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Private land in Albany County acquired for public hunting access 

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A chunk of private land in Albany County was purchased by a conservation group recently, and the hope is to guarantee public access to the land for hunting.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) acquired 6,659 acres of land in the southern end of the Laramie Range Mountains. The previous land owners had also allowed public hunting, but Leah Burgess, the conservation program manager for the RMEF, said that this purchase guarantees hunting access for years to come.

“It's important to manage the property in a way that maintains the habitat resource, and maintains the hunting opportunity and the quality of the hunt,” she said.

The area is known as the Mule Creek Public Access Area, and is managed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD). Burgess said the elk population in the area is more than 11,000 and that the WGFD population objective is 5,000.

“If there are far too many elk in an area it does cause kind of excessive grazing and impact on the resources that are being shared with ranching and other uses too,” Burgess said. “So it's good to be able to achieve a balance and being able to provide hunting access here is something that can help address that overpopulation issue.”

According to the RMEF, this section of land also links to 38,000 acres of other public land.

“In the southeast Wyoming area there is a lot of checkerboard ownership,” Burgess said. “And so while there is a relatively high percentage of federal land, quite a bit of that is inaccessible.”

The Mule Creek Public Access Area is open to licensed elk hunters that receive permission slips from the WGFD from October 15 to January 31.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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