Antelope Advice for Beginners (WY Unit 21)

thusby

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Nothing like spending $1k, vacation days, time away from family, and wear and tear on your vehicle to fight over yearling antelope bucks with crowds on 1 square mile of public that touches a county road. Or even better, sitting in your truck next to others for 3 hours with onX pulled up watching a lone 6 inch buck bedded on private and you are praying he decides to go under the fence onto the quarter mile piece of public so you can get a shot. This isn't 2010. If a unit is easy to draw, and you are strictly hunting public, it's going to suck. No thanks, I would rather be at my desk making money and using my vacation days and time away from family a lot more wisely than that. Lot's of other opportunities out there for an actual enjoyable experience out hunting. Despite what they are selling you, there are alot of hunts that are an absolute waste of time and money. If a bus takes me out, I'm ok having missed out on the *units that you can draw with 0 points as an NR in 2022.
This post should be anchored to the top of the forum. If you follow this advice, you could be on a tropical island fishing instead of trying to get your truck off a slicked up bentonite road on day 6 of a fruitless antelope hunt in unit 21.
 

WyoDoug

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Nothing like spending $1k, vacation days, time away from family, and wear and tear on your vehicle to fight over yearling antelope bucks with crowds on 1 square mile of public that touches a county road. Or even better, sitting in your truck next to others for 3 hours with onX pulled up watching a lone 6 inch buck bedded on private and you are praying he decides to go under the fence onto the quarter mile piece of public so you can get a shot. This isn't 2010. If a unit is easy to draw, and you are strictly hunting public, it's going to suck. No thanks, I would rather be at my desk making money and using my vacation days and time away from family a lot more wisely than that. Lot's of other opportunities out there for an actual enjoyable experience out hunting. Despite what they are selling you, there are alot of hunts that are an absolute waste of time and money. If a bus takes me out, I'm ok having missed out on the *units that you can draw with 0 points as an NR in 2022.
This post should be anchored to the top of the forum. If you follow this advice, you could be on a tropical island fishing instead of trying to get your truck off a slicked up bentonite road on day 6 of a fruitless antelope hunt in unit 21.
Definitely not my experience. Last year was heavy in my area. Sounds almost like someone that gets hunting conditions from the TV or reading hunting forums really. Get past the first couple days of hunting season, the orange hats for most part go away. If a unit is easy to draw in Wyoming, that usually means the population is well above target and fewer people are hunting it. But if you think it is easy to hunt them critters, you got some learning to do. Them big bucks do not get big by being easy to hunt. That is for sure.
 

kwyeewyk

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This post should be anchored to the top of the forum. If you follow this advice, you could be on a tropical island fishing instead of trying to get your truck off a slicked up bentonite road on day 6 of a fruitless antelope hunt in unit 21.
Funny part is it was a 2 point unit last season and demand is only going up, imagine what the 0-1 point units are like. Guess it all depends on how bad you want to hunt, good info for people to consider that haven't experienced it, better be ready to burn some boot cause there's a lot of WY that looks accessible by road from a quick glance but really isn't once you get there, and only way to know if they are there is to go look on foot.
 

WyoDoug

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Funny part is it was a 2 point unit last season and demand is only going up, imagine what the 0-1 point units are like. Guess it all depends on how bad you want to hunt, good info for people to consider that haven't experienced it, better be ready to burn some boot cause there's a lot of WY that looks accessible by road from a quick glance but really isn't once you get there, and only way to know if they are there is to go look on foot.
Exactly. But you have to take much of what you read online with a grain of salt. The best hunting info comes with boots on the ground and good ole scouting in person. Easy to draw units are sometimes more difficult to hunt and often very difficult to hunt first week of hunting season. Outside that, I find them much better once the weekend hunters leave the area so I do much of my hunting later in the season especially if my target is meat and not to get a buck.
 

WyoDoug

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Another thing to note, hunting strategies and tactics change from one area to the next and even from one season to the next. The way I hunted my area last year was completely different from previous years. Where you find antelope hanging around before the season, they are often scarce come hunting season. Where you find they are hanging on private propery while you are hunting, on another day a week later you'll find them elsewhere. Except during the rut, antelope are not always tied to a certain area. You bump them, they often leave the area completely and don't return for a day or two. You also have to evaluate other pressures like what do the locals do to discourage antelope from congregating on their irrigated land or cultivated in case of dry land farming. I grew up in farming country where the farmers often carried a 30-30 in the tractor and shot at antelope and left them lay. A herd of antelope can destroy 50 acres of wheat in nothing flat plus they damage fences and cattle get out.
 
