Advice On First WY Antelope Hunt

lowmag

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May 15, 2021
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Hi everyone! After years of dreaming of hunting out west, my father, brother, and I finally decided to do it this year. We always talked about taking a trip sometime in the future, but my father had a heart attack in 2019 that really put things in perspective. After that we all bought a point last year for WY antelope.

I’ve been looking for units with 1 point on GoHunt and OnX. After researching and reading many similar threads on here, I have been looking at units 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 16, 17, 22, 23, 25, 37, and 113. Right now I’m leaning towards 6, 8, 16, 17, or 113 and have a few questions.

First, would we be better off burning the point on first choice, or trying to get one of these units in second choice special draw and trying to build points? I know tags are down this year.

Second, are any of these units non-starters? Most of them say poor public access, so we fully intend on doing a lot of walking, but it’s difficult to discern how bad “poor” is. I've eliminated quite a few that do seem near impossible. Any advice on these units (or others) would be appreciated.

We aren’t concerned about size - just looking to make memories as I don’t know how many more years we will be able to do this. We will probably try our hand at fishing as well since none of us have ever been fly fishing either. Thanks in advance. The knowledge and encouragement shared here has been very helpful and motivating.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2018
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Pick a unit, with reasonable access, go and have fun. As someone who started traveling west about 4 years ago, it’s much more about the country and the comraderie than the result. We’ve had years we’ve had great results and others not so much.... but it’s always fun regardless. Now one of my most cherished traditions every year. Do a little research, pick a spot and go. You won’t be disappointed
 

ElkFever2

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Any unit-specific advice is going to be read by hundreds of other people, which can then sway which units get more applicants. I’ll stick to general advice.

I hunted a <1 PP unit last year and filled my tag on day 5 of hunting. Access was slim, it was extremely crowded, and I had to work for my buck.

With WY, what you see is what you get. All hunting info is plastered all over the internet and there are few secrets. If you want to hunt this year, put in for a unit in the special draw that took 0 PP last year. If you want to roll the dice and maybe hunt, maybe not, then shoot above what you’re likely to draw and see what happens.
 

RobertD

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Southwest Georgia (GA)
Apply for the closest unit to a sure thing you can.

Scout a buck for your dad prior to opener. Put buck to bed and be there at daylight on the opener and get a tag on him early, since it may be a crapshoot from then on.

From there I have no other advice, just do your best to prioritize securing a tag so you get to just be out there and anything else will be a bonus.
 

Cheesehead

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Any unit-specific advice is going to be read by hundreds of other people, which can then sway which units get more applicants. I’ll stick to general advice.

I hunted a <1 PP unit last year and filled my tag on day 5 of hunting. Access was slim, it was extremely crowded, and I had to work for my buck.

With WY, what you see is what you get. All hunting info is plastered all over the internet and there are few secrets. If you want to hunt this year, put in for a unit in the special draw that took 0 PP last year. If you want to roll the dice and maybe hunt, maybe not, then shoot above what you’re likely to draw and see what happens.
Very good advice here and what Robert said.
I would suggest not just going with the published ‘public land percentages’, and instead, look at how much public is actually available and accessible to you (via OnX or similar), before applying.
A bunch of public away from a road that can’t be accessed counts towards public % but doesn’t help you.
Don’t be afraid to spend a few hundred extra for the special (it’s likely a small % increase of the total hunt cost) for a better experience
Most of all, relax and have fun. Antelope are high percentage hunts, and the meat ain’t bad.
DB1E9F05-645D-40C2-B690-237FC6E557B7.jpeg
 

RobertD

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Southwest Georgia (GA)
Very good advice here and what Robert said.
I would suggest not just going with the published ‘public land percentages’, and instead, look at how much public is actually available and accessible to you (via OnX or similar), before applying.
A bunch of public away from a road that can’t be accessed counts towards public % but doesn’t help you.
Don’t be afraid to spend a few hundred extra for the special (it’s likely a small % increase of the total hunt cost) for a better experience
Most of all, relax and have fun. Antelope are high percentage hunts, and the meat ain’t bad.
View attachment 183479
I've got an eight inch section of backstrap left from my New Mexico buck. I am so torn between eating it and hoarding it, it's almost tragic. 😫
 

406LIFE

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Aug 18, 2016
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1. If you really want to go, look hard at the special draw. 1 PP isn't much anymore and given the COVID swing, I'd be doing what I could to find best odds.
2. Public Land does not mean that there is access. Just because there is a road doesn't mean its a public road. Do you research on that.
3. Start now building relationships with landowners. Think about trespass fees.
4. Consider just doing doe tags. Cheap and far more easily accessed.
5. Your flyfishing will be in the western portion of the state. Think about doing the WY Cuttslam while you are here.
6. Also consider the history and geology out here. Take a moment to visit some sites.
 

