First Western Big Game Hunt where I am applying for tag/tags. Pronghorn and possibly mule deer.

WVgoodguy22

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Hello fellow HTers. This is my first post in a while, but I am always thankful for the advice and even the jokes on my threads. Anyway I am planning on applying for my first western big game hunt where I have a tag, after being a tag along with my Dad and youngest brother in a 2019 Idaho rifle mule deer hunt. Where my brother did get a 3x3 a couple miles back and 1400 vertical feet. I helped him pack it out, even though I only brought rubber boots for fishing and upland bird hunting.

I am thinking about going for Wyoming pronghorn and possibly mule deer (if my brother can get the days off to do a longer hunt). I currently have 3 points for both species and they have ZERO. I am aware that if we do party app we would go in as 1.5 points. I also might be able to apply for a couple units that would be close by their unit (whichever we choose) that might have a little easier access. But as many know that in Wyoming, the more points you have the more units with more public land and easier access you will get over any trophy potential consideration.

I am debating on whether to do a regular draw for both pronghorn and mule deer or just do a special draw for pronghorn for access potential. My biggest concern is the access of BLM, Walk In Areas, State Land. I know of the Access Yes program, but have never used it or done it before. From my research on GoHunt, and the Wyoming Hunt Planner there are about 20 units under the parameters of 0-3 points, and with 18% or more public land for an Oct rifle season hunt and 20%-100% draw odds. Those being: Areas 1, 2, 3, 8, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 30, 38, 43, 44, 70, 102, 103, 113. Any help or advice via PM, etc... would be appreciated. I would have started this much sooner, but wasn't sure if I was able to go and have some folks to go with (usually my youngest bro and Dad). My brother got a new job and wasn't sure, etc.... Sadly I don't have time to call biologists and other game officers before the draw, but after doing more research and getting proper questions I will after we hopefully draw, before really planning everything else out.
 

WVgoodguy22

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Well this is unusual. A couple days after posting this quandary and not a single comment in return. A bit surprised, usually my fellow HTers are quick to help or even leave a funny smart a comment. I realize everyone is getting ready to or already have applied, plus I know that I am not the first newb to ask the question.
Good luck everyone in the multiple draws due this week.
 

BoulderBulls

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Well this is unusual. A couple days after posting this quandary and not a single comment in return. A bit surprised, usually my fellow HTers are quick to help or even leave a funny smart a comment. I realize everyone is getting ready to or already have applied, plus I know that I am not the first newb to ask the question.
Good luck everyone in the multiple draws due this week.
My 2 cents, I don't have personal experience in any of those units, so speaking in gernalities I like to draw my % public closer to 30 or 40% minimum. That's being said there are some huge units where you can hit 75k acres+ in public and it's still only a small percentage so bear that in mind.

We had 2 groups go and hunt the same WY walk in antelope area, one went opening day, Thurs, in Sept the other went near the very last weekend in October. I was part of the first bunch and we had plenty of opportunities and filled every tag in our pocket except one, which was more by choice than by lack of opportunities. The second group went hunted hard for a long weekend and out of a dozen or so tags filled one. All the animals had been pushed off to private sections. Something to keep in mind. I think we had an advantage of being able to go out for the Thursday opening day versus the weekend crew dealing with animals that had been shot up for 50 days
 

Commutair

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I would recommend going with unit 15 as a second choice. I hunted it last year, I do know 1, 640 acre parcel that has antelope on public land. It’s a hard hunt, but as a second choice with no points it’s a good option.
 

Dsnow9

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Well this is unusual. A couple days after posting this quandary and not a single comment in return. A bit surprised, usually my fellow HTers are quick to help or even leave a funny smart a comment. I realize everyone is getting ready to or already have applied, plus I know that I am not the first newb to ask the question.
Good luck everyone in the multiple draws due this week.
Wyoming deer units and pronghorn units are different numbers even if they cover the same geographic area. You didn’t specify which tag you were going for or if you had a preference between one or the other. I would say a lot of us probably read your post but the net you cast was extremely large so just easier to not answer than try to give you pointers on a certain unit. People are very helpful if you have questions about a unit or two but when you ask which unit should I choose… most people may know info about a certain unit on your list but aren’t necessarily gonna say come hunt my unit. Just food for thought.
 

Alabama

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If you are going in the draw with 1.5 points, then you need to be looking at units that took 0 or 1 point at most. WY has cut tags (especially for antelope) and what was a guaranteed draw at a certain point level last year will not be this year. There will be a few units with a little bit of public. You should have a very short list for the regular and a little longer list for the special.

Are you going to split antelope points with one and deer points with the other? I noticed you said "they" have 0 points, if you split your points with both of them for both species you will have 1 point in the draw.
 

LCH

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Just pick a deer and antelope unit with good access and decent random draw odds and have everybody apply separately for buck and doe tags, both species if applicable. Somebody is likely to draw a good tag or two and everybody can go have a good time in Wyoming.

I would much rather do that than have everybody spend a bunch of money on a hunt with lousy access and just end up with a week's worth of frustration and unfilled tags.
 

WVgoodguy22

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Wyoming deer units and pronghorn units are different numbers even if they cover the same geographic area. You didn’t specify which tag you were going for or if you had a preference between one or the other. I would say a lot of us probably read your post but the net you cast was extremely large so just easier to not answer than try to give you pointers on a certain unit. People are very helpful if you have questions about a unit or two but when you ask which unit should I choose… most people may know info about a certain unit on your list but aren’t necessarily gonna say come hunt my unit. Just food for thought.
Thank you I realize that deer and pronghorn units are different management units in the state of Wyoming. I should have stated that I am more concerned about the pronghorn units and tips on access to those units. Since general deer tags are Regional and cover a broader area I wasn't as concerned about that. Sorry I typed this right before leaving for work and didn't reread and edit it before posting. I for one respect people's time in finding out about certain places and would never ask for a "spot" or hey come hunt this unit that I have found consistent success in, what's three more people. My main concern was possibly getting more access information, tips and tricks on that whether from a resident or veteran non resident hunter.
I appreciate your food for thought.
 

NEWHunter

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I’d hunt the best unit the special price can draw. The ones with the most decent accessible land are going to be your best bet. Remember, it’s not about the public land percentage but the amount of ACCESSIBLE public/private land that will HOLD antelope. For example, most of the public land in unit 2 is forested and not likely to hold antelope. That said, you could definitely make a hunt in most of those units depending on your attitude, expectations, and ability to draw a tag. WY website does a pretty good job of providing the vast majority of info you’ll need. Good luck.
 

WVgoodguy22

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Thanks everyone for your advice. Sadly I once again am not able to apply or go out west from West Virginia on the hunt that I have been wanting to do for 4 years. :( I don't have a lot of hunting buddies and my youngest brother who I went out west to Idaho (even though I didn't have a tag, and I am kicking myself in the butt for not getting a tag before the ridiculous Over the Internet Chaos started in 2020), he got a new job and even though he works 10 on and 5 off, he doesn't get paid vacation until Nov. 16th. I was literally heartbroken as I built myself up for going, including subscribing to multiple tag research services like GoHunt (been an Insider for 4 years), Eastman's TagHub, Huntin Fool/Top Rut via my Elite OnX membership, a $340 pair of Hanwag Alverstone II GTX boots, a day pack in the Eberlestock F7 Kite (was 40% off via a Spring Sale), etc....
I guess this gives me another year to save and really prepare for a hunt next year, and perhaps my other brother who's in the Marines can come along with my Dad and my youngest brother. Trying to stay positive and we might do an eastern state wild boar hunt as something different outside of local hunting for whitetail.
 

WVgoodguy22

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sorry to see you bail. Antelope is about as straightforward a solo hunt as there is. A shame you are not going when you could, and then next year get in a unit with your zero point friends all mostly at same points level.
Yeah I might have been able to go, but I don’t have a truck and my Dad who has a truck and would go with me probably doesn’t want to drive a 20+ hour drive in his truck even though it’s a 14 F150 with maybe 50k miles on it.
I am really bummed about it, even had tears welling up in my eyes. That’s how heartbroken I am. Definitely a dream hunt for me that keeps getting put on hold.
With the droughts that causes tag cuts and Wyoming potentially going to a horrible 90/10 tag split I am worried that my options will be even less next year. I will have 4 points, but the others in my party will be 0 or 1 point. I might save up and do a special for pronghorn next year and regular for deer since a general tag is regional and there’s more accessible public land.
 

LCH

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The only real obstacles are the ones you construct for yourself. Still lots of options to go hunting this year. Better get out there and do it now rather than wait on someone else who might or might not come through for you. When your dad and brothers are finally able to come along, the experience you will have gained will be a valuable asset.
 

Cheese Curd

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The only real obstacles are the ones you construct for yourself. Still lots of options to go hunting this year. Better get out there and do it now rather than wait on someone else who might or might not come through for you. When your dad and brothers are finally able to come along, the experience you will have gained will be a valuable asset.
This is good advice. At some point you should be able to hunt out west with your dad and brother, but in the meantime I think you should plan a hunt this year and go by yourself. You don't need a truck. I've gone with others before, but now I hunt alone. It's something I feel I need to do and I can't wait around for others.
 

WVgoodguy22

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The only real obstacles are the ones you construct for yourself. Still lots of options to go hunting this year. Better get out there and do it now rather than wait on someone else who might or might not come through for you. When your dad and brothers are finally able to come along, the experience you will have gained will be a valuable asset.
I understand that. I didn’t financially plan to rent a truck and go with just my Dad (who is retired and probably wouldn’t go if my brother was able to come). Neither of us like to drive more than a couple hours. Even with the two of us rotating it is a 24 hour drive to Wyoming. Plus it is not safe for me to go solo as a newb, I have a new wife and a 3.5 year old step son to think about.
I do hate being put on hold by others who have to live their lives and do what’s best for them and their family, but there’s no one outside of family that I would rather make memories with. But I’m getting to a point where I need to find a larger group of hunting buddies that way if someone has to bail, there’s enough people to still go.
 

WVgoodguy22

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This is good advice. At some point you should be able to hunt out west with your dad and brother, but in the meantime I think you should plan a hunt this year and go by yourself. You don't need a truck. I've gone with others before, but now I hunt alone. It's something I feel I need to do and I can't wait around for others.
I can see that. Pronghorn I most likely won’t need a truck and I probably could find plenty of accessible deer on some low country where I won’t need the capability of a truck. Weather dependent of course.
 

NEWHunter

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I was waiting on my group to head to WY and finally realized if I wanted to go I had to make it happen. I came up with a plan, drew a second choice tag, loaded the Camry, and hunted solo. Great learning experience for my first ever out of state hunt.

Get yourself an InReach and make a solid plan. Be careful and there’s not much reason for the wife and kid to be worried. There might still be a unit that you could hunt second choice next year - certainly not a slam dunk anymore, but it’s an opportunity. I’d pick deer or pronghorn - don’t try and do both at once.
 

Khunter

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NEWHunter nails it.

There are guys on here who hunt out of a toyota corolla and now apparenty a camry! Talkin to you @wllm . LOL

Point is a truck is optional especially for antelope.

Advice. Get get butt in gear and connect with some of the many thousands of WV guys or wherever you live who hunt nthe west annually. PLenty would be thrilled to providce the truck and share expenses. Offer to buy ALL the gas if they are supplying the ride for such a long trip. Build bridges to hunting ioportunity not road blocks. Join the local archery/rilfe/hunting clubs WITHOUT needing/expectioin dad/briother etc to join with you. Get more active on various hunting forums and locally and put yourself out there as eager and a dependable hut partner who does not bail once committed.

Many guys on these forums,me included, do a large portion of their hunts solo. You can’t learn how to swing these hunts annually until, well, you start going. Start now.

This year have drawn two moose bow hunts and pronghorn bow hunt. All will be solo or solo for much of the hunt. All are a day’s drive from the house. I may scriunge up some help, I may not, but I am going and for each digging deep to find guys who knwo the hunt areas so I have a jump on the learning curve for these specific hunts.

Used to be as green as the grass as relates to western hunts and had some trepdaton. Now I still have some trepidation on occasion but that is fully swamped by persistence and dedication and knowldge that I figure it out and have fun every hunt.
 
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