (Type 1) can hunt the non-wilderness end of the unit during the archery season only. This gives a bowhunter a fantastic chance at a big bull during the September bow season with about 9 points. The later, Type 2 hunt (October 15th – November 15th) is good for the entire unit and should require about 12 or 13 points to draw in 2020. 

The elk herd here is slightly over objective and the bull to cow ratio is increasing rapidly to over 38/100. I think it is safe to say that good things are in store for those who hunt elk here in the near future. 

 

Area 100 (Steamboat)

I actually had the chance to hunt this unit this year, and the reputation is in fact true, this hunt is the easiest elk hunt in Wyoming. This hunt has incredible hunter success rates, above 90% on most years. The elk numbers here are exploding to well above objective, and the bull to cow ratio is extremely high with 76 bulls per 100 cows. To hunt here however, a nonresident applicant will need a bundle of preference points, well more than max at this point. Fortunately, the State has doubled the tag quota here as of 2019 which has taken some of the pressure off the draw odds here. This hunt still remains one of the highest demand elk hunts in the entire state. 

The country here is very easy to hunt and requires quite a bit of glassing in the open sagebrush and sand dune terrain. This elk area is massive, larger than Yellowstone National Park, but the elk here can be very pocketed and it often takes some scouting to find them. Historically, this hunt was the perfect place to kill a 300” bull with minimal physical effort, but as of late, the bulls in here have been getting bigger and bigger. A 340 to 350-class bull is certainly a possibility in Area 100 now if you know where to find them and put in the time. This elk area offers a very good bow hunt during the September archery season. 

 

Area 108 (South Rawlins)

With only 75-tags on quota and a hunter success rate that has steadily climbed back to over 70% this area is back on the blue-chip radar. With a season that runs during the last three weeks of October, the hunting here can be a bit tough for the mature bulls as they pull off the cows during the later reaches of October. A bit of weather here should help. 

The latest elk herd estimate here is 40% above the objective while the bull to cow ratio has been reduced to 23 bulls per 100 cows. With a late summer drought last year, this area is ripe for a very solid elk hunt in 2020. The access here can be a little bit tough and with only 60% of the unit in the public trust, a guy will need to do some serious research before applying here. With only 9 or 10 points needed to hunt here, this area could be a real bargain for the elk hunter with just shy of max points that wants to kill a nice, respectable 300-320 class bull in somewhat mild terrain. 

 

Area 111 (Seminoe)

With an increased and doubled quota of 50 tags in 2018, the demand for this hunt has diminished slightly in the past few years. The success rates here have jumped and now have hovered above 80% for the past five years and counting. Over 400 nonresident hopefuls applied for only two elk tags in this area, making this area an unnecessary max point draw. The bulls in here seem to top out at about the 340” mark on a normal year, but on a good year, there could be a few giants running around in the junipers here. With good access to the 50% public ground, plenty of elk and very high bull to cow ratio (60:100), along with limited tags available, a bow hunt here would be a very high-quality experience. 

 

Area 113 (Rochelle Hills)

Not as much is known about this area. The state used to only give out bull tags every three years here but it looks like they may have increased that frequency to every other year recently. If this frequency continues there would not be a bull elk hunt available in this are for the 2020 hunting season. Wyoming has consistently offered up 40 tags here in past few seasons and I expect that to continue. The access can be tough but the success rates are extremely high here while the bull quality should continue to be good. I don’t think this is a great place for a monster, but in all likelihood a good place for an easy shot at a 320-class bull or better. Keep in mind, the area is 65% public land, so you may want to do some research before hanging your max points out on a limb for this hunt. Hunter success rates tend to consistently post about 75% on this hunt. 

 

Area 124 (Powder Rim)

Right across the border from some of Colorado’s best elk units, this open sage country contains a very solid elk hunt for those who can cover country and glass. With a massive area to hunt and a very pocketed elk herd this hunt can be tough, but the success rates are extremely high still, some of the best in the state, often reaching well over 90%. Most of the hunters who hunt here get a shot at a branch-antlered bull during the very liberal six-week hunting season which lasts from the middle of October all the way through the month of November. The later you hunt, the better it seems to get here. 

Every year over the past five years a hunter has somehow managed to kill a 370+ bull out of this desert and sage unit, but I would say that is much more the exception than the rule. Most of the bulls here are in the 290-350 category. Loads of points will be necessary to put you in this area with a tag in hand, but the wait could be well worth it in the end. A bowhunt here is probably better than nearly any elk hunt in the entire state of Colorado.

