Elk Hunting In Wyoming’s Remote ‘Little Siberia’ Might Help Trim Herds

For Wyoming hunters, the acquisition of a $2.3 million piece of the Mule Creek Ranch will get them access to an area of Albany County teeming with elk. Two hours from anywhere, it's located in a stretch of mind-boggling vastness that locals call “Little Siberia.”

Mark Heinz

April 22, 20244 min read

A herd of elk stand close together on a snowy Wyoming range.
A herd of elk stand close together on a snowy Wyoming range. (Tom via adobestock.com)

For Wyoming hunters, the good news is that the acquisition of a $2.3 million piece of the Mule Creek Ranch could get them better access to an area of Albany County teeming with elk.

The not-so-good news is that it’s about two hours from anywhere, in the far-flung northern reaches of the county — a stretch of mind-boggling vastness that locals call “Little Siberia.”

Then again, perhaps that’s good news for hunters who want to get away from crowds and are willing to put some miles on their boots, avid elk hunter J.R. Larsen of Douglas told Cowboy State Daily.

The acquisition should create a few more close-to-the road hunting opportunities for elderly hunters or those with mobility challenges, he said.

But the vast majority of it will be remote country.

“There isn’t a lot of roads out there, so it’s going to be for go-getters,” said Larsen, who is the southern Wyoming regional director for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF).

Public-Private Purchase

RMEF currently owns the property and was instrumental in putting together the land acquisition.

The Mule Creek Ranch sits just west of Laramie Peak and totals 6,600 acres. Game and Fish manages a public access area there, open for elk hunters with permission slips from the agency, Oct. 15 through Jan. 31 each winter.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission during its recent meeting in Riverton approved buying the western parcel, 2,660 acres, for $2.3 million. Game and Fish plans to make it a new Hunter Management Area (HMA), for which hunters will still need permission slips.

The Game and Fish acquisition should be completed in May.

The 4,000-acre eastern parcel will be bought by the 88 Land and Livestock Co.. A closing date hasn’t been set. The 88 Land and Livestock Co. has agreed to establish a public access easement during elk hunting seasons, Nov. 1 through Jan. 3.

On the western parcel, only elk hunting is now allowed. It might also eventually be opened for hunting mule deer, antelope, black bears and mountain lions.

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Getting Hunters ‘Spread Out’

The current Game and Fish public access area is already popular with some elk hunters, Larsen said. The new property acquisitions should help tie it in with better access to adjoining Bureau of Land Management and Wyoming State Lands parcels, creating a vast hunter’s paradise.

“What this is going to do is help spread hunters out across more land and provide some more opportunity,” he said.

The Mule Creek Ranch is in Elk Hunt Area 7, which has elk herds that are grossly over population objectives set by Game and Fish.

Some ranchers in southeast Wyoming say they’re getting overrun by elk, so Game and Fish has made it a priority to get hunters more access and better opportunities to kill more elk, especially cow elk.

Game and Fish is also considering offering hunters unlimited Type 8 cow/calf elk tags in some hunt areas, mostly on private land.

Larsen said he’s not certain if those Type 8 tags would be available for the Moose Creek Ranch access areas.

Truly Isolated

Some who hunt in Little Siberia find camping spots on BLM parcels or other public land, Larsen said. It not practical to drive in and out for a same-day hunt. The area is about a two-hour drive one way from Laramie, Douglas or Casper.

Little Siberia is one of Wyoming’s most remote places. Some ranchers there have lobbied to open a one-room schoolhouse rather than having to shuttle their children all the way to Rock River or Laramie.

Late-season elk hunts in Little Siberia might be a real challenge, Larsen said.

“During the winter, a lot of the time, you just can’t get back in there,” he said.

Residents are used to being cut off from the rest of the world during the winter. It can take county road crews based in Rock River all day to clear 100 miles of roads in Little Siberia.

Mark Heinz can be reached at mark@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter