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Unsuccessful Wyoming Resident. Options?

Cornell Cowboy

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
206
Location
Laramie, WY
Just a question, from a guy who formerly was in charge of the guys managing big game in WY: Why do I get the feeling every time I read this same bitching, which I've heard for all of my 53 years in this state, that none of you give a damn about the animals you're hunting? Is it the Me Generation?
Over nearly thirty years, we went from the earth being covered with antelope in the 1970s and 1980s, followed by declines since then, to the situation today, with populations much lower in all areas. We are now living with the effects of too many antelope for too many years. Those large numbers of antelope you all loved beat the hell out of the habitat, like the mule deer in western Wyoming from the 1950s through the 1980s, and now, with the drought, even the crappy habitat is in poorer shape. There aren't as many twins, a sure sign of habitat problems, widespread sagebrush control has removed important winter range throughout Wyoming, to be replaced by cheatgrass, and due to drought, there not only isn't much water, the shrubs that help provide protein to keep a doe alive don't have enough protein, and broad-leaved plants(forbs) needed to help a doe produce enough quality milk to keep fawns alive are nearly non-existent . Wet meadows became dry in places like Shirley Basin in the 1990s, and springs in many draws quit running. Same results in much of Wyoming. Yet I keep hearing "nothing has changed". BS!
Part of the problem with controlling antelope was residents who wanted to kill the last trophy buck, but wouldn't shoot a doe. Because they didn't have to, due to the high number of antelope and numbers of antelope on public land, residents wouldn't go to private land and wouldn't pay trespass fees. I agree it took nerve for landowners to bitch about numbers of antelope, then demand a trespass fee. So, to encourage doe harvest required to control numbers of antelope(because bucks don't have fawns), prices of doe licenses were reduced, and people could have multiple licenses, five in many areas, and all they wanted in parts of NE Wyoming where most residents wouldn't go. The rollover started then to get licenses issued, not have to send return checks, and make people reapply when licenses were available. Remember, it wasn't the computer age yet. Nonresidents managed antelope, not residents, those people with five doe/fawn licenses for the price of a buck license from states all over the country who recognized there's 6 pounds difference in the hog-dressed weight of buck and doe antelope, loved a bargain, and weren't afraid their manhood was in jeopardy from killing females. Mark my words, had that not happened, antelope would be in much worse shape than they are today.
At the same time, we didn't want to ruin the quality of hunting for bucks, nor make the hunting in those days a worse madhouse than it was. A guy hunting bucks should be able to go out the last couple of days of the season and still find a quality buck, given that not all areas have the same quality genetics. Warden Roger Bredehoft, then in Jeffrey City, suggested maintaining a post-season buck:doe ratio of 40 bucks per hundred does, and managing herds by increasing doe/fawn licenses. That eventually was adopted statewide, and far as I know it is still in place in most areas today. Don't know about you, but I don't want to have to kill a yearling buck in a quality hunting area because managers issued too many licenses. When herds are reduced, the number of licenses to hunt bucks declines, and the drawing odds get worse for type 1 licenses, to maintain some quality. Ditto the number of doe/fawn licenses. I do not agree with the current G and F decision to reduce licenses in areas where habitat is poor and thus leave more animals out there in winter, stressing more of them, but it plays better with the current political climate. Ranchers do not add to their herds when the range is in poor shape, they sell animals. Healthy females produce more young, and the less competition for food, the healthier the doe, even on poorer habitat.
As for general licenses, antelope are open country creatures, and easy to eliminate, thus the limited number of licenses. When settlers came west, elk were eliminated from open country, as were white-tails and mule deer near settlements, shot for winter meat. Elk are now moving to places they once lived due to sanctuaries on private lands.
And before anyone asks, I have drawn three licenses to hunt buck antelope in 10 years and twelve doe/fawn licenses.
I'm not sure how wanting to do away with NR rollovers and moving to only allowing one doe/fawn application in the initial draw period somehow equates to "none of you give a damn about the animals you're hunting." I've read your rant three times but can't figure out what you're advocating: do you want us to kill more does, less does, more antelope, less antelope? The only thing really clear is that it's all the residents fault, right? I understand that many of the systems we have in place were created in different times (I assume the point of your history lesson), but that's why I'm a fan of changing things...because times have changed. Sometime around 2013/2014 there stopped being enough resident tags to go around, so I'm simply suggesting some minor changes to alleviate that somewhat. Carry on.
 

