Help me figure out my 2021 season

Fitzwho

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Apr 18, 2017
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Midland, TX
Thinking about my 2021 season and having a moral dilemma for a couple time slots, don’t want to get into specific regions, but I have any of the below either guaranteed or very high draw odds on the units I am looking at:

Early October:
Utah General Season Muzzleloader deer (with cow elk tag in pocket, with plan to go back in December/January with 1-2 cow elk tags)
Or Wyoming Pronghorn
Or Wyoming Deer

Early November:
Colorado 2nd Rifle Deer
Or South Dakota Black Hills Whitetails
Or Montana Deer
 

bowhuntrben

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May 1, 2017
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Minnesota
Only you can decide what fits your desires most. Of the things you mentioned I would probably choose the Utah and Colorado options.
 

Wapiti1

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Sep 18, 2017
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Indiana
Pronghorn followed by Montana mule deer. But I have family in MT to visit too.

Either way, pronghorn in early Oct is better than muley's to me. I'd wait until a later season for the mule deer.

Jeremy
 

Jimss

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Mar 6, 2015
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How far do you live from the states and units you plan on hunting? My preference is fewer tags and to do the tag justice. This stretches quality hunts over more years that you will likely be able to scout and hunt a lot more effectively. If you have to travel a lot of miles to scout and have dates to tight it can get pretty frustrating. You may also feel like you are rushed to harvest bucks or bulls that you normally would pass up.

With that said, certain hunts generally take a lot more time than others. As an example, I am super picky about antelope but can usually find B&C bucks in a quality unit in 3 days of hunting. It may take 2 or 3 solid weeks of physically challenging hunting in remote country to harvest and pack out a monster muley buck in region G or H in Wyoming. A lot depends upon the unit, terrain, and style (backpack vs truck) of hunt ....and ultimately how picky you are to find a true trophy.

I usually spend more days scouting each summer and early fall than my actual hunt. Are you planning on any scouting trips or do you already know access, preferred hunting areas, and the quality of bucks available?
 
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Fitzwho

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Midland, TX
I have spent a little bit of time in both the Colorado units I am contemplating. One I have hunted previously and passed up some smaller deer. The other I have friends that live nearby and know the unit pretty well. One of those guys spends most of his fall photographing bucks in the area so I have a good idea of what I could see. I’m either burning my CO points this year or likely waiting 3-5 years before I even look at it again for deer. Not looking for a 190+ buck, at least I’m not a guy to turn down a 160-170 buck on the first day. That would still be my biggest deer to date.

I haven’t been to the Black Hills as of yet. Supposed to be crawling with whitetails.

As for Utah vs Wyoming, I drove through the Utah Unit this past August, that’s it. Wyoming deer I spent some time chasing elk and driving around in a few of the areas I could draw. Seeing in deer in both areas. Wyoming pronghorn is a different area than I have hunted previously. But a spot with lots of public access and a good herd. I have 5 points in Utah, so there’s only one general deer hunt in the entire state I could not have drawn last year. I love hunting pronghorn but I like the moon phase (which really do nothing more than make me feel better about it) for deer that first week of October. Guess I’ll be watching this storm to see if there’s any die offs.

I’m in Texas, so driving time is a slight issue when going as far as Montana, definitely not swinging a scouting trip up there with limited vacation time. I usually can only give myself 4-5 hunting days per trip, but I do try and make one scouting trip to at least learn roads and access points when/where feasible.

For the most part thinking my fall will be:
Utah General MZ deer
New Mexico MZ deer (closest thing I have to a home unit and know it well)
Colorado 2nd rifle deer
Utah Cow Elk
 

IrkedCitizen

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Littleton, CO
Point creep is going to be real this year in Colorado with these season dates. This is going to affect residents and NR alike in being able to draw tags. Unless you have 5pp or more I would not plan on drawing a tag. Unless you are you are going to use your 5pp on a GMU that takes 0-2pp that is the only way I see it happening. I could be wrong. I hope I'm wrong. Time will tell.

The reason I say this is due to the fact there are 34,263 hunters that have preference points ranging from 5-32pp. This is according to the 2020 deer draw recap report. There could be a great number of hunters in that range that for whatever reason did not apply in 2020. They are likely going to apply in 2021 though. This group of hunters, especially the ones with 10-20pp, are going to dictate what happens to those of us under 5pp. They are not all going to apply for the same high point units. They will be cashing in their points on units that take significantly less than the points they have.

According to the 2020 deer draw recap report there are 131,834 hunters with 1pp or more for the 2021 season. Like I said above 34,263 have 5pp or better. So there are 97,571 hunters with 4pp or less.

For reference there were only 100,687 tags available for the 2020 deer draw. Of those there were 65,756 that got drawn for their first choice. There were 13,851 that went in 2nd/3rd/4th choice. For a total of 79,607 tags issued. The rest went to the landowner draw and secondary draw.

Now back to the first choice draw of 65,756 tags. There were 30,812 hunters that had 1pp or more. Meaning there were 34,944 hunters had 0pp. That means there are roughly 30,812 tags available that required preference points.

Again there are 34,263 hunters with 5-32pp THAT WE KNOW OF and 97,571 with 1-4pp! Competing for 30,812 tags that required points.

Just going to have to sit back and see where the dust settles and hope we get lucky on a tag.

All that said I would not focus on hunting Colorado deer this year.
 
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Fitzwho

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Apr 18, 2017
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Midland, TX
Can’t hunt if you don’t apply. Lucky that Colorado’s and South Dakota’s application deadlines don’t overlap. Colorado’s results come out the week before SD apps are due.
 

Laramie

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Apr 17, 2020
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I make my decisions based on freezer space. Cow elk would trump all if I didn't have a full freezer.
 

huntngolf

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Apr 11, 2020
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You are correct on the Black hills being loaded with whitetail. Typically they are smaller than the deer on the plains, but you can find a 130 or better if you hunt hard
 
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Fitzwho

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Joined
Apr 18, 2017
Messages
610
Location
Midland, TX
Well that settles it. Will just apply for Colorado, if no draw, apply for SoDak. Otherwise guess it will be 2nd rifle elk OTC or something else I can figure out.
 
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