• Thank you for creating an account on Hunt Talk! We require that all new users contribute at least 10 posts before gaining the ability to start new threads. Once you have made 10 posts, you will be able to start new threads in the forum.

Advice for bringing a first timer-WY

LukeDuke

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2015
Messages
356
Location
Minnesota
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
 

Muleyewyo90

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2020
Messages
31
I would recommend Saratoga before Laramie or Rawlins. It’s pretty nice country down there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: shb

wytex

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2016
Messages
2,342
Location
Wyoming
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

New member
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
13
Location
SW, Michigan
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.
 
Last edited:

JLDemo

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 28, 2016
Messages
704
Location
Kansas
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

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2016
Messages
2,342
Location
Wyoming
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

New member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Messages
6
Location
SW, MT
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

New member
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
7
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

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2015
Messages
356
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.
 

406/307

New member
Joined
Feb 10, 2020
Messages
6
Location
SW, MT
I apologize to LukeDuke and chefcreed for not replying back. I had some minor work and family emergencies and decided to close the lid on the laptop and head to Oregon for some Steelhead fishing to get my mind right. In regards to mixing in some bird hunting, it just depends on your time and interests. I would pick a float fishing trip as my first choice if money wasn't an issue.

Without a dog, bird hunting can seem like a futile act but can be successful. I had a lab and a pointer in a previous life and would chase them to as many places as my gas fund and peanut butter sandwich fund could support. While a dog helps a ton, I have flushed many a bird that wasn't even near my dogs. Blue grouse are often shot while hunting for other species. Many with a bow or .22. They are great to eat. Without a dog you can find blues early in the season on the edge of aspen patches. As the season progresses they actually migrate up the mountain to winter. The hens and broods will be low early on. They like to fatten up on grasshoppers and other vegetation. The males tend to stay up high on ridges and love to bomb off the back side. That being said, without a dog I would simply go for a scenic hike along old logging roads and hiking trails. On a good year you will randomly run into them. Its up to you if you want to ground sluice them or get them to fly. They like to fly up into trees and can be easy picking up there. The purists will cringe, but my dogs liked when they fell out of trees dead. Oops.

Sage grouse have been a species of concern for decades. I no longer know how the populations are doing in southern Wyoming, season dates, or limits. For several years I worked on sage grouse research projects based out of Laramie and had 100 collared hens I chased around for a summer by Atv and Plane. While out Antelope hunting you may randomly run into them on the road or hiking. Mark where you see them and go back and hunt that area or terrain. They also leave a very distinct scat and if it is warm and fresh start looking. While the sage country looks all the same you can figure out ways to break down different features. If it has been a dry year hunting around water like stock ponds and small creeks is a good place to start. They will be fattening up on grasshoppers and various green vegetation in the riparian areas. While a big male "bomber" is an impressive bird shoot the little birds for eating. They are a tough bird to cook well so a good marinate helps. They are a bird to hunt for the experience as an icon of the sagebrush west. Their numbers are down overall so shoot one or two and let the rest fly. I loved hunting them but haven't pulled the trigger on one even when they flush in eastern MT while hunting huns.

My recommendation for this trip would be to focus on Antelope and go for a hike in the mountains for great scenery and a chance at blue grouse if you tag out early. Throw in a fishing rod and drive/hike to some lakes and bust a few grouse on the way and a few trout at the lake. If you have an extra $500 hire a guide to float the river. But at the end of the day, a Wyoming Antelope tag is enough. Hike a little further than everyone else, put on thick leather gloves and knee pads and crawl for that 200 yard shot. A skinned and quartered antelope practically fits in a fanny pack so hiking a mile isn't a big deal if you get one. If you get off the roads you don't need to be able to shoot 900 yards. A European skull mount is to me one of the coolest looking pieces of art. Cheers!
 

LukeDuke

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 7, 2015
Messages
356
Location
Minnesota
I apologize to LukeDuke and chefcreed for not replying back. I had some minor work and family emergencies and decided to close the lid on the laptop and head to Oregon for some Steelhead fishing to get my mind right. In regards to mixing in some bird hunting, it just depends on your time and interests. I would pick a float fishing trip as my first choice if money wasn't an issue.

