Can I Hunt in Wyoming if I Am Not a Resident?
If you are not a resident of Wyoming, you cannot hunt in wilderness areas within the state without a guide. The law is stated as follows at Section 23-2-401:
“No nonresident shall hunt big or trophy game animals on any designated wilderness area, as defined by federal or state law, in this state unless accompanied by a licensed professional guide or a resident guide.”
The statute requires that at least one licensed professional guide or resident guide accompany every two nonresident hunters. (The commission may allow up to six nonresident hunters per licensed guide in specific areas.) Under the law, the gaming commission has the authority to specify other areas of the state and certain big or trophy game species for which nonresident hunters need guides.
Who Can Qualify as a Resident Guide in Wyoming?
If you live out of state, a friend who lives in Wyoming could apply to be a resident guide and accompany you on your hunt. The law states, “Any resident possessing a valid resident big or trophy game license may apply for and receive a resident guide license.” To obtain a guide license, a resident hunter must provide an affidavit to the commission, a district supervisor, or a resident game warden, stating that he or she will not accept any compensation for the guide services, directly or indirectly, and providing the following information:
- Names and addresses of nonresident hunters the applicant wants to guide
- Type of game to be hunted
- Area to be hunted
Do Nonresidents Need a Guide to Hunt on Private Property?
A landowner who lives in Wyoming may guide hunters on his or her own land without a guide license. Resident landowners may also authorize nonresidents to hunt on their land without a guide. The nonresident hunter needs this authorization in writing, with the signature of the landowner, lessee, or agent, as evidence of permission to hunt on those lands.
How Many Nonresidents Hunt in Wyoming?
Hunters who live out of state account for a much smaller percentage of the annual big game harvest than hunters who live in Wyoming. For example, elk hunting statistics are provided for the year 2020 by the Wyoming Game & Fish Department. Nonresidents had an elk-hunting success rate of 52%. Of the 57,631 active elk hunters statewide, nonresidents accounted for 11,888. These hunters from out of state harvested 3,023 bulls, 135 spikes, 2,599 cows, and 424 calves, for a total of 6,181 elk in 2020.
What Are the Consequences of Violating Wyoming Hunting Laws?
Wyoming is serious about hunting and fishing regulations. Hunting law violations can lead to serious penalties. Upon conviction, defendants may be subject to:
- Heavy fines
- Restitution to the state
- Jail time
- Suspension of hunting and fishing privileges
Press releases on court cases involving hunting law violations are issued by the Wyoming Game Wardens Association. As stated in a recent press release, a circuit court judge sentenced a man convicted of poaching elk and deer to one year in jail, with fines, assessments, and restitution totaling more than $6,000, and suspension of hunting and fishing privileges for 18 years.
Why You Need a Wildlife Attorney
Hunting laws in Wyoming are complicated, and conviction of a violation can carry heavy penalties. If you are facing charges of hunting law violations, your best chance of obtaining the best possible outcome is to have an experienced Gillette criminal defense lawyer on your side.
At Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., we have a successful track record in the courtroom for our clients. Our trial attorneys are dedicated and knowledgeable legal advocates with an unbeatable work ethic. Call us at (307) 257-7800 to schedule a free case strategy session if you are facing charges of hunting law violations in Wyoming.
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