CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Access Yes program provided over three million acres of access to lands for hunting and fishing in 2016, according to a recent Game and Fish report.
Access Yes enhances and maintains public hunting and fishing access onto Wyoming’s private and landlocked public lands through enrolling private landowners into one of Game and Fish’s access programs: Hunter Management Areas (HMA), Walk-in Hunting Areas (WIHA) and/or Walk-in Fishing Areas (WIFA).
The 2016 report notes Game and Fish was able to provide:
- Access to 2,785,709 acres (1,758,632 acres of enrolled private and state lands, and 1,027,077 of public lands) for hunting within the boundaries of the WIHA and HMA programs. This included land in every county within Wyoming.
- Additional access to 199,813 acres of public lands located outside the boundaries of the WIHA and HMA, which would not have been accessible without the Access Yes program.
- Providing fishing access to 3,845 lake acres and 88 stream miles through the WIFA program
“Each year we partner with landowners to increase quality hunting and fishing access to privately-owned lands and landlocked public lands,” said Scott Edberg, deputy chief of the Game and Fish’s Wildlife Division. “The Access Yes program is important for effectively managing wildlife populations, mitigating agricultural damage and building relationships between landowners, hunters, anglers and the Game and Fish.”
Satisfaction with the program continues to increase. Of hunters surveyed, 84 percent of antelope, 74 percent of deer, and 70 percent of elk said they were either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the opportunities provided through either the WIHA or HMA. This is a 4 percent increase for antelope and a 2 percent increase for deer and a 2 percent decrease for elk hunters from the previous year.
In 2016, every dollar spent from provided approximately 3.2 acres of access. Access Yes is funded by Game and Fish funds and the Access Yes Program. Game and Fish funds, primarily from license sales, fund the daily operations including personnel. Revenue for Access Yes is generated from the sale of lifetime and annual conservation stamps, donations from organizations, individual hunters and anglers, court-imposed restitution fees from individuals convicted of wildlife violations, and interest. Easement payments made to landowners are funded through Access Yes.