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Wyoming Antelope questions
I have a couple questions about Wyoming antelope: How is the winter looking so far for the antelope and their well-being? Does this look like another year like last year with a big die off? In your opinion, how long does it take for the antelope herds to recover after a harsh winter like last year, if the following winters are pretty normal?
I am sitting on 11 points and wanting to do a hunt in the next 2-3 years but hoping the herd sizes and animals improve by then. Thanks to those that respond.
Following….In the same boat as you, knothead.
Another question for the knowledgeable antelope guys…… how many years of age before a buck antelope reaches his max potential (horn-wise)?
For most if not all of Wyoming, this winter is nothing like last. Very little snow and relatively mild temperatures. The animals that survived last winter seem to be doing well. There is still definitely less animals in the areas that were hit the hardest.
It’s seems pronghorn are able to recover quicker than deer. It is common for pronghorn does to have twins or even triplets. I think if this winter continues mild and next year is average, herds could bounce back fairly quickly. This is just my opinion from driving around the eastern 2/3rds of WY.
Antelope bucks are difficult to age. Seem to demonstrate maturity more in body size than horn size. Heard somewhere a buck may reach is horn potential by 3 years. But no expert. Weather, moisture, etc, can also really affect horn size year to year as well it seems. I’m a little concerned for this fall and the next if we don’t get more snow or good spring/summer moisture. Always a roller coaster!
Exceptional Pronghorn horn growth often occur after a severe winter kill. Low population densities may offer unlimited food, leading to dams in peak physical condition to birth the healthiest of bucks, which give the best chance for trophy sized horns.
If weather conditions are typical after a sever winter kill, the dams may produce their healthiest offspring two to three springs later, then these bucks will produce big horns in another two to four years.
FWIW, there are areas that did not get hit bad at all, and other areas that will take more than 2-3 years to recover, IMO. Most of the SW and S got hit the worst, and N/NW fared pretty well. We have a trip booked for next year, and after talking to the outfitter we are hunting with, we have no concerns. Its a private land low point area, so probably not what you want with the points you have, but the more popular big buck areas are going to take awhile to recover. Alot will depend on what caliber of buck you are looking for.
As far as age and horn growth, mild winters and good spring moisture will play a huge role in size of horns, quite possibly more so than age. If they have tge feed and water, horns should be good. Drought conditions really do hamper growth. Genetics and age will play a role as well, but I think conditions are a bigger factor.
Both of the antelope Ive taken were guesstimated at 3 and 4 years of age. Both were taken on years with less than average moisture. One was 66” the other 74”
I feel for you guys with that level of points. You are going to have some tough decisions to make on where and when to use them. It might be worth looking into some of the more well known outfitters that seem to just find a giant every year and get their thoughts on possibilities.
Frankly we were surprised at numbers on the spouse's antelope hunt this past Fall. The area supposedly had a pretty hard winter but we saw decent numbers and good bucks. Some areas are out here that still have good hunting.
I agree we need more moisture for the range, this wet snow helped quite a bit over here. We'll need a wet Spring to make up for the snowpack though. Saw a good number of twins last Spring so hoping for the same here in a few months.
So far winter in north central is pretty much non existent. One week or so of very cold weather, but no real snow. Issue may be lack of water if this holds.
Population seems decent, fawn survival over the next few months will be key
We still have plenty of time for winter to make an appearance
WG&F does a good job of informing public in the spring about winter conditions and animal survival of the winter. Follow their website.
The next 2 months are usually the ones that are critical.
Antelope bucks can grow B&C horns in 3+ years. That's a lot quicker than elk and deer. There are regions in Wyo the antelope are doing fairly well. Other regions you can drive miles and miles without seeing an antelope. It's good that Wyo got decent moisture last year! Some of the browse has looked pretty sorry in years past.