Throughout the summer, the members of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project will be featuring a series of blogs. For more information about Trout Unlimited or to become a member, go to tu.org
As a haven for big game, protecting roadless areas in Wyoming benefits both backcountry and front-country hunters.
• About 9.2 of Wyoming’s 62.6 million acres (about 15 percent) are public U.S. Forest Service lands.
• Of those 9.2 million acres of U.S. Forest Service Lands, about 3.3 million acres, or 35 percent are inventoried roadless areas.
• About 17,000 acres, or 0.18 percent of total U.S. Forest Service Lands are recommended for wilderness designation
The Wind River Mountains are one of Wyoming’s most iconic and most visited ranges. Locally and nationally the Winds are a sportsmen’s destination. Whether looking to kill a trophy bull or catch a golden trout, there is something for everyone.
Guarding the southern tip of the range are 157,522 total acres of Forest Service backcountry lands that serve as the gateway to the range. These lands contain excellent hunting and fishing opportunities as well as great access for sportsmen of all stripes. Guides and outfitters depend on the region’s quality habitat and access to the mountains, while local hotels and businesses are full of hunters and anglers during the summer and fall seasons.
The Southern Winds provide excellent big game hunting for deer and elk. On the Eastern side of the range, such as in hunt area 28, elk hunters can purchase an over the counter general elk tag that allows them to shoot any elk for a three week season. An additional 283 late season cow tags were available in 2011 with a 100 percent draw rate for first choice applicants. On the Western side elk tags are limited quota but there are good draw rates and long seasons.
The Southern Winds serve as the headwaters for the Big Sandy, Sweetwater and all three Forks of the Popo Agie rivers. These fisheries contain some of the best wild trout fishing in the state from brook trout in their upper reaches to browns, rainbows and cutthroat further down. Several mountain lakes, containing a variety of fish species including golden trout, which the Wind River Mountains are famous for, are in roadless areas.