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Aaron77's picture
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Joined: 08/19/2011
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Just starting

Hi

I've never hunted antelope in CO, but am interested as I'd like to go w/my kids as they get older. I've got no points now. I'd like to stay in NE Colorado, which I know is a heavily drawn area. If I can get doe draws while building points for a buck while at the same time getting familiar with units like 87, 88, that would be ideal. It seem like everywhere else requires private land access, while at least 87 +88 have the Pawnee Grasslands to navigate.

I'd be willing to go to other units, 95-107 if there was access.

I know this is a somewhat vague post, but would appreciate any wisdom for breaking in to antelope hunting w/out having to wait years to build points. Thanks

 

WishIWasHunting's picture
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My $0.00000000000000000000000002

Aaron,

First off, you said that you have never antelope hunted in CO, but have you ever gone antelope hunting?  That makes a difference on deciding how best to go about getting started.  For what it is worth, I think it is a great time, and a great way to get kids excited about hunting since it can be such a high success hunt with pleasant weather and opportunities to see lots of animals during daylight hours.  

Just so that you know, the likely overwhelming response you are going to get to this post is to go to WY to hunt antelope, especially if you are looking at doe tags.  I will let someone else who has actually hunted antelope in WY sell you on its virtues, but that is the likely response you will get.  

As for CO, I took a quick look at the statistics, and doe rifle licenses in both Units 87 & 88 can not be drawn on 2nd choice.  If you are willing to use 1st choice on doe rifle licenses, it looks like you would have ~30-50% chance of drawing with zero preference points.  This might be a good idea for a couple trips to learn the National Grassland boundaries (it is not a large contiguous chunk of land as depicted on some maps), animal numbers, hunter pressure, and buck maturity before investing in the 5-9 years it takes to draw rifle buck licenses in those units.  Muzzleloader licenses for 87 & 88 require fewer preference points than rifle, but even the doe licenses are still a 1st choice proposition (it does not look like they make it to 2nd choice).  It does look like you can get an archery doe tag for Unit 88 on second choice, but I doubt archery antelope hunting is the experience you are looking to share with your children at this point.  

I do believe that if you are willing to do some door knocking, landowners are more receptive to allowing antelope hunting than other game species, particularly for doe and youth hunts.  Definitely get permission before putting in for the licenses, but something to consider.  

Good luck figuring out what you want to do,and regardless of where you decide to go, I highly recommend taking your kids antelope hunting!  

BleuBijou's picture
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Location: Loveland , Colorado
Joined: 03/22/2010
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You can

Also sign in and hunt the CPER Central Plains Experimental Range that is in 87. There is plenty of ground between the CPER and Pawnee to have a great hunt. Some of the people that run the CPR can also direct you to some ranches that are Youth friendly! CPER is approx 15,000 acres. Still need the unit Tag though. Good luck

COMeatHunter's picture
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Yep, WishIWasHunting nailed

Yep, WishIWasHunting nailed it!  Colorado is an OK state for hunting antelope.  But if you really want to build points in Colorado for antelope then the best way to do that is to hunt for doe antelope in Wyoming.

Not to say you can't get good doe hunts in Colorado, and Wyoming is a little bit more of a drive.  But the number of antelope in Wyoming is much greater, the tags are easier to draw, the cost for non-residents is cheap (Wyoming is raising it's tag prices beginning in 2014, but the doe/fawn licenses will remain unchanged in price), and you can get several tags for each hunter.  I would recommend getting your kids at least a couple of tags each so they can get a whole weekend of fun and not be done in only a few hours.  Colorado just can't offer what Wyoming can for antelope.

Do yourself (and kids) a favor and look into Wyoming too.

Aaron77's picture
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wyoming

Thanks all. I live in N. Longmont, so southern Wyoming wouldn't be bad, even a possibly for just a one day hunt. Hmm. I'll check when their draw deadlines are. Multiple tags sounds fun.

COMeatHunter's picture
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Uh oh.  The draw application

Uh oh.  The draw application deadline for Wyoming was March 15th.  There will be plenty of leftover tags, but most of those will be in units with a high percentage of private property.  BUT, Wyoming is a VERY hunter friendly state and permission is not difficult to get from landowners, especially for polite youngsters looking to bag a doe or two.  

If you search through this website you will find a bunch of general info on Wyoming regs--reading a few of those threads will get you up to speed pretty quickly.  You can also call the Wyoming Game & Fish regional offices and get pointed in the right direction for cooperative landowners (most of whom will let you hunt does for no trespass fees).  I found the regional offices very helpful in the past.

Even though you missed the draw for this year, you can still get tags and have a great antelope hunt.  Good luck and feel free to ask specific questions.  As far as a kid hunt goes, Wyoming antelope is hard to beat!

Aaron77's picture
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Meat

Thanks for the info. My computer and the site are having trouble connecting, so my response time is slow. Since I am getting in late this year for antelope, I think for I will just try to get a doe tag out in 88, I think it's about 50/50 odds. So hopefully between my son and I we'll get drawn. We'll go out to the grasslands this summer and do some scouting and shooting. Going for doe is going for meat, I have heard differing opinions on antelope meat. Either really bad tasting, or really good. What is your experience?

COMeatHunter's picture
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I really like antelope.  My

I really like antelope.  My whole family enjoys it.  There are a couple of things I'd point out for you though.

First, the texture of the meat is different than other game meat or beef.  It also has a sweet flavored finish in my opinion and isn't gamey like Colorado mule deer.  We usually make most of the antelope into burger and this completely gets rid of the different texture.  It's hard to describe, but you'll know when you bite into an antelope steak versus deer or elk steak.  

The second thing I would point out is the importance of good meat care in the field.  If you want good tasting meat (and this goes for all game, not just antelope) you need to exercise good meat care after your kill.  In my opinion, this is doubly important for antelope.  Get the animal skinned, quartered, AND CHILLED as quickly as possible.  We usually take a large cooler with us in the truck and get our quarters on ice as soon as we get the carcass back to the truck.  The texture problem from above seems to be worse if you don't get the meat cooled quickly.

Good luck on the doe tag for 88.  Hopefully one of you, or even better--both of you, draw a tag.

WishIWasHunting's picture
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Even with a properly

Even with a properly butchered animal, the taste of antelope meat is entirely an individual preference.  I think antelope meat can be alright.  I am not as big on it as other people, but I also don't hate it like some people I know.  COMeatHunter is spot on with his points, particularly the care necessary when butchering, and I will add a couple more.

Antelope are pungent creatures, and you will definitely get a nose full while you process them.  Do your best to not let the smell deter you from enjoying the meat.  

While cooking the meat, try to keep the area where you are cooking the meat well-ventilated.  Also, if you are trying to convince people to try antelope for the first time, do your best to not let them smell the meat while you are cooking it.  It does not necessarily create an unpleasant smell while cooking, but it does smell different.  I have seen several people refuse to try antelope (and other wildgame for that matter) simply because of how it smelled while cooking.  

In stews and as jerky are two safe bets as ways to eat antelope, even if you decide that you are not a big fan.  

Finally, have a positive attitude about trying antelope meat.  Try it several times prepared several different ways and even from different animals.  Even with two antelope identically field-dressed and butchered, sometimes a given animal just won't taste as good as another.  

Good luck on the draw, and hopefully it works out so you can report back your opinion on antelope meat!

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