Wyoming

Wyoming

Wyoming offers great hunting opportunity for nonresident bow hunters and aside from Colorado, consistently leads all western states in total P&Y entries.  This is due in large part to its vast pronghorn population as around half of its annual entries are speed goats.  As strong as Wyoming is in total number of P&Y animals, trophy hunters beware; it ranks last in trophy quality.  Over the last few years, only 9% of P&Y entries reach trophy class minimums. This number has been steadily climbing though, and has doubled over the last few years.  That being said, if you want a quality hunt with a good chance at a P&Y animal it is one of the best states in the Rockies to be building points in!

In Wyoming archery hunters must apply for any weapons hunts (aside for elk) and then hunt the archery dates.  Most states offer archery only hunt choices.  This greatly improves draw odds by not having to compete for the same permits that the masses of rifle hunters are applying for as well.  Fortunately Wyoming awards nonresidents a high tag allocation to help offset these odds.  This is especially true of its trophy species.  Wyoming offers 20% of its moose and bison licenses and 25% of its sheep and goat licenses to nonresidents, doubling trophy species quota ratios in any other Rocky Mountain State.

Keep in mind that success rates listed in the unit tables are deceivingly low as they include archery harvest on all license holders.  Most hunters do not attempt to fill their license with a bow.  Another item worth pointing out is that final quotas or hunt dates aren’t approved by the state until after the application deadline for all species except for deer and pronghorn.  On rare occasions this can result in a hunt that you applied for being eliminated for the upcoming season, leaving you out of the draw for that species and out the $15 application fee.  Not an ideal way of doing things but there is talk that this may change in the near future.

Also of note is that a permit and bonus point fee increase went into effect in 2018.  As Wyoming Game and Fish Department describes it; “A significant change is an increase in many license fees, application fees and preference point fees. The Wyoming Legislature approved increases to maintain funding for Wyoming’s fish and wildlife at current levels. The new money is needed due to cuts in other sources of revenue.”  This has pushed the cost for nonresidents to build points for all species in Wyoming from $295 to $424 this year, making it the second most expensive state in the Rockies to be building points in behind only Montana. Furthermore, the cost of an archery license, which is required to hunt during special archery seasons increased from $30 to $72 in 2018.  It will be interesting to see how this affects draw odds going forward as it’s likely to cut back on a few nonresident applicants.

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