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Wyoming pronghorn beginner...
Pronghorn
Contributors to this thread:
LTG 11 22-Feb-23
molsonarcher 22-Feb-23
drycreek 22-Feb-23
badbull 22-Feb-23
hoytshooter1 23-Feb-23
Ollie 23-Feb-23
elkster 23-Feb-23
wytex 24-Feb-23
7mm08 24-Feb-23
LTG 11 21-Mar-23
Orion 21-Mar-23
GFL 21-Mar-23
StickFlicker 21-Mar-23
molsonarcher 21-Mar-23
From: LTG 11
22-Feb-23
So, I have 4 points for Wyoming Pronghorn. I’m a little in no man’s land but this is the year to do this hunt. I had unplanned neck fusion surgery last year at 36 and didn’t get to hunt at all. I have 2 kids under 4 and realized that there is never going to be a “good time” to leave for the next two decades. Little bit of a wakeup call to start doing the things I’ve always wanted to do and I probably won’t be where I would want to be for a mountain hunt this fall.

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. ;) )

From: molsonarcher
22-Feb-23
For what its worth, here goes:

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!

From: drycreek
22-Feb-23
molsonarcher gives good advice, especially the last paragraph. One time we forgot to “ice up” in Cheyanne and killed two goats that afternoon. I had to drive 40 miles to get ice, ‘cause there aren’t many towns in Wyoming and bow season can be hot !

From: badbull
22-Feb-23
molsonarcher did a great job answering your questions and I really like his advice in the second to last paragraph. Bowhunting antelope can be a blast hunting on your own but be prepared to shoot at your maximum effective range if you are spotting and stalking.

From: hoytshooter1
23-Feb-23
Send me a PM... I can help you out.

From: Ollie
23-Feb-23
Get OnX or similar GPS mapping software so you can see the boundaries for public lands. Most Wyoming private ranches prosecute anyone trespassing on their land.

From: elkster
23-Feb-23
Questions 2 and 3. I was pleasantly surprised to find them on the continental divide last year and hunting that elevation is way better than "surface of the moon" scapes ( as far as scenery).

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.

From: wytex
24-Feb-23
First off winter may rear it's ugly head here in about a month or so. Numbers are down across the state and some areas are already having winterkill issues. You need to wait until quotas come out in April or so to decide on an area, tags may get cut drastically in some areas.

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

From: 7mm08
24-Feb-23
Brutal winter here in NE Wyoming. Not good.

From: LTG 11
21-Mar-23
Thanks everyone who answered. A lot of good points. I am answering some PMs now.

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.

From: Orion
21-Mar-23
The openers stay the same so it will be September 15th no matter what day of the week it is. Not sure if your on monstermuleys but in the Wyoming forum they posted the suggested quotas and there are massive cuts to a bunch of units for antelope so you might want to check what units you were thinking about.

From: GFL
21-Mar-23
Not a good year for goat hunting this year. I’ve hunted my friends ranch for the past 10 years in Wyoming and the tags got slashed major. This will be the first year I haven’t goat hunted in the last 15 years in Wyoming.

From: StickFlicker
21-Mar-23
They're saying there could be up to a 50% die off in the Rawlins area.

From: molsonarcher
21-Mar-23
Just some food for thought, but if you are dead set on hunting antelope this year, why not look at Colorado OTC archery, and save your points for a better year? Wyoming is taking a beating with winterkill, and you could at least go hunt this year while waiting for a better entry point in Wyoming a few years from now, and most likely draw a better area.

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