Dsnow9

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This reminds me that I still need to post the story of my antelope trip last year. Took my dad out for his first hunt ever and my brothers first antelope hunt. We hunted one of the busiest units in the state. My brother and I had buck tags, my dad had a doe tag. We scouted the day before the season and could have tagged out before lunch time if it were not for a couple missed shots by my brother and hesitation from my dad. Very windy opening day. We were not picky about size but were done in two days. My recommendation and something I posted to @ElkFever2 live hunt is be aggressive and go in for the stalks. Lots of animals and lots of people constantly moving. Use pressure to your advantage and make a move, if you mess it up you will get more chances. If you hang back someone else may get the animal or blow it.
We plan on going back again this year and are hoping to make a yearly trip out of it as long as we can get tags.
 

mstevens317

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Nov 20, 2020
Messages
262
Very good advice here and what Robert said.
I would suggest not just going with the published ‘public land percentages’, and instead, look at how much public is actually available and accessible to you (via OnX or similar), before applying.
A bunch of public away from a road that can’t be accessed counts towards public % but doesn’t help you.
Don’t be afraid to spend a few hundred extra for the special (it’s likely a small % increase of the total hunt cost) for a better experience
Most of all, relax and have fun. Antelope are high percentage hunts, and the meat ain’t bad.
View attachment 183479
I use GoHunt for public land %’s, but don’t know how to use my OnX account for that. Will you explain a little more on it please? PS, those cuts of meat look incredible!
 

wytex

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Wyoming
madtom is right about the fishing, bring your spinning gear too if it's windy for fly fishing.
 

lowmag

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May 15, 2021
Messages
14
Any unit-specific advice is going to be read by hundreds of other people, which can then sway which units get more applicants. I’ll stick to general advice.

I hunted a <1 PP unit last year and filled my tag on day 5 of hunting. Access was slim, it was extremely crowded, and I had to work for my buck.

With WY, what you see is what you get. All hunting info is plastered all over the internet and there are few secrets. If you want to hunt this year, put in for a unit in the special draw that took 0 PP last year. If you want to roll the dice and maybe hunt, maybe not, then shoot above what you’re likely to draw and see what happens.
Apply for the closest unit to a sure thing you can.

Scout a buck for your dad prior to opener. Put buck to bed and be there at daylight on the opener and get a tag on him early, since it may be a crapshoot from then on.

From there I have no other advice, just do your best to prioritize securing a tag so you get to just be out there and anything else will be a bonus.
Very good advice here and what Robert said.
I would suggest not just going with the published ‘public land percentages’, and instead, look at how much public is actually available and accessible to you (via OnX or similar), before applying.
A bunch of public away from a road that can’t be accessed counts towards public % but doesn’t help you.
Don’t be afraid to spend a few hundred extra for the special (it’s likely a small % increase of the total hunt cost) for a better experience
Most of all, relax and have fun. Antelope are high percentage hunts, and the meat ain’t bad.
1. If you really want to go, look hard at the special draw. 1 PP isn't much anymore and given the COVID swing, I'd be doing what I could to find best odds.
2. Public Land does not mean that there is access. Just because there is a road doesn't mean its a public road. Do you research on that.
3. Start now building relationships with landowners. Think about trespass fees.
4. Consider just doing doe tags. Cheap and far more easily accessed.
5. Your flyfishing will be in the western portion of the state. Think about doing the WY Cuttslam while you are here.
6. Also consider the history and geology out here. Take a moment to visit some sites.
This reminds me that I still need to post the story of my antelope trip last year. Took my dad out for his first hunt ever and my brothers first antelope hunt. We hunted one of the busiest units in the state. My brother and I had buck tags, my dad had a doe tag. We scouted the day before the season and could have tagged out before lunch time if it were not for a couple missed shots by my brother and hesitation from my dad. Very windy opening day. We were not picky about size but were done in two days. My recommendation and something I posted to @ElkFever2 live hunt is be aggressive and go in for the stalks. Lots of animals and lots of people constantly moving. Use pressure to your advantage and make a move, if you mess it up you will get more chances. If you hang back someone else may get the animal or blow it.
We plan on going back again this year and are hoping to make a yearly trip out of it as long as we can get tags.
madtom is right about the fishing, bring your spinning gear too if it's windy for fly fishing.

Thanks for all the good advice so far. Sounds like we should plan on using the point on special draw, especially with unit reductions. I've been spending a good deal of time trying to sort out the % public vs. accessible public, which can be a task.

