Contributors to this thread:
I've got 9 NR PP's going into this years WY draw... Considering going after a tag this year - but want to make the most of my PP's. I've done a lot of research over the years and have even ordered maps and talked to biologists, CO's, a few guys that have hunted different area's in some of the units I've been looking at but to be courteous to other hunters I won't list any of the specific units I'm considering in my post... I had a specific unit in mind but just this week another serious hunter I was talking with that grew up in WY said I was crazy to spend my points on that unit - so now I'm second guessing myself... Obviously I'm planning to hunt archery - don't care if it's a type 1 or 9, long as I can archery hunt that unit. Beyond that - I don't really want a griz unit and my expectations are I'd like to get in a unit with at least some trophy potential (I've taken a few bulls over 300 with my bow with my largest 330 so I'd like a realistic chance at a 350 if I hunt hard) - at the same time I just want a good hunt experience...
PM's on suggestions welcome and who knows - maybe can even visit on the phone at some point.
Do not be painted into a corner thinking you should only apply for a unit that will require all your accumulated points to draw in the preference point pool. Sure, the more points a unit takes in WY then the better the current quality of bulls but past reputations for quality can last long after actual current quality ebbs. WY also has the wilderness law and the grizzly issue which reduce demand on those units that would otherwise take more points to draw. Harvest rates, land access, difficulty of the terrain, migration into/out of public land and dates for the hunt also impact demand in WY as in other states. Fortunately, lots of units in WY can produce a 350 class bull so you should be able to come up with a choice for 2018 that would have been 100% draw odds if you had applied in 2017 with 8 points. Do some searches on those units online to see what recent hunters have said. Call the biologists. Keep shooting your bow as you make a decision the next 8 weeks before the application is due. Good luck.
In my opinion points don't really get you an better chance of a 350 bull. No matter where you go unless it's private land that's a lofty goal. Points just gain you a better more relaxed hunt because of less competition and therefore way better odds of success. A 320 isn't so unrealistic though. Good luck! A good position to be in.
A lot of WY general areas have 350 plus bulls, if your willing to work for them. If you don't want to deal with grizzlies head to the Bighorns. Area 7 is another good choice but a lot of private and public intermixed. The grizzly elk areas are great but there is always a potential for an encounter. As long as your careful and keep a clean camp you'll reduce your chances of a confrontation. Remember as a nonresident you can't go into wilderness area without a guide or resident.
sdkhunter, I sent you a pm.
You haven't said if you are willing to engage and outfitter? Expensive, but would open up some better opportunity for a big bull.
Thanks for the comments/replies and PM's, always appreciate when people take time to give their thoughts!
Certainly understand that there are many units in WY that can produce good bulls - figure I have these 9 points so I may as well roll with a unit that is going to use most of them and then once I draw out I'll probably switch gears and start to do general or units that take 2-4 years to draw... I figure I'll never be in this position again!
Main reason I was trying to avoid griz units is because more than likely I'll be hunting by myself and being fellow hunters you know how dangerous it can be out in the mountains by yourself (been caught in high county lighting storms and slid 30 yards down a rock slide in MT once and kinda hurt my leg - was OK in both those situations but just want to be smart and ruling out bear units just takes that danger out of the equation)
LKH - I'm more of a DIY blue collar type of bowhutner... Don't get me wrong - I don't have anything against outfitters - but I've got 3 young girls at home and work two jobs so it's out of my price range. But I'm sure you're right - going through an outfitter would potentially open up other opportunities. I usually try and hunt someplace out of state every year so I got the equipment and experience to do it on my own - just trying to narrow down my options...