Cornell Cowboy

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
206
Location
Laramie, WY
I'm not sure how wanting to do away with NR rollovers and moving to only allowing one doe/fawn application in the initial draw period somehow equates to "none of you give a damn about the animals you're hunting." I've read your rant three times but can't figure out what you're advocating: do you want us to kill more does, less does, more antelope, less antelope? The only thing really clear is that it's all the residents fault, right? I understand that many of the systems we have in place were created in different times (I assume the point of your history lesson), but that's why I'm a fan of changing things...because times have changed. Sometime around 2013/2014 there stopped being enough resident tags to go around, so I'm simply suggesting some minor changes to alleviate that somewhat. Carry on.
On a side note, the biggest reason for decreasing draw odds is the increasing participation of residents. Our human population today in WY is essentially the same as it was in 2012 or 2013 but the number of resident applicants has gone from 26,592 to 38,113 --> an increase of 43%. Over the same period the number of tags have decreased from 30,035 to 22,640 --> a decrease of 25%. Anecdotally I think this is because the younger generation doesn't seem to have the same bias against antelope meat as the older generation (many of the ranchers I know in the northeast part of the state won't touch antelope meat, claiming that it's too gamey). So I think a big reason for the increase in resident hunting is that they like the meat (either for the flavor or the "organic" nature of it)-- it's the reason that my wife went from a non-hunter (raised on a ranch in NE WY) to a hunter, specifically for antelope meat. The younger generation also seems to have less bias against shooting does. Anyways, the issue seems unique to antelope, as you don't see the same increases for resident deer and elk hunters over the same timeframe.
 

cahunter805

Well-known member
Joined
May 27, 2014
Messages
2,249
On a side note, the biggest reason for decreasing draw odds is the increasing participation of residents. Our human population today in WY is essentially the same as it was in 2012 or 2013 but the number of resident applicants has gone from 26,592 to 38,113 --> an increase of 43%. Over the same period the number of tags have decreased from 30,035 to 22,640 --> a decrease of 25%. Anecdotally I think this is because the younger generation doesn't seem to have the same bias against antelope meat as the older generation (many of the ranchers I know in the northeast part of the state won't touch antelope meat, claiming that it's too gamey). So I think a big reason for the increase in resident hunting is that they like the meat (either for the flavor or the "organic" nature of it)-- it's the reason that my wife went from a non-hunter (raised on a ranch in NE WY) to a hunter, specifically for antelope meat. The younger generation also seems to have less bias against shooting does. Anyways, the issue seems unique to antelope, as you don't see the same increases for resident deer and elk hunters over the same timeframe.
I can remember when I started hunting WY the ranch we hunted at loved for us to take antelope. They also asked us why we liked to eat them because they hated them and thought they tasted nasty.
Tastes pretty darn good to me!
 

jtm307

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 4, 2016
Messages
836
Location
Wyoming
…the unlucky few who did not draw a Resident Wyoming Antelope tag.
Unfortunately that number will grow each year for the foreseeable future. I’m glad we’re in the good old days of elk hunting to make up for it. I spent fewer days elk hunting last season than antelope hunting but killed the same number of elk. A lot of non-hunting friends got loads of elk meat last year.
 

WYelker

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 1, 2021
Messages
184
Chalk this one up to not understanding the draw system. Like many others people just need to take the time and understand the system.

As for other issues. Antelope are the easiest big game animals to kill. There is nothing overly challenging about killing a WY antelope. The season are super long, they over lap the rut, etc.

The success rate and super high, especially given all the guys running around with range finding scopes, computer charts etc. they simply would not have a chance if we allowed more hunting.

