Yeti

South Dakota Antelope

range

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Hey guys, Great forum you have here. I didn't see in introduction thread so I'll do it here. I started listening to Randy's podcast after hearing an interview of him on another podcast. Now I'm hooked. Learning a lot.
I was going to do an Elk hunt as a graduation present (grad school) but I decided to postpone it till I have 2-3 weeks to spend out west. I'm in eastern Ohio. Mainly a whitetail hunter but I dabble with trapping and fishing. Anyway, I'm thinking with 9 days for travel and hunting a South Dakota pheasant / antelope hunt might be just right. I've not hunted birds except for turkey but my buddy does, so that is where the pheasants come in. I've been reading the GFP site, but haven't quite figured out the tag system. It says there are 3 seasons but I only see the 2015 dates as Oct 3-18? I want the meat so it doesn't have to be a buck, although I would take one.
This will be my first hunt "out West" so I'm open to ideas and info, even to hunt other locations, animals and dates. Although western SD is at the upper limit of drive time I'd like to do. Thanks in advance!
 

VAspeedgoat

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I know you said western sd is your driving limit, but a few more hours and you would be in much better pronghorn country. Other than that I can't help much. It sure sounds like a fun time though, hard to beat sd for pheasants. Good luck.
 

jlh321

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These are 2015 dates 2016 will be different.
There is archery(Aug15-Oct.31 but closed during firearms) it is open for all units that have a firearm season, Custer State park(There is only a couple of tags I don't think NR can apply), and Firearms(Oct.3-Oct.18) you need to pick the unit you want to apply.
 

jlh321

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With the antelope numbers being way down I don't think they are giving out doe tags all tags look like they are any antelope, any antelope tags might be very hard or impossible without preference points for NR.
I could be wrong on above statement so you will have to research it.
 

NoWiser

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If you want the meat (very smart, antelope is delicious) your best bet is a leftover unit in eastern Wyoming. Doe tags are cheap and easy to come by. The number of antelope you see will amaze you. On your way back through to pheasant country, hit up the national grasslands for a day or two of hunting sharptails and prairie chickens. Have a great trip!
 

jzeck2

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Pronghorn and Pheasants

the best antelope hunting is usually a long way from the best pheasant hunting. the better antelope hunting in my opinion is in the NW and SW corners of the state, at least reliable hunting. sometimes you can have an OK hunt in central part of the state where there are more pheasants but not as reliable hunting plus there is not much public land so might be hard to get on private land especially for pheasants. I would try to get some pheasant hunting in on the way to more reliable antelope hunting grounds. Realize the pheasant season doesn't open until the 3rd Saturday in October.

If you wanted to hunt birds I would try a prairie chicken/sharp tail grouse hunt in combination with a antelope hunt the dates line up better especially for archery antelope and the grouse hunting will tend to be better where you find the antelope.
 

range

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Excellent info and ideas. Thanks guys. Sounds like a few more hours drive is the way to go. The chances for a good draw for a non res in a decent area in SD for pronghorn don't look great.
 

Wild Bill

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If you wanted to hunt birds I would try a prairie chicken/sharp tail grouse hunt in combination with a antelope hunt the dates line up better especially for archery antelope and the grouse hunting will tend to be better where you find the antelope.

^^ Great idea here. Sharp tails seem to get a knock sometimes for being too "gamey" (not sure why because they taste great) so they are often overlooked. While I was in NW SD this fall both deer and turkey hunting I saw tons of sharpies and a handful of prairie chickens. Also, at least in my experience, a dog isn't totally necessary for sharpies. They hold tight and are usually in more sparse cover making them easier to find when you drop them. If you go this route just make sure you're ready to go for a nice long walk.
 

range

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I guess eating liver and heart prevent me from finding my game gamey. I usually enjoy long walks and don't have dogs.
 

opslt79

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Do yourself a favor and make the extra drive to NE. Wyoming. I live just outside of Columbus and have been making the trip regularly since 2001. It's a 1400 mile drive to get into Wyoming and only the last 200 mile or so has any scenery worth seeing. The Badlands and Black Hills will be a welcome sight after you drive through 1000 miles of corn, beans and wheat. The triangle between Douglas, Newcastle and Gillette has plenty of antelope and many of the zones provide enough public access to make it likely that even a first timer should be able to take a respectable buck. Get a good GPS with a chip that shows public/private land, a range finder that goes out to at least 500 yards, top of the line binoculars, and a couple of friends that you like spending drive-time with. Also practice shooting out to 400 yards or so. This Isn't like hunting whitetail out of a treestand! Good luck & have fun
 

