DIY Wyoming Antelope – Part 5 – 2015 Update & Draw Odds by Unit

 

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Tami’s 2013 Montana Antelope

A lot has changed in Wyoming since I wrote my series on DIY Antelope hunting in that state. Montana and Wyoming experienced a terrible winter in 2010-2011 that resulted in losses of antelope and mule deer that ranged from 60-80% in some units. Officials called it the worst die off in 30 years. In eastern Montana, antelope tags were reduced from around 22,000 to about 3,500. It was a necessary reduction to restore the herds but we haven’t hunted antelope for two years now and we are hoping to draw tags in 2016.

Wyoming’s antelope quotas have also been cut drastically.

Year Total Hunters NR Hunters % NR
2010      75,837      58,863 78%
2012      67,911      40,678 60%
2013      58,904      33,878 58%
2014      48,853      24,069 49%

As you can see, Non Resident tags dropped from 58 thousand to 24 thousand. The percentage of tags issued to Non Resident hunters also dropped from 78% of the total to 49%. As a result of these declines it has become increasingly difficult to draw an antelope tag in Wyoming.

Each year I receive numerous emails asking for recommendations for the best antelope units in Wyoming. Often the prospective hunters have no preference points established for antelope in that state. Unfortunately, until antelope numbers improve, the units with decent public access need at least one preference point to draw and most units are requiring two to three.

If you read my earlier posts you understand that Wyoming has many units with limited public access. Wyoming’s Game and Fish highlights these units in the regulations and discourages hunters from applying for these tags UNLESS they already have hunting access. These units are generally in the eastern third of the state and run from Gillette down to Cheyenne. There are lots of antelope and lots of tags but most of the land is private. It is  tempting to try one of these units  because draw odds are 100% and you can generally buy over the counter left over tags. However be forewarned that gaining access is not easy and you can expect to hear a lot of rejections if you show up during hunting season and start asking for permission to hunt. Many of the ranches are leased to outfitters. Some of the landowners allow hunting with the payment of a trespass fee. These range from $250 to $1500. I have found that many of these properties have repeat hunters coming back and no room for new hunters.  Wyoming Game and Fish maintains a list of landowners that allow access, most for a fee. I found when I called these that most were already booked up with hunters from prior years.

In a nutshell, here is the problem for non resident hunters attempting to gain access in one of these units; You have a week’s vacation to hunt so you arrive in WY during the season and start driving around looking for a place to hunt. Once you have boots on the ground and maps in hand you discover that the public BLM land on your maps is not accessible because its landlocked behind private property. The accessible public land you do find is crawling with trucks and ATVs driving every two track and the few antelope that don’t get shot opening day are running scared.  I have spoken with a number of out of state hunters who have tried it and their experiences are uniformly bad. If you have the time to visit the state prior to the hunting season and knock on doors and talk with landowners when they don’t have a sea of orange clad folks asking to hunt, you may get lucky and find access in one of these units, otherwise, I don’t recommend applying in those area unless you are willing to do a lot of research and spend time getting permission.

So what options are left? If you recall from my articles, 75% of the tags in a unit go to the applicants with the most preference points while 25% of the licenses for any unit are set aside for a “random draw”. So you always have a chance to get drawn for a unit even if you don’t have enough points to guarantee it. Random draw odds average about 4% in the accessible units but many are 7-8%. You can increase these odds dramatically by buying the more expensive “special license”. Random draw odds with the special tags increase to about a 15% average with many units over 20%. Each year you don’t get drawn you receive a preference point and build points that will eventually allow you to draw a unit of choice.

To help with this I pulled all of the draw statistics for 2015 for Non residents for both Regular and Special Licenses. The table below shows the Unit, the preference points required to guarantee a draw, and the random draw odds for each license type. The units with an asterisk are those not recommended by WY Game and Fish unless you have access.

So lets run through some numbers. Look at Unit 27. It is noted as an accessible unit. For 2015 if you had 3 preference points you had a 70% chance of drawing on a Regular License, so 4 points was 100%. If you applied for that unit and had too few points, you went into the random draw and had a 2% chance of being drawn. With a Special License, you only needed 2 points to draw and random odds increased to 12%.