With reduced quotas and closed areas, the windows on moose opportunities in Wyoming seem to be closing. While the opportunities are fading for a Wyoming moose, the quality of the bulls continue to be exceptional in some areas of the state. 

Over the past three decades Wyoming has been forced to reduce the overall moose hunting quota by nearly 2/3, and close eight moose areas altogether in a desperate effort to find a new balance as the moose herd continues to spiral down. What once was nearly 1,200 moose tags available in the draw has now become an anemic offering of only 280 bull tags. Needless to say, this has had a drastic consequence on our preference point system. A system that was once thought to never see the light of 12 preference points, is now climbing to 23 points and counting for many hunt areas. 

Significant declines in quality moose habitat along with a disease outbreak have both been partially to blame for the decline in Wyoming’s moose herds. But any resident will tell you, this one included, that super-predators – wolves and grizzly bears, have been the most significant factor in the moose management disaster that has become our reality over the last 25 years. With a string of normal, deep snow winters and wet cool summers, the moose habitat has begun to rebound. The massive record-breaking back to back snow years we experienced in 2016 and 2017 have added to that equation. And now with our wolf season back in place with a double wolf quota, I think the moose in Wyoming are finally headed toward a brighter future. At this point it’s all about solid calf recruitment. 

This year there are 18 good to excellent moose hunts identified in the state of Wyoming for the fall hunt of 2020, an increase of one. Regions such as the Big Horn Mountains and the Sierra Madre continue to produce some outstanding bulls as well as a steadily growing moose population, an outcome that soon may result in a significant increase in hunting opportunity. 

 

Why Hunt Moose in Wyoming?

All the bad news aside, even with the drastic moose declines the Cowboy State has seen over the past two decades there still remains some very good moose hunting in Wyoming if you can manage to draw a tag. The state of Wyoming is producing some very large bull moose again which is a very welcome sight to us all. 

With more than 400 records book Shiras’ moose, more than any other state; when it comes to big moose, Wyoming is still the undisputed king. If a truly massive bull moose is on your list then you should seriously consider the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho in your application process. 

Wyoming has a hybrid preference point structure with both a random pool and preference point pool for applicants to try and draw from. A random draw moose tag is possible in certain areas even with little to no points in areas; 5, 24, 25, 26 and 38/41 only. If you have a decent bank of points built up, there are some very solid moose hunting opportunities available for the nonresident hunter with 17 or 18 preference points. 

The resident preference point system seems to have stabilized, mostly due to the large number of tags available (about 220) each year, creating a situation where the breaking point for resident applicants to find their way into a good moose tag has settled in at about 16 points. But if you want to hunt the very best moose areas Wyoming has to offer, you are going to need 18 points or more. 

The nonresident tag pool has been reduced to 54 total moose tags, making a nonresident moose hunter gather either more points or more luck to draw a coveted moose tag in Wyoming. Due to the cycle of tag reductions seen over the past 15 years the nonresident pool is experiencing some very significant point creep. In 2015 alone, nonresident moose applicants saw the breaking point for them to get into a good tag increase by four points, depending. The new breaking point for nonresident moose hunters is now about 16 points and climbing by about 1 point each year. Although I do think the recent cost increase will eventually stifle this growth sooner rather than later.  Something to think about, of the nearly 12,000 nonresident moose applicants with points, only about 1,800 of them are actually applying for a tag. That means more than 85% of the applicants are only buying preference points and not even entering the draw. 

Moose hunting in Wyoming can be very expensive for a nonresident applicant considering you have to front the entire cost of the tag ($1,997) just to apply. For this reason, I highly suggest nonresidents simply buy the preference points ($150) each year until they hit about 12 points. The random draw pool odds just don’t outweigh the costs in my opinion until 12 points are reached for nonresident applicants. 

Something to keep in mind when applying for moose and sheep in Wyoming is to choose your area wisely when you do apply. Literally hundreds of nonresident applicants each year apply for areas that do not even have tags available for the random draw, literally giving them a zero percent chance at drawing a tag.

