Sundance, Wyo.'s claim to fame is having the main character of the movie "Butch Cassiday and the Sundance Kid" coming from their town. Sundance is also surrounded by the Black Hills National Forest. Most of the Black Hills are in South Dakota. To the south is Thunder Basin National Grassland. The two areas provide thousands of miles of hunting territory.
Most of the whitetail deer, as well as mule deer, in Wyoming are on private land. The best public land area for deer hunting of any kind is in the Black Hills wildlife area around the Black Hills. There are some trophy-class bucks around but you have to have a lot of patience to find them. Most people come to Wyoming to hunt elk, which are relatively plentiful around the Black Hills and the Sundance area.
Whitetail bucks come in many sizes, and local hunters say there are some huge bucks in the area. The whitetail deer in Wyoming are not as majestic looking as deer in the south, but most people get the mid-sized animals during hunting season. There are also mule deer in the area, and they are generally more plentiful than the whitetail.
A new program in Wyoming is opening up private land for public hunts. Landowners are compensated on a per-acre basis by the Wyoming. There are three such areas around Sundance in Crook County. You may get a map that defines these areas from the state Game and Fish Commission. The hunts are called "walk-in," meaning no vehicular traffic is allowed. The landowner specifies what species of animal may be hunted and for what portion of the season. You do not have to get permission to hunt on these lands, but you do need to be sure you are in the correct area. All walk-in areas will have signs posted on fences to mark boundaries.
Deer season is divided into types of deer and different parts of the state, but in general hunting season is from Oct. 1 through the end of November. There are certain times during that period when only antlered deer may be taken, and other times when deer with no antlers may be taken. There are also drawings for deer at certain times, and these permits are awarded based on drawings from applications that are sent in to the Game and Fish Commission.
The Black Hills National Wildlife Area starts near Sundance and goes well into South Dakota. There are many public hunting areas in the Black Hills. A general hunting license and a deer stamp are all that is needed. There are primitive camping areas and developed camping areas in the South Dakota area of the Black Hills. Deer must be tagged and checked in at a ranger station in the Black Hills. Thunder Bay National Grassland is similar but does not have developed camping areas. Deer must also be checked there before leaving the area.
- Northern Plains Wyoming Devils Tower image by Jennifer LaFleur from Fotolia.com