The Wyoming Game and Fish Department received thousands of applications for bison hunting permits this year, and invited about 400 of those to hunt.
Spokesman Mark Gocke says hunters will be helping to reduce the herd size of the largest land animal in North America. The ideal herd size is 500 bison, but there are currently 900.
Gocke says the drought has driven the bison herd from its typical summer rangeland and onto the Elk Refuge seeking forage. The herd competes with elk and other animals for food.
“A bison will eat three times as much as what an elk eats. And so, they can have a negative impact on their habitat if numbers get too high.”
Permit applicants receive information packets about hunting bison when they’re invited to buy a permit. Gocke says bison require more firepower and heavy duty equipment to field dress and move the game.
“It’s pretty unique. Most people don’t have the opportunity to hunt bison and may not fully realize, you know, what they’re getting into, and so we try and educate them as best we can.”
Gocke adds that a bison hunting permit costs $402 for Wyoming residents and $2,502 for non-residents. Bison hunting season will run until January 6.