The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Access Yes program provided more than 2.66 million acres of access to lands for hunting in 2017 according to the most 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 2017 report notes Game and Fish was able to provide access to 2,661,439 acres (1,683,329 acres of enrolled private, state and 978,110 of public lands) for hunting within the boundaries of the WIHA and HMA programs and additional access to 175,755 acres of public lands located outside the boundaries of the WIHA and HMA, which would not have been accessible without the Access Yes 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. A big thank you goes out to landowners for their partnership to make these access opportunities possible. We also extend thanks to hunters and anglers for donating to Access Yes when buying a license and to our partners for their continued donations to support the program.”
Satisfaction with the program continues to remain steady, and in some cases increased. Of those surveyed, 83 percent of antelope, 77 percent of deer and 74 percent of elk hunters said they were either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the opportunities provided through either the WIHA or HMA.
In 2017, every dollar spent provided approximately 3.1 acres of access. Access Yes is funded by Game and Fish and the Access Yes Program funds. 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. These sources generated $913,366 for the program last year. Easement payments made to landowners are funded through Access Yes, to the amount of $904,884 for hunting and fishing access.
The full report is available for the public on the Game and Fish website. To learn more about Access Yes lands accessible for hunting, visit the Game and Fish Public Access page. Sportspeople can donate to Access Yes when buying and applying for their 2018 licenses to continue to support more places to hunt in Wyoming.