Bighorn Sheep Overview

Wyoming’s sheep herd continues to stabilize after a few rough years. With 17 total sheep hunts to choose from and 176 bighorn ram tags available, Wyoming continues to be a go-to state for sheep hunters. Due to hard work from the Wyoming Game and Fish as well as the Wild Sheep Foundation, Wyoming’s sheep have not only stabilized in the traditional sheep areas but transplant projects have put more sheep into less traditional sheep areas in the more arid portions of the state. These new populations have taken hold and begun to expand nicely to the point of finally offering some additional sheep hunts with great results. 

For both sheep and moose applicants over the last few years the point creep has become an ever-growing reality. A hunt that took 14 points to draw only a few years ago now takes 20 points or more to draw. There might be some good news in sight for some nonresident applicants as the State has chosen to increase the cost of both the sheep tag and the preference point which may remove some applicants from the pool as price constraints continue to price some applicants out of the game altogether. A sad but true reality of our hunting tradition in its current state. 

 

Why Hunt Bighorn Sheep in Wyoming?

Ever more expense aside, the simple fact remains that Wyoming has never been a great place to kill a monster ram, and probably never will be. However, Wyoming continues to be a very solid location to kill a nice ram in some very scenic and classic bighorn sheep country. 

The fact of the matter is, although Wyoming does not tend to produce boatloads of Boone and Crockett entries like the states of Montana and New Mexico, Wyoming is still a very good place to apply and draw a sheep tag for a good ram within your lifetime. The average sheep tag in Wyoming is drawn with about 20 preference points. 

The draw system Wyoming uses allows even a nonresident sheep applicant to draw a random tag even with zero points in Areas 2, 3, 4 and 5 ONLY. But, an area must have a large enough number of total tags for there to be random tags available for that area. It is very important to analyze this chart in an effort to not become one of hundreds of low point applicants each year who apply for areas that don’t even have a random draw sheep tag. 

The nonresident preference point pool begins to fall off significantly about 20 points leaving only about 150 nonresident applicants in the pool with more than 20 points. Resident applicants are not quite so lucky however; a falloff is not seen in the resident pool until the 23-point mark, lucky me. 

Based on the way the Wyoming preference point system works, I would highly suggest a nonresident applicant with less than 15 points simply buy points until at least the 12 preference point mark is obtained. A preference point only for sheep can be purchased in Wyoming up until the 31st of October without entering the draw. The cost for the point-only option is $150 for nonresident applicants and $7 for Wyoming resident applicants. This can be a great way to go for some applicants given the very limited and stiff odds of drawing one of the only four random sheep tags for nonresident applicants if drawn, the sheep tag itself will cost an astounding $2,335 this year which will again have to be fronted in full in order to apply.  

 

Wyoming Bighorn Sheep Analysis

The core of Wyoming’s second largest sheep herd resides just west of Cody. This year there are only two blue chip units (Area 2, and 5) in this area instead of the historic four or five from years past. Areas 1, 3, and 4 have seen quality and quantity decrease over the past few years. These can still be good sheep hunts, but just don’t seem to be producing at their full potential like they did five or ten years ago. This slide is a culmination of both reduced quality and a slip in hunter success rates over the past few years. Reduced quotas along with more Department oversight should help the situation and perhaps in a few years, these areas will be back to their full potential. 

The rams in some of the more nontraditional areas such as Area 12, 17, 20 and 24 are beginning to produce better opportunities and bigger rams each and every year. Without question, Area 12 near Bighorn Lake is the best all-around sheep hunt in the entire state right now. This hunt has produced four B&C rams over the past five years alone, placing this area in the top ten big ram producing areas in the country. Over the past five years, the average ram in Wyoming has sported a nearly 33” horn while Area12 has produced multiple records book and state record class rams. Areas 12, 19 and 24 have produced the best rams on average at just under 35” in length while the heaviest rams seem to come out of Areas 17 and 20 with bases nearing the 15 ½” mark.  

If you are looking for a really big ram by Wyoming standards, Areas 2, 5 and 12 are your best bets. All three of these areas have produced at least one ram over 40” in length in the past five years. That is something no other sheep area in Wyoming can boast. If you just want a good chance at a good ram, Areas 12, 17, 20 and 24 all had 100% success on rams for the past five years and counting. With a combined quota of 141 total sheep tags, Areas 2, 3, 4 and Area 5 are the only bets for applicants with less than 19 preference points to apply. These areas offer the only chances, although very slim, at a sheep tag in the random, no preference point draw. 

