2017 Wyoming Hunt Help

jnagel32

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Sep 22, 2015
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Pennsylvania
Hello guys. I'm looking for some help planning a WY pronghorn rifle hunt for my fiancée and I in 2017. She has never hunted before, but is really interested in it. I was watching a recorded episode of Fresh Tracks the other day and she was like, "I'd really like to do that. We should make it a family thing." So I was pretty excited about that! She'll be doing her Hunter Safety Course this year and I'm planning on getting a Ruger M77 Compact in 7mm-08 for her to use.

I'd like to just have a successful and fun time with her. Hopefully, shoot a buck and doe each. I just started applying for points this year and don't want to use my points for this trip. I'd like to save them up for a "trophy unit" down the road. I've heard the units around Gillete (23,24 I believe) are decent units for this type of hunt. We need areas with public access and tag availability. Do you guys recommend doing a party draw for those units? What would you suggest? I've never planned something like this before. Again, I don't want to lose the two points I'll have by then.

She is a country girl, so we wouldn't mind camping. So that is a consideration for the areas as well.
 
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5Speedjim

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Jul 11, 2011
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New Jersey
I would use the points if it was me so you get a tag. I would start checking out areas now, but be prepared for things to change. Bad winters or drought can knock down the herd and reduce tags in the area. I would also apply as a party so you both get tags or nobody gets one. Stick to antelope and don't try to combo it with deer on your first trip. Practice shooting to 200 yards or so and you should be good. Shoot off a pack like hunting not the bench. Good luck
 

sbhooper

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North Platte, Nebraska
If you are not all wrapped around a mega-lope, check the stats and go with an area that you can draw. In a good year, there are good bucks that come from all areas, but high pref points get you a better unit. The difference between an OK antelope and real trophy is really pretty small. They are a unique animal.

Concentrate on units that have good access to public ground. Some units are great, but have poor access. You may consider a subscription to Eastman's, as they lay out the access issue in their MRS. Get the OnXmaps chip, plug it into your computer and spend lots of time looking at public land in the areas that you are considering.

Good luck and have fun. I wish that my wife would have liked to hunt over the last 34 years!
 

fishing4sanity

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Mar 9, 2011
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eastern Washington
I was building points as well, and at the same time I took my sons antelope hunting on a couple of easier to draw areas. Watching them hunt was more fun than hunting for myself, but I also decided I wanted to hunt with them. The next year we put in as a group and I 'burned' my points, they now each have 3 lopes and I've got one, they also each have two bigger antelope than me. For me, sitting on points for one of the trophy units wasn't as much fun as getting out there with my sons. You're young, have her get a point next year and then in 2017 apply as a group and if using your points gets you out hunting together then use the points, after that decide if you want to build points.
 

7mm08mo

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Lake of the ozarks Missouri
I hunted unit 20 this year and put in for the draw which you can do, but when leftover licences went on sale in July there were around 400 any antelope tags leftover and you save the 14 dollar office fee. I paid a small access fee to hunt private ground around 100 dollars we had a blast three of us had nine tags and came back with 7 antelope two nice bucks and could have had nine if the others had shot strait and continued hunting one was done after two. If you buy the leftover tags I belive you don't have to burn points, if you want to be sure to get a tag put in for the draw, but when I go back I don't belive I will. Good luck on you hunt. By the way unit 23 was just on the other side of the interstate from where I was hunting,
 
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You can do really well in traditional leftover units/second choice draw units if the areas have lots of area that require walking to access land, not walk-in area but rather state blm where public 4x4 access doesn't connect large sections of land. I basically look for units that have double digit numbers of tags leftover then look at the maps to find an area where I could drive 4 miles of blm roads to the road dead end where you can walk a few sections further. This all but guarantees having the place to yourself as 95% of antelope hunters won't walk to a square mile section they can't drive into. Find a place, buy the gps chip, scout, driving in the night before, setup camp where you can start hunting from camp. At shooting time you are already 1-2 hours ahead of the guys camping on the country road or sleeping in a motel. Even in high pressure areas it amazes me how few guys are hunting before 8 am or so on a day with a 6:30 shooting time.
 

