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Postcard from the Past: Review of Game Laws From 1898

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Author’s note: As I head to the mountains for a month of hunting, fishing, camping and enjoying fall colors, I usually review game laws to see what changes have been made. While doing some research on when we first had rules governing game and fish in Wyoming, I discovered the following directive from 1898. 

To all of those who hunt and fish our great state – enjoy, stay safe and obey the law.

Extract from Wyoming game laws – in force July 1, 1898

The male animals only of deer, elk, moose, mountain sheep, mountain goat or antelope may be killed for food purposes during the months of September, October and November of each year.

It is unlawful to trap any of the above-named animals or to use dogs for the purpose of running or coursing them. It is unlawful to obtain by barter or buy any green, tanned or un-tanned hides or horns of any of the animals mentioned above, and it is unlawful for any railway, stage or express company to receive for transportation any carcass, or part of carcass, except mounted heads or stuffed birds or animals killed, in accordance with law, may be transported to any point within or without the state.

Partridges, pheasant, prairie chicken, prairie hen or grouse may be shot from Aug. 15 to Dec. 1 of each year. Sage chicken may be shot from July 15 to Oct. 1. Wild duck, brant, geese and swan may be shot from Sept. 1 to May 1.

Speckled trout, land-locked salmon, grayling or California trout can be caught with fishing tackle only consisting of a rod or pole, line and hook during the months of May, June, July, August and September.

It is unlawful to seine, trap or snare any fish or to use any explosive substance or poison in any of the waters of this state for the purpose of securing or killing fish.

Any person or persons having in their possession and offering for sale, or causing to be offered for sale, any game, game fish or game fowl killed within the boundaries of the state of Wyoming shall be fined not to exceed $100.

Non-residents of Wyoming may hunt the male animals mentioned above during the months of September, October and November, upon procuring a license from a Justice of the Peace, for which a fee of $20 is charged.

As of September 2023, there is page after page of game regulations which can only be found online and is a real burden for seasoned, old hunters trying to obey the law while still enjoying the pursuit of their next meal.

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