Area 2 (Trout Peak)                                                                                                                 

The Trout Peak sheep unit in the North Fork of the Shoshone drainage has continued to rebound from a few years of lackluster results. These spotty results could be caused by the quality of the resident hunters who have drawn the majority of these sheep tags in the past few years. Either way, the ram quality and success here has been a bit unpredictable as of lately. The average ram in this area is over seven years old, with an average length in the 34” range with a top length of over 40”. The sheep habitat here is abundant and there are plenty of rams roaming these hills inside the wilderness so a guide is almost a must for an out of state hunter. Nineteen or 20 points will be required to draw one of the recently reduced 20 sheep tags in this area this year. This area also has sheep tags available in the random draw but they come hard with a less than a 1 in 200 chance. 

 

Area 5 (Franc’s Peak)                                                                                                                  

After a few years off the blue-chip listing Area 5 has made a return to the list of best sheep units in the state. This is mostly due to some tag quota reductions in the area, which have increased the quality and quantity of the rams here. With rough and remote country, this area is very, very large. A majority of these sheep winter deep within the area so little is known about the exact quality of the rams here from one year to the next. Twenty preference points should garner a tag here and there are a few tags in the random draw for this area for those with less than 20 preference points. Hunter success hovers around 90% in this area and 40” rams have been taken here in the past, however the average ram here is in the 33” range but is over seven years of age. This area produces a lot of sheep and is a very solid choice for a DIY guy or someone who just wants a very respectable representation of the species. 

 

Area 12 (Porcupine, Bighorn Canyon)                                                                                                                 

With six tags available again for the 2020 season, Area 12 is probably one of the easiest and the best sheep hunts in the entire state for a big ram, but the draw odds are beyond tough, requiring the max of 25 preference points to draw a tag here. This area just seems to get better and better. To put it into perspective, this area has produced four records book rams in the last five years alone. Further proof that the rams in here do score well and based on my information, I think the largest rams roaming this unit have yet to be taken. With no wilderness, no wolves and no grizzly bears, this hunt would be a great DIY bowhunt. The success rate on rams on this hunt has always been 100%. If I were an out of state sheep applicant sitting on max points, I would probably be applying for this sheep hunt.  

 

Area 17, 26 (Ferris-Seminoe)                                                                                                                 

A fairly new sheep unit to the scene, this area is getting better and better each year. This sheep herd is young and still maturing and I think the future holds some very good things for this area. A true giant of a ram was taken here last fall with a bow which may be a sign of good things to come here. This hunt boasts a 100% success rate for the last four seasons. A sheep hunter has never gone home empty-handed on this hunt. The rams in this area have been a tick on the smaller side with an average of only 32” on the length and only four years of age. The rams in this unit do boast some of the largest bases in the state on average however. But if you have a lot of points and just want a nice bighorn ram in fairly mild country then this could be the hunt for you. Near to max points of 25 will probably be a requirement to hunt this area. 

 

Area 19 (Laramie Peak)                                                                                                                 

A new hunt to the blue-chip list this year, the Laramie Peak hunt has finally matured as a sheep hunt for Wyoming bighorn hunters. The rams here have nice age on them, at over seven years old, with very heavy bases at nearly 15”. The hunter success on this hunt has continued to climb and was again 100% in 2018. A successful applicant here will need 23 preference points or more to be awarded a bighorn tag for this hunt. Rumor has it, that there are a few giants roaming this unit that have yet to be taken, so there could be some very solid potential upside for a draw here. With only 35% public land, the access here could represent a few challenges for this hunt. This would be a very good DIY hunt with no grizzly bears or wilderness to worry about. And a DIY bowhunt here would be even better. 

 

Area 20 (Kouba Canyon, Black Hills)                                                                                                                 

This area borders the Black Hills sheep unit in South Dakota, which can be a very, very good sheep hunt by anyone’s standards. With two resident sheep tags and one nonresident tag on quota for 2020, 23 preference points will surely be required to hunt this area again this year. The sheep hunting here is fairly easy as the sheep habitat is very concentrated in a relatively small area. Hunters here only hunted barely three days to kill their sheep. With an impressive 100% success rate, the rams here are very heavy with nearly 16” bases on average and can pack horns beyond the 37” mark in length. The access here can be a little bit of a concern but the country is relatively mild as far as sheep standards go. I’m confident there are some very large rams still roaming the Black Hills unit for the next person who draws a tag here. 