Without a dog, bird hunting can seem like a futile act but can be successful. I had a lab and a pointer in a previous life and would chase them to as many places as my gas fund and peanut butter sandwich fund could support. While a dog helps a ton, I have flushed many a bird that wasn't even near my dogs. Blue grouse are often shot while hunting for other species. Many with a bow or .22. They are great to eat. Without a dog you can find blues early in the season on the edge of aspen patches. As the season progresses they actually migrate up the mountain to winter. The hens and broods will be low early on. They like to fatten up on grasshoppers and other vegetation. The males tend to stay up high on ridges and love to bomb off the back side. That being said, without a dog I would simply go for a scenic hike along old logging roads and hiking trails. On a good year you will randomly run into them. Its up to you if you want to ground sluice them or get them to fly. They like to fly up into trees and can be easy picking up there. The purists will cringe, but my dogs liked when they fell out of trees dead. Oops.

Sage grouse have been a species of concern for decades. I no longer know how the populations are doing in southern Wyoming, season dates, or limits. For several years I worked on sage grouse research projects based out of Laramie and had 100 collared hens I chased around for a summer by Atv and Plane. While out Antelope hunting you may randomly run into them on the road or hiking. Mark where you see them and go back and hunt that area or terrain. They also leave a very distinct scat and if it is warm and fresh start looking. While the sage country looks all the same you can figure out ways to break down different features. If it has been a dry year hunting around water like stock ponds and small creeks is a good place to start. They will be fattening up on grasshoppers and various green vegetation in the riparian areas. While a big male "bomber" is an impressive bird shoot the little birds for eating. They are a tough bird to cook well so a good marinate helps. They are a bird to hunt for the experience as an icon of the sagebrush west. Their numbers are down overall so shoot one or two and let the rest fly. I loved hunting them but haven't pulled the trigger on one even when they flush in eastern MT while hunting huns.

My recommendation for this trip would be to focus on Antelope and go for a hike in the mountains for great scenery and a chance at blue grouse if you tag out early. Throw in a fishing rod and drive/hike to some lakes and bust a few grouse on the way and a few trout at the lake. If you have an extra $500 hire a guide to float the river. But at the end of the day, a Wyoming Antelope tag is enough. Hike a little further than everyone else, put on thick leather gloves and knee pads and crawl for that 200 yard shot. A skinned and quartered antelope practically fits in a fanny pack so hiking a mile isn't a big deal if you get one. If you get off the roads you don't need to be able to shoot 900 yards. A European skull mount is to me one of the coolest looking pieces of art. Cheers!
Sounds like solid advice. Appreciate it. We will bring the shotguns and fishing poles.
 

chefcreed

New member
Joined
Dec 8, 2019
Messages
7
I think I need to do a preliminary focused Antelope hunt and scout around for other opportunities first go round. I get distracted easy so need to stay focused!
 

rwc101

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2019
Messages
1,412
Location
Laramie, WY
As other have said, Saratoga is the best for hunting and fishing. The snow survey cabin is at the top of the Snowies and it's a relatively short drop down into to Saratoga from there. For breweries, you can't beat Laramie. While The Library seems to be the favorite on HuntTalk I'm partial to Coal Creek and their pizza and Altitude will have you covered for steaks, some coming from a local butcher. You can't really go wrong with those three places though. Luckily, they're all within drunken stumbling distance to each other.
 

shb

Active member
Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Messages
161
Thanks guys. I will take a look at some lodging options

The motel on the hill between the grocery store, and airport is the least rapey of all the motels in town.

Waste a day on a float trip, it's awesome just for the scenery. But the fishing rarely disappoints.
 

flatlandbadger

New member
Joined
Jul 26, 2019
Messages
12
Gotta get in those hot springs in Saratoga. Simply magic on the feet and legs. The Snowies for the scenery, Laramie for food and western culture.
 

wytex

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2016
Messages
2,342
Location
Wyoming
Antelope hunting near Laramie would not be the best use of your PP but some nice ones can be found, my book buck is from right near town. Some terrain too for stalking, not all is flat but lots of areas are.
You have options for lodging in Saratoga, from nice to older and clean but cheaper, not cheap.
Sage grouse can be hunted very easily without a dog, blue grouse as well. In 32 years we have never used a dog on either and find and take some almost every year.
I can give you some areas around Saratoga to find them.
You can also catch a tiger trout near Saratoga, not as lot of places to catch them.

Laramie now has many breweries, The LIbraray, Coal Creek, Altitude, Bond's and Accomplice. Would have recc. the Rib and Chop house for a steak but recently talked with someone who cooked there for a bit, not a fan of microwaved food so steaks are not an easy find in Laramie at a restaurant.
Good fishing without a float trip but you should take one if you have time, either in Saratoga or up near Casper.

Noticed some changes to cow elk licenses proposed, if you archery hunt then some areas would have cow to pursue on public lands before rifle season opens.
Pronghorn season is a good time to venture up into the mountains and listen to the elk bugling, can be done from a road.
 
Top