SHERIDAN, WY—The Wyoming Game and Fish will now set a standardized opening time for Wildlife Habitat Management Areas (WHMAs) in the Sheridan Region beginning this year. In order to provide greater resource protection, provide a safe experience for the public and reduce impacts to wildlife, areas will now open beginning at 8 A.M on opening day.
The Game and Fish Department manages four WHMAs in the Sheridan Region – Ed O. Taylor near Kaycee, Bud Love outside of Buffalo, Amsden Creek outside of Dayton and Kerns near the Montana state line. These areas were acquired for and are managed to provide habitat for wintering elk and other wildlife. To support these goals, each WHMA is closed to human presence for designated times in the winter and early spring each year.
Historically on opening day, the public has been allowed to access the areas beginning at 12 a.m. and areas with access gates for vehicles opened anywhere from 12 a.m. to 8 a.m., depending on availability of department personnel.
In recent years the number of shed antler hunters has significantly increased on WHMAs throughout the state and the Sheridan Region. This escalating interest in shed antler hunting has resulted in ever increasing department personnel hours spent monitoring, enforcing closures and protecting wildlife and habitats within and surrounding these WHMAs.
Sheridan Region personnel presented this proposal of standardized opening times to the public at season setting meetings and via discussions at WHMA openings in the past and received positive response from the public.
Also new for this year, is a later opening date for Amsden Creek WHMA. The area has previously opened to nonmotorized use on May 1 and motorized travel on June 1. However, several times during the past few years, lingering snow on the mountains during the spring has kept the elk herd at lower elevation, requiring the closure to remain in effect for up to several days after the standard opening date. To simplify and standardize opening dates, it will now open to motorized and nonmotorized use on May 15.
Opening dates for the WHMAs are as follows:
Amsden Creek – 8 a.m. on May 15
Bud Love – 8 a.m. on May 15
Ed O. Taylor – 8 a.m. on May 15
Kerns – 8 a.m. on June 1
For questions or comments, please contact Seth Roseberry, Sheridan Region Habitat and Access Coordinator, at the Sheridan Regional Office.