New Western Hunter - Species Dilemma

dmtill

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Sep 16, 2014
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Coastal Georgia
I'm just getting started planning to hunt the west, just graduated from college, and I was wondering what species would you pick to start out on? I struck out on WY Elk, which I knew given the draw odds I would, and put in my "donation" for the four KY elk tags. Since I'm currently about to get married money is a little tight so I have a tight tag budget that could cover 1 elk tag in most states or 2 tags for pronghorn/mule deer. I want to go on a consequential western hunt, backpacks, open country, etc. So what would you pick 1 elk tag or combo hunt of either 2 mule deer or mule deer and pronghorn?

Not looking for specifics either on units or areas.
 

8andcounting

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Dec 16, 2013
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Get a montana deer combo ($597) and then bring your shotgun and shoot upland game on that tag also and maybe pickup a $75 B (doe) tag for an area lots of areas are selling b tags again like region 7 , also would be a good place with tons of public land to get a muley buck
 

1_pointer

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Dec 20, 2000
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Indiana
I wouldn't rule out just a pronghorn hunt. Tags are available with plenty of doe tags usually.
THIS! IMO pronghorn is the perfect first western hunt. Generally lots of opportunity and a bit easier to deal with once harvested as you learn the ins/outs of hunting that may be different than what you are used to. Plus its about as fun as it gets!
 

TBass

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Aug 30, 2010
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How times have changed since I was a kid getting out of college and money was "a little tight."
 

dmtill

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Sep 16, 2014
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Coastal Georgia
Got a honeymoon to pay for so its one tag and then buying preference points. Pushing my luck already my turkey tag starts in my first week of marriage on my future wife's birthday. I'll look more into WY pronghorn since I already have a map chip there.
 

TheDudeAbides

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Sep 26, 2015
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612
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Wyoming
Idaho is a great state with OTC tags. I think you will be around $500 (~155 lisc and ~$320 deer tag or $420 elk tag)

You can plan a western whitetail hunt in November or a western mule deer hunt in October.

You can also plan an elk hunt, but you have to pick your zone.

You can chase chuckars or grouse and fish for three days.

Left over Coues in AZ may be an option as well.
 

twsnow18

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Apr 4, 2013
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Boise, Idaho
WY, CO, ID or MT.

Depends on what you want to hunt most. Lope or mule deer are great starters, they were for me. Especially to learn the gutless method.

I'd focus on OTC states, CO/ID/MT, pick one and hunt that every year.

Then focus on points in CO and WY so your able e to hunt those states with better tags every 3-4 years. Your guaranteeing yourself a tag every year, acquiring skills and then points for a quality hunt every few years. That's my plan anyways.
 

2rocky

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Jul 23, 2010
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How much TIME do you have?

If it is a week or less choose either Mule Deer or Pronghorn. 5 days or less choose pronghorn.

In 2013 I had both tags in WY and still had to travel 80 miles between areas that held good quality and quantity of each. There are areas that have both to be sure. But one tag is enough pressure for a first timer.
 

dmtill

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Sep 16, 2014
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Coastal Georgia
I should have around a week but I plan on using a bow. So one tag would probably be best. I have thought about going for a mule deer buck but getting an antelope doe tag so the sting isn't to bad if I don't have time for both.

I have been trying to think about how to best use a combination of OTC tags and building points similar to what you suggested twsnow18.
 

kmf

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Aug 23, 2010
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For me personally the most likely to be successful hunt would be rifle deer, rifle antelope, archery elk in rut, then maybe archery antelope at a water tank. I also think your new wife will like you to fill the freezer from the hunt. You might not want to go home empty handed after dropping $500-$1000. Keep your expectations realistic and enjoy the hunt.
 

neffa3

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Apr 17, 2015
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Wenatchee
I got started on a MT 3-day upland and whitetail doe tag. It made a good long weekend, and was able to fill a small freezer with venison, pheasant, and sharpies. Under $200
 

wllm1313

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Manetheren
If you are willing to forgo hanging trophies on walls you could easily do a cow elk, doe antelope, and mule deer doe for half the price of a bull elk. I think for a NR in MT a B Elk is $273 a B deer is $75 and in WY a B antelope is $34 so $382. There are OTC opportunities for all of these tags as well so you could hunt this year and not have to wait.
 

8andcounting

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Dec 16, 2013
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If you are willing to forgo hanging trophies on walls you could easily do a cow elk, doe antelope, and mule deer doe for half the price of a bull elk. I think for a NR in MT a B Elk is $273 a B deer is $75 and in WY a B antelope is $34 so $382. There are OTC opportunities for all of these tags as well so you could hunt this year and not have to wait.

i agree with this:D
 

dmtill

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Sep 16, 2014
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Coastal Georgia
Decide to apply for WY NON RES Deer Antlerless & Antelope Antlerless. If I have more time I'll pick up something OTC. Get some practice later this spring traveling for turkeys. Thanks for all the insight.
 

windymtnman

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Sep 17, 2014
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395
Lots of pretty good advice thus far.
Here's my two cents. Part of your expenses, mainly travel & food, are a constant to some degree. So, the extra cost of say an Elk tag over a Pronghorn might not be that much more, but what are you getting back for it?
Speaking for myself, and my interests, there's no comparison between hunting Pronghorn in open country, vs. hunting the high country and the diverse beauty of the mountains. I'd go for an Elk hunt myself. Elk are challenging in many ways, but the country is fabulous, and they are such a regal animal to hunt. When I transitioned from Whitetails too Elk, I thought here's an animal that talks back, you can SMELL them, they are big, and superb table fare. Do what makes you the most happy.
 

dmtill

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Joined
Sep 16, 2014
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Coastal Georgia
Finally went Oct 18

Drove 30 hours from coastal Georgia to Wyoming on my own. Burned my hotel points to stay in a hotel and hunt public land for pronghorn. Killed a buck three days in, butchered the pronghorn, and drove 30 hours back.

Looking back I was very ambitious with the idea of using a bow and having multiple tags. The price also went way up to do this trip because I was living in the Midwest back when I first posted this.

Thanks for the advice.
 

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