range

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Thanks for the tip. The draw odds for unit 1 and 2 look good. Some of The public land looks pock marked there though so a good gps like you said is in order. Do you buy over the counter tags when you go? I think I'm good with the equipment you listed and may throw in a spotting scope. I shoot long range with a 6.5 creedmoor and I'm thinking a 120 grain will do the trick. Are there birds in that area? If I'm going to have to do SD for birds I'm wondering if the Black Hills South Dakota antelope are plentiful? IIRC, non resident can't draw tags there?
Do yourself a favor and make the extra drive to NE. Wyoming. I live just outside of Columbus and have been making the trip regularly since 2001. It's a 1400 mile drive to get into Wyoming and only the last 200 mile or so has any scenery worth seeing. The Badlands and Black Hills will be a welcome sight after you drive through 1000 miles of corn, beans and wheat. The triangle between Douglas, Newcastle and Gillette has plenty of antelope and many of the zones provide enough public access to make it likely that even a first timer should be able to take a respectable buck. Get a good GPS with a chip that shows public/private land, a range finder that goes out to at least 500 yards, top of the line binoculars, and a couple of friends that you like spending drive-time with. Also practice shooting out to 400 yards or so. This Isn't like hunting whitetail out of a treestand! Good luck & have fun
 

jzeck2

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Inside the Black Hills there aren't a ton of goats plus you would need a special access permit that is restricted to residents. And I believe only allows for archery hunts. Outside the boundaries of the BH National Forest in either the Southern Hills or NW Corner of the state the numbers are better. Access to private land can be tricky. Harding County has a lot of public land both State & Federal but winters in the this Northwestern most county of SD can really decrease the numbers. Also the only place in SD that has Sage Grouse but the season has been closed there for a few years due to decreasing numbers.

Some ranchers hate goats and it used to be easy to get permission to hunt them but many have figured out some of us like them and some are willing to pay for access.

A lot of the State land in Harding County is the majority of the old school lands. Why they never sold these off like the rest of the state I have know idea. Unfortunately the State office that controls these lands is more of a real estate office than a custodian of a valuable resource.
 

range

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We don't have that problem here in the East, it's all private! No seriously, most of it is. I've been learning alot from Randy's podcast about this issue. Hunting a piece of public land that isn't a pumpkin patch of orange excites me!
 

opslt79

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Thanks for the tip. The draw odds for unit 1 and 2 look good. Some of The public land looks pock marked there though so a good gps like you said is in order. Do you buy over the counter tags when you go? I think I'm good with the equipment you listed and may throw in a spotting scope. I shoot long range with a 6.5 creedmoor and I'm thinking a 120 grain will do the trick. Are there birds in that area? If I'm going to have to do SD for birds I'm wondering if the Black Hills South Dakota antelope are plentiful? IIRC, non resident can't draw tags there?

You need to enter the draw for antelope. You can apply on line and the deadline isn't until May, so you have some time to do some research. Some areas will have leftover tags or doe/fawn tags that may be available over the counter, but I wouldn't count on those. Check the Wyoming G&F web site for draw odds and harvest rates from past seasons. If you stay away from the most popular zones you should be able to draw a goat tag without points.

We've taken antelope with everything from a .243 to a 300 mag. so your setup will be plenty of gun.

As far as birds go, we've never hunted them out there but have run into some locals chasing grouse. I'd check with the local biologist and see what the past few winters have done to their numbers.
 

JohnCushman

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If you've got 0 points in WY, then think about going into the special draw. That will open up several good units to you with a bit more access to public land. Don't forget about the $46 doe tags too. Antelope meat is too good to pass up :D (Antelope heart and liver is almost foods of the Gods :cool:)
 
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range

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I can't do the special draw at this time. I don't mind walking quite a way, especially if it means not rubbing shoulders with other hunters. Some of my best hunts were grueling. I'm definitely open to doe tags. Meat is meat to me. But I haven't had pronghorn. Is there a big difference btw buck and doe pronghorn meat? I don't notice it with whitetails.
If you've got 0 points in WY, then think about going into the special draw. That will open up several good units to you with a bit more access to public land. Don't forget about the $46 doe tags too. Antelope meat is too good to pass up :D (Antelope heart and liver is almost foods of the Gods :cool:)
 

JohnCushman

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I haven't really noticed any difference in the meat, even with rutting bucks versus does. Kill them quick and get them cooled down fast and it's all good.
 

range

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Well it looks like I'll be heading to Wyoming then. Navigating the draw results, maps, and reports now. Wow, your game departments are in a whole other field then ours. We don't have anything like this. There is one annual report with the total numbers killed, broken down into counties and hunting implement. Thats it, that I'm aware of. Nonetheless, its a little overwhelming to "put it all together." On the other hand, some guys are saying Just pick up a doe tag (at the end of the season?) All I want is to have a good hunt, but since I'm seeing 100% success rates and would like to bring meat home ----> all I want is to bring an antelope or two home! ha ha
 
AMK Sportsman

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