The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has 44 wildlife habitat management areas (WHMAs) that provide crucial habitat for big game winter ranges. After being closed for the winter, these areas are now …
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has 44 wildlife habitat management areas (WHMAs) that provide crucial habitat for big game winter ranges. After being closed for the winter, these areas are now opening for the season, with several becoming available on May 1.
“Seasonal closures minimize stress-causing disturbance to wintering deer, elk and other wildlife. The closures also reduce the human and recreational impacts to the forage, which supports wintering wildlife,” said Ray Bredehoft, Wyoming Game and Fish habitat and access branch chief. “We appreciate the public’s cooperation to help animals make it through the winter and we are excited to open up these lands for the public to enjoy.”
In Park County and the northern Big Horn Basin and Park County:
• The Sunlight WHMA opens at 8 a.m. May 1 and remains open through Dec. 15.
• The Sunshine WHMA outside of Meeteetse opens at 8 a.m. June 1 and stays open until Nov. 30. It’s closed to motor vehicles year-round, but open to foot/horse traffic. The area remains open while big game seasons are open.
• The Medicine Lodge and Renner areas outside of Hyattville open at 8 a.m. June 1, closing on Dec. 31. Medicine Lodge Creek is open to foot access for fishing. The lower portion of the Renner area remains open year-round.
• The Yellowtail WHMA near Lovell is open year-round.
Bredehoft asked the public to be cautious around wildlife during the spring when elk, deer, pronghorn, moose and other wildlife begin to have their young and bears emerge from winter dens.
“For a lot of wildlife, May 1 will be the first time in months they see humans, so practicing safety is very important. Pack bear spray and stay alert,” Bredehoft said.
Users are reminded to stay on designated travel routes, obey all signs and camp in designated areas where required. If roads become too wet due to spring moisture, users are asked to try and avoid traveling those roads to reduce resource damage.
Antler hunters should be aware that the closure to collect shed antlers on public lands ends at 6 a.m. May 1 within the antler hunting area boundaries. A violation of the regulation carries the same penalties as many other Game and Fish violations.