First post. Went to Wyoming Sept. 2011. First non-guided antelope hunt ever. Three of us "Iowans" had 2 points, paid for special draw, and drew 63 after much research. Hunted first 3 days of season. mid Sept.
Do not take this wrong - we had a great time, we all got buck antelope (small to medium), learned a lot, no regrets....but just have some questions - things just did not seem to add up to expectations based on Eastmans MRS info. We are having pow-wow soon to make future plans and need some guidance.
3 basic questions. Where were all the hunters? Where were all the antelope? Were there really some big bucks there? With 500 tags as I recall and 1st day of season, we expected to work for place to camp and compete for antelope. We were the only hunters camping on public land for miles around, period. We hunted large central area with many miles of public land and no danger of straying on private. In fact, we never saw another group camping anywhere, except on private. Great, but does not make sense. All those tags have to get used, were they mostly on the 15% of unit in private land? Or do they hunt later in season? We heard exactly 4 shots opening day, saw 3 rigs drive through on a main two-track. That was it for 3 days. We loved the solitude, absolutely, but seemed oddly silent.
We were just not seeing bucks of any size, and not many numbers at all. Maybe saw 4-6 bucks per day. Arrived 2 days ahead to scout, worked hard daylight to dark, spotted, stalked, crawled - but I will tell you we had to work hard for three small to mediocre bucks and were glad to get them. We saw one large buck on private land. I will admit there were more antelope on the 15% private land, and some bigger bucks. Were the bucks on the public land, and we did not know how to hunt them? Hey, we were rookies I admit. Just seeking some insight.
Last edited by EBOLAVIRS; 02-14-2012 at 11:41 PM.
I hunt down kind of around that area also and hardly ever see hunters. I didn't see anyone when I was archery hunting this last year and when I go down for rifle, I only usually see like 2 people. The post above me is right, it used to be a really good unit. It's not just that everybody and their mother hunt there though. A few winters back, we had a horrible horrible horrible winter and the antelope population really took a huge hit. How many antelope there are and where they are and all that just really depends on our winters here. The antelope units are pretty big and so I think that the reason you're not seeing any other people is partially for that reason. Everyone is spread out. I usually don't camp when I go hunt down there, I stay in a motel. So there may be others that do that also. I'm sorry that you didn't have a very good year out here.. But I guess it's better than tag soup!
EBO gave you the best info you can get on picking an area before you apply. You need to talk to the Area biologist and game warden and ask them pointed questions and not just general questions about the area. Example, are there a lot of antelope in the area is too general. Are there bucks that will score 80 inches or better, is a better question to ask. What is the opening day pressure like, what is the best parts of the area to start hunting for a big buck, What are the roads like and is it worth it to hunt the walk in areas, ect.
The game warden steered me away from the walk in areas and told me to hunt the BLM land in the south portion of my area. It saved me a lot of time walking into barren or hard to stalk ground with few animals. The biologist told me to skip the opener, anothe great piece of advice. My friends don't want to do the home work and think I'm crazy making all those long distance phone calls, but if you don't, you may get a real unpleasant surprise. Another reason I hunt mainly on my own.
While Eastmans' is a good resorce, they can't hunt in every unit and know the lastest game trends for them.
Jen, I also shoot a 257 Roberts. It'a a ruger #1 and its the best rifle I ever owned. I killed my biggest deer and made my longest shots with it.
Last edited by Fish; 02-16-2012 at 03:20 PM.
Anyone been in Area 63 as of late? We didn't draw in the regular draws, so my bro-in-law and I grabbed one of the leftover 63-2 tags. After talking to the biologist (prior to the leftovers going on sale), he said to expect an avg. of 13-14" as to horn length. Sounds like there's decent access too. We just wanted to go hunting and I'm not set on shooting a monster (as I'm aware that will probably not be the case), although a mid-70s would be great. Now that we have the tags, my scouting / info search will kick it up notch. Just wanted know what others have seen out there and what the "on the ground assessment" might be.
I was getting ready to pull the trigger on one of the type 2 tags in 63 myself and they went away before my eyes! I guess that is what I get for waiting. I haven't been in there since last fall but I saw a buck in the type 2 side of the unit that was a monster, he was not super tall but had lots of mass and great prongs. The other bucks I saw in there were mostly in the 13-14 inch range and there were not a lot of those but in fairness I didn't get off the main roads too much. I figured the extra tag would be fun while waiting for the season to open up the road.
So are you hunting 63 with a type 1 tag? Can you do that and pick up a type 2 tag as well? Not familliar with the limits on tags that one can have. I'd assumed just one antlered, but can you have two with a leftover permit? Yeah, the type 2 tags for 63 were gone in less than 10 minutes. After talking to the G&F folks, that about what I expected. The area may not be what it once was, but for a leftover tag, it will do just fine.
I know everybodies expectations are to get an antelope that scores close to (or over) 80". But you have to realize that the big bucks are not everywhere. I have probably shot 50 buck antelope in the 40+ years I've been hunting them and have only got a few close to this size. I have one that scores over 80". I'll admit that when I first started hunting goats, I was not very selective and did not really know what to look for. If you really are set on only shooting one of this size, you are going to have to spend lots of time in the field looking...and not just in hunting season. Spend some off season time scouting and driving the backroads with your spotting scope. One thing I try to do is expand my area everytime I hunt. I spend a little time looking around in a couple of new areas close to where I'm hunting. I also ask any Warden I see in the area about new areas.
EBO is correct in his advice. Hope this helps too.
Cowboy Action Shooter; Endowment Life Member-NRA
The Original Rocket Scientist-Retired
"My Father always considered a walk in the mountains as the equivalent of church going."
You better hold out for an 80in or better buck in 74 or I'll be real disappointed in you. And nothing less than a 9 inch billy in CO.