Also sounds like I should just take a spinning reel!
 

ElkFever2

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Mar 4, 2019
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Location
Iowa
I've been spending a good deal of time trying to sort out the % public vs. accessible public, which can be a task.
It’s not that hard. On OnX if a 2-track passes through private it is almost always not a public road. If the road is named/labeled on OnX it is generally a public road. OnX you can also zoom in and see if the road is gated; if it is it is usually not public access. OnX contains errors, so do not rely on it.

Next check the county road maintenance maps. These are very clearly labeled. If the road is maintained by the county it is almost always public access. If it is not publicly maintained, it is rarely accessible to the public.

If it’s still not clear, ask the local game warden. They often know.

One last tip: some roads are intentionally created to jog just across the boundary on the private side (like by 5-10 ft), in order to intentionally bar access. The road might be publicly maintained on each side of the private corner, but it might be gated or a no tresspass sign on the tiny private corner. I even found one where I thought I could corner hop and walk but the landowner had constructed a huge barrier on the corner to prevent this.
 

Ranger91298

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Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
15
My friend Joe and I hunted Wyoming in 2010 in a unit that had limited public access and a guaranteed draw. After we were drawn, we bought the 4 additional doe tags. All together, we filled all 10 tags in five days. We did this by hunting small patches of public land. Here is some advice...

1. Buy the additional doe tags if this is still an option as there is not much meat on them and they are fun to hunt.
2. If you bust a herd, they generally run 1 or 2 terrain features away before grazing again. So just move slowly in the direction they ran.
3. They do not like to go under or over a fence line and will tend to follow them.
4. Stop at the local fish and game office to find a local shop that carries up-to-date maps or purchase onXmaps if not already done so. Know where you are at ALL THE TIME! The local farmers will be driving the roads to look for trespasser's. We had one farmer stop us and tell us that we were on his neighbors property as we were pulling my do out. We pulled out the map and pointed where we were on it and then pointed out the property line which was only about a 10 yard difference.
 

RobertD

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Jul 16, 2020
Messages
857
Location
Southwest Georgia (GA)
My friend Joe and I hunted Wyoming in 2010 in a unit that had limited public access and a guaranteed draw. After we were drawn, we bought the 4 additional doe tags. All together, we filled all 10 tags in five days. We did this by hunting small patches of public land. Here is some advice...

1. Buy the additional doe tags if this is still an option as there is not much meat on them and they are fun to hunt.
2. If you bust a herd, they generally run 1 or 2 terrain features away before grazing again. So just move slowly in the direction they ran.
3. They do not like to go under or over a fence line and will tend to follow them.
4. Stop at the local fish and game office to find a local shop that carries up-to-date maps or purchase onXmaps if not already done so. Know where you are at ALL THE TIME! The local farmers will be driving the roads to look for trespasser's. We had one farmer stop us and tell us that we were on his neighbors property as we were pulling my do out. We pulled out the map and pointed where we were on it and then pointed out the property line which was only about a 10 yard difference.
All good advice for the OP but just so you know doe tags are way way more scare nowadays, unfortunately.
 

Mustangs Rule

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Feb 4, 2021
Messages
289
Hello, I just came across your post last night. When is the application deadline,June 1st ? Have you applied already? What kind of physical condition are all of you in, especially your dad?

I used to live in Wyoming and near exclusively hunted one zone early in the season in the high mountain meadows, 8,000' to 9,000' plus, right up with the wolves and grizzlies in the Aspens.

Why would anyone use a spinning rig in Wyoming ?
 

bts09

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Aug 9, 2017
Messages
282
Location
Texas
Thanks for all the good advice so far. Sounds like we should plan on using the point on special draw, especially with unit reductions. I've been spending a good deal of time trying to sort out the % public vs. accessible public, which can be a task.

Also sounds like I should just take a spinning reel!
So, I would just use the Wyoming website map for public access.


You don't really need to be so worried about "percentage" public vs private; what you need to care about are large chunks of public that are accessible from a public road and the topography of those chunks. It does you no good if a unit is 75% public but there's no legal access.

If you're willing to burn the cash for a "special" tag, that's the play. I would look at ALL the units where there were 0 first choice applicants for a special tag in 2020. That's 29 units (depending on tag date). Rule out the ones with no or bad access. That will leave you like 5-6 to choose from. If you want, once you get down to your final few choices, PM me and I'll tell you what I can about them.

Look, you could also go based on which ones were a "sure thing" last year with one preference point, but if you want to hunt this year, I would not play those odds--point creep is going to be real, there are fewer tags this year, etc. If hunting this year is most important, stick to the plan above.
 
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