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Planning for my daughters 1st big game hunt


Well-known member
Jan 27, 2012
I have promised my daughter (who is almost 11 years old) that we would go on a big game hunt when she turns 12. I figure I have 6 years to hunt with her before she goes off to college, starts a career, then a family, etc. Hopefully we will go on more, but I can only control the next 6 years. This hunt will take place in 2016. So I want to start the planning process now (should I get a PP? which state?). I am thinking pronghorn would be the easiest hunt for us. She isn't new to hunting (she has been going with me since she was 3 and shot her first deer this year), but she will be 12 years old. By far the most important thing is that I want to have a good, quality overall hunting experience. I just want to spend time with her in the outdoors chasing game. Father/daughter time, does it get any better than that? For sure, she will get all of the shooting until she gets one. Her getting one is my first priority. Only then will I (attempt to!) shoot one. And if her deer hunt was any indicator, I will have way more fun helping her than I ever would shooting my own. The video is simply awesome!

However, I know nothing about pronghorn hunting. We wont be after big bucks, but I think we would like to the opportunity to shoot a buck of some flavor.

With that all said, I have looked at some info on WY, MT, and SD. But honestly, reading some of the comments on here and looking at the draw odds has made it seem like you either cannot get a license or if you do there is no public land to go on. I was originally thinking northeastern WY or southeastern MT, but now I am just confused. If anybody has any pointers for me to help me in the learning process, I would love to hear them.

First thing I need is a little guidance on how to go about finding a place that has decent numbers of pronghorn (horn size does not matter). Access-wise, I was thinking public land, but I heard some talk of trespass fees. I guess I would consider that possibly, but mostly I am thinking public land. The last 2 criteria is the ability to get licenses with less than 1 PP (I could get one this year and that would leave our average at 0.5 cuz she will be too young to get a PP-May birthday) and the ability to camp somewhere. I really don't want to do the hotel thing...camping is better for the whole experience.

Last question....she really doesn't like snakes and I gotta admit I am not fond of them either. Is it common to run into rattle snakes while hunting pronghorn?

Any helpful suggestion, no matter how small, will really be appreciated!
I think for that type of hunt, an antelope hunt would be best. You'll see lots of animals, you don't have to get up early, hunting isn't too hard, etc. WY is about your best option for that. Look at this link and click on antelope.

That will quickly show you which units have decent amounts of public land. With a 1/2 point, you will have enough options to get into a unit with some animals and public land. I'd also seriously consider getting a doe tag or two.
I didn't know that you can get a doe tag in addition to the buck tag. That is a nice option. Are they cheaper or are they the same $286?
I believe that you are referring to WY tag price ? U can actually buy 2 buck antelope tags & 3 doe antelope tags if available. Also, youth licenses are MUCH cheaper.
I took my sons to Wyoming on there first western hunt when they were 12 years old,they are now 38 and they still talk about that first antelope hunt.
Go for it ! Have a great time !!
It agree, Wyoming Antelope is hands down my choice. My daughters are 8 and 6 and this is what I am planning when they both can go..... You and your daughter will have a blast!
To this day I try to buy leftover doe antelope tags.Nice hunt option and take home some good meat.$34 . Always try to add this to my elk/deer hunt.
I have taken my daughters the last 2 years. Search the old pronghorn threads here and you can learn a lot. I started a notebook when I was first looking into it. Everything people told me about antelope hunting got written down. Every time someone suggested a unit or hunting tips I wrote it down. Same when someone talked about negative things of a unit. I would recommend buying a pp for yourself this year, then you will have a few more options of units to choose from. I got a LOT of help from the guys here and I am very grateful! You can get your daughter a youth tag much cheaper, and then get her an extra doe tag in case you get both any sex tags filled early and you want to let her shoot another doe. If you don't end up using it, it's just cheap tag soup, not a big loss. Enjoy the planning, it's almost as much fun as the hunt!
thanks! I have started a notebook, but after looking at it some more, I am still a little frustrated. It is impossible to just have a decent hunt on public land? I got all excited on a unit, then found out there was only a few tags available. Don't know if I should start looking at the number of tags or where. ugg.
Wyoming antelope is a great choice! You will have a blast. I agree camping is the way to go. Besides putting a tent on blm, depending on unit there may be a campground/KOA close enough to work for you. Your daughter may like the running water/shower/bathroom thing. Just a thought.

Randy started a thread not long ago titled 'Wyoming NR application booklet now ready' great info on selecting a unit.

There are a couple units in the northeast corner where you can get 2 buck tags I believe and units with leftovers you can get up to 4 doe tags. I usually get at least 2.
To answer the rattlesnake question, yes it could happen but it is unlikely during rifle season. This past year for me was unseasonably warm and our rancher friend killed a big one. I have personally never seenany. Coming from sosomebody that hates snakes, I wouldn't worry about it.

Anywhere in eastern wyoming would be just fine but unfortunately aloy of the public land is more deer country than pronghorn. The thunder basin grasslands are there but you will deffinately need your preference point and/or the special draw. Don't rule out a trespass fee hunt. It doesn't have the appeal of public land hunts, but many ranches are over 30,000 acres. Not exactly a canned hunt. I will be in your shoes with my son in two more years, good luck and have fun.
I am still a little frustrated. It is impossible to just have a decent hunt on public land? I got all excited on a unit, then found out there was only a few tags available. Don't know if I should start looking at the number of tags or where. ugg.

