Wyoming General Mistakes

mooretitan

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2018
Messages
201
Location
CA
Well I just got back from Wyoming General Elk and wanted to share a few things that will hopefully help others who are planning a trip in the future. It looks like Wyoming General will be a 4-6 year tag moving forward. That's a lot of time to invest and you can't just go back the following year and correct the mistakes you made.

1. If possible try and clear your mind before you go. Make sure everything for work is taken care of. Make sure all family obligations have been taken care of. It's amazing that sometimes you just can't get your mind to break away. My family has been battling health problems the last couple of years and no matter how hard I tried I could not complete detach and just focus on the hunt and I am sure it affected the over trip to a degree. So when possible get as much stuff done so your mind is not worrying about things.

2. Get in better shape. I worked pretty hard but still could have been in better shape. I would say that I was probably an 8/10 as far as conditioning and when I go back it will be a 10/10. Add weight training and pack workouts in. When you move freely with 45lbs on your back you are in elk shape. Where we hunted we covered 2000-3000 ft of elevation change and between 6-8 miles a day. Most of that elevation was within the first two miles if not the first mile. The mountains of Wyoming are steep and getting to where the elk are takes effort. Make sure you are in shape to do it. It's not just about being able to kill and animal. You also have to pack it out. Get those legs in the best shape possible.

3. Line up a packer before your trip even if you don't use them, just having them will help. There were a few times that we found elk but getting to them and then packing them out was not going to be possible. The last day of the hunt we spotted some elk over a mile away according to OnX and getting on them would have probably been more like 2-3 miles. Being the last day it was to far. If we had a packer that we could have called we could have made a play on them. Elk are big you need to figure out how you are going to pack them out which will limit where you can hunt. I wish I had this lined up. It was probably one of the biggest mistakes I made.

4. Really decide on what type of hunt you and your group are looking for. Wyoming is full of elk and you can pick an area that fits your type of hunting. I did all the research and made lots of phone call and decided on one of the 80's unit based on success rate, bull ratio, ect... But what I did not take in account was this area did not allow the type of hunting our group was looking for. My dad and son both had tags and probably would have enjoyed and area which allowed a morning hunt (5-6 hours) and then back to camp (1-2 hours) and then get out for an evening hunt. I chose an area that really did not allow this. So we hunted pretty much dark to dark for 5 days which took a little of camp life out of the trip. It also pushed my dad and son really hard physical. They did great but I think would have enjoyed the trip more if I would have focus on a different area.

5. You don't have to focus on the unit with the most public land. I think I let this be to big of a factor. Yes it was nice knowing that everything was huntable in our unit but I think looking back I passed over a lot of units that would have been better suited for our group because of private property. With today's maps it should be pretty easy to hunt units with private property. Yes there might be a few times you can't hunt elk but you will run into the same problems on public. Sometimes elk are just in spots you can't get to them. So don't overlook units with private land. Heck it might work out better

6. Hunting pressure is going to be high opening weekend almost anywhere. We saw 15 guys opening morning that were in the area we hunted. 10 of them had horses. If you don't like pressure dont hunt opening weekend. I thought by choosing a unit with very little off roads areas that we could out hunt the pressure. It doesn't work like that in Wyoming. Almost everyone has horses and will go anywhere they want. They are not only at trailheads. I was hoping that by walking two hours straight up off trail we would avoid hunters. It did not work that way. Horses can and will go anywhere and you cant keep up with guys on horses. After the first 4 days the pressure was gone. We should have picked the following week to hunt. We were in elk everyday and would have had the place basically to ourselves.
I think if I were to do it again I would have picked a unit with more road access. I would rather guys drive the road and out walk them than deal with horse pressure.

7. If you can rent horses. They can open up so much more area and save your legs and time. There were a few times having horses would have gotten us into more elk. With the distance we had to cover on foot we just ran out of time sometimes. Horses would have helped or hunting a unit with less horse pressure would have been better.

8. Bring a few water pills to filter water. I always bring enough water but sometimes others run out and it would have been nice to just hand them a couple pills instead of my water. I ended up going dry once and it would have been really nice to just drop a couple pills into the water and a few fresh drink.

9. Use walking sticks. I had a pair but decided to leave them at camp each day. Man how much better I would have felt using them. I am not sure why I don't hunt with them more often but being in big country you should have them. Start using them back home so its just part of your hunting routine. You won't be sorry that you used them. I wish I had.

10. Push Elk or wait until you can see. We ran into this a few times. Being new the area I did not want to push elk so a few times we left closer to light which work and we found elk but it put us out of some prime times in areas a little farther in. We had a hard time with judging how long long it would take us to get to point A to B. We covered 2000ft of elevation one morning in roughly 1.2 miles. I would say most people hunting the 80's unit should give themselves two hours of travel if you are going to get from the roads to ridge tops. This means leaving around 5 in the morning. Yes there are other places to hunt but where we hunted the road to the elk areas(which seemed to be the tops) was a 2-3 hour hike in and 2000ft of elevation. But if you leave that early you push elk that a closer to the roads. We never really got to those far to reach elk with enough good hunting time.

