Advice for bringing a first timer-WY

LukeDuke

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Having babies, work schedule, archery elk fever/etc....yep somehow I've managed acquire 9 antelope points and I will likely be buying a point again this yr as this coming fall is booking up fast. Not complaining as I feel blessed to be able to hunt as much as I do, but I really want to get back to Wyoming to hunt antelope. I want to split my points with one of my buddies who has never hunted big game. He is a great waterfowl and upland bird hunter and he and I have had shared some great experiences chasing each, so I'm comfortable with his hunting mindset.

I have hunted antelope around the Casper and Worland areas in the past, but I'm looking for something a bit more scenic/mountainous for his first trip. Per GoHunt, I should have a decent chance of drawing those units down in south central WY and I was targeting that area so we could see some timbered areas/etc vs pure sage country. We are not hunting trophies, but will have the patience and the time to look over a few animals. If its anything like my first antelope hunt, I will hold his shells for the first day:)

We will be driving from MN, so yes, if we choose south central WY, we will drive through a bunch of antelope to get there but that will be part of the adventure. He can learn to judge them at 75 mph...lol. So my questions to those who have been to that area, would you prefer to stay in Rawlins, Saratoga, Laramie/etc? I have some unit options that could land us close to each and we aren't afraid to travel. We will likely try to hunt in Oct and stay in a hotel/vrbo/etc vs camping. He doesn't drink, but I like to swing by a brewery and see what the local flavor is and we both enjoy a good steak so any tips you all have for lodging/things to see/etc for that area would be greatly appreciated. I just want to be able to show him some scenic country and hopefully some of Wyomings wildlife. Bighorns are a heck of a lot closer, so I haven't fully ruled that out either, but I have been through them before so I was looking for something new for me as well.

Thanks
 

madtom

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Saratoga is the “coolest” of the three towns you mention. Have seen nice goats in that vicinity too. I think that would be a good trip
 

Muleyewyo90

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I would recommend Saratoga before Laramie or Rawlins. It’s pretty nice country down there.
 

wytex

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Saratoga would be my advice as well. Lots of lodging options .
Bring your shotguns for waterfowl and or sage grouse depending on when you come out here. Fishing is great in that area too,.
Take the drive over the Snowy Range from Laramie side to get there. Stop in Centennial and eat at the Bear Bottom. The I-80 drive is also scenic to Saratoga.
 

wk4036

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Saratoga would be my advice as well. Lots of lodging options .
Bring your shotguns for waterfowl and or sage grouse depending on when you come out here. Fishing is great in that area too,.
Take the drive over the Snowy Range from Laramie side to get there. Stop in Centennial and eat at the Bear Bottom. The I-80 drive is also scenic to Saratoga.
I'll second the Snowy Range Pass, it's a nice scenic drive.
 
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JLDemo

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Saratoga would be the place to stay, so much to see and do around there. But make your way to Laramie for the food and brewery. I haven't had a bad meal in Saratoga, but hard to beat the Library in Laramie.

There's a memorial plaque for a few Game Wardens up near Jack Creek that's a cool drive and neat to stop and read over. The hot springs are a good stop as well. Bring some fishing gear if you find time to go, it'll be worth it.
 

wytex

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You might consider taking a float fishing trip while here, either out of Saratoga or Casper.
Also maybe look into renting a FS cabin for a night or two, some are quite remote and rustic but comfortable.
 

406/307

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First time poster, look time lurker....

My 2 cents: I lived in Laramie, WY from 2005-2013. After living in Gunnison, Colorado for 4 years and never drawing a Pronghorn tag Laramie was were I learned to hunt Antelope. I shot 1-2 antelope every year for the 8 years living there. My advice would be to stay in or around Saratoga to focus on your Antelope hunting. Then do side trips to Laramie. Rawlins would be fine if you want to focus on just hunting but lacks some of the other characteristics you are looking for. If you want a small town feel at the base of the mountains with great BLM access to Antelope hunting Saratoga is the spot. If you need a bigger town and just have to have a Walmart go with Laramie.

Hunting wise I would not choose Laramie. There is not much public ground close to town and the terrain is very flat and open. If you do end up in Laramie, I would choose a unit to the North or Northwest of town and plan on driving 1 hr each way everyday. That will put you back into large blocks of BLM, State, and walk-in program (private land/public access) hunting access. If you hunt out of Saratoga any of the units directly west of town all the way to the Utah border will hold plenty of Antelope. From Rawlins you can find Antelope and BLM ground in any direction.

Scenery: Between Laramie and Saratoga is the Snowy Range Mountains. The Snowy Range Scenic Byway is a 29 mile section of paved highway that goes from Saratoga east to Centennial and continues to Laramie. The scenery will check your box with high alpine mtns. lakes, etc. There are lakes and streams to fish, old logging roads to drive, etc. Google some pictures of this and you will get a quick idea.

