Pawnee National Grasslands

xXLoneBowmanXx

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Feb 5, 2020
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Hey, folks!

Posting on here for the first time and hoping someone can give me some advice. My son and I are planning to do a DIY pronghorn archery hunt this September. Last year we did a guided hunt in SD. I've been scanning Onx Hunt maps for months now trying to find the most convenient area to target them and it seems like the Pawnee National Grasslands in unit 87 might be a decent spot. Does anyone have any experience hunting pronghorn or mule deer in this area?
 

Ajax2744

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Feb 8, 2018
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Northern Colorado
Last I knew im pretty sure archery antelope take a few points to draw. If you do draw there are good numbers on the grasslands. But it can be flat and hard to make a stalk, but not impossible and would make for a fun hunt.
I've spent a lot of time on pawnee including last year and have not seen deer on the grasslands. Most of them are on the creek bottoms and farmland which is all private, obviously. That being said if you can find permission most private land I have seen that has cover hold deer. But permission out there has been hard to come by the past few years unless you have an in with someone.
 

xXLoneBowmanXx

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@rideoThanks! Surprisingly I'd never heard of the hunt atlas. This gives me another resource to research.

@ajaxThank you! Our plan is to start buying pref points this year and accumulate them for a while so we can do a more preferred hunt. In the meantime we are wanting to target places with OTC tags where we can go and camp for a week or so and try our luck. I thought I had read that archery pronghorn in 87, 88, and 90 had OTC, but i may have misread. It takes some extra brain power to understand that quota stuff😂
 

mdeerjunkie

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Dec 12, 2019
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Welcome aboard! 87/88 are not over the counter for archery but you can draw either one of them with 0pp. Like the others said above the country is pretty flat and it would be hard to make stalks, but not impossible though.
 

Bigjay73

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Any public land east of 25 with OTC tags is going to get hammered pretty hard.
 

ZMT588

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Billings Mt
Visited my cousin who lives in Briggsdale CO and was a ranch hand on a place east of his town. Saw tons of antelope when I went down. Sure does look like a HARD place too hunt them. Super flat and not much cover other than some sagebrush. Someone said it before me, but their right, most of the deer are in creek bottoms. Some bigguns out there too. Good luck to ya.
 

Ajax2744

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Visited my cousin who lives in Briggsdale CO and was a ranch hand on a place east of his town. Saw tons of antelope when I went down. Sure does look like a HARD place too hunt them. Super flat and not much cover other than some sagebrush. Someone said it before me, but their right, most of the deer are in creek bottoms. Some bigguns out there too. Good luck to ya.
Whose your cousin? I know a lot of briggsdale folks
 

vanish

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West of I-25 the OTC units will have far fewer animals. HOWEVER, there is a lot more terrain as well as decent pubic land, meaning if you do find some pronghorn, you might actually have a chance of shooting one spot and stalk with a bow.

OTC Archery can certainly be done east of I-25, but you're going to have a lot of flat flat flat and private land. Its not like Wyoming where there are a lot of cuts and hills. Finding terrain to work with in those units is also possible, but its the inverse problem. Will the animals be near that terrain? The largest pronghorn I have hunted all hang out in the middle of giant bowls where they can see everything for a couple miles in all directions.

I hunt them with a muzzleloader, and have taken several under 50 yards, and that is bow range on a pronghorn. The difference is I can shoot the muzzleloader while lying on my belly without moving an inch.

The following picture isn't the best, but it is hard to convey how open and flat it can be. The fence in the distance is about 3 miles away. As you can see, there isn't even a yucca to hide behind.

 

xXLoneBowmanXx

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Feb 5, 2020
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West of I-25 the OTC units will have far fewer animals. HOWEVER, there is a lot more terrain as well as decent pubic land, meaning if you do find some pronghorn, you might actually have a chance of shooting one spot and stalk with a bow.

OTC Archery can certainly be done east of I-25, but you're going to have a lot of flat flat flat and private land. Its not like Wyoming where there are a lot of cuts and hills. Finding terrain to work with in those units is also possible, but its the inverse problem. Will the animals be near that terrain? The largest pronghorn I have hunted all hang out in the middle of giant bowls where they can see everything for a couple miles in all directions.

I hunt them with a muzzleloader, and have taken several under 50 yards, and that is bow range on a pronghorn. The difference is I can shoot the muzzleloader while lying on my belly without moving an inch.

The following picture isn't the best, but it is hard to convey how open and flat it can be. The fence in the distance is about 3 miles away. As you can see, there isn't even a yucca to hide behind.

Dang, that is definitely flatter than I imagined. In NW South Dakota we hunted what I thought was pretty flat, but it still had some cuts and valleys the antelope would walk into.

What about the idea of finding water on public land and setting up a blind? Is that something that's doable in those areas?
 

rideold

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Front Range of Colorado
Dang, that is definitely flatter than I imagined. In NW South Dakota we hunted what I thought was pretty flat, but it still had some cuts and valleys the antelope would walk into.

What about the idea of finding water on public land and setting up a blind? Is that something that's doable in those areas?
Probably not in unit 87
 
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