Game and Fish Wildlife Habitat Management Areas Start to Open

Antler collection closures end on May 1.
Game and Fish Wildlife Habitat Management Areas Start to Open

CHEYENNE — The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has 44 wildlife habitat management areas that provide crucial habitat for big game winter ranges. These areas are opening for the season, after being closed to minimize disturbance to wintering big game animals and other wildlife, while protecting habitat from resource damage. Several WHMAs open 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, 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.”

Bredehoft also asks 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.

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“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. Collect means to search for, locate, stockpile or possess shed antlers and horns of big game animals on public land during the closed season. A violation of this regulation carries the same penalties as many other Game and Fish violations. 

More details on antler collection regulations and maps are available on the Game and Fish website. To see the complete list of wildlife habitat management areas click here.