Never hunted pronghorn before. Been to Wyoming once for an hour or so on a trip to the Black hills. I have 8-10 units that I should be able to draw for a type 1 tag. My plan is to go out at the end of bow season and scout/bowhunt for 2 days and then, if necessary, rifle hunt the opener for 2-3 days. I will be going solo and plan to truck camp.
But I have some questions…
1. For all type 1 tags, can you buy an archery stamp and hunt the archery season or are there any exceptions?
2. Most of the units with decent amounts of public land that I can draw have mountains or mountainous areas. How far into the foothills will pronghorn live? I know pronghorn aren’t living in the cliffs with the sheep, but is there a good way to tell where pronghorn range starts or stops by looking at online maps? Elevation, broken country, etc. (I would like to camp in a decent spot that isn’t “the surface of the moon”, so hunting the foothills is interesting.)
3. How difficult is it to secure permission slips for public areas in a draw unit? Are residents hunting these areas or sticking to private land? (more of a rifle question)
4. BLM maps: I’ve heard paper BLM maps are very useful. Do you buy them by the unit, or specific hunt areas? Custom online printed or is there a way to order them from BLM or someone else?
5. Some of the units I can draw have a lot of tags and some have few? I would assume that the antelope numbers reflect that. Is it better to have less competition and fewer animals or more competition and more animals?
6. Most of the units I can draw are closer to the “big cities” in Wyoming. Is that a concern? I assume it is better to hunt a few hours away from those populated areas if possible?
7. Is it worth trying to knock on any doors or call ahead to try and get private access? Or should I just focus on public and get a good plan together with multiple options?
Thanks in advance everyone. (And if you are trying to give me honeyholes with exact GPS coordinates, please do so in PMs. ;) )
Ive been twice. Once on a type 1 tag, and once on another( cant remember, theres like 5 types)
I do remember I was able to buy the archery stamp and hunt on the tags I had during archery season.
The areas you describe are most likely loaded with private land, or landlocked access. A call to the area biologist and or warden would be a wise investment of your time, say around April/May to determine winterkill, access, and if any ranchers allow trespass fees.
BLM maps would be handy (MtTopo would be a good place to start). They have area specific boundaries already printed and ready to order. I got mine in 4 days upon ordering.
Antelope are where you find them. While I have been out west, I have seen antelope at elevations I would not have thought they would be. The biologist and warden can give you starting points.
Also consider that a lot of people will be doing exactly what you describe, bowhunting a couple days and planning on opening day of rifle to get it done. This will absolutely move antelope.
One of the areas I hunted(outfitted hunt) we drove past public every day and not 1 antelope was using it. All were on private. Most of the area was private.They absolutely know where to go.
The other hunt (diy) was different in the fact that the area was mostly public. We scouted for 2 long days prior to the archery opener and had a solid buck lined up. That all changed opening day with the hunters moving in everywhere. I did get my antelope on day 2, but a long ways from where he was 2 days prior. This was also a very low tag count area.
Consider that Wyoming has lowered tag counts in areas where the antelope are not doing well from winterkill or drought also. Historical tag counts can give you an idea if this is the case.
There are lots of moving parts to your questions, and I know more than I have listed.
If I were you I would think about (1), waiting for a few more points to get into some better areas, or (2) getting booked with an outfitter for your first time. They are about the cheapest guided hunt option you can get, and they will gain you access to ground that antelope are definitely on. Also, decide on bow or rifle. If you decide rifle, go later in the season and the pressure will be substantially less.
Your plan is valid, and many have done exactly what you say you want to do, and if you do go that route, be sure to have a plan to get the antelope dealt with quickly. It was 102 degrees when I killed my last one. Have ice in the cooler daily!
Take time to become thoroughly familiar with the Wyoming game and fish website and you will find contacts with private land access.
Call the game warden in the areas you are consider applying for, they helped me lots.
Email the GW and biologist in your chosen areas for info, be specific with your questions and they'll think you've done good homework. You can get maps here or when you come out in stores and at BLM offices: https://publiclands.org/collections/wyomingblmmaps
I already have OnX, so I will be using that with the BLM maps.
I am waiting until the reports come out soon with quotas etc. to make any decisions. But I am more than likely going to antelope hunt either way. (I have elk and deer points in WY as well and need to start using them.)
Do the season opener dates stay the same? Every sept 15th for example. Or is it the 3rd wednesday in sept? (I know diff units have diff dates.)
Do most people quarter antelope or gut them and drag them back to the truck? I know they are not that big and its best to get them on ice ASAP.