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Frequently Asked Questions
Small Game
Q. Do I need an archery license to hunt rabbits with bow and arrow?

A. An archery license is required only for big and trophy game during the special archery season. You don't need a archery license to hunt small game, birds or predators. To hunt rabbits all you need is a small game license and conservation stamp.

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Q. Why is the limit so high for cottontail rabbits and why is the season so long?

A. The cottontail season runs Sept. 1 through Feb. 28. Over the years there has been little indication that hunting seasons or bag limits have anything to do with the dramatic population fluctuations that frequently occur with cottontail rabbits. Leading causes of death include harsh winters, heavy spring storms and disease. With that being the case, whatever harvest that takes place during the hunting season has a negligible effect on the viability of the population. Cottontails are extremely prolific and may have two or three litters during spring and summer averaging about four bunnies per litter. It may take several years following severe population declines for the population to rebuild. In high population years the 10-rabbit limit is often easily obtained. In down years, hunters do well to bag two or three rabbits and there are fewer hunters. The limit and season length is of little consequence.

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Q. Where can I find snowshoe hares?

A. Snowshoes are found in most mountain ranges throughout Wyoming. They prefer a mixture of aspen and conifers. Look for them in areas close to willows and young aspen stands. As their name implies, their large feet enable them to run on top of the deep snow. The well-prepared hunter may wish to take a page out of the snowshoe's book and invest in his own snowshoes as well. The limit is four per day and eight in possession. The season ends Feb. 28. A small game license is required to hunt snowshoe hares.

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Q. Do I need a license to hunt coyotes and jackrabbits?

A. Coyotes and jackrabbits are legally classified as predators along with raccoons, red fox, porcupines and skunks. Under Wyoming law, these animals may be taken year round and no license is required. However hunters must still abide by other laws pertaining to the taking of wildlife, i.e. prohibition of shooting from roads, fulfilling hunter safety requirements, hunting using artificial light etc. Further explanation of the dos and don'ts regarding these and other laws is contained in any Wyoming hunting regulation pamphlet.

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Q. Do I need a license to shoot gophers?

A. When people talk about shooting gophers, they are almost always referring to ground squirrels. In this context, the word "gopher" is a catch-all name for several varieties of ground squirrels found in Wyoming. The Richardson's or Wyoming ground squirrel, sometimes called a "picket pin," is the most common ground squirrel and is frequently called a gopher. Wyoming also has several species of gophers but these animals are seldom seen above ground. Ground squirrels and gophers are classified as nongame animals and are among the nongame species which can be legally taken in Wyoming. There is no closed season and no license is required.

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Q. Do I need a license to hunt badgers?

A. Badgers are classified as furbearers in Wyoming and a trapping license is required. Keep in mind that trapping laws require that traps be checked every 72 hours and all traps must have name tags. The season on badgers is open year-round. Trappers and hunters should check the regulations for seasons on other furbearers.

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Q. Do I need hunter education to hunt jackrabbits and prairie dogs?

A. Yes, if you hunt the animals with a firearm. Wyoming law says anyone born after 1965 hunting any wild animal with a firearm -- whether nongame, game or predators -- must have passed hunter education. The exception is hunting with archery equipment or persons hunting on land owned by their family.

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Q. Is it legal to hunt rabbits with a pellet gun?

A. There are no laws restricting the type of weapon that may be used to hunt cottontail rabbits or snowshoe hares. Cottontails are commonly taken by a variety of weapons ranging from archery equipment to .22 handguns. From a practical standpoint, the limited range of a pellet gun dictates that only close shots should be taken and hunters are advised to try for head shots to insure a clean kill.

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Wyoming Game & Fish Department Headquarters
5400 Bishop Blvd. Cheyenne, WY 82006
ph: (307) 777-4600
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