Novice hunter looking for guidance and Pronghorn advice

sidpost

Newbie
Joined
Sep 27, 2021
Messages
6
Location
Texas
I grew up (post-grade school) on our family farm in central Oklahoma. I never hunted deer because it wasn't sporting; I knew where they watered, bed down, raised their young, etc. So, I don't really have any experience with butchering and other things needed for Antelope.

I'm not in a position to spend big money on a turn-key guided hunt. I'm also thinking I'm not in a position to do a DIY Pronghorn hunt. I have shot more feral hogs than I can remember and I have butchered a few so, I have some very basic but crude skills with the actual hunt. I spent about 15 years in Arizona camping and hiking a lot so, I'm not concerned with the non-hunt activities related to the campsite such as meals, medical needs (blisters, sprains, etc.), sleeping bags, boots, etc.

With COVID craziness, I'm probably realistically 2 years out from actually setting off on a hunt at the earliest. Is a DIY Pronghorn hunt realistic for someone like myself? What sort of budget do I need for a hunt, realistically with modest expectations for dining, travel, hotels, etc.? I am open to areas to hunt so, I'm not sure about tag lotteries and similar things or other restrictions for out-of-state hunters. I am a meat hunter so, I care more about body size than I do about trophy size so I'm looking for a reasonable meat hunt. I am also willing to wait for more favorable herd sizes, less disease, etc. to increase my chances of success (i.e. putting meat in the ice chest). I have a passport and have traveled to Canada so, if a Caribou hunt is more practical and affordable, I could go that route but I question getting meat through US Customs via a land crossing and to be blunt, my experiences in Canada were generally pretty expensive for things like hotels, meals, gas, etc. Canada is a lovely place so, I will be back for a vacation at some point post-COVID but, I question the hunt aspects of Canada being a reasonable choice for me. Alaska frankly seems way too expensive in general and too big of a challenge for me at this point in my life. This brings me full circle back to Pronghorn somewhere South of the Canadian/American border in the North central CONUS region.

I have a 26" barreled 257 Weatherby as a starting point for my rifle but, I can be swayed to use something else but, my 300 Win Mag isn't appropriate IMHO unless I need to whack nasty bears which suggests my heavy 9.3x62 rifle or an old Mauser 358 Norma Mag is a better "camp rifle" if I need something like that. I'm thinking CONUS only in terms of geography so, I'm not worried about protecting myself from people other than the normal theft type concerns in transit like vehicles, hotel rooms, etc.

If this topic has been beaten to death, please point me in the right direction. ;)

TIA,
Sid
 

long hunter

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2021
Messages
263
I am a DIY hunter, first thing is decide what state you want too hunt, then work on that states game and fish web sites, lots of info there as too your questions, then contact the regions game warden and biologists, lots of help there also, Once you have decided on a area start now buying points, you are going too need them seems like. 2019 antelope hunt I prepared for a year prior, which turned into a sucessful hunt, drew the tag with no points, this year looked like it took 3 points too draw same area. Same thing this year for mule deer a years worth of info. gathering and preperations will be leaving in 9 days all that has too happen is the deer cooperate. As too the covid issues lets face it the virus is here and it is not going away, all you can do is take as many precautions as possible, As too costs it depends on you, sure travel expenses are going too be the biggest factor, one way too help is find a like minded hunting partner (one you can trust) and split the bills for travel. My hunting partner I have hunted with for going on 45 years and that is how we do it, We do not live extravagent but we live well on hunts, As too the game processing there are butcher shops that can handle that at a reasonable cost. I figure with the increase in prices (inflation, gas) around 3 thousand dollars invested in hunt and will bring money home, not too include the tag. I do not camp when hunting but that would not be out of the question,
 

zacattack

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 23, 2018
Messages
1,040
Location
Michigan
You could do a pronghorn hunt pretty cheap. If you don’t care about a buck or doe, doe tags can be really inexpensive. Sleep in the truck or tent and take food with you.
 
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sidpost

Newbie
Joined
Sep 27, 2021
Messages
6
Location
Texas
As to where to hunt, I'm pretty flexible and open to recommendations for an affordable experience. I'm not looking for a mount so, a doe hunt is what I was thinking assuming their body size is reasonable for a meat animal. Wyoming and the Dakotas seem like the best options.

