Fall hunting seasons begin
Small game, mountain grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, dove seasons open Sept. 1
by Wyoming Game & Fish
August 31, 2015
Even though many big game hunting seasons are still a few weeks to more than a month away, hunters can get the fall hunts started this week. Seasons open for a variety of small game and upland bird species on September 1.
Blue and ruffed grouse, often referred to as mountain grouse season opens Tuesday. Blue grouse are found in most mountain areas throughout the state on both Bureau of Land Management and national forest lands. Ruffed grouse are found in western Wyoming in the Shoshone, Bridger-Teton and Targhee National Forests. The season is long, ending November 30. Deer and elk hunters may want to make sure they have the correct licenses to take advantage of some ruffed grouse hunting while they are out in the field.
Sharptails may be hunted in the portion of Wyoming east of the Continental Divide. The lengthy season opens September 1 and runs through December 31. Best locations are Goshen, Platte and Laramie counties in the southeast portion of the state and Sheridan, Johnson, and Campbell counties in northeast Wyoming. Numerous walk-in areas are available for sharp-tailed grouse hunting and can be found on the Game and Fish website. https://wgfoapps.wyo.gov/plpwhmprogram/frmWalkinHuntingHome.aspx
Mourning doves are found throughout the state, and the quality of hunting is weather dependent. With the first cold snap, doves will head for warmer climes, but if the weather stays mild, dove hunters often have opportunities throughout much of September. Mourning dove hunters are reminded to have the federal Harvest Information Program permit (HIP permit) in their possession while hunting. The HIP permit is available free on the Game and Fish website -
https://wgfoapps.wyo.gov/HIPS/frmMenu.aspx. Dove hunters should be aware that Eurasian collared doves are common in much of Wyoming, especially in the eastern part of the state. Eurasian doves are an exotic species, are larger than mourning doves and can be identified by a black band on the neck and a squared tail. Since Eurasian doves are not listed as a Wyoming game bird, there is no closed season, no bag limit and no license is required.
Like mourning doves, small game animals are also found throughout much of the state. In Wyoming, animals legally classified as small game include cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hares and red, gray and fox squirrels. The small game season is long, opening September 1 and running through March 1.
License requirements for small game and birds vary with the age and residency of the hunters. Hunters 14 years and older are required to possess the proper small game or bird license. Resident youth under 14 do not need a license to hunt small game or birds and nonresident hunters under 14 years of age also do not need a license if hunting with a licensed adult and their bag limit is applied to and limited by the small game or game bird licenses held by the adult in his or her company. Youth under 14 can also hunt wild turkey, but a separate wild turkey license is required.