 

Area 24 (Big Piney)                                                                                                                 

With light bases but good horn length, the Area 24 sheep hunt used to only see a sheep hunt about every third year on average. But as the sheep have begun to thrive here it looks like the Fish and Game biologists have upped that frequency to one tag each year and it looks like one resident sheep tag will be awarded this year, so nonresidents need not apply here. This hunt will no doubt require max points for a resident hunter, but I would venture a guess that the lucky hunter here should be able to kill a ram in the 170” or higher range. There is not a lot of data on this area to digest but I have seen the sheep in this area during a deer hunting excursion before and there are some big rams here. If you draw the tag, call the sheep biologist for the unit and I’m sure he would be more than happy to fill you in on the details of where to find the rams. 

 

Wyoming Goat

The Rocky Mountain goat hunting options in Wyoming although very diverse continue to be straight-forward and relatively limited. With only six options available to choose from and no preference point system in place an applicant need not spend too much time bogged down in research here. The long and short of it, any of the four “non-cull” hunt options in hunt areas 1, 2 and 3 are solid choices for a nice billy in some very rugged and remote terrain. The slowly expanding mountain goat herd in Wyoming continues to be a bright spot and a point of contention for Wyoming’s big game managers. 

Last year Wyoming implemented a very aggressive strategy to reduce and possibly even eliminate the goat populations in two new goat areas within the state. The goats in Areas 4 and 5 where hunted very aggressively with very high quotas and aggressive season dates in an effort to cull the goats off of critical bighorn sheep habitat in the Absaroka and Teton mountain ranges. These two areas were initially set up to be over the counter hunts, but once the Game and Fish Department ran into some legislative herds that could not be overcome the department offered instead a very aggressive quota to ensure the goats would be significantly reduced by hunters. I would not recommend these hunts as a high-quality experience by any means, particularly for the nonresident hunter who would face the sticker shock of a nearly $2,200 tag to try and find a goat along with nearly 50 other desperate hunters searching to fill a goat tag in this very remote and rough country. Add to that the fact the Federal Government is going to helicopter gun all the goats out of Grand Teton National Park later this winter, Area 4 could become a total loss as a goat hunt in the years to come. 

These two areas aside, the goat hunts in Areas 1, 2 and 3 can be a very good experience with some great opportunities for some very nice billys if you take your time and hunt hard, and most importantly know what you are looking at. 

Although Wyoming is still not a mountain goat powerhouse like British Columbia or Alaska, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has done a very good job at managing and expanding the very limited goat populations that the state does have. The goat habitat in Wyoming is somewhat limited and the overall size of the billies in Wyoming is not quite as good as neighboring states of Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Utah. 

The frequency of big billies killed in the Wyoming high country does seem to be accelerating as of recent years as the goat herds begin to mature, to the point that I would now put Wyoming in the same category as Colorado and Idaho when it comes to overall trophy quality. There are only six or seven states/provinces that have produced more B&C billys over the past ten years than Wyoming. The costs to apply in Wyoming are steep while the odds of drawing a tag are even steeper. Nevertheless, Wyoming is still a very good place to hunt for a Lower 48 billy if you find yourself very lucky. 

As the goat harvest graph shows, over the past ten years the goat population and goat harvest has increased drastically during the first fifteen years of the century (2001 – 2016). However, the graph now indicates that our goat population may have finally leveled off and found a balance as the goat harvest in Wyoming seems to be steady hanging in the range or 35-50 each year for the past four or five years now, once we exclude the cull hunt numbers. 

Bottom line: the Rocky Mountain goats in Wyoming are doing very well. If the current trend holds true, Wyoming could be taking 50 goats each year by 2020. This could do wonders for the odds of drawing a goat tag in Wyoming.

The Rocky Mountain goat hunting options in Wyoming although very diverse continue to be straight-forward and relatively limited. With only six options available to choose from and no preference point system in place an applicant need not spend too much time bogged down in research here. The long and short of it, any of the four “non-cull” hunt options in hunt areas 1, 2 and 3 are solid choices for a nice billy in some very rugged and remote terrain. The slowly expanding mountain goat herd in Wyoming continues to be a bright spot and a point of contention for Wyoming’s big game managers. 