11. Game Wardens and Bio will be helpful to a degree but they are telling everyone the same info. If possible getting local info or info from past hunters is probably more important. The problem is everyone is very tight lipped when it comes to giving out information. You can go over maps until you are blue in the face and do tons of research but there is nothing like being there during a season and seeing it. You start to understand what pressure will look like, what animals do when faced with pressure, how long it takes to get to A and B. There is so much just being there during the season that you learn. The problem is a Wyoming General tag will be 4-6 to get. I wish we could go back next year and apply the knowledge we learned. I am sure we would be in a lot better shape to be successful. It's not Wyoming's fault it's just the way hunting is becoming. It makes it harder being the out of state guy. So if you can get local information from people that hunted it before.

12. Find something to do mid day. We stayed on the mountain and I am not really much of a midday nap guy so time passed slow between 1-3. I ended up bringing a deck of cards which help. If I were to do it again I might download some music, podcast, video. I enjoy just sitting and relaxing but something else to pass the time would have been helpful

Anyways hopefully this helps others who plan on making it out of state on a big trip. We were into elk everyday and even passed a few shots early on. We just never really got into bulls. Wish we could repeat next year but wont happen. I think if I would have applied what I learned the trip overall would have been more of a success

Thanks and good luck
 

jjohnsonElknewbie

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
Messages
350
Location
Western Iowa
Sorry the trip didnt work out for you guys and thank you for sharing the information.

When you say WY is going to be a 4-6 year tag, what exactly does that mean? Are you saying it will take 4-6 points to draw even for the general tag? If so, why is that and how can I learn more about the situation? I bought my first WY point this season and was hoping to draw with a couple points in '23.
 

fatlander

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
Messages
1,042
Sorry the trip didnt work out for you guys and thank you for sharing the information.

When you say WY is going to be a 4-6 year tag, what exactly does that mean? Are you saying it will take 4-6 points to draw even for the general tag? If so, why is that and how can I learn more about the situation? I bought my first WY point this season and was hoping to draw with a couple points in '23.

Unless you draw random, you’re not drawing a general tag in 2023 with two points.


Notice how the needle is moving further year after year? That’s called point creep. It sucks. Welcome to western big game hunting.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Laramie

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2020
Messages
1,430
Sorry the trip didnt work out for you guys and thank you for sharing the information.

When you say WY is going to be a 4-6 year tag, what exactly does that mean? Are you saying it will take 4-6 points to draw even for the general tag? If so, why is that and how can I learn more about the situation? I bought my first WY point this season and was hoping to draw with a couple points in '23.

With 3 points this year hunters had a 41.81% chance to draw. Anyone with 4 points was 100%.
In 2020 3 points was 100% 2 points had 0% in the PP drawing
In 2019 2 points got you a 27.16% chance to draw
In 2018 2 points got you a 58.43% chance to draw

The general tag is getting harder and harder to draw because more and more people are applying for it. The points required is climbing more rapidly than in the past so you likely won't draw until you have 6 points.

You do have the option to apply in the special drawing. That is a more expensive drawing. This year hunters in the special had a 22.46% chance to draw with 2 points and 100% chance to draw with 3. That number is also increasing but currently at a lower rate. Going that route, you will likely be able to draw with 4-5 points. In any event, you won't be hunting general elk until 2026 unless you get lucky in the random drawing.
 

wapitibob

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
3,780
Location
Bend Oregon
Apply special Gen, it's nowhere near a 4 point draw. Party app with someone so you can get off the whole numbers and you'll be fine. Every app with 2.1667 points or more drew in 2021.
 

Gerbdog

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
406
Location
CO Springs
Good write up, and it sounds like you learned a TON... some of those things you learned took me a couple years to figure out and go *oh yea huh*.

Tip for midday, bring a book to read, low movement activity, ive had animals walk close to me while i am reading not knowing i was there.

As you said, if you could go back next year and re-apply what you learned your chances at success would go up dramatically, i'd recommend you play the point game in as many states as your able to afford and get some kind of a plan together to hunt as often as your able to afford with time / family / life / money.

As to the roads vs horses vs hunting pressure.... there is *usually* a sweet spot between what most hunters do and where the horses go, its usually around the 2-4 mile mark and its where slightly more dedicated hunters end up - between road hunters and horses and often times, if you can find the pressured elk pockets, can produce elk.

Keep grinding, sounds like your kicking the learning curve in the @ss, those day pack - staying dark to dark - treking poles - etc. things your learning are just things you gotta learn for yourself - especially the water tablets - been there and been there with folks who didnt bring enough water too
 

WMag338

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
145
Location
SC
Great info here. I can totally relate to the OP's experience!
 
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