There only remains a few days left to put your applications in for antelope in two of the best states to chase the American Pronghorn. We should start with The Cowboy State, Wyoming, which easily boasts the best antelope hunting in the west. Even after a devastating winter, it appears the antelope in Wyoming have faired much better than their four legged brethren elk and deer. Wyoming’s quality and quantity of “speed goats” is unrivaled compared to other states and the opportunities for hunters to enjoy chasing these animals are plentiful. If you have never been to the west for a big game hunting experience, I highly recommend antelope as your first choice.
Several reasons for this recommendation stem from my first experience as a hunter. I had tagged along on a few hunts as a youngster with my father for elk and deer but no other animal captured or was responsible for my passion as a future hunter as the antelope. I couldn't wait to get out of bed opening morning of my first antelope hunt when I was twelve years old and probably drove my father crazy as I tossed and turned in our hotel room in central Montana waking every few hours to ask him if it was time to get up and hunt. Compared to elk or deer hunting where we woke up several hours before daylight to begin hiking up the mountain, the day before the antelope opener involved sitting on a bar stool in some little one bar town in the middle of Montana listening to my dad and all his buddies exchange far fetched hunting stories while sucking down a few cold ones. The next morning was certainly a little fuzzy for these seasoned hunters so getting out bed before daylight in their opinion wasn’t really necessary as they knew the antelope would still be out on the prairie at 8:00 am. It was also necessary to eat breakfast at the small local cafe before we headed out for the day. The last and most important reason is physical fitness surely was not as important as most ranchers back in those days allowed people to drive all over their property to remove some ‘goats’ from the herd. Walking may be required a bit more nowadays but hiking in the flat lands is definitely much easier than at 9,000 feet.
If you have a first time hunter, there is also no better way to fuel that hunting passion than being able to successfully stalk and shoot an antelope. The great thing about antelope hunting is if you blow a stalk, normally you can just walk over the next rise and a few more will be standing there but be sure to bring some extra ammo because things can get western pretty easily if there are other hunters in the area and antelope are trying to escape the gauntlet of lead flying from every direction.
Montana’s antelope application period also ends in a few days on June 1. Montana does not boast the numbers that Wyoming does and almost 70% of the population lives on private land so opportunities are not as great as they once were. However, a lot more land owners will allow antelope hunters whereas elk and deer are mostly off limits so don’t be afraid to contact a few and request permission. If you are into archery, Montana has an unlimited quota choice 900-20 which you can put as your 3rd choice after your 1st and 2nd general applications which will guarantee you a tag. I have enjoyed some of my best hunting success, failures, and elation archery hunting antelope in the west. Again, requesting to archery antelope on private land in my experience is almost guaranteed as very few landowners I have met will turn you away. Don’t be discouraged with the private land restrictions though, Montana still has plenty of BLM, State land, and block management areas to hunt on just expect a few other hunters to join you.
Wyoming has several 50+% draw odds for non-residents even as a party with no points so if you really want to hunt antelope, getting a tag is normally not an issue. Montana again has several good areas with slightly lower odds but still a plethora of opportunities especially in the eastern part of the state. If you want to discuss particular areas or would like some advice on where to put in, don’t hesitate to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to guide you in the best direction. Good luck and don’t forget to get those applications in. Wyoming is due May 31 and Montana is due June 1.