I thought I would share a quick story for the guys considering coming out west for an antelope hunt and how easy it can be. With a little research you can get tags every year and lots of them. My dad, my son and I all drew three tags each in the initial draw but due to mistake on my part we got doe tags in one unit and any antelope in another. Fortunately we can drive to our hunting area in about 5 hours. When the leftover purchase became available we bought another 3 each for a total of 4 doe tags and 2 any antelope each. Problem was they were in 3 different units with 3 different opening dates.
We started our hunt by leaving home in mid September at 4 in the morning and pulled into our first unit where we held 9 doe tags at about 9:30. It didn't take long glassing from the truck to locate some herds and away we went on foot to plan our stalks. The unit we were hunting has a lot of public land and we were able to head off in diferent directions and all be stalking game at the same time. By the end of the first day we had 6 does skinned and quartered in coolers in the back of the truck and headed back to Rawlins for the night. Up and running the next morning we were tagged out by noon and back home in Colorado for a late dinner. Less than 48 hours and 9 lopes to cut and grind before taking off again the next weekend.
This time we were hunting in two different units near Laramie so although we were taking a different route, the travel time was the same. The first day we were hunting at first light in a new area we had never been to before, but as can often be the case with antelope if you are not looking for a true trophy and just enjoying yourself we had 3 fair bucks down by noon. We were hunting on HMA land here with not as much available so we were not picky. We tried another area that afternoon for our remaining 3 doe tags but didn't find any.
Next morning we were in a new unit in another HMA that turned out to not be as good as others we have hunted. Tons of other guys had permission slips and the ranch had already let it be hunted by paying customers before opening it to the public. Because of time constraints we used our any antelope tags on three does by the end of the day. That one hurt but we enjoyed the time and saw some other interesting animals out there.
Back to Laramie for the night and then just got up and headed for home in the morning, Stopped by the HMA we hunted 2 days before and and managed to fill our last 3 doe tags right at first light.
So there you go in less than 4 full days of actual hunting we were able to fill 18 antelope tags with only a little difficulty. In the future we are not going to get so many tags but try to focus on some better bucks. We should draw the area we hunted outside of Rawlins this year with the 3 points we had at application time. We do plan to pick up a few doe tags if there are leftovers again as we love antelope meat as the best there is.
Another tip if ever hunting around Laramie and need a hotel. If there is a home football game that weekend you will need to book it many months in advance or you will be driving a long, long ways to find some place to stay.
Also a game hoist that goes into your receiver hitch is a great time and back saver for all the skinning that needs to be done. And a game cart is a lot better than dragging for a mile over and over again.
Don't be afraid to give it a try guys, the hunt is easy just do your research to make sure you have a place to hunt and you will do great.