Wyoming Adds 50,000 New Acres for Hunting

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Wyoming hunters will have more than 50,000 new acres of walk-in access to private lands this year and four new Hunter Management Areas that offer hunting for big game including elk, deer and antelope as well as a variety of upland bird species, waterfowl and small game and predators.

The complete list of 2009 Hunter Management and Walk-In Areas is now available on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department Web site http://gf.state.wy.us. The list includes hundreds of thousands of acres of public access available throughout much of Wyoming.

In all, Wyoming's Hunter Management and Walk-In Area programs provide access to more than two million acres of public and private lands.

Of note this year are the addition of four new hunter management areas and more than 50,000 new acres of access added to the 700,000 acres already provided through the Walk-in Area program.

The new Hunter Management Areas (HMA) are found in Johnson, Carbon, Albany and Hot Springs counties and are provided courtesy of agreements with PacifiCorp, M&M, McFarlane and the Little V-H ranches. The new acreage provided through the Walk-In Area program includes terrain in several counties, mostly in eastern Wyoming.

"These companies and landowners should be commended for their key role in the good stewardship of these lands," Gov. Dave Freudenthal said. "As we all know, particularly in the eastern half of our state, access is a prized commodity. We understand that these folks don't take granting access lightly, and we sure appreciate their willingness to participate in this program which provides such an important benefit to the hunting public."

Public land access coordinator Matt Buhler said the Game and Fish thanks PacifiCorp and other landowners for their contributions to habitat, sound wildlife management and hunter access.

"The hunter access program is only successful thanks to the efforts of companies like PacifiCorp that own large acreage of land and the many private ranchers and farmers who also participate in the program." Buhler said. "We have been greatly encouraged by the reception we have received from private companies and landowners to provide places for people to hunt. The amount of access has been increasing every year and it is those who own the land that deserve the credit."

Buhler said Hunter Management Areas differ from Walk-In Areas in that a permit must be obtained to hunt. "To use one of the 44 Hunter Management Areas, a physical permission slip can be obtained on-line or at Game and Fish offices," Buhler said.

Details on obtaining HMA permits and accessing some of the 850,000 acres available through that program can be obtained by calling (307) 777-4600 or on the Game and Fish Web site. A listing of ranch rules and the license types that are valid in each of the Hunter Management and Walk-in Areas is also available on the Web site. Hunters should be aware that rules governing use of HMAs can vary with the different areas.

"In some of the areas, permits are unlimited," Buhler said. "In others, they are limited and a drawing is held to issue the Hunter Management Area permits." Hunters can begin applying for most HMA permits on July 14.

Walk-In Areas provide hunting opportunity for big game including elk, deer and antelope as well as a variety of upland bird species, waterfowl and small game and predators. The Walk-in Atlas lists the species that can be hunted within each area and the dates when individual walk-in areas can be accessed. Printed copies of the Walk-in Area Atlas will be available in August.

The Walk-in Program is funded to a large extent by the Game and Fish Department's AccessYes Program through contributions of anglers and hunters usually at the time of license purchase and application.