Hunting Wyoming: Platte County Has It All, But Access Can Be Difficult

Outdoors writer Mark Heinz is doing a series on hunting around Wyoming. In Platte County, there's an outstanding variety of big game and bird hunting, but getting access can be a challenge.

Mark Heinz

November 29, 20235 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Illustration)

Just about anything Wyoming has to offer hunters can be found in Platte County.

The county catches the edges of the Laramie Peaks region with elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep. And the flatlands and North Platte River bottom country offer ample habitat for whitetails, antelope, waterfowl, pheasants and turkeys.

The catch is, much of the county is private land, so access can be challenging. Even so, there are some public parcels here and there. And hunters willing to knock on landowners’ doors might get permission to pursue game on private property.

Trophy Bulls, Rare Tags, Little Access

The access challenge is probably steepest for elk, local hunter and business owner Scott Davis told Cowboy State Daily.

Elk hunt areas 6 and 7 are both renown for producing trophy-sized bull elk, and Platte County includes sections of both areas.

However, most of those hunt areas in Platte County are on private land. And elk and mule deer can be the toughest species to get landowners’ permission to hunt, said Davis, who co-owns Cowboy Drug in Wheatland with his wife. The store also sells ammunition and hunting licenses.

“There’s some sections of BLM land where you can get lucky when the elk come through there,” he said. “Most of the good public land hunting in areas 6 and 7 is in Albany County.”

Bull tags can be difficult to draw as well. Area 7 is particularly known for its monster bulls. But it’s a limited quota hunt area. That means hunters must file applications to enter tag drawings months in advance.

The odds of drawing an Area 7 bull tag are about 20%, Davis said. When he was lucky enough to draw one, the hunting was good on public land during the early archery season.

“But as soon as the guns started going off (during rifle season) the elk all headed for private property,” he said.

Platte County also includes bighorn sheep hunt area 19. Davis said it’s one of Wyoming’s top areas for trophy rams. However, bighorn sheep tags are extremely difficult to draw, usually once-in-a-lifetime for hunters.

Permission More Likely For Whitetails

Platte County also has a healthy population of whitetail deer, including some sizable bucks. They’re mostly on private land, Davis said.

However, landowners are more likely to grant permission for access to hunt whitetails than for elk or mule deer, he said. Elk and mule deer tend to be in higher demand for outfitters or out-of-state hunters.

There also some walk-in hunt areas in Platte County, mostly east of Interstate 25. Walk-in areas are parcels of private land where the Wyoming Game and Fish Department has obtained easements for hunters to go in on foot.

The walk-in areas in Platte County are best for antelope hunting — but they might also see occasional mule deer and whitetails, as well as sharptailed grouse, Davis said.

Platte County also has lots of wild turkeys, Davis said. But again, they’re mostly on private property, so hunters will have to ask landowners’ permission.

Wonderful Waterfowl

Platte County is one of Wyoming’s better waterfowl hunting spots. Davis said that’s thanks in large part to Wheatland Reservoir 1.

That reservoir is closed to hunting, so it gives shelter to huge flocks of Canada geese and ducks, mostly Mallards. Sometimes the reservoir’s surface will be covered with thousands of birds.

There are smaller lakes with public access along flight paths from the reservoir, Davis said, so hunters can set up there and do well knocking down ducks and geese.

Farmers might also sometimes allow hunters to set up decoy spreads in their fields from Canada geese, and sometimes a few snow geese will come in as well, Davis said.

Some of the bays on Glendo reservoir are open to waterfowl hunting, and the area is also occasionally stocked with pheasants.

Other Hunting Wyoming Features

Hunting Wyoming: Big Horn County Has Whitetails Down Low, Elk Up High

Hunting Wyoming: Park County Retains Great Big Game, As Well As Bird Hunting

Hunting Wyoming: Sheridan County Deer And Antelope Down, But Elk Thrive

Hunting Wyoming: Johnson County Busting At The Seams With Elk, Not So Much Deer

Hunting Wyoming: Campbell County Known For Antelope — If You Can Get To Them

Hunting Wyoming: Elk Doing Well in Sweetwater County, But Deer, Antelope Down

Hunting Wyoming: Weston County Famous For Its Mountain Lions And Turkeys

Hunting Wyoming: Winterkill Hits Carbon County’s Trophy Herds Hard

Hunting Wyoming: Albany County Waits For Cooler Temps To Heat Up Hunting

Hunting Wyoming: Fremont County Great For Elk, If You’re Willing To Work For It

Hunting Wyoming: Teton County Has Great Outlook – Just Watch For Grizzlies

Hunting Wyoming: Elk Superb, Deer And Antelope Down In Sublette County

Hunting Wyoming: Come For the Big Game, Stay For The Birds In Natrona County

Hunting Wyoming: Larmie County Thick With Antelope, Small Game

Mark Heinz can be reached at

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter