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Managed public hunting now accessible in 6,600-acre area between Casper, Laramie

(Wyoming Game and Fish Department)

CASPER, Wyo. — Following a decade-long project to open up public hunting access to a growing wildlife habitat, 6,600 acres of combined public and private land are officially conserved and accessible for elk hunting, according to a release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

A collaborative effort between the RMEF, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and a vested ranching family now allows greater public hunting access to elk in Wyoming’s Elk Hunt Area 7 between Casper and Laramie, an area with an ever-growing elk population.

In the release, RMEF President and CEO Kyle Weaver said that the foundation owned Mule Creek Ranch within the hunter management area for two years while it assessed how to best conserve and manage the area and its wildlife.

“Now, we’re happy to announce a solution incorporating conservation-oriented grazing management and hunting access in coordination with elk movements and nearby ranches,” Weaver said in the release.

Game and Fish Land Branch Chief Roy Weber said in the release that this effort would also not be possible without funding provided by the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, the Knobloch Family Foundation and the RMEF itself.

“The Mule Creek Ranch project is a shining example of a successful effort from a public and private partnership to provide perpetual habitat conservation and public access opportunities in an area where elk populations have been difficult to manage,” Weber said in the release.

How the 6,600-acre area is managed

As this managed hunting area is the result of a public–private partnership between Game and Fish and private ranches, ownership over the area is split. Wyoming Game and Fish will own the western 2,600 acres as a wildlife habitat management area. According to the release, this area will include public parking, water and power sources and greater sage grouse priority habitat.

88 Ranch, owned by Garrett Henry, will manage the remaining 4,000 acres on the eastern portion of the area. The RMEF release said the owning family has proven it values public hunting access and wildlife conservation.

Henry said in the release that the purchase of the ranch and the eventual opening up to managed public hunting is an example of how ranching families can continue to fulfill their goals of owning and using land while still protecting wildlife and allowing the public to use it for hunting.

“I believe if this kind of thought process could gain traction, we could help promote our agricultural families, permanently conserve our rangeland habitat and allow our hunters across this great nation a place to hunt,” Henry said in the release. “It is a win for so many and a dream come true for the 88 Ranch.”

For more information regarding what the RMEF is and what it does, see the RMEF website. For more information on how to get approved for hunting in Wyoming, see the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s “What Do I Need To Hunt?” page.

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