Antelope-What dates would you go?

DABAU

New Member
Jan 22, 2014
34
1
Georgia
My father and I were fortunate to draw Unit 74 so we are pretty pumped about it. It will be our first antelope hunt for both of us. Working on logistics and was just curious if you had the choice what dates would you go. Season opens Sept.20 and runs through Oct. 22. We will be flying into Denver and driving up with some other family members who just want to tag along. I'm leaning towards either Sept. 27-Oct. 4 or the following week Oct. 4-11. Based on hunting pressure, rut, etc. which dates would you choose? I'd love to hear any reasoning too.

Thanks in advance for any responses.
 

Topgun 30-06

Banned
Jun 12, 2013
1,354
1
Allegan, MI
First off, you're smart in not going the first week of the season when the vast majority will hunt any season! Second, I would go 9/27-10/4 when the rut should still be going decent with the better bucks still with their herd of does, thus making it easier to find them. Your second choice really isn't that bad either in case you have a problem getting flights in/out of Denver, but some of the bucks may have left the main does they were with by then if the rut is a tad early and be cruising by themselves looking for a hot doe here and there. Either week you pick should give you a good hunt though and I wish you good luck in finding a nice one!
 
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WY ME

Very Active Member
Feb 4, 2014
544
40
Wyoming
I agree with Topgun, like most animals, the small bucks and bulls start rutting first but the big ones know when it's time and start later. The only problem with later is the the antelope bucks start breaking their prongs and horn tips from fighting. Some wintering areas are best towards the end of the seasons when antelope start migrating in for winter and the area will actually have more antelope at the end of the season than at the beginning. Of course that means that other areas get pretty thin for antelope towards the end of the season. Hunting pressure can be mind boggling in some areas the first week of season. Area 88 comes to mind. I use to hunt that area in the 90's cuz it was close to home but I got sick of the crowds and quit going there. I absolutely hate crowded hunting areas. There aren't any crowds at the end of the season but the antelope get jumpy and the selection of buck might not be so good.

So I guess I didn't really answer your question. Sorry. :eek:
 

2nasty4u

Active Member
Mar 27, 2014
298
0
nd
In my experience going after the season has been open for a while, during mid week, you can have a unit almost entirely to yourself. the first year I went to Wyoming hunting antelope I went on the 20th of oct, the season opened oct 1. I saw one pickup with a group of 3 hunters in it during 2 full days of hunting, other than the pickup I didn't see another soul out hunting. on the opposite side last year I went on opener which was on a weekend and the large parcel of public that I usually hunt, I'd only ever seen one other person hunting it the previous 3 years, had 5 or 6 pickups full of people in them. hunting was much more enjoyable in the other years I went later on in the season.
 

shootbrownelk

Veteran member
Apr 11, 2011
1,543
196
Wyoming
I usually go the last week of the season. The antelope are usually bunched-up then. Harder to stalk, but the big bucks who survived the season are around then, and usually they aren't to spooky . Most folks got their antelope the first week or two, and are long gone.
I get my best antelope then. I think Mike Eastman likes hunting late as well, I learned that in one of Mike's books.
 

Fish

Active Member
Jul 8, 2011
319
3
WA State
Dabau,

I hunted 74 in 2011 and didn't start my hunt until around Oct 8th or so because I had a deer tag that opened Oct 15th. the place was empty of antelope hunters and many hunters told me where they had seen good bucks. Enjoy you hunt
 

nunt'nbutmuleys

Active Member
Feb 25, 2011
195
0
Sounds like you have some good dates set, I would stick with them. Also later you have a much better chance of stormy weather making getting around not so enjoyable. Good luck!!!
 

HiMtnHnter

Active Member
Sep 28, 2012
445
3
Wyoming
Sounds like you have some good dates set, I would stick with them. Also later you have a much better chance of stormy weather making getting around not so enjoyable. Good

Either set of dates. The weather is a crapshoot. Last year it snowed the last week of september. I've had early October hunts fouled up by weather as well. The bucks will be rutting either way. If you asked mid Sept vs late October I'd advise you to go in september.
 

nunt'nbutmuleys

Active Member
Feb 25, 2011
195
0
Sounds like you have some good dates set, I would stick with them. Also later you have a much better chance of stormy weather making getting around not so enjoyable. Good

Either set of dates. The weather is a crapshoot. Last year it snowed the last week of september. I've had early October hunts fouled up by weather as well. The bucks will be rutting either way. If you asked mid Sept vs late October I'd advise you to go in september.
HMH you are correct with weather being a crapshot for sure as we just had snow last week in wonderfull wyoming, chances are we will get more storms later. Last year was the worst I've seen the weather that early. We got lots of weather for sure.
 

Topgun 30-06

Banned
Jun 12, 2013
1,354
1
Allegan, MI
HMH you are correct with weather being a crapshot for sure as we just had snow last week in wonderfull wyoming, chances are we will get more storms later. Last year was the worst I've seen the weather that early. We got lots of weather for sure.

That's the truth! I've only missed one year out in Wyoming since 1994 and I've never seen the weather change like it did the end of September with warmth and all the leaves still on the trees to two heavy snow storms back to back within a week of each other at the end of the month and first part of October. I talked to one local guy in his 80s and he said it was by far the craziest Fall he'd seen in his entire life out there. That's really saying something!
 

Musket Man

Veteran member
Jul 20, 2011
6,457
0
colfax, wa
I think either would be good. I usually hunt antelope the first week of Oct because its a good time for me to get away and its worked out well for me! You have a good unit and should have a great hunt!!
 

HiMtnHnter

Active Member
Sep 28, 2012
445
3
Wyoming
Yep, last year around Sept 25 we had about 4-5" of snow in central WY. Really monkeyed up the roads and about a day was a wash for goat hunting. Since the ground was warm there was thick fog for most of the day . . . One year we had snow and then very cold the first week of Oct. About 10 degrees at night and interstate 80 was closed for about a day. It was a cold night in the pop up camper. . . Banking on the weather in this state is a huge gamble. Just come prepared.
 

Umpqua Hunter

Veteran member
May 26, 2011
3,568
73
58
North Umpqua, Oregon
After several hunts for WY antelope, my general rule is to wait until after the second weekend of the season and then hunt midweek to avoid the crowds and have the place to yourself. You will still have plenty of quality bucks left.
 

HiMtnHnter

Active Member
Sep 28, 2012
445
3
Wyoming
After several hunts for WY antelope, my general rule is to wait until after the second weekend of the season and then hunt midweek to avoid the crowds and have the place to yourself. You will still have plenty of quality bucks left.
Great point. A lot more traffic on the weekends. After the first week and during the weekdays, you should see far less people.
 

Triple BB

Active Member
Jun 22, 2013
296
16
Wyoming
I'd be out here for the opener if I was you. Everyone talks like you'll be hunting at the mall. Far from it. They're only giving out a couple hundred tags for a very large area. A bunch of folks will have the same mind set of what you've been reading. May only be a 100 guys or so out there on opening day which is nothing. By the end of the first day, half to a third of those guys will be