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Big Uncle 01-02-2019 05:42 AM

Wyoming antelope
One of the biggest hurdles for nonresident (“NR”) pronghorn (aka “antelope”) buck hunters in Wyoming is finding a place to hunt. The place to start is the Wyoming Game and Fish (WG&F) website. Go to the Hunting in Wyoming section and look at the drawing odds for past seasons. You will find two separate draws, Random and Preference Point (“PP”), with the each draw further split into NR and NR Special. That makes four separate draws, and you can only enter one. Wyoming is divided into many different hunting units with some further split into type 1 (whole unit) and type 2 (private land within the unit). It can be confusing at first but it will make sense if you spend the time to do your homework.

Find units that are possible to draw with your points and look at the quota for the unit. Some units may have a quota exceeding one thousand (ex. #23), and others as low as three (ex. #60). Be aware that there has been quite a bit of "point creep" in recent years.

The PP draw is where most licenses are issued and it gives tags in order to the people with the most PPs. A Special tag costs approximately double the price of a normal license resulting in odds of drawing that are normally better. The Random draw as the name suggests is done at random for far less available licenses and a drawing for the better units is a very long shot. The easily drawn units typically have difficult public access to hunting land, and plenty of tags for the outfitters on the private land. Public land can get very crowded in some units. The harder to draw tags usually have much better access and far fewer hunters.

Most public land is managed by BLM but there are also state lands to hunt and some private land that is available as a Walk In area. Trespassing is taken very seriously so crossing private land to access public land is out unless there is a public road crossing. Up to six can apply together in a party application and the points of all of them are averaged. This is great for families and friends but beware of strangers that want to join your party application. Some guys with no points troll the hunting sites looking for others that have several points and offer to help them with their special knowledge if they apply together. With the availability of GPS landowner chips and apps for phones there are no secrets anymore, and there are no special tricks for pronghorns. It is almost all spot (from a truck) and stalk for a shot.

If you think you want to hunt Wyoming in the future your best bet is to start buying Preference Points now. You can buy one per year per species, and you will be glad you did

CalHunter 01-02-2019 07:28 AM

HuntingNet gets a lot of searches and inquiries on antelope hunting in Wyoming. Many thanks to Big Uncle for posting this treatise with information and issues to avoid. This is a project that Big uncle has taken on to help new antelope hunters in Wyoming with information to help them figure out how to best apply for antelope tags in Wyoming and have a good hunt. All of the other longtime Wyoming antelope hunting members on HNI are encouraged to post other valuable information so this topic grows with useful information. This topic has been pinned to the top of the big Game forum due to so many inquiries and searches for more information. HuntingNet hopes this topic helps newer antelope hunters in Wyoming and a special thanks to Big Uncle for getting the ball rolling on this important project.

According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Dept. website page (see link below), Wyoming issues 75% of antelope tags to Preference Point holders and only 25% of the antelope tags in a random drawing. This is an effective way to substantially increase your odds of getting drawn.

Champlain Islander 01-03-2019 02:22 AM

I dislike the PP system many of the western states use. The concept is fine but since they don't allow banking the results are point creep which over time defeats the whole purpose. My friend who lives in Alamosa Co has high 20's points for elk, deer, sheep, and no matter what area he puts in for will lose all his points with the chosen species on that one tag. That high count when added into the mix of other successful candidates raises the points needed for the next year. It just keeps growing year after year. In a worse case the average person can't reach their desired GMU because the goal line moves away faster than they can buy or earn the points. If it takes 10 points and he has 25 he should get the tag at 10 not 25 and still have 15 left. Many of these lifetime points gatherers are getting older and that plan for hunt of a lifetime might be traded into 3 or 4 great GMU hunts needing less points.

Big Uncle 01-03-2019 07:27 AM

Pronghorn hunting itself is fairly easy if you do not have too much competition from other hunters. I have been on BLM land before with too many other hunters and watched most of the pronghorns stream onto the private land nearby. On the opening days of season when the two tracks on BLM start to look like a NASCAR event the pronghorns seem know somehow where the property lines are. Later in the season most of the hunters have gone away and the surviving game settles down and returns to their normal patterns. The beauty of the harder to draw areas is that fewer hunters have access to a great deal more area and spread out enough to make the hunt a much higher quality experience.

It used to be easy to pay a small "trespass fee" to gain access to private ranches but those deals are getting very hard to find. The outfitters have leased many of the good ranches and almost all of the ones that sell access have raised their prices dramatically. $750 - $1,000 access fees for good ranches that are not leased to outfitters are becoming the new normal.

rogerstv 01-03-2019 09:28 AM

I went in 2017. Have a well versed friend who worked out the details. We didn't use PP. We researched permit allocations, success rates, and everything else provided on the Wyoming website. All I wanted was an antelope and all he wanted was a doe. So, entering into the draw without PP was not much of an issue to us. We also based our choices on the maps he already owned. Learned about the phone apps after the fact. Cellular service spotty.

We arrived the day before season. Saw many antelope on public land. By opening day, the game moved mostly onto private. It took several days to fill our tags. Others at the motel filled tags faster than us. They hunted a different unit.

Watched a landowner continually push game back onto private. He parked on public and as the antelope started to leave his property, he would drive onto the public ground pushing them back. After Day 1, if you saw antelope you could almost guarantee they were on private.

Whitetails were lousy in the wooded, creek bottoms. Dozens and dozens around every corner. By the time we left, whitetail doe/fawn tags were $5 over the counter.

bronko22000 01-08-2019 06:16 PM

Now you guys have me piqued for another antelope hunt. They are so much fun. Going to have to talk with my buddy and see about doing another.

Bocajnala 01-18-2019 04:22 AM

I can't add too much more than what big Uncle has said. While I haven't gone on our hunt yet, I've been buying points and researching for the last four years for a group of 6 of us.

Take the time and do your research. The Wyoming website offers allot of information on past draws, as well as hunters success, land access, etc. Make use of that website and all that it offers. Also, make phone calls. This can help you get a better understanding of what the public Access is really like on the units that you are interested in, as well as better information on winter kills and the local antelope herd.

If you think you want to do it in the future, start applying for points now. $30/year will get you a preference point. And will greatly increase your ability to draw into better units when you are ready to hunt. A couple of points can still go a long way. Although, just like every where else, its taking more points each year to draw better units.

We apply as a group. So each year the members of my group have bought a preference point each. They will average out your groups points. (If one person has 6 points and one person has no points then the two of you will apply with 3 points.)

One member has to get online and open the group application. You will get a group ID number to give to your party, and then they can join the group application using that ID. This allows everyone in the group to be drawn, or not drawn, together.

There is allot of information on the Wyoming website, and it's the place to start if you want to plan an antelope hunt.

Unfortunately the days of easy to get license, and lots of available land are gone. But I think a good hunt can still be planned relatively cheaply if you do your homework.


Big Uncle 02-06-2019 09:52 AM

Wyoming Game and Fish Department just put out a nice video explaining how to understand the drawing odds.

Big Uncle 05-01-2019 12:03 PM

The end date for applying for a license in 2019 is quickly approaching. May 31 is the drop-dead date. My applications are already in. Waiting until the last minute to apply might bite you if a problem (computer, etc.) pops up, so get to it.

crimedog 05-29-2019 07:30 PM

Put in yesterday for Unit 65, same unit I have cow elk tag for.

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