Last year Wyoming implemented a very aggressive strategy to reduce and possibly even eliminate the goat populations in two new goat areas within the state. The goats in Areas 4 and 5 where hunted very aggressively with very high quotas and aggressive season dates in an effort to cull the goats off of critical bighorn sheep habitat in the Absaroka and Teton mountain ranges. These two areas were initially set up to be over the counter hunts, but once the Game and Fish Department ran into some legislative herds that could not be overcome the department offered instead a very aggressive quota to ensure the goats would be significantly reduced by hunters. I would not recommend these hunts as a high-quality experience by any means, particularly for the nonresident hunter who would face the sticker shock of a nearly $2,200 tag to try and find a goat along with nearly 50 other desperate hunters searching to fill a goat tag in this very remote and rough country. Add to that the fact the Federal Government is going to helicopter gun all the goats out of Grand Teton National Park later this winter, Area 4 could become a total loss as a goat hunt in the years to come. 

These two areas aside, the goat hunts in Areas 1, 2 and 3 can be a very good experience with some great opportunities for some very nice billys if you take your time and hunt hard, and most importantly know what you are looking at. 

Although Wyoming is still not a mountain goat powerhouse like British Columbia or Alaska, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has done a very good job at managing and expanding the very limited goat populations that the state does have. The goat habitat in Wyoming is somewhat limited and the overall size of the billies in Wyoming is not quite as good as neighboring states of Montana, Idaho, Colorado and Utah. 

The frequency of big billies killed in the Wyoming high country does seem to be accelerating as of recent years as the goat herds begin to mature, to the point that I would now put Wyoming in the same category as Colorado and Idaho when it comes to overall trophy quality. There are only six or seven states/provinces that have produced more B&C billys over the past ten years than Wyoming. The costs to apply in Wyoming are steep while the odds of drawing a tag are even steeper. Nevertheless, Wyoming is still a very good place to hunt for a Lower 48 billy if you find yourself very lucky. 

As the goat harvest graph shows, over the past ten years the goat population and goat harvest has increased drastically during the first fifteen years of the century (2001 – 2016). However, the graph now indicates that our goat population may have finally leveled off and found a balance as the goat harvest in Wyoming seems to be steady hanging in the range or 35-50 each year for the past four or five years now, once we exclude the cull hunt numbers. 

Bottom line: the Rocky Mountain goats in Wyoming are doing very well. If the current trend holds true, Wyoming could be taking 50 goats each year by 2020. This could do wonders for the odds of drawing a goat tag in Wyoming.

Why Hunt Goats in Wyoming?

Wyoming continues to produce more and more giant bilys each year. The Cowboy State is now the 10th best place to find a records book goat. Nearly 60% of the records book goats taken in the state have been taken in the last ten years. In the past, Wyoming goat hunters struggled to put a single goat into the records book about every decade. Now a records book goat hits the ground in Wyoming just about every year, a significant improvement by nearly any measure. 

Just like most states, a goat tag in Wyoming is extremely hard to come by and very expensive to apply for. With no preference points system in place for goats, all applicants will have to front the entire sum of the tag ($157-R/$2,177-NR), and hope for lightning to strike and deliver to you one of the only 40 total Wyoming goat tags available. 

 

Wyoming Rocky Mountain Goat Analysis

Wyoming’s goat populations basically consist of two distinct and separate genetic pools. The Northern Beartooth herd, which resides in Areas 1, 3 and 4, and the Western Snake River herd which calls Areas 2 and 4 home. As a general rule of thumb, the Snake River herd has a bit better genetics due to the Idaho origins of their genetics and better feed conditions. In fact, the top half of all the B&C goats taken in Wyoming have all come from Area 2. When it comes to big Wyoming goats, nearly all of the largest goats in the state have come out of Area 2. If you really want a shot at a big goat, with no wilderness to worry about, Area 2 should be your choice. 

Area 3 is a bit of wild card, with lots of goats in some very steep and remote country. This is probably the toughest of the three hunts, but Area 3 also offers the best draw odds, particularly on the later hunt during October. Let’s take a little closer look at each area individually based on the pros and cons. 

 

Area  1

Snug against the Montana border and just north of Cody, this area is the classic, steep, rocky and rugged goat habitat that most goat hunters would expect out of a Rocky Mountain goat hunt. Area 1 is a very good choice for bowhunters and guys who want to hunt in some of the most picturesque country in the entire United States. With a reduced tag quota of eight tags, this area offers draw odds of just only about 1%. Area 1 is the easiest goat hunt of the three however, and the odds of killing a billy here are somewhat mixed at only 45% over the past three years. 

