Regulations recently enacted by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission add additional calibers that can be used for big game, trophy game, and wild turkey hunting. The new regulation adds some calibers and ammunition that previously were not legal to hunt these species and simplifies language for other regulations.
For big game hunters the following firearms and ammunition may be used:
- For the taking of moose, bighorn sheep, elk, mountain goat, and black bear, hunters shall use any centerfire firearm of at least .24 caliber and with a cartridge at least two inches long.
- For deer, antelope, mountain lion, and gray wolf, the major change is the addition of .22 centerfire cartridges as legal ammunition. For the taking of deer, antelope, mountain lions, and gray wolves in areas where they are designated as trophy game, hunters can use any centerfire firearm of at least .22 caliber, using a cartridge at least two inches long and firing a bullet of at least 60 grains.
- For all big and trophy game species, legal firearms also include any cartridge of at least .35 caliber and at least 1.5 inches in overall length, or a cartridge that generally delivers 500 foot-pounds of impact at 100 yards. Shotguns firing “00” or larger buckshot are now legal for all big and trophy game. In addition, muzzleloading rifles or handguns of at least .40 caliber that fire a lead or expanding-point bullet using at least 50 grains of black powder or its equivalent can be used. All cartridges for big and trophy game must use a lead or expanding-point bullet with the exception of any shotgun firing “00” buckshot or a slug.
- The .17 HMR rimfire cartridge has been legalized for turkey hunting. This is in addition to the legal weapons in the previous regulation that included shotguns, centerfire firearms, muzzleloaders, and .22 WMR rimfire cartridges.
- Archery equipment regulations are similar to previous regulations, but language has been removed requiring bows to be able to cast different grain weights of arrows a minimum of 160 yards. For the taking of deer, antelope, bighorn sheep, black bear, mountain lion, mountain goat, or gray wolves in areas where they are designated as trophy game, a bow must have a minimum draw weight of 40 pounds. For moose and elk, a bow must have a minimum draw weight of 50 pounds.
Crossbow hunters are required to use a crossbow with a peak draw weight of at least 90 pounds and a bolt at least 16 inches long. Broadheads and expanding points for all archery and crossbow equipment must have a minimum cutting-width of one inch after impact.
The new regulations are effective immediately and will be in place for upcoming spring bear and turkey seasons and for fall big game and trophy game seasons. Read regulations in their entirety at the Game and Fish website: wgfd.wyo.gov.
Logo courtesy Wyoming Game and Fish Department