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How To Hunt Elk in Wyoming This Year

We break down how to apply, the draw system, hunt types and major changes for the 2024 Wyoming elk application period for non-resident hunters.

How To Hunt Elk in Wyoming This Year

Photo courtesy of Jason Loftus

Wyoming can be one of the premier states to hunt elk in the western U.S., but recent changes could make it more difficult for nonresidents to draw a tag. If you’re interested in a limited quota hunt or a general tag, Wyoming offers quality hunts all-around. You must first know the application deadline for non-resident applications is Jan 31, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. MT. You can apply here.

New for 2024

Going into the 2024 season, there were a few major changes.

genelkunits-wyo

First and foremost, nonresident general elk applicants will now have to apply for a specific nonresident region general elk license. Prior to this season, a nonresident general elk license allowed you to hunt any open general unit within the season dates. This season, you must choose between three regions when applying. Once successful, you will be only able to hunt that specific region during the unit’s season date.

Next, a major fee increase for nonresident special elk of nearly 60%. Last year the tag would cost around $1,100 to this season a staggering $1,965.

Wyoming Draw System

Each state has a different draw system and application process. Wyoming runs on a modified preference point system, where 75% of the licenses are given to the people with the most preference points, while the other 25% are allocated randomly.

When applying as a party, you can apply with up to six people. The party will be treated as a single applicant, and if drawn all party members receive a license. The party applicants will have their preference points averaged among the group; i.e., three total party members with seven, six, and two points respectively will average five points as party for the draw.

When applying as a party, one member will apply as the “Party Organizer” and be given a six-digit party ID. Each party member then will use this party ID assigned number to jointly apply together. It’s also worth noting, Wyoming Game and Fish Department will allocate licenses over the hunt quota to cover party applications, so there is no decrease in draw odds for a group application.

Hunt Types

  • Type 1 – A rifle license valid for the specific season indicated within WGFD regulations. It also allows hunters to purchase an over-the-counter archery stamp and bowhunt during September.
  • Type 2 – These vary by either season or a boundary line.
  • Type 9 – These are archery-only hunts, valid in a hunt area during the archery only dates.
  • General License – This license allows hunters to rifle hunt the area within their region. They too can buy an OTC archery stamp, allowing them to bowhunt in the general season area.
  • Type 4 and 5 – These are full priced cow/calf licenses.
  • Type 6 and 7 – These are reduced price licenses, that do not utilize preference points.
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The author took this bull during the archery season in a general unit.

Designated Wilderness Areas

Before applying in a specific unit, it’s important to remember a nonresident cannot legally hunt in a designated wilderness area in Wyoming without a licensed outfitter or Wyoming resident guide. A resident guide must go to a WGFD office and get a resident guide license in person, before taking someone into these areas.

Bear Country

This article would do an injustice if we didn’t at least mention that a vast majority of western Wyoming has a grizzly population, and it continues to grow in number and expand further each year. If deciding to hunt in occupied grizzly bear areas, be sure to take proper precautions and be bear aware. Coming from personal experience, they are much more prevalent than one would think in the western half of the state. There are areas where it is not an issue, so do your research before applying.

Wyoming is still an incredible elk state and one worth applying for in 2024. At a minimum, we highly recommend buying a preference point for elk during the point-only purchase period. Almost every area of the state is above population objective and Wyoming still offers the best mix of trophy potential and opportunity. If you want to learn more about the best draw odds and research before applying in Wyoming, be sure to check out the GOHUNT Insider for the most accurate and up to date breakdown of the state.




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