With the opening of hunting seasons on lands surrounding Yellowstone National Park, hunters are reminded that hunting is not permitted within the park. Though most of the park boundary is well marked, it is the responsibility of the hunters to ensure they do not hunt within the park.
The Lacey Act and the Code of Federal Regulations strictly prohibit the killing or removal of any animal, living or dead, from inside Yellowstone. This includes animals shot legally outside the park that cross into and die within the park boundary. Taking and removing any animal parts, including shed antlers, is also prohibited.
Violators are investigated and aggressively prosecuted, and are subject to penalties including fines, restitution, and the forfeiture of vehicles, equipment and personal property associated with the violations, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.
Federal law allows people who can legally possess firearms under applicable federal, state, and local laws, to legally possess and carry firearms in Yellowstone National Park, though discharge of firearms remains prohibited. The carry or use of other weapons such as bows, swords, and pellet or BB guns is prohibited. Additional details are available on the web at http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/lawsandpolicies.htm.
Continuing this year is a restriction on the transport of heads and spinal cords of deer, elk, or moose that were taken in states known to have chronic wasting disease in wildlife. Complete details can be found on page 16 of the 2010 Superintendent’s Compendium, which is available online at http://www.nps.gov/yell/parkmgmt/upload/2012_compendium.pdf.
Game animal carcasses or parts may be transported through Yellowstone by motor vehicle on park roads only if they are covered or stored out of sight, accompanied by a transport permit from the National Park Service, and are bearing a valid state tag as evidence that the animal was taken legally outside of the park.
Transport permits must be secured before entering the park, and can be obtained at any park entrance station or by calling (307) 344-7381, and arranging to meet with a park ranger.
Game animals cannot be transported on backcountry trails or stored overnight anywhere in the park, including campgrounds, parking lots, or at concession facilities. Stock users are reminded that proof of a current, negative Coggins test is required for all horses and mules being transported into or through the park.
Visitors or hunters who observe illegal hunting activity within the park should call the NPS tip line at (307) 344-2132. In some cases a cash reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone illegally using firearms in the park or illegally killing or transporting wildlife in the park.