UNT No Pref Points required to Draw Random Draw Odds Spcl Lic. Points Req to Draw Random Odds – Special License
1* 0 100% 0 100%
2* 0 100% 0 100%
3* 0 100% 0 100%
4* 0 100% 0 100%
5* 2 6% 0 100%
6* 1 53% 0 100%
7* 1 12% 0 100%
8* 0 100% 0 100%
9* 1 37% 0 100%
10* 0 100% 0 100%
11* 1 8% 0 (81%) 100%
15* 0 100% 0 100%
16* 0 100% 0 100%
17* 0 100% 0 100%
18* 1 14% 0 100%
19* 0 100% 0 100%
20* 0 100% 0 100%
21* 0 (73%) 94% 0 100%
22* 0 100% 0 100%
23* 0 100% 0 100%
24* 0 100% 0 100%
25* 0 100% 0 100%
26* 0 (71%) 91% 0 100%
27 3 (70%) 2% 2 12%
29* 2 2% 0 (83%) 100%
29* 0 100% 0 100%
30* 0 (77%) 132% 0 100%
31* 1 8% 0 100%
32 4 3% 2 20%
34* 1 19% 0 100%
37* 1 19% 0 100%
38* 1 11% 0 100%
41*
42* 1 (91%) 7% 0 (50%) 70%
43* 1 21% 0 100%
44* 1 6% 0 (75%) 100%
45* 1 7% 0 100%
46 2 2% 0 17%
46 2 7% 0 100%
47 5 3% 3 14%
47 5 4% 3 7%
48 5 2% 2 10%
48 5 5% 2 14%
50* 1 0 100%
50* 2 (78%) 5% 2 13%
51* 1 5% 3 7%
52 5 (83%) 1% 4 2%
52 3 4% 2 7%
53 8 1% 6 (60%) 4%
55 7 5% 1 25%
56* 6 5% 0 (67%) 100%
57 9 2% 9 4%
58 9 (75%) 0% 8 (50%) 0%
59 6 5% 2 29%
60 9 (15%) 0% 9 (75%) 0%
61 9 (81%) 1% 9 (67%) 2%
62 9 0% 3 (50%) 0%
62 9 7% 4 18%
63 6 3% 13%
63 6 12% 2 (75%) 16%
64 9 2% 7 6%
65 6 1% 3 (67%) 4%
66 6 4% 3 (67%) 4%
67 7 3% 5 7%
68 6 4% 5 4%
69 3 8% 2 (67%) 13%
70 2 2% 0 (50%) 100%
71 2 5% 0 (50%) 25%
72 4 3% 2 22%
73 4 4% 3 15%
74 4 (93%) 8% 2 19%
75 5 4% 3 14%
76 4 6% 2 14%
76 0 (44%) 25% 0 100%
77 5 6% 1 (67%) 6%
77 1 0% 0 (67%) 0%
78 4 5% 3 (89%) 22%
79 1 0% 0 100%
79 1 0% 1 100%
80 6 1% 3 14%
81 3 4% 1 20%
82 3 (50%) 4% 1 12%
83 5 3% 3 3%
84 2 (75%) 7% 0 100%
85 3 0% 1 0%
86 3 3% 0 33%
87 3 6% 1 (72%) 9%
87 3 (66%) 8% 1 (70%) 17%
88* 3 (87%) 8% 1 (80%) 13%
89 5 (69%) 3% 4 5%
89 5 3% 1 12%
90 4 (75%) 3% 4 9%
90 6 (70%) 4% 4 9%
91 5 4% 4 10%
92 8 (78%) 1% 6 3%
93 6 3% 4 (93%) 7%
94 5 (61%) 3% 3 (65%) 12%
95 6 (67%) 2% 4 (47%) 7%
96 8 0% 5 (50%) 0%
97 2 10% 1 (89%) 17%
97 2 6% 0 100%
98 4 (55%) 5% 3 6%
99 0 100%
99 4 3% 2 (56%) 8%
100 5 (62%) 2% 4 8%
102* 0 100% 0 100%
103* 1 11% 1 46%
106 6 1% 4 (75%) 5%
107 5 100% 2 (67%) 100%
107 5 2% 2 25%
108 2 (67%) 6% 0 100%
109* 0 100% 0 100%
110 3 3% 1 (67%) 10%
111* 0 (65%) 57% 0 100%
112 7 (63%) 2% 4 8%
113* 0 (48%) 32% 0 100%
113* 0 0% 0 100%
114 8 1% 9 5%
114 3 0% 1 0%
115 5 3% 3 (86%) 12%

So there it is. It only takes a few minutes to see that the “accessible units” are requiring preference points to guarantee a hunt, in most cases several preference points. If you are willing to pay for a Special license (which I think is a better alternative than paying a trespass fee) you can find a few units which can be drawn with no preference points.

I have a full spreadsheet with detailed draw and harvest stats as well as % public land for every unit. Email me at n4thehunt@gmail.com and I will send it to you interested.

There is some good news out there regarding antelope hunting in the west. Montana biologists reported antelope numbers increased by 30% in the last year due to lower winter kill and great fawn recruitment. I spoke with WY Game and Fish in November 2015 and they were also seeing numbers rebound. Both states expect to INCREASE antelope tags moving forward. With a strong El Nino we are anticipating another fairly mild winter in 15-16, so antelope and deer numbers should continue to rebound strongly. I expect to see a reduction in the number of points required to draw these units in the years to come. Good news for those of us who love to hunt the prairie speed goat !

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2 Responses to DIY Wyoming Antelope – Part 5 – 2015 Update & Draw Odds by Unit

  1. richard barnsley says:

    Hi,
    Going to apply for a non-resident tag for 2017. I’m coming from Australia and have 5 preference points. Thinking of hunting for 10 days possibly units 87, 89 or 90.
    Any suggestions?
    Cheers,
    RB

    • Mark says:

      Hey RB ! I emailed you directly.. but for others …look carefully at those units in 2017..maybe even 2018.. There was a lot of snow in western Wyoming near the Idaho border. Check with Game and Fish before applying

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