General Hunting Information


Hunting is a refuge management tool to help reach population numbers identified in the Bison and Elk Management Plan (2007). Bison and elk are the only two species managed through a refuge hunt program.

  • Elk Hunting

    Hunting Promo

    The 2020 elk hunt season will take place from October 13 - December 13, with a Youth Only hunt scheduled for November 26 - 28th. To apply for an elk hunting permit on the Refuge, hunters must complete an online application.

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  • Bison Hunting


    The 2020 Refuge bison season is scheduled to begin August 15, 2020 and run through mid-late January 2021. Bison hunters must already have a Wyoming state bison license, issued by the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, to apply for a Refuge bison permit.

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  • Voluntary Use of Non-Lead Ammunition


    The Refuge promotes the voluntary use of non-lead ammunition, allowing hunters a unique opportunity to maintain support for hunting programs by demonstrating a commitment to safe, quality hunting practices that will benefit the long-term conservation of wildlife.  Photo credit: Bud Hamm

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  • Retrieval and Guide Services


    Commercial retrieval services and guide services are not required while hunting on the Refuge. However, both services are available for a fee to assist hunters. Photo credit: Mark Gocke

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  • Bear Safety


    Grizzly bears have been sighted on the National Elk Refuge, including designated elk and bison hunting areas. Hunters should keep in mind they may encounter bears at any time and in any location. 

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  • Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges


    National wildlife refuges exist primarily to safeguard wildlife populations through habitat preservation. The word "refuge" includes the idea of providing a haven of safety for wildlife, and as such, hunting might seem an inconsistent use of the National Wildlife Refuge System. However, habitat that normally supports healthy wildlife populations produces harvestable surpluses that are a renewable resource. As practiced on refuges, hunting may be necessary for sound wildlife management. 

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