There’s more access for hunting and fishing in Wyoming thanks to a Wyoming Game and Fish Department program that uses public donations to open private land. In 2018, the Access Yes program provided more than 2.8 million acres of hunting access as well as 4,006 lake acres and 86 stream miles for fishing on otherwise inaccessible private, state and landlocked public lands through partnerships with private landowners.
Access Yes game wardens work with landowners to enroll them into one of Game and Fish’s access programs: hunter management areas, walk-in hunting areas and/or walk-in fishing areas. Donations from hunters, anglers and conservation groups are used to make easement payments to landowners for hunting and fishing access.
“Each year we partner with landowners to increase quality hunting and fishing access to privately-owned lands and landlocked public lands, and that’s big value to our state,” said Scott Edberg, acting chief of the Game and Fish’s wildlife division. “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.”
Access Yes areas also help hunters and anglers gain access to inaccessible public lands outside of walk-in and hunter management areas — places that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible without the program. In 2018, those totaled an additional 178,448 acres of inaccessible public lands.
“In 2018, every dollar donated provided approximately 3.1 acres of access,” said Edberg. “Even if you don’t hunt or fish on Access Yes properties, their availability spreads hunters across the landscape and helps the department meet management and harvest objectives statewide.”
Revenue for Access Yes comes 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 Access Yes account interest. These sources generated $1,036,675 for the program last year.
To learn more about Access Yes lands open to hunting and fishing, read the 2018 report and visit the Game and Fish Public Access page. Anyone can donate to Access Yes when buying and applying for their 2019 license to continue to support opening more places to hunt and fish in Wyoming.