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BlakeA

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@WyoDoug this is regarding NRs. I know that you mean well but you pay less than $60 total for a buck and a doe tag as a resident. You literally have very little put into the hunt both monetarily and travel wise. In fact, if you live nearby the unit, you are probably able to hunt every day of the season. That's not the case for the majority of NRs. There is alot of crap being sold to new guys getting into/wanting to experience a hunt out west particularly antelope in WY.
 

WyoDoug

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@WyoDoug this is regarding NRs. I know that you mean well but you pay less than $60 total for a buck and a doe tag as a resident. You literally have very little put into the hunt both monetarily and travel wise. That's not the case for the majority of NRs. There is alot of crap being sold to new guys getting into/wanting to experience a hunt out west particularly antelope in WY.
This is true. But even then, your best info is boots on the ground scouting. And it often calls for new strategies you would not learn online. Being a resident, I am familiar with the areas I hunt and I know the roads and terrain features for the most part. A NR will not have that familiarity with the area that I would have. My hunting budget is usually less than $1000 a season and I know many NRs spend more than ten times that. But back to the original topic, your best stategy is developed by good ole boots on the ground scouting and terrain familiarization before you actually hunt. You can gain ideas, bits and pieces by research and online forum advice, but the bigger portion of hunting knowledge, experience and methods are best developed by boots on the ground and scouting before the season regardless of if you are a nonresident or resident hunter. My point is make the trip before hunting season and check out your preferred areas before you spend the large bucks on the hunting trip and try to gain as much firsthand knowledge as you can.

And you have to consider that hard to draw units are not always the best units to hunt. Easy to draw units do not necesarily equate to crowding and heavy pressure though that is often the case. I am hunting elk, deer and bear this year in unfamiliar terrain, plus being 66 and not in best physical shape, I plan several camping trips to the area specifically to look at the terrain first hand. I am also hunting Nebraska this year for mule deer. I have never been there but I found a farmer that will let me hunt his land and public land is nearby. I will be doing several trips there (benefit of being retired) and figure out what my hunting strategy will be then.

As for which areas for NRs to put in for, I can't give that info as I almost never hunt out of state. But I do know there is no one size fits all strategy on that.
 

tbowers

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If a unit is easy to draw, and you are strictly hunting public, it's going to suck.
Quite the blanket statement. Anecdotal, but I hunted a OTC unit this past fall that had solid hunting- ya there were people around but it was far from 'suck'. I havent been on a out of state hunt that took more then 1 point the past five years, and only one hunt in CO had what I would call a annoying level of people around. I guess maybe I'm just ignorant and dont know how 'good' a high pt unit is.

There arent going to be any 'great' 0/1 pts units any longer but there are still animals there. if you have a decent attitude around knowing its not some kind of remote backcountry hunt , and know how to use pressure to your advantage it would be a good time. Like I said earlier, to me its not worth chasing what is currently a 5 pt unit , that w/ pt creep turns into a 8 year wait. Be nice if more people chased points so the pressure eased a bit but will be interesting to see how it changes the next five years or so and if a bunch of folks give it up that dont like to deal with more crowded units.
 

BlakeA

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Quite the blanket statement.

I was talking about WY antelope. Comparing CO OTC elk and * antelope units that only require 0-1 points as an NR is comparing apples to oranges.

How many * 0-1 point units in WY have you hunted for antelope in the past 5 years?
 

Bob-WY

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Much of it may be where in WY, my experience, not nearly as much as others, with 5 seasons done, is all north/central WY:

Area 21: We hunted twice on private, was AWESOME, if you wanted on the ranch you never had to leave the truck, or you could spot and stalk from the truck, or walk a bit and spot and stalk further from ranch roads. Until you got out of the truck the antelope just looked at you. Full disclosure this was on guided hunts on a very large leased ranch.

