A few days ago when I visited the Wyoming Fish and Game station at the Wyoming Welcome Center on I-25, I picked up a few pamphlets, including one entitled A new Hunter’s Guide for the Recovery of Wyoming Big and Trophy Game Animals.
It has some good information which I thought I’d share in this post. For more information or to order hunting licenses, you’d visit their website at: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/hunting
The thrust of this pamphlet, written by Jim Dawson, “Safety and Responsibility for Wyoming Big Game Hunters.”
According to Dawson, “The responsibility of being safe, legal and ethical always needs to be first on the hunter’s mind. Once the trigger is squeezed the bullet can never be called back.”
Here are some safety points to bear in mind at all times.
- Do NOT shoot at sound or unseen objects.
- Do NOT shoot at animals on ridge tops – there may be roads, houses or people on the other side
- Shot placement is critical to ensure the animal doesn’t suffer and doesn’t manage to run into the woods to die, where you may never find it
- Running shots are ill-advised
- Long distance shooting is common in Wyoming. Learn your personal range.
- Party hunting is not legal in Wyoming
- Never shoot into a herd – only at a specific animal
- Follow all game laws to ensure your safety and the safety of others
Tracking and Game Recovery
Your goal should always be to drop the animal immediately. If you’ve hit the animal but it is able to run away, it is your responsibility to track it down and end its suffering if it isn’t already dead.
What you do after the shot:
- Stay where you are, look, listen and mark the area
- Watch the animal as it moves off for signs of where it was hit, as well as in which direction it goes
- Wait to see if the animal stops before beginning to trail it
- Walk to the area where the animal was standing and check for blood, hair or other signs and mark this area.
- Carefully approach the downed animal, or start to look for signs for tracking and recovery of the animal
How to Track the Animal
If the animal manages to run off it is your responsibility to track it down and end its suffering if need be:
- Check for blood, hair or other signs, and begin tracking by looking for hoof prints and blood spots in the area
- Blood color can help identify where the animal was hit. Bright red blood comes from the heart or the arteries. Dark blood may come from the liver or veins. Greenish blood might mean a shot to the stomach.
- At the last blood sign, walk in increasingly large circles to re-find the blood trail or make a grid search to locate the animal.
- Remember to keep track of your directions and leave a trail of your own so you don’t get lost
Filling out the Carcass Coupon
After you have recovered the body of the animal, Wyoming law requires you to detach and fill out a carcass coupon before leaving the site of the kill. Do this before field dressing the animal.
Here are some violations:
- Not properly tagging game before leaving site
- Not retaining evidence of sex
- Not wearing fluorescent clothing – even while field dressing
- Transfer of license to another person
- Failure to produce a hunter safety card while in the field
Field dressing is an important part of keeping the meat edible. Remember heat, dirt and moisture can lead to spoiled meat. Learn how to do this before you go out into the field.
If you purchased your license by mail or online, you must sign the license portion. The carcass coupon is only to be detached, dated and signed at the time you’ve killed the animal.