What I did when I was in your shoes was look at the units with realistic draw odds. Those odds are published on the game and fish website. What is realistic can be determined by you. It may be that you only want to apply for a unit with 100% odds or 90% or 80% etc. Most of the times though the units with the easier odds to get a tag are the ones with the most private land. So it is up to you to determine what you expect to be realistic odds. Or as others have stated you could get a leftover doe tag in some of the areas with a little bit larger amount of public land.

Anyway, what I did next was compare the units that I thought to have the draw odds that were in my favor to the amount of public land in each unit. (You can get BLM maps for only a couple of bucks a piece and then look on the maps and see how much is private compared to how much is public). I put in for the unit that had acceptable odds and acceptable amounts of public land. Each of these things are different for each person, but that is where I would go to start.
I did the same as GW Hunter, go on the Wyoming web site and build a spread sheet ( note book list will work if that is your thing) and build a list with success rates and PP. from here try to find a unit with high success and low PP and review the amount of public. Stats don't lie, just make sure the public is accessible, just because the roads are on the map does not mean they are public. Once you have a zone picked out look on the applicable county web site (quick google search) and look for public road maps.

It takes a little time but just chip away at it and you will do great. we used this method the first time to Wyoming with my brother and dad our first time western hunting in Wyoming and we shot 3 bucks and 4 does with 0 preference points in 2 days (including deboning each one and putting them on dry ice immediately after we shot each one). We see between 50-100 antelope each day we go, not all are on public.

Oh yeah, I know it may seam like a lot of money, buy the GPS download for $100 that you can download on 2 GPS's, one on your car GPS, one on your handheld. it will be the best $100 you spend.
Dang...I just posted the reply and lost the connection so I apologize if it comes through and the message doubles up. She will love an antelope hunt. We haven't drawn buck tags the last few yrs, but we have purchased doe tags in unit 77 and 114.These were special tags in which you have to hunt on or within 1/2 mile of irrigated land. This will put you close to Worland, so you can camp in town or outside of town along the river. I live in MN as well and the drive through the bighorn mts is beautiful. I saw a huge buck in 77 when I was there but I just had to watch him run. The antelope in this area will bed down on the blm ground right on the edge of the sugar beet fields and come in for feed. WYG&F has a list of landowners who will allow hunting to help curb the crop damage. Let me know if I can help and best of luck.
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I have hunted NW Wyoming the past few years and think it would be a fine option for you and your daughter. The eastern part of the state is largely private land and can be tough as far as access goes, but the western part seems to have larger tracts of public land that aren't as tough to navigate. Pronghorn is a great way to get into big game hunting for reasons that have already been stated. I have hunted around the Pinedale area and there are tons of antelope and good public land access although landowners are not required to post land so be sure you know where you are! Lots of BLM land too for camping and hunting. I don't know much about draw odds, but have had friends draw 3 tags for the same unit multiple years in a row. As a bonus, doe tags are less than $50! Gotta be the cheapest big game hunt in the west for a nonresident.
Wyoming antelope is a great choice. And I do the spreadsheet thing that was suggested previously. I've done it for the past 5 years and I've always drawn at least one tag and I've always had lots of opportunity. ButI just look at draw odds and access. I've stopped looking at success rates. I've learned that success rates are high enough no matter where you go that they are not a discriminator. Also, the suggestion of getting a doe tag and a buck tag is a good one if you want to maximize your opportunities. I always get doe tags because I'm cheap but I've often had to pass on at least one buck before getting an opportunity at a doe. On the other hand, I've always gotten at least one shot at a doe by my second day of hunting.
By the way, I envy you. I've got a son and 2 daughters and none of them are interested in hunting with me.
Don't forget to look at the Private Lands Public Wildlife areas, either walk-in or Hunter Management Areas, as a number of those are in areas where you have better odds of drawing licenses. Also, don't forget to apply as a party, with everyone having the same area choices, the same choices for licenses that allow killing any antelope, and the same choices for doe/fawn licenses. That way, everyone draws or nobody does. If you select the areas right, everyone will draw. In area 9, for example, you have a 50:50 chance of drawing a license to hunt any antelope with no preference points, and a 100% chance of drawing doe/fawn licenses, and there is a big walk-in area west and northwest of Manville combined with a large block of state land which requires no permission to hunt.
If there is another good fawn crop, the odds will improve again in areas with more public land, as more licenses will be issued.
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some 1st rifle elk hunts in co go for no points.Cant beat a $100 elk tag for youth.Plenty of otc options as well.Montana, you can get 1/2 price combo tags for youth;or roughly 1/2 price.If she bowhunts then I'd be taking her for elk.Success or not, its hard to forget hearing that first bull bugle off.And,she will know shes at least in the game by hearing them.Im sorting out my sons first trip this year,and thinking its going to be 3rd season elk in Co.He has 3 pts for deer and antelope in Wy.Tough decision over an almost sure thing antelope hunt or a 3rd rifle elk tag.Im going to leave it up to him to decide since its his hunt.He should get to experience a muley hunt while we're out west as I should draw a good Wy unit
Does your daughter need to kill to have a successful trip?If not, look into an elk hunt along with your antelope options.Also plenty of no point deer draws in Co ,Wy and Mt
If you want a father daughter hunt for antelope...Send me a PM. I can give you info on easy draw areas in Wyoming that would be a lot of fun. I lived there for a few years and can help with everything you need. If I still lived there I could take you but my job has me moving once again (DC this time). The area is within easy drive of Cheyenne, WY.

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