General Hunting Information

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Hunting is a refuge management tool to help reach population numbers identified in the Bison and Elk Management Plan (2007). Bison and elk are the only two species managed through a refuge hunt program.

  • Elk Hunting

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    The 2018 elk hunt season will take place from October 13 - December 14, with a Youth Only hunt scheduled for November 22 - 24. Note that to apply for an elk hunting permit to hunt on the Refuge, hunters must complete an online application. The application period for the initial draw runs from August 1 - September 21. Click the "Learn More" tab for additional permit information, hunt regulations, a map, and answers to commonly asked questions.

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  • Bison Hunting

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    The 2018 Refuge bison season is scheduled from August 15, 2018 through January 31, 2019. Bison hunters must already have a Wyoming state bison license, issued by the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, to apply for a Refuge bison permit.

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  • Voluntary Use of Non-Lead Ammunition

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    The Refuge promotes the voluntary use of non-lead ammunition, allowing hunters a unique opportunity to maintain support for hunting programs by demonstrating a commitment to safe, quality hunting practices that will benefit the long-term conservation of wildlife.  Photo credit: Bud Hamm

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  • Retrieval and Guide Services

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    Commercial retrieval services and guide services are not required while hunting on the Refuge. However, both services are available for a fee to assist hunters. Photo credit: Mark Gocke

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  • Bear Safety

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    Grizzly bears have been sighted on the National Elk Refuge, including designated elk and bison hunting areas. Hunters should keep in mind they may encounter bears at any time and in any location. 

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  • Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges

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    National wildlife refuges exist primarily to safeguard wildlife populations through habitat preservation. The word "refuge" includes the idea of providing a haven of safety for wildlife, and as such, hunting might seem an inconsistent use of the National Wildlife Refuge System. However, habitat that normally supports healthy wildlife populations produces harvestable surpluses that are a renewable resource. As practiced on refuges, hunting may be necessary for sound wildlife management. 

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