Sheridan- As big game seasons wind down in northeast Wyoming, it will be time for hunters to take advantage of some bird hunting opportunities. Many upland bird, duck, and goose seasons provide an opportunity for bird hunters in northeast Wyoming.
Pheasant season will open Saturday, Nov. 3, in hunt areas 1 and 11 in the Sheridan Region and will close Dec. 31, 2012. Pheasant hunters, including pioneer and youth under 14 years of age, are reminded that a pheasant special management permit is required to hunt on all state lands in Johnson and Sheridan counties as well as Walk-In Areas in Sheridan, Johnson, and Campbell counties, and the Bud Love Wildlife Habitat Management Area (WHMA). The $12.50 stamp is available at license agents and the Sheridan regional office.
Don’t forget to leave a feathered head, feathered wing, or foot attached to harvested pheasants while in the field and during transportation. These regulations are enforced to identify rooster pheasants. Check 2012 regulations for information about pheasant hunting limitations and hunt area boundaries. Pheasant hunters must have a bird license if 14 years of age or older, conservation stamp, and hunter education certificate if born after 1965. Hunters may hunt without a hunter education certificate for one year if hunting with a hunter mentor (with the proper mentor permit). For more information about the hunter mentor program, go to the Wyoming Game and Fish website at http://gf.state.wy.us.
The wearing of fluorescent orange clothing while hunting game birds is recommended as a safety measure, and is required when hunting pheasants on a Wyoming Game and Fish Department WHMA.
Sheridan bird farm workers will release pheasants on Walk-In Areas, the Bud Love WHMA, and state land where hunters have access in order to supplement wild populations.
Other 2012 upland bird hunting opportunities in northeast Wyoming include wild turkey in Sheridan, Johnson, and Campbell Counties (Oct. 1 - Dec. 31), sharp-tailed grouse (Sept. 1 - Dec. 31), chukar, gray partridge (Oct. 1 – Jan. 31, 2013), as well ruffed and blue grouse (Sept. 1 - Nov. 30).
Area hunters should check out the Walk-In Areas available in northeast Wyoming. A Walk-In Area is a tract of private land on which the Game and Fish Department has leased specific rights for public hunting. A participating landowner receives a monetary incentive based on the number of deeded acres enrolled in the program. As the name states, public access to Walk-In areas is restricted to foot traffic only. All Walk-in Areas have signs posted to mark their boundaries. The Walk-In Areas can be located by using maps found in the Walk-in Atlas, which is available at the Sheridan Regional Office and most license-selling agents.
Walk-In Area has specific species that can be hunted and many have open dates different than the general season, so hunters need to check the atlas and follow regulations for each species concerning season dates and bag limits. For example, if a Walk-In opens September 1 and pheasant season opens Nov. 3, hunters must wait until Nov. 3 to hunt pheasants. Be sure to check the Walk-In open dates, which are also listed in the atlas.
The areas are made possible, in part, by contributions to the AccessYes program. Hunters and anglers have the opportunity to donate to this program when they purchase a license. For every dollar donated about 4 acres of access is obtained. All dollars donated to the program go towards purchasing access.
The Walk-In program has been well received in the Sheridan Region. Future success of the Walk-In program depends on hunters donating, following regulations, and respecting private property.
The season for ducks, coots, and dark geese provides additional opportunity. Northeast Wyoming is in the Central Flyway, Zone C2, for waterfowl regulations. Remember to use only non-toxic shot while hunting waterfowl. Check 2012 late migratory game bird hunting regulations for waterfowl season and limit information.
If you are going to hunt waterfowl, remember to buy a federal duck stamp. Duck stamps are available from the post office and some retail stores.
A national migratory bird harvest information program (HIP) permit can be purchased at license-selling agents or obtained for free through the Game and Fish web page. All migratory game bird (doves, ducks, geese, mergansers, coots, rails, cranes, and snipe) hunters are required to have a HIP permit. Check regulations for bag limits, season dates, and shooting hours.
Have a good time hunting birds in northeast Wyoming this year. Follow the regulations, respect private lands, and hunt safely. Bird hunting provides an excellent opportunity to take a young person hunting.