Other Activities: After you fill your Antelope tags on day 1 you will want to have other options for fun. Bring a shotgun and hunt sage grouse in the bottom or head up the mtn. side and look for blue grouse. Blues taste great and are fun to hunt. Sage grouse are iconic so shoot one for the experience but you will not enjoy eating more than one. Bring a fishing pole and fish the famed North Platte for trout, high mtn. lakes, and small streams. There are some "secret" fishing spots out in the sage if you can read a map. Up in the Snowies, there is plenty of hiking and exploring.

Lodging: Saratoga is a one-horse town so I would make lodging reservations early during hunting season. There is a hotel that has it's own private hot springs or you can go to the public "HOBO" hot springs at the city park. Laramie has plenty of lodging, Rawlins as well.

Food/drink: It has been a few years so I am not up to date on current restaurants. Saratoga has a few. Drive over the scenic byway to the east and you will end up in Centennial. They have a few restaurants/bars with the Bear bar being my favorite for a burger and beer. Laramie has plenty of food options like the Library for burgers and wings and the Altitude Chophouse for something a little nicer. The breweries were not a thing when I lived there, but I'm sure I could find an IPA I would like.

Have fun: Antelope hunting is my favorite hunting and I like the meat better than elk......Just make sure you get the hide off the meat and the wind pipe cut out the animal quickly. I have never had a bad antelope of my own, but others yes. Another side note, Wyoming is a windy place, based on the number of wind turbines you will see in the distance, don't be surprised at 60mph wind days.
 

chefcreed

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Dec 8, 2019
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Thanks for posting this as as I was thinking about posting a question about a antelope or deer hunt with some birds and fishing mixed in. Do you need a dog to hunt grouse or possible to jump shoot and more important find them? I’ll look up the regs as well. Thanks again.
 

LukeDuke

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Feb 7, 2015
Messages
298
Location
Minnesota
First time poster, look time lurker....

My 2 cents: I lived in Laramie, WY from 2005-2013. After living in Gunnison, Colorado for 4 years and never drawing a Pronghorn tag Laramie was were I learned to hunt Antelope. I shot 1-2 antelope every year for the 8 years living there. My advice would be to stay in or around Saratoga to focus on your Antelope hunting. Then do side trips to Laramie. Rawlins would be fine if you want to focus on just hunting but lacks some of the other characteristics you are looking for. If you want a small town feel at the base of the mountains with great BLM access to Antelope hunting Saratoga is the spot. If you need a bigger town and just have to have a Walmart go with Laramie.

Hunting wise I would not choose Laramie. There is not much public ground close to town and the terrain is very flat and open. If you do end up in Laramie, I would choose a unit to the North or Northwest of town and plan on driving 1 hr each way everyday. That will put you back into large blocks of BLM, State, and walk-in program (private land/public access) hunting access. If you hunt out of Saratoga any of the units directly west of town all the way to the Utah border will hold plenty of Antelope. From Rawlins you can find Antelope and BLM ground in any direction.

Scenery: Between Laramie and Saratoga is the Snowy Range Mountains. The Snowy Range Scenic Byway is a 29 mile section of paved highway that goes from Saratoga east to Centennial and continues to Laramie. The scenery will check your box with high alpine mtns. lakes, etc. There are lakes and streams to fish, old logging roads to drive, etc. Google some pictures of this and you will get a quick idea.

Other Activities: After you fill your Antelope tags on day 1 you will want to have other options for fun. Bring a shotgun and hunt sage grouse in the bottom or head up the mtn. side and look for blue grouse. Blues taste great and are fun to hunt. Sage grouse are iconic so shoot one for the experience but you will not enjoy eating more than one. Bring a fishing pole and fish the famed North Platte for trout, high mtn. lakes, and small streams. There are some "secret" fishing spots out in the sage if you can read a map. Up in the Snowies, there is plenty of hiking and exploring.

Lodging: Saratoga is a one-horse town so I would make lodging reservations early during hunting season. There is a hotel that has it's own private hot springs or you can go to the public "HOBO" hot springs at the city park. Laramie has plenty of lodging, Rawlins as well.

Food/drink: It has been a few years so I am not up to date on current restaurants. Saratoga has a few. Drive over the scenic byway to the east and you will end up in Centennial. They have a few restaurants/bars with the Bear bar being my favorite for a burger and beer. Laramie has plenty of food options like the Library for burgers and wings and the Altitude Chophouse for something a little nicer. The breweries were not a thing when I lived there, but I'm sure I could find an IPA I would like.

Have fun: Antelope hunting is my favorite hunting and I like the meat better than elk......Just make sure you get the hide off the meat and the wind pipe cut out the animal quickly. I have never had a bad antelope of my own, but others yes. Another side note, Wyoming is a windy place, based on the number of wind turbines you will see in the distance, don't be surprised at 60mph wind days.

Thanks...I think we are going to give the Saratoga area a try. It looks beautiful. This grouse hunting thing has me intrigued. I grew up in eastern South Dakota and had a great time hunting pheasants so chasing a different species of bird will be an adventure. I think we might try a float fishing trip as well.
 
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