NoWiser

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Feb 12, 2013
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Minnesota
If you are planning a trip in 2017, you have plenty of time to do some research and find a leftover unit to hunt without burning points. My dad, cousin, and I each bought a leftover buck and doe tag this year in Wyoming. None of us had ever hunted antelope before. We started hunting on a Thursday morning and had our 6 antelope by 10:00 on Friday morning. We could have shot many more, including one whopper buck we saw after all of our buck tags were filled the first day. We hunted all public land, hiked our butts off, and never saw another hunter off of the roads. It was a hoot and the best part is we can all still continue to build points for a future hunt to a "blue chip" unit.

Good luck! With almost two years for research, you should be able to put together a great hunt.
 

VAspeedgoat

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Sep 4, 2014
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Timberville, VA
The units around gillete you are talking about would be an easy draw for a sedcond choice. However, it took me a long time to realize that most of the public land there isn't exactly great for antelope. As mentioned earlier I would check into a trespass fee hunt in easy draw areas. To get into a unit with descent public land you will need to burn those pp to make sure you draw. In my opinion I would rather make sure I draw than to worry about trophy units later. Also if you do a trespass fee hunt you will limely have trophy animals anyway. When you look at draw odds, there is a direct correlation between public land and number of applicants. Thats why there are typically leftover tags in the same units year after year. You need to make some decisions on what your priorities are and then do some calling to the game dept. or game wardens and narrow down which units fit your needs.

For what its worth if my wife said she wanted to do a hunt like that I would drop all the points I had to make sure the hunt happened. Get her hooked and you will go on hunting trips for the rest of your life. Take too long and she may lose interest or something may derail your plans( kids, jobs, etc.) Just go for it and learn how to hunt them, then worry about trophies.
 

JDH

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Sep 18, 2013
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943
Location
Indiana
Just south of 23 is 26. Give it a good look, I hunted it during 2014 and we all filled our tags. It was a great second choice unit. Send me a PM if you want some specifics.
 

deer_shooter

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Jul 20, 2009
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Southwest Pa.
All good advice so far. The gps chip is the best money you'll spend. I agree completely that 95% (probably closer to 99%!) of hunters will not walk anywhere.
I hunted unit 16 this year on leftover tags and got a nice buck and two does. I could have easily shot quite a few more. If you are willing to do the research and are not afraid to walk, you will have no problem getting into antelope and will encounter very few hunters, if any. I would keep buying points, have your fiance buy also and hunt any of the easy draw/leftover units - 22, 16, 113, etc. You will see plenty of antelope and should have little trouble filling some tags. Once you get a few under your belt, you'll have enough points that you can get into a better unit.
 

Midwest Hunter

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Oct 16, 2015
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HI there is was reading your post. there are 5 of us coming out in 2016. we could.really use your advice. we.have all bought 1 pp8m and have no trouble burning it. we.just don't know where to go. thanks in advance for your help. Tom Snider
 

jnagel32

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Sep 22, 2015
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Location
Pennsylvania
So it turns out my buddies are interested in going out to Wyoming to hunt antelope in 2016 after talking with them about it. So, we are gonna rifle hunt and are looking for 100% draw units with some public ground. I've been looking at unit 23 since it seems like it has some BLM land and walk-in unit area 7. Does anyone have any experience here? Is it worthwhile?
 

Topgun 30-06

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Allegan, MI
23 where you're talking about is a very tough hunt with not that many goats and the area gets pounded by people like yourself that think it's an easy draw tag with that public ground and WIHA to hunt. IMHO I would look elsewhere or you may be very disappointed. However, if you just want to get out there and get your feet wet with a chance at filling a tag it is a gimme leftover and you can buy two buck tags and 4 doe tags as leftovers.
 

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