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Where to start?

Old 01-03-2010, 01:56 PM
  #1  
Fork Horn
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Default Where to start?

My dad and i are looking to do a diy mule deer or antelope hunt, but have no clue as to where to start. We dont know anybody who heads out west every year hunting them, so we have no clue which states are best for animal and draws. Would be interested in either going with the rifle, muzzleloader, or bow. Any info would be greatly appreciated, thanks. Also any special gear to get. Thanks
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:55 PM
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DIY mule deer- Colorado

DIY antelope- Wyoming
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:05 PM
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If you are looking for a guided Hunt I took a group to Wyoming with G-man Outdoor adventures. We hunted dampier lodge and the hunting was phenominal. Everyone in camp tagged out with all the deer and goats at 100%.
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Old 01-04-2010, 04:17 AM
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Thanks for the info guys.
salukipv1 what units would you suggest hunting or applying for in colorado?
Team Harvest, i will definately add that outfitter to the list! What dates did you guys go? Early or a rut hunt?

Last edited by rangerboy; 01-04-2010 at 04:20 AM.
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Old 01-04-2010, 06:12 AM
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:49 AM
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Create a game plan!

First, choose a weapon. In general archery tags are easier to draw, but success rates can be as low as 5 to 10% on killing an animal. I would suggest using a rifle for your first hunt.

Second, choose a species. Pick one species to target.

Third, apply for points. The good units in most states you need points to draw a tag.

Here is what I would do.

I would hunt with a rifle because it is your first trip out west. Decide if you want to hunt high or low. I would put in for points in Colorado for deer, and Wyoming for antelope.( Approximately $40 for each point) Again most good tags cannot be drawn your first year.In Colorado you will need anywhere from 3 to 9 points to draw a good deer tag. Wyoming you need 1 to 5 to draw a good antelope or deer tag.

You can apply for any region in Wyoming and have a good chance a drawing a GENERAL tag. The only exception is region G and K. You will not be able to draw these tags with 0 pts. Another option would be to apply for a deer point, and buy a leftover tag over the counter. By doing this you would have 1 point for next year.

Buy some BLM maps, and make sure there is plenty of public land. Make some call to the biologists and wardens. Get all your ducks in a row before you apply. If you donít draw a tag, you can buy some over the counter.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rangerboy View Post
Thanks for the info guys.
salukipv1 what units would you suggest hunting or applying for in colorado?
Team Harvest, i will definately add that outfitter to the list! What dates did you guys go? Early or a rut hunt?
for mulies in CO as a Nonres, I think with 2 pts you can draw any tag. None the less though CO has so many tags for rifle and bow etc...that I think you could hunt CO your first year without pts etc...you'll just have to check the regs and do some research. buying a landowner tag might be one route to go, as you can hunt private land, and get a tag without any pts, and hunt one of the better units, though I'm sure the better units cost more, also a better unit and season costs more, ie a later or earlier season...there really are so many units, i'd check out eastmans or huntinfool for specifics, at least a good place to start your research...

I must say ive yet to hunt mulies in CO, have been wanting to witha bow for a few years now but other hunts etc... have taken priorities, so all I really know is what my research has shown and that is that CO is really one of the only states where mule deer are doing well out west, most states are not in their prime when it comes to mulies these days.

If you just want to shoot a mulie buck and or does, check out SE Montana! i've never seen so many deer in my life! but know that a 4x4 is a good/great buck for the region don't be expecting 180" bucks. If you go there, do your part and get about 5 doe tags a piece and have at them!
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:29 AM
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Your first step is to define your hunting goals. Do you want a trophy (better than 99% of animals taken), do you want something you can mount (less stringent requirement than 'trophy'), or do you just want a good hunt and some meat to take home? When you start hunting for horns/antlers, typically complications arise. The best units are the most difficult to draw in, so you have to get into the waiting game to draw a permit in the prime areas. When you get your permit, you will need to hook up with an outfitter, because the outfitters have leases to hunt on the best properties. That gets pretty expensive and tiresome waiting to hunt instead of hunting. At least that would be my opinion.

If you are just looking for a good hunt and want to take home some good meat, you can easily arrange to hunt Pronghorn Antelope in Wyoming in October 2010. Submit a party application in an under subscribed unit having ample public land -- for example unit 23 or unit 24 near Gillette. You can make arrangements to hunt on private lands for a modest "trespass fee" or you can identify public land and hunt on the public land for free. Study information available from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department home page to look at drawing odds for different game management units in Wyoming. The deadline for deer and pronghorn applications is March 15. Full-price any sex permits are $286 and doe/fawn permits are $48, for non-residents. Call the Buffalo office of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and ask them to email you the list of landowners that accept trespass fees. I did this in 2004 and hunted with my son for two days on a ranch for $200 total. Call several land owners, as they offer different deals. You can identify Bureau of Land Management maps that cover your selected hunting unit from information available on the Wyoming Fish and Game Department web site. These will indicate the availability of public land. For units 23 and 24, the following BLM maps would have you covered: Reno Junction, Newcastle, Gillette, and Sundance. Order your maps early so if you find you need additional maps you have time to order and obtain them before your hunt. They used to be $4 per map. You can probably order these on the Wyoming Fish and Game Department web site. Be advised that not all game units have ample and/or readily accessible public land. In some areas, not so much units 23 and 24 though, you may not be able to access public land without crossing private land . . . and that may mean you can't get to that public land. Unless you have landowner permission, you can only cross their land if there is a public road that passes over this private land to the public land.

