WHMAs in the Bighorn Basin Set to Open in May and June

WHMAs in the Bighorn Basin Set to Open in May and June

Written by on April 29, 2022

Wyoming Game and Fish is opening its Bighorn Basin Wildlife Habitat Management Areas for Summer 2022 – just be cautious and bear-aware while you’re there.

Wyoming Game and Fish is gradually opening its wildlife habitat management areas (W.H.M.A.s). These areas give big game a safe, unaffected range to weather out the winter. However, all species benefit from the lack of human incursion during the most challenging parts of the year.

Wyoming Game and Fish manages five W.H.M.A.s within the Big Horn Basin that provide crucial habitat for wildlife.  Now that winter has passed, these areas will be open for human exploration.

Bull elk bugling in Canadian Rockies

All five Wildlife Habitat Management Areas in the Bighorn Basin will be open – in some capacity – by the beginning of June.

  • The gate to Sunlight W.H.M.A. northwest of Cody will open at 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 1.
  • Gates at Medicine Lodge W.H.M.A. and the gate to the upper portion of Renner W.H.M.A. near Hyattville will open at 8 a.m. June 1.
  • Sunshine W.H.M.A. near Meeteetse opens to foot/horse traffic only beginning June 1
  • Yellowtail W.H.M.A near Lovell is open year-round.

You can view a detailed list of opening dates and restrictions on W.H.M.A.s throughout the state on the Wyoming Game and Fish website.

However, Game and Fish reminds recreationists to be cautious around wildlife during the spring and always be bear aware.

Those who recreate in bear country need to be aware of the potential for encounters with bears.

When recreating in bear habitat, be cautious and alert. Hike in a group and make noise as you travel, so you don’t surprise a bear or other wildlife.

Learn to recognize areas of heavy bear use by knowing how to identify tracks, scats, and diggings, and if you smell a carcass, avoid it. In addition, flocks of magpies or ravens often indicate a nearby potential food source for bears.

To learn more, please visit the Bear Wise Wyoming website.

Furthermore, many wintering elk, mule deer, and other wildlife residing on the ranges will have newborn youngsters in tow, making them more defensive and aggressive if they perceive a threat.

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