Regarding accommodations, I'm thinking I will camp like I did in my Arizona years. Especially with the oil boom really inflating things in that part of the world. When I "car camp", I generally plan on taking everything that I will eat or drink with me other than restocks of fresh vegetables (though canned works well too) and fresh meat (on vacations where packing canned meats didn't make sense). Today I do enjoy canned small fish (Sardines and Herrings) and while I don't like the Mercury exposure in canned Tuna, a few cans a year probably isn't too much to worry about. After some bad beer expense experiences going through Oregon along with can deposits once, I plan on taking all the beer I plan on drinking in addition to sodas, water, and Gatorade-type drinks with me.

Regarding points, what is generally involved with getting some? Though, it sounds like getting a doe tag probably won't need many, if any, points and is a pretty cheap tag.
 

Rich M

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2017
Messages
2,214
Location
Orlando
Spend a little time on the WY F&G website. Lots of information.

Also - set up an account and buy a point - you can do that right now.

Antelope are having issues in several parts of the state - low numbers from winter kills, and also some kind of EHD or something like that in the eastern half of the state. Don't take my word for it, research it.

The does aren't that big but if you feel it is worth the drive to shoot a doe, by all means, apply. In honesty, I'd apply for buck & doe. I went in 2017, shot 2 yearlings (all look like), was looking the wrong way at one point, and also had 6 easy shot opps at bucks that i couldn't take due to having a doe tag. Put hunt partner on a doe as well.

Anyway - when you are poking around in the WY F&G website, check out the application and draw and point datasheets that they have. It will show you real numbers.

It is good that you decided you want an antelope at this time. Just do your research and start applying. Might take a couple of years to draw.
 

Nillion

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2019
Messages
138
I just did a trip with 3 other first time antelope hunters on a DIY doe hunt on public land. It took us 3 days to punch all 4 tags. I think it's an ideal first time DIY traveling hunt. The one crucial bit is to make sure you find a unit with good public access. Once you have that it's easy enough to find them.
 

RSather528

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
122
Driving back right now from WY after the wife filled her doe tag. It was both of our first experience hunting out west and it was very memorable. We each already have a few points built up and look forward to getting back out to WY.
 

MTAntelope

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2020
Messages
19
No matter where you go hunt, make sure you bring plenty of ice and some coolers for the meat. Antelope are normally shot in warmer weather than deer or elk and have coats adapted incredibly well to holding in heat. I think poor cooling techniques lead to many people thinking the meat tastes bad. I’ve shot quite a few antelope over the years and never had a bad tasting animal. I attribute it to getting them gutted, cooled, and processed quickly.
 
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sidpost

Newbie
Joined
Sep 27, 2021
Messages
6
Location
Texas
Good point about chilling the meat as soon as you can.

Assuming you don't want the non-edible meat, how much ice and ice capacity do you need? Also, are there any restrictions on leaving the head or horns in the wild? I know leaving edible meat is a big no-no but, what about offal, ribs, head, horns, etc.?
 

RSather528

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
122
Good point about chilling the meat as soon as you can.

Assuming you don't want the non-edible meat, how much ice and ice capacity do you need? Also, are there any restrictions on leaving the head or horns in the wild? I know leaving edible meat is a big no-no but, what about offal, ribs, head, horns, etc.?
Boned out meat from an adult doe fit in a 45 quart with ice. Just under 20lbs of boneless pronghorn meat between the back straps, loins, and all four quarters. The WY reg book has a very good summary of what is required to be taken from the harvested animal in regards to neck, rib, flank meat.
 

MTAntelope

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2020
Messages
19
Good point about chilling the meat as soon as you can.

Assuming you don't want the non-edible meat, how much ice and ice capacity do you need? Also, are there any restrictions on leaving the head or horns in the wild? I know leaving edible meat is a big no-no but, what about offal, ribs, head, horns, etc.?
Antelope also don’t suffer from CWD, so, at least here, there isn’t any problem with disposing of the carcass after the meat is removed. Agree with above that a 45 or 65 quart cooler is big enough to hold a full sized goat. They are surprisingly small. Normally I think high priced coolers aren’t worth the price because so much energy is absorbed by opening and closing the lid that the small savings by the extra insulation doesn’t make much difference. But, they are valuable on a hunt where you can leave the lid closed for days at a time if needed while cooling an animal.
 
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