Pronghorn hunting is easy, and the success rate is 95%. If you actually go and you remember to load cartridges into your rifle, you will take a pronghorn. I'm speaking of rifle hunting. Of course, bow hunting and muzzle loader hunting have greater challenges and hence the success rate may be expected to be lower. If bow hunting, consider strongly setting up in a blind proximate to a water hole, for example a watering trough next to a windmill on a ranch. Pronghorn are not like deer. They remain out in the open all day long. There are few trees where pronghorn live. Their strategy for avoiding being dinner for predators is to be out in the middle of a big open space and rely on their eyes to detect danger and their fleet feet to run away from threats. If hunting with a rifle, you will spot them and then approach close enough for an ethical shot by stalking. If you make a mistake, they see you and run off, no big deal, just go over the next hill -- there are plenty more pronghorn over there, in all likelyhood. Don't worry about being out to hunt at first light. Why? Sleep in. Have another donut and a third cup of coffee and drive out to the hunting ground by 9:45 AM. Guess what? The pronghorn will still be out there, ready to be hunted.

You will want to go to an area where there are lots of pronghorn. Units 23 and 24 qualify. Lots and lots and lots of pronghorn there. Before I went someone said that the pronghorn around Gillette were as numerous as locusts. I thought they were exaggerating. Not really. Driving around the outskirts of Gillette you will encounter pronghorn walking through ditches, along fence lines. Opening day, particularly on public land, is going to be pretty busy and crowded, or so I've heard. If you are not trying to bag a trophy or a wall hanger, why bother with the opening day madness? There will plenty of pronghorn after opening day, after opening weekend. Why not hunt during the middle of the week when the opening day fussilade has ended and the locals have gone back to their weekday jobs?

Because the success rate is high, you will take pronghorns. Be prepared to take care of them. People recommend that you start cooling the meat down immediatly. Field dress right after taking pictures. Some people recommend taking several bags of ice in ice chests and stuffing a couple of bags in the interior of the body cavity to start the cooling down right away. Some people recommend skinning ASAP. Pronghorn hides keep them warm in very cold, very exposed Wyoming winters. They aren't letting any heat out after you kill them. Try to avoid shooting your pronghorn after it has been running -- this is liable to get the meat overly hot and/or load your meat up with adreneline, which might make the meat taste poor. A nice, precise kill shot on a calm, standing pronghorn, followed by prompt field dressing and prompt cooling is the recipe for delicious pronghorn meat. And pronghorn meat IS delicious when it is properly cared for.

Weather can range from sunny and hot at 80 degrees to zero degrees with heavy snow. It is almost certainly going to be windy -- 20 MPH or higher type of windy. Be prepared for this range of weather conditions. Typically you can drive your truck close to where you will hunt. The terrain is not high or particularly mountainous. You may be able to drive your truck right up to your kill spot, which makes life easy. This is one of the physically easiest hunts going.

Just about any legal rifle cartridge will be appropriate for pronghorn. A .30-30 or similar slow cartridge is not recommended, but even then if you can hit a paper plate at 150 yards with your .30-30, I guess it would work well enough. Most people prefer cartridges such as .243 shooting 100 grain bullets, .25-06 shooting 100 grain to 120 grain bullets, .270 shooting 130 grain bullets, .30-06 shooting 150, 165, 180 grain bullets. You get the picture.

If you want to go in 2010, you can easily work out the logistics to make this happen. Remember the March 15 deadline. You may wish to have made up your mind as to where you will hunt -- private land paying trespass fee or public land -- so you can get those details nailed down BEFORE you apply in a particular area. Remember you will want to check the PARTY HUNT box on both applications. Read the instructions on how to do this properly in the application form. You don't want to get drawn and your father NOT be drawn. On the other hand, if you apply in an under subscribed area like I recommend that scenario isn't likely to happen. Good luck. It is a lot of fun.

Last edited by Alsatian; 01-05-2010 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 01-05-2010, 12:27 PM
  #9  
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Alsatian, thank you for all of the information, it will help a ton!
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Old 01-05-2010, 02:17 PM
  #10  
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Also, In Wyoming you can apply for a "Special" tag and have approximately a 100% better chance at drawing a tag. These special tags will cost you twice the amount of a regular tag.

When I said a tag will take 1 to 5 years to draw I was talking about trophy hunts. There are many hunts in the state you can draw with 0 points. With a special tag you may be able to draw good unit with 0 to 3 points.

I personally would suggest applying for a point, and buying an over the counter tag. That way in a few years when you are more experienced you can hunt the "trophy" deer you dream of.



Good Luck
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