Lander is rich in Wyoming hunting opportunities. In fact, every single species the Wyoming Game and Fish Department manages, except mountain goats, can be found in the area.
In addition to the depth of hunting opportunities, the breadth of land to hunt sets Lander apart. The county is 85 percent public land. Vast stretches of public land surround Lander. That means hunters enjoy finding challenge in the hunt itself—not in gaining access for their Wyoming hunt.
Within an hour’s drive (often less) of the heart of town, you can be hunting elk on the Loop Road, deer in the Lander foothills, antelope in the sagebrush flats, or any assortment of game bird.
The information below is a starting point for your Lander, Wyoming hunting trip. However, it is your responsibility to know the laws and regulations, to be prepared for weather and navigation, to exercise hunter’s safety and ethics, and to research and honor land ownership and access on your hunt. The best resource is the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The Lander Field Office is a wealth of information about hunting in the region. They can provide you with regulations, maps, a Wyoming hunt planner, and a knowledgeable staff to provide personal answers to your questions.
Another invaluable source of advice is a hunting guide. Hunters visiting from out of state are required to hunt with a professional guide in the Wilderness, meaning most non-resident elk hunters must hire a guide. Even on hunts where a guide is not legally required, your chances of filling a tag and having a hunt for the books increases exponentially with a guide. There are several outstanding guides in Lander with a lifetime—even generations—of experience following elk and other game in the Wind River Range.
Wyoming Big Game Hunting
Nothing compares to the sound of an elk bugle echoing through the forest early on a cold morning. The mountains take on a whole new attitude in the fall as bull elk battle and swagger to for the attention of cows. To be there in the midst of it is an honor and a thrill. Whether you find yourself in the cacophony of bugles with a bow or a rifle, this Wyoming hunt will not be one you’ll forget. Extensive research into the Wyoming hunt area and specific expedition plans are essential to a successful and safe hunt. Be sure to keep bear safety in mind, as the Wind River Mountains are habitat for both grizzly and black bears.
Wyomingites take a lot of pride in the statistic that antelope outnumber people here. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy to fill your tag, however. The uninterrupted views across short sage gives the sharp-eyed antelope the opportunity to see you coming. Be sure you have good optics and are a sound shot at long ranges.
Wyoming is home to both mule deer and whitetail deer. You can’t find both species across the whole state, but you can in the Lander area. Your choice of deer species may be based on the type of hunt or terrain you seek or on the type of trophy you seek. Because Lander is nestled in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains, you can choose to hunt deer in either the prairie or the forest—or both.
Moose & Bighorn Sheep
Moose and bighorn sheep reside in the Lander area, but tags are difficult to draw and hunts are demanding. As with any hunt, do your research and be in touch with the authorities and experts on the matter for best practices and in-depth resources.
Wyoming Game Bird & Waterfowl Hunting
The variety of game birds in the region is a recipe for a very full Wyoming hunting trip. All within 45 minutes from Lander, a hunter can pursue pheasant and assorted waterfowl in the Ocean Lake area, chukar in the many dramatic rock walls surrounding town, blue and ruffed grouse in the forests above town, and even sage grouse in the wild sagebrush flats that stretch for days beyond city limits.
All of these hunts can take place on public land in pursuit of wild birds. Pheasant are released in the Ocean Lake Habitat Management Area in October. Be aware of the private land surrounding Ocean Lake and stay in the public access and walk-in areas. For even more Wyoming hunting access and support, hire a local guide for a personalized hunt with some extra luxury.
Wyoming Hunting Licenses and Tags
Most big-game licenses open for application in January or February and close by the end of May. Reference the Wyoming Game and Fish website for more specific dates—don’t miss your window! Keep in mind that nonresident hunting regulations and licenses differ from those for Wyoming residents. Take care to study the seasons, boundaries, and expectations that apply to your Wyoming hunting adventure to ensure you and your fellow sportsmen enjoy a safe and productive hunt.
Wyoming Hunting Equipment
Forgot something back home? Because Lander is a very outdoors-oriented community, the list of businesses where you can purchase and rent gear for your hunt is not short. You can find them all here.