 

Area 2

Area 2 has produced the largest goats in the state on average over the past ten years. Nearly half (50%) of the total goat entries in the Boone and Crockett records book, and six out of the top seven come from Area 2. The Snake River range is not as rough as the other areas, but the country is deep and very roadless, causing a hunter to expend more energy just getting up to the goats than a hunter in Area 1 generally does. The hunter success in Area 2 is somewhat marginal as of lately, with 86% of the hunters killing goats and of those 61% were billys. The draw odds here are pretty rough however, and tend to hang right around that 0.5% mark. 

 

Area 3 (Type 1)

Area 3 is basically the north fork of the Shoshone River drainage and Crandall and Sunlight Creeks. The goats here are of good size and this area generally produces good numbers of billys (roughly 75%). The goats here can be a little bit pocketed in some very deep country with some groups of goats not seeing much hunter pressure at all. A hunter with a ton of grit and good lungs could just have the hunt of a lifetime here. A lot of the goats in this area tend to hang out in the wilderness, so a nonresident DIY hunter might want to steer clear of this selection. The hunting season on this hunt spans the entire unit and runs the entire months of September and October. An increased tag quota in this unit from 12 to 16 has helped the draw odds jump to about 2%. 

 

Area 3 (Type 2)

This hunt is a later season hunt in Area 3 during the month of October. The Type 1 hunters can also hunt here during October, but most of them will probably be filled out by the time October rolls around. All eight hunters for this hunt have killed goats very single year this hunt has been in existence. Surprisingly, this hunt has the highest billy success rate in the entire state with over 83% of the hunters here taking home a billy. For the nonresident hunter, this hunt might suit you a bit better as the later season snow might drop some of the goats down out of the wilderness areas. Draw odds here are steady at about 2%. 

 

Areas 4 & 5 (Type A)

With extremely high quotas, these two hunts seem to be “cull” type hunts and are not recommended for trophy goat hunting without some very diligent research and solid information before applying, particularly if you are a nonresident.

Wyoming’s wild bison herd seems to have plateaued into a balanced population. 

 

Following four years of very heavy bison harvest, Wyoming’s bison herd seems to be leveling off and finding balance. With only three hunts to choose from one of which will likely have no tags available this year, the options for Wyoming bison are very simple. The hunt area will be Area 2 and the choice will simply be bull or cow. 

 

Even though the options are very simple, Wyoming still seems to be a very solid spot for a big bull bison. While not as prolific as it was five or ten years ago, Wyoming is still producing a few really big bulls each and every year. Most of this has to do with the fact that many of the bison in this herd drift in and out of Grand Teton National Park, making for a very good safe haven to protect some bulls from overhunting and allowing them to grow to full maturity of ten to twelve years and older. 

 

Second only to the state of South Dakota, Wyoming has 110 total records book bison entries all-time, nearly half of which have come in the past 10 years alone. Today, Wyoming is one of the few places in the Lower 48 where a hunter can hunt fair chase bison. 

 

An applicant for Wyoming bison must front the entire cost of the tag which is a total cost of – $419 for a bull and $265 for a cow tag for residents and a whopping $4,417 for a bull and $2,767 for a cow for nonresidents. 

 

The bison options in Wyoming will be very simple for the 2019 hunting season. With only one area (Area 2) to hunt there are only two hunting options, a cow/calf type 4 tag and of course the highly sought-after type 1 tag which allows a hunter to take any bison, bulls preferably. The Wyoming bison season is very lengthy, August 15 to January 31, nearly five months long, but the tag quota for the bull hunt remains very limited, with 125 bull/any and only 50 cow/calf tags up for grabs in 2019. The 2020 tag quotas are not available yet, but I do not expect much change versus last season. I do not expect there to be a bison hunt available in Area 3 again this year. 

 

Because the State is hunting the bulls in the Jackson herd so hard many of the older age class bulls have been taken out of the herd over the past five years. The exception to this would be if the Teton Park buffalo leave the park with heavy snow and weather and move onto the adjacent national forest land or the National Elk Refuge. 

 

Historic hunter success on the bison hunt in Wyoming remains very high with about 80% of the hunters filling their bison tags over the past three years. Although success is good, quality has dropped drastically over the past few years, as the herd comes back into objective levels and the average age of the bulls has been drastically lowered. 

The new draw deadline for both residents and nonresidents is March 31st, and both can apply after January 2nd. An option to hunt the National Elk Refuge is available in a separate drawing for successful Wyoming bison tag applicants.

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