Other areas in this general area:
- easy to draw, no points needed for non-residents. This was brutal. Opening week was a total waste. After having the public land pretty much to myself during archery and getting multiple stalks each time out, day before firearms started, POOF no more antelope, but trucks, tents and people EVERYWHERE. Second week still stunk, most people gone, but antelope not back yet. Weeks 3 and 4 where type 1 buck tags weren't good anymore, well we had fun, antelope came back and we filled all our doe tags. Took some walking, you could spot from the truck, but anything close to road ran. If they were 1/2 mile out or so, you could glass hide the truck and move in. We had best luck hiking over ridges to glass where you couldn't see form a truck.

- hard to draw (6+points non-resident, residents about 25% chance). WE HAD A BLAST. Was like being bakc on private, lots of antelope, decent to great bucks, if you were not picky you could fill a buck tag fairly easily. We held out for "good, not great" bucks and filled 2 buck tags in 3 trips down there.

Your mileage may vary, but for us, easy to draw units we get leftover doe tags and wait til end of the season. We just LOVE hunting these things, it's just flat out FUN.
 

manitou1

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This is true. But even then, your best info is boots on the ground scouting. And it often calls for new strategies you would not learn online. Being a resident, I am familiar with the areas I hunt and I know the roads and terrain features for the most part. A NR will not have that familiarity with the area that I would have. My hunting budget is usually less than $1000 a season and I know many NRs spend more than ten times that. But back to the original topic, your best stategy is developed by good ole boots on the ground scouting and terrain familiarization before you actually hunt. You can gain ideas, bits and pieces by research and online forum advice, but the bigger portion of hunting knowledge, experience and methods are best developed by boots on the ground and scouting before the season regardless of if you are a nonresident or resident hunter. My point is make the trip before hunting season and check out your preferred areas before you spend the large bucks on the hunting trip and try to gain as much firsthand knowledge as you can.

And you have to consider that hard to draw units are not always the best units to hunt. Easy to draw units do not necesarily equate to crowding and heavy pressure though that is often the case. I am hunting elk, deer and bear this year in unfamiliar terrain, plus being 66 and not in best physical shape, I plan several camping trips to the area specifically to look at the terrain first hand. I am also hunting Nebraska this year for mule deer. I have never been there but I found a farmer that will let me hunt his land and public land is nearby. I will be doing several trips there (benefit of being retired) and figure out what my hunting strategy will be then.

As for which areas for NRs to put in for, I can't give that info as I almost never hunt out of state. But I do know there is no one size fits all strategy on that.
Wasn't 2021 your first season to hunt antelope?
 

WyoDoug

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Wasn't 2021 your first season to hunt antelope?
Nope. I have been hunting antelope in Wyoming since 2004. Took a break a few years from hunting due to very expensive medical issues wife had from 2010 to about 2014 and got back into it year following. Got antelope every year since and I attribute that to knowing the areas I hunted better and having a better idea how the antelope behave especially under pressure. 2004 was the year I moved to Wyoming and married my wife. Prior to that I had been hunting antelope on private land in GMU 107 since I was 18 in Colorado mostly on land associated with family or family friends. 2004-2005 I had to hunt as a nonresident since I didn't come a resident for hunting and fishing in WYoming until end of 2005. I started my Wyoming antelope hunting at Nimmo Ranch then before it became an HMA. Back then Gretchen, the owner of the ranch, who gave me permission only allowed about two dozen hunters a year on the ranch.
 
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PR_KS

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Thanks for sharing this information, very informative for a new western hunter.
 

WyoDoug

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I know it's time for me to go out again. I got two packages of antelope burger and two packages of antelope stewmeat left. We love the stuff and my wife and I alone will eat 2-3 antelope a year.
 

Bam Bam

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I’m planning on hunting this unit this year. Any advice or locations would be greatly appreciated.
Yeah, I'll help. There are about 3 areas that contain really good Antelope habitat and also allow you to get more than a mile from any road- find them (they are easy to find) and hike about a mile off the road before daylight on opening morning. The hunting pressure should run some Antelope in your direction, as they leave the area. PLEASE BE ADVISED: The season is only about 2 weeks long, and there was intense hunting pressure for at least the first 8 days of the Unit 21 season (I left after that). The popular idea of hunting later in the season to avoid other hunters is probably not good advice for Unit 21. Good Luck! Post a pic if you get one.
 
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