Ask First, Before Hopping That Fence

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Wyoming is home to thousands of public land that provides many great hunting and fishing opportunities. There is also thousands of acres that are privately owned that can be very tempting to access. Half the state is privately owned to be exact.

It is very important to know where the private land is in your favorite area. Wyoming state law requires that written permission, or proof of permission be granted for access to the property before one can hunt or fish on private land.

There are many things that an outdoorsman can do to minimize any issues during their hunting and fishing trip that may even allow them to gain access to private lands.

  1. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the land owners in the area before applying for a license.
  2. Visit with the land owners, and make arrangements with them in advance of applying for a license.
  3. Try to avoid opening day of the season. Many landowners are full on opening day, but have vacancies later in the season.
  4. Carrying a good map and/or a GPS with landownership information can help greatly. Maps showing public and private lands are available. It is a good idea to check with local land management agencies to see if land ownership has changed the status of lands in your hunting or fishing area. The Wyoming Game and Fish offers The Hunt Planner  on their website as a tool that hunters and fishermen can use to look at private/public land status.
  5. Knowing where you are is very important. The state of Wyoming does not require landowners to post their property. It is the outdoorsman’s responsibility to know if the land is public or private.
  6. Some county assessor’s offices have landownership information on their county websites and chambers of commerce may be able to advise you of landowner names in surrounding hunt areas. Some private land is open for public access through either Walk-In Area or Hunter Management Area programs.
  7. Be respectful of the landowners property. If allowed access, have as little impact as possible. Showing respect to the land owner and his property will allow you to gain access in the future, and may get you access to neighboring properties.
  8. Treat the property as if it were your own. Don’t go shooting up his old barn, or harass his livestock.

The worst thing a land owner can say is no. And if that is the case, respect his wishes and move on. Showing respect to the land owner may open him up to allowing you to access his property in the future.

“I’m Tyler Mann, and I’ll see you on the trail.”