JACKSON, Wyo. — The National Elk Refuge elk hunt is right around the corner with a few changes. The National Elk Refuge’s 2021 elk hunt program begins October 12 and runs through December 12.

The archery-only area will extend to the entire length of the western boundary of the Refuge in response to a hunter’s stray bullet hitting a parked vehicle during last year’s hunt. Firearm hunters will still be able to access the northwest area of the Refuge from the northern-most hunt gate but must remain on a designated route and have their firearm unloaded when passing through the archery-only area.

According to the Elk Refuge, “The goal for extending the archery-only area is to maximize safety while continuing to provide a quality hunting experience on the Refuge.”

Another change happening in the 2021 hunt season is the discontinuation of field-issued permits. The National Elk Refuge will not be providing field-issued permits during the later hunt periods. All permits that were previously issued as field permits will now be managed online in partnership with the Wyoming Game & Fish Department (WGFD) through their Access Yes! Program as Alternate Refuge Permits.

The initial application period for elk hunters interested in obtaining a permit to hunt on the National Elk Refuge closes on September 22. The application process for a Refuge permit for elk hunting is done in partnership with the WGFD through their Access Yes! Program.

There are three options for obtaining a Refuge permit to hunt elk. The first opportunity is to apply during the initial draw application period, which runs from August 1 through September 22 this year. Starting at 8 a.m. on September 24, hunters will have a second opportunity to obtain a Refuge permit by selecting from any of the permits left over from the initial draw. The third option to obtain a Refuge permit is through Alternate Refuge Permits.

Alternate Refuge Permits become available on October 22 for hunt periods beginning October 26 and are typically valid for three days. Hunters can apply weekly for the alternate draw by accessing the online WGFD Access Yes! Program between Friday at 9 a.m. and Sunday at 11:59 pm. Hunters may apply for Alternate Refuge permits each week.

Hunting on the Refuge is managed through a cooperative effort between the National Elk Refuge, Wyoming Game & Fish Department, and Grand Teton National Park, with the goal of achieving and maintaining population objectives.

Refuge hunt regulations and additional information can be found on the National Elk Refuge’s elk hunting webpage. For further information about the Refuge’s elk hunting program, please call the Refuge administrative office at (307)- 733-9212.

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Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.