Hell I have taken as many lopes spot and stalk with my bow as I have taken with my rifle. There really is not a major challenge to filling a lope tag here. They are nearly a 100% success every year. No way the lopes would sustain with a general tag.
 
Joined
May 10, 2021
Messages
48
Hell no on general antelope tags, put in hope you draw if not plan other hunts with your dad, lots of opportunities here in Wyoming. Antelope just seem so abundant cause where they live. Out in the open along highways ect. As you can see lot of cuts to quotas so I don’t think the heards are doing that great right now, hopefully they get what the need from Mother Nature to start building back up, Ohhh no one in my family drew buck tags either on to other plans now!!
The herds aren't doing great because the range isn't doing great. I'm surprised that the drought hasn't been mentioned in this thread; it's the reason for the reduction in the number of tags available. Projections are that the drought will continue and become even more severe. Habitat matters.
 
Joined
May 10, 2021
Messages
48
Just a question, from a guy who formerly was in charge of the guys managing big game in WY: Why do I get the feeling every time I read this same bitching, which I've heard for all of my 53 years in this state, that none of you give a damn about the animals you're hunting? Is it the Me Generation?
Over nearly thirty years, we went from the earth being covered with antelope in the 1970s and 1980s, followed by declines since then, to the situation today, with populations much lower in all areas. We are now living with the effects of too many antelope for too many years. Those large numbers of antelope you all loved beat the hell out of the habitat, like the mule deer in western Wyoming from the 1950s through the 1980s, and now, with the drought, even the crappy habitat is in poorer shape. There aren't as many twins, a sure sign of habitat problems, widespread sagebrush control has removed important winter range throughout Wyoming, to be replaced by cheatgrass, and due to drought, there not only isn't much water, the shrubs that help provide protein to keep a doe alive don't have enough protein, and broad-leaved plants(forbs) needed to help a doe produce enough quality milk to keep fawns alive are nearly non-existent . Wet meadows became dry in places like Shirley Basin in the 1990s, and springs in many draws quit running. Same results in much of Wyoming. Yet I keep hearing "nothing has changed". BS!
Part of the problem with controlling antelope was residents who wanted to kill the last trophy buck, but wouldn't shoot a doe. Because they didn't have to, due to the high number of antelope and numbers of antelope on public land, residents wouldn't go to private land and wouldn't pay trespass fees. I agree it took nerve for landowners to bitch about numbers of antelope, then demand a trespass fee. So, to encourage doe harvest required to control numbers of antelope(because bucks don't have fawns), prices of doe licenses were reduced, and people could have multiple licenses, five in many areas, and all they wanted in parts of NE Wyoming where most residents wouldn't go. The rollover started then to get licenses issued, not have to send return checks, and make people reapply when licenses were available. Remember, it wasn't the computer age yet. Nonresidents managed antelope, not residents, those people with five doe/fawn licenses for the price of a buck license from states all over the country who recognized there's 6 pounds difference in the hog-dressed weight of buck and doe antelope, loved a bargain, and weren't afraid their manhood was in jeopardy from killing females. Mark my words, had that not happened, antelope would be in much worse shape than they are today.
At the same time, we didn't want to ruin the quality of hunting for bucks, nor make the hunting in those days a worse madhouse than it was. A guy hunting bucks should be able to go out the last couple of days of the season and still find a quality buck, given that not all areas have the same quality genetics. Warden Roger Bredehoft, then in Jeffrey City, suggested maintaining a post-season buck:doe ratio of 40 bucks per hundred does, and managing herds by increasing doe/fawn licenses. That eventually was adopted statewide, and far as I know it is still in place in most areas today. Don't know about you, but I don't want to have to kill a yearling buck in a quality hunting area because managers issued too many licenses. When herds are reduced, the number of licenses to hunt bucks declines, and the drawing odds get worse for type 1 licenses, to maintain some quality. Ditto the number of doe/fawn licenses. I do not agree with the current G and F decision to reduce licenses in areas where habitat is poor and thus leave more animals out there in winter, stressing more of them, but it plays better with the current political climate. Ranchers do not add to their herds when the range is in poor shape, they sell animals. Healthy females produce more young, and the less competition for food, the healthier the doe, even on poorer habitat.
As for general licenses, antelope are open country creatures, and easy to eliminate, thus the limited number of licenses. When settlers came west, elk were eliminated from open country, as were white-tails and mule deer near settlements, shot for winter meat. Elk are now moving to places they once lived due to sanctuaries on private lands.
And before anyone asks, I have drawn three licenses to hunt buck antelope in 10 years and twelve doe/fawn licenses.
"with the drought, even the crappy habitat is in poorer shape." Thank you DrH for reminding folks about this essential element. Some of us do give a damn about the animals and work tirelessly to protect them and their habitats.
 

ccc23454

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 22, 2010
Messages
2,446
Location
Wyoming
"with the drought, even the crappy habitat is in poorer shape." Thank you DrH for reminding folks about this essential element. Some of us do give a damn about the animals and work tirelessly to protect them and their habitats.
Drought, severe winters, habitat changes (highways/homes/fences) and oil wells...lots and lots of wells.
 

wytex

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2016
Messages
2,820
Location
Wyoming
Areas started off well this spring but we need rain now, missed us this weekend.
Drought is the main player in the decline , imo.
 

cur dog

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 20, 2011
Messages
488
I’ve been in the greys river area with the family for the last few days. Everything is very green and moist here. Still quite a bit of snow up high still. I’ve seen a lot of deer. Hopefully the herd is recovering from the harsh winters a few years ago.
 

Brittany Chukarman

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 16, 2003
Messages
1,905
Location
Richland,Or
"with the drought, even the crappy habitat is in poorer shape." Thank you DrH for reminding folks about this essential element. Some of us do give a damn about the animals and work tirelessly to protect them and their habitats.
I would love to see this man post more. I remember his name from way back.
 

TN_Rifle_Junkie

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
320
Location
Great Smoky Mountains
Nope. Huge jump in 1st choice applicants. I'm still trying to understand why: Thread 'What am I missing? Wyoming Antelope 38-2' https://www.hunttalk.com/threads/what-am-i-missing-wyoming-antelope-38-2.313717/
The percieved threat of the 90/10 split in tags and the large jumps in the point scheme over the past two years has gotten people (who are point riders) to get off the fence and actually go hunt. The way WY does ALL first choice draws could be changed to hold the current R/NR split until after all 1st/2nd/3rd choice tags are issued. Resident tags should take a higher priority every year. Once the draws are done, the leftover tags should go into the pool for open purchase (first come, first serve) at the NR price.
 

Cornell Cowboy

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
206
Location
Laramie, WY
The percieved threat of the 90/10 split in tags and the large jumps in the point scheme over the past two years has gotten people (who are point riders) to get off the fence and actually go hunt. The way WY does ALL first choice draws could be changed to hold the current R/NR split until after all 1st/2nd/3rd choice tags are issued. Resident tags should take a higher priority every year. Once the draws are done, the leftover tags should go into the pool for open purchase (first come, first serve) at the NR price.
I was referring to resident applicants, so no threat to them from 90/10 and there's no point scheme for them.
 

perma

Active member
Joined
May 31, 2022
Messages
131
Location
Midwest
Same boat as most. Swung and missed on a decent unit with low tags in WY and didn’t draw. All I got left is 2nd draw in CO. If not, OTC archery in CO. Never hunted pronghorn with a bow. Any suggestions would be really helpful.
 

ShootsManyBullets

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 27, 2013
Messages
1,968
Location
OR Trail
More people chasing less animals. Someone gonna be upset.

I haven't drawn 2 years in a row after drawing for a dozen straight years but not complaining about it. The herds have been struggling so tag cuts were needed to hopefully sustain the resource. Didn't feel like I deserved a tag that used to be easy to get. The cost of hunting out of state this year will be ridiculous with inflated prices for everything anyway.
 

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