Hunting season is ramping up in Park County, bringing with it plenty of excitement, orange and camo wardrobes and last-minute sight-ins.

As a few recent incidents have shown, we think it’s also a time when people should brush up on their Wyoming hunting regulations.

Fines and punishments are justifiably steep for hunting crimes, whether it’s taking the wrong sex of animal, hunting out of season, hunting in the wrong areas or wasting an animal.

In August, Cody’s Game and Fish office asked for the public’s assistance in finding who shot and killed two deer prior to the start of the season.

And during the week, two out-of-state hunters and a local guide were on trial in circuit court for wounding animals and leaving them to die, as well as not taking the meat of animals they did kill.

While the fines hunters face for these crimes aren’t usually too harsh, judges can also revoke hunting and guiding privileges, putting hobbies and livelihoods on the line. These can be devastating, but they’re necessary if hunters represent themselves as the country’s foremost conservationists.

With the rewards of the hunt come the responsibility of respecting the animal, other hunters and the spirit of fair chase.

Harvest too many animals and you could be denying another hunter the chance. Harvest the wrong sex and you could help wreck the balance of male and female in certain areas. Let meat go to waste and you’re disrespecting the animal killed and the community itself, which prides itself on the ethics as much as a successful hunt.

So we hope tags are filled and that every sportsman and woman live up to the ideal of the ethical Wyoming hunter.

Zac Taylor

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