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

wllm

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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.

I've hunted three of the units you mentioned, I picked ones with a decent amount of public land but were labelled "access is difficult" the access issue being you couldn't drive into the public you had to walk. From that detail you should be able to figure out the areas I hunted. My advice download onx for the entire unit you draw and then just go. You'll find a place to camp on public, and then through a combination of driving around and walking you'll find pronghorn. It's not like hunting whitetail they can't really hide.

Don't over think it too much, I'd 100% fly into Denver rent a cheap sedan and drive up. As far as solo hunts go this is about the safest one, the most dangerous part of the trip will be driving up I-25.

You get about 35lbs of meat from a buck. Skin out the head, bone out the meat. Wrap the head thoroughly in plastic wrap toss the head and meat in a cooler with some dry ice, check it, and fly home.

I've done this hunt multiple times solo.

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The trip with the pic above with the doe I continued on up to MT around Baker.

Got a WY doe, killed a muley in MT then drove over to SW MT for elk. Missed a bull then drove home to Denver, 2 week solo road trip in the corolla.
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wllm

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@WVgoodguy22 the hunting buddy thing is tough and honestly doesn't get that much easier. Everyone has a busy life it's just hard to coordinate. The only thing you can really control is yourself, so plan accordingly.

In 2018 I drew a POW bear tag and planned a fly-in hunt, my pilot didn't like the idea of me going so I said let me make the reservation I'll figure it out, kinda last minute I talked my FIL into going.

2018 and 2019 I rented llamas for elk hunts, full intention of going solo but ended up getting buddies to go.

2018, did elk and deer solo.

This year I drew some crazy tags in AK... plan so far is to rent a sedan and hunt them from the road... maybe solo? One buddy has a crazy schedule and my other buddy is having a kid in July.

I'm going on the hunts, bought the plane tickets last weekend, currently I have zero people committed to hunting with me for 2 of the tags and then my BIL is hunting with me on the third.

Not going to lie, I'm gripped at the prospect but it is what it is...
 

np307

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Obviously it's a little late but if I were in your shoes I would have still applied. It can be a little daunting to set out on your own and there are a few things you have to think about from a logistics/safety aspect but if thats the only thing holding you back you're putting up barriers in your own mind.

A truck is totally not necessary. Especially for antelope. My first trip west was for antelope; three of us piled in my camry while pulling a trailer. For a solo hunt you could easily live out of a sedan and get to where you need to go.

A little tough love - people who want to hunt, go hunting. People who don't want to hunt, find reasons not to.
 

GrantK

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A little tough love - people who want to hunt, go hunting. People who don't want to hunt, find reasons not to.
It's tough to go solo the first time but it gets easier by the day as you realize you will be fine, the biggest obstacle is your own self-doubt that prevents you from getting out the door, if you really want to do the western hunting thing then just start, everything else will come together eventually...


what has worked well for me is to commit first and go into it with the mentality that I am going no matter what, solo and renting a car if necessary, and anything beyond that is a bonus, nice if it happens but not necessary to have a great experience, I've found that if I just go for it and put it out there to potential partners and "I'm doing this, want to go?" that I have a far better chance of getting people to go along than if I throw out a more generalized "we should go hunt X" and then trying to plan something as a group, someone always has a conflict and nothing ends up happening...

Best case, you go and your buddy commits as well because you set him up to have an easy time saying yes because you are going anyway, worse case you get a taste of the solo hunting bug, nobody but yourself to blame if things go wrong, nobody else to thank if things go right, you might find out you prefer solo trips in the end anyway...
 

wllm

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has worked well for me is to commit first and go into it with the mentality that I am going no matter what, solo and renting a car if necessary, and anything beyond that is a bonus, nice if it happens but not necessary to have a great experience, I've found that if I just go for it and put it out there to potential partners and "I'm doing this, want to go?" that I have a far better chance of getting people to go along than if I throw out a more generalized "we should go hunt X" and then trying to plan something as a group, someone always has a conflict and nothing ends up happening...
Couldn't agree with this more, feels like you have to create some inertia and once you do things start to happen.
 

wihunter12

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Couldn't agree with this more, feels like you have to create some inertia and once you do things start to happen.

Agreed, I have been wanting to do a Western turkey trip and put it off the last few years because I could not find anyone to go with. Bought a license this Spring, went and had an awesome time hunting and trout fishing. 2600 miles over 6 days. You can do it too.
 

woods89

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Last elk hunt I did I flew into Denver and picked up a Turo rental. There's ways.....

You'll find that if you are dependant on others it will cause problems, likely. I have a good friend I hunt with some that is very reliable, but most people aren't.
 

gwhunter

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Some very good information already on not needing a truck and the ability to hunt solo is more about the obstacles you create for yourself. To second what @GrantK & @wllm already mentioned, I knew this year that I wanted to do an out of state turkey hunt. I cleared it with my wife to either go to Nebraska or Kentucky solo. After watching some THP & Freshtracks Nebraska videos, that sealed the deal on purchasing the tag to go to Nebraska instead of hunting "just another Eastern" in Kentucky. I bought the tag and then after the fact invited my hunting buddies to go. My closest friend and hunting buddy couldn't get away from work. Probably my furthest friend (also lived in a different state) and the person I would have thought to be least likely to go on an out of state turkey hunt agreed to go as soon as I mentioned it to him. I also mentioned my naivety to hunting a specific location in Nebraska and got some really good pointers from some folks here on HT.

There are lots of tag options still available. I actually just posted in the "looking for a hunting partner" channel yesterday about looking for someone to lineup with to apply for antlerless tags in Utah or any of the remaining OTC or leftover/2nd draws still open. The deadline is passed for WY Pronghorn, but there are still plenty of options to hunt out west. I'd even go with you. But putting up your own roadblocks and posting publicly about...
Neither of us like to drive more than a couple hours.
...makes it so I wouldn't want you riding along in my truck ( ;) ;) ) if I'm the one who has to do all the driving!
 

Alabama

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Having somebody that is wishy-washy about committing to go can make it even more stressful. I had friends that would say they were going and then back out when the time/financial commitments were laid out. After doing this over and over for years with multiple friends (at first, I just wanted to hunt elk) I decided mule deer were doable solo and a way to gain experience and confidence. I wish I had done it sooner. I saw mule deer, whitetails, and antelope on my first trip and I was hooked on the west.

On my only elk hunt I finally had someone commit to just come with me without a tag. I offered to pay for everything: use my truck, all the fuel, hotel stay 1 night each way on the trip to and from the hunt, and most of the camping equipment. He was going to bring a few camping items that I didn't have or that I needed to upgrade and his SxS for getting around on some very rough FS roads. Well about 3 weeks before we were to leave, he stopped answering my calls, then 6 days before the season he told me he wasn't going. It was a backcountry unit without cell service about 1.5 hours from the nearest gas station. I was running around last-minute trying to gather a few items, renting a sat phone, and trying to figure out new areas to concentrate on. I had to reduce the distance from roads I was going to hunt because of the prospect of a solo pack out. When I came off the mountain without an elk, I decided I would plan each hunt like I'm going solo from then on. I consider someone coming along a bonus.
 

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.
Yeah that’s true. I have grown tired of waiting on people and for schedules to line up. Something always happens every year.
I can’t complain about last year’s reasons for not applying in the draws. I got married and I won a waterfowl hunting and salmon/halibut/cod fishing 🎣 trip to Alaska. It happened 3 weeks after our wedding.
 

WVgoodguy22

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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.
That’s awesome that you got to make it happen and got a second choice tag. With the tag 🏷 cuts the past two years it didn’t look like a second choice tag 🏷 is in the cards for anyone.
I know that I could use my Cruze for pronghorn, except on some rutted out roads. I have taken my car down dirty two tracks here locally before. But I also cracked my transmission pan on a chunk rock 🪨 and lost all my fluid.
I was going to get a Zoleo to sync with my cell phone 📱. I can get one on Camofire sometimes for $150.
 

WVgoodguy22

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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.
I know that there would be some out there especially on the plains and flats that use whichever vehicle 🚗 they have. Outside of some big ruts in the road they don’t need all the ground clearance and 4x4 or AWD capability. Plus a pronghorn is small and can easily fit in a car 🚗 especially when processed as someone mentioned.

Yes I need to make more connections out there. I know at least one HTer that lives in WV in @BAKPAKR who use to live out west but works and lives here in WV. One of the reasons why I don’t go waterfowl hunting even though I love ❤️ it is because it’s not safe to go to some places without at least one other person. I got stuck in the back of a lake by myself one time.

Congratulations on drawing those moose tags 🏷 someone has a bag of lucky 🍀 charms on that one. Good luck 🍀 out there. I want to do a moose hunt some year.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts 💭 giving me inspiration.
 

WVgoodguy22

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Good to see you back on the forum! Hope something changes and you get to go. I know we're at similar point levels so we'll talk odds next year I'm sure.
Thank you 🙏 very much. Life has been busy lately with my mom passing away on Dec 2020 and me getting married on August 20, 2021, plus other things.
I would love to go, I recently had to put $1200 into my car 🚗 so that really put me in a hole that I didn’t plan for. Plus my wife and I are looking for a new place to get out of the 2 bedroom apartment in the next year that I must budget for. But hopefully 🙏 I can figure out something and go. I know that there’s some options left.
 

WVgoodguy22

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Oh I second the note about trucks. My pronghorn hunt saw me baja down dirt roads through national grasslands in a rented little crossover type car. Didn't tell the fine folks at Enterprise how nice of a pronghorn rig their car was though.
Oh I second the note about trucks. My pronghorn hunt saw me baja down dirt roads through national grasslands in a rented little crossover type car. Didn't tell the fine folks at Enterprise how nice of a pronghorn rig their car was though.
Haha 😆 that’s awesome 👏 I would feel more adventurous if I had a Subaru Outback, Forester or Crosstrek with AWD and 8.7 in of ground clearance.
When we went to Idaho my brother’s friends flew out and had reserved a truck 🛻 to rent, but was given a Chevy Equinox instead. They took it places trying to find mule deer 🦌
 

WVgoodguy22

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@WVgoodguy22 the hunting buddy thing is tough and honestly doesn't get that much easier. Everyone has a busy life it's just hard to coordinate. The only thing you can really control is yourself, so plan accordingly.

In 2018 I drew a POW bear tag and planned a fly-in hunt, my pilot didn't like the idea of me going so I said let me make the reservation I'll figure it out, kinda last minute I talked my FIL into going.

2018 and 2019 I rented llamas for elk hunts, full intention of going solo but ended up getting buddies to go.

2018, did elk and deer solo.

This year I drew some crazy tags in AK... plan so far is to rent a sedan and hunt them from the road... maybe solo? One buddy has a crazy schedule and my other buddy is having a kid in July.

I'm going on the hunts, bought the plane tickets last weekend, currently I have zero people committed to hunting with me for 2 of the tags and then my BIL is hunting with me on the third.

Not going to lie, I'm gripped at the prospect but it is what it is...
Wow that’s a freaking awesome adventure. I would absolutely love to do that someday soon. I know that many say to only draw one animal and focus on that, but “if” I have enough time off and can draw hunts in a similar time frame one could within reason make the most of their one trip out west a year. Yes focus on one at a time and give each animal it’s due. My luck 🍀 is I would see a 160-200 inch mule deer 🦌 tucked in a fold of the terrain out of the wind and sun ☀️ and only have a pronghorn tag 🏷 lol 😆

Your hunting companion is the same color as those two pronghorn. Like a fawn pronghorn decoy haha 😂

Good luck 🍀 in AK that should be a blast. What species tags 🏷 did you get? I would love to do moose, caribou, and Sitka Blacktail deer 🦌 someday and black bear 🐻 of course.
 

WVgoodguy22

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Obviously it's a little late but if I were in your shoes I would have still applied. It can be a little daunting to set out on your own and there are a few things you have to think about from a logistics/safety aspect but if thats the only thing holding you back you're putting up barriers in your own mind.

A truck is totally not necessary. Especially for antelope. My first trip west was for antelope; three of us piled in my camry while pulling a trailer. For a solo hunt you could easily live out of a sedan and get to where you need to go.

A little tough love - people who want to hunt, go hunting. People who don't want to hunt, find reasons not to.
I appreciate the tough love. Uncertainty does bring hesitancy. I know that this sounds like another excuse, but I forgot to mention that my wife and I are wanting to get a house 🏡 and move out of this two bedroom apartment in town with her 3.5 year old son and hopefully 🙏 a future child God willing. Renting a truck 🛻 for a week was about $700 that I didn’t plan for. I do agree that I don’t have to have a truck for pronghorn hunting. I recently had to pay $1200 to get my 156k mile Chevy Cruze fixed. So she should be good to go. I have taken her down some dirt two tracks that I probably shouldn’t have since they were rutted out. I busted my transmission pan on a chunk rock 🪨 one time. Leaked fluids everywhere.

That’s right I could get a class 1 hitch and tow a small covered trailer. Thanks for the reminder.
 

BAKPAKR

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I know that there would be some out there especially on the plains and flats that use whichever vehicle 🚗 they have. Outside of some big ruts in the road they don’t need all the ground clearance and 4x4 or AWD capability. Plus a pronghorn is small and can easily fit in a car 🚗 especially when processed as someone mentioned.

Yes I need to make more connections out there. I know at least one HTer that lives in WV in @BAKPAKR who use to live out west but works and lives here in WV. One of the reasons why I don’t go waterfowl hunting even though I love ❤️ it is because it’s not safe to go to some places without at least one other person. I got stuck in the back of a lake by myself one time.

Congratulations on drawing those moose tags 🏷 someone has a bag of lucky 🍀 charms on that one. Good luck 🍀 out there. I want to do a moose hunt some year.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts 💭 giving me inspiration.
I wish I could give you some tips but my only hunt in Wyoming was after moose and my only pronghorn hunt was an unsuccessful archery hunt in Idaho.

Start planning for next year and go for it!
 

WVgoodguy22

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Messages
373
It's tough to go solo the first time but it gets easier by the day as you realize you will be fine, the biggest obstacle is your own self-doubt that prevents you from getting out the door, if you really want to do the western hunting thing then just start, everything else will come together eventually...


what has worked well for me is to commit first and go into it with the mentality that I am going no matter what, solo and renting a car if necessary, and anything beyond that is a bonus, nice if it happens but not necessary to have a great experience, I've found that if I just go for it and put it out there to potential partners and "I'm doing this, want to go?" that I have a far better chance of getting people to go along than if I throw out a more generalized "we should go hunt X" and then trying to plan something as a group, someone always has a conflict and nothing ends up happening...

Best case, you go and your buddy commits as well because you set him up to have an easy time saying yes because you are going anyway, worse case you get a taste of the solo hunting bug, nobody but yourself to blame if things go wrong, nobody else to thank if things go right, you might find out you prefer solo trips in the end anyway...
I really appreciate and like that idea. I definitely need to plan and financially budget/save for a hunt as though I am going solo and if people can come all the better. It’s not like pronghorn live in grizzly bear 🐻 country except maybe near Yellowstone National Park 🏞.

I have noticed that about the “Hey you want to hunt X” group planning thing. Not just with myself but others I know. Most of us would love to make memories with family and friends, but if one keeps waiting for the stars ⭐️ to align, they might never go like in my case. Albeit as I mentioned I did go with my Dad and youngest brother to Idaho for a rifle mule deer 🦌 hunt in early October. We met up with their friends there. Still kicking my butt for not getting a tag 🏷 when they were actually OTC and could be bought in June not Dec 1st. It was planned out, but that doesn’t always happen with adults who have their own lives.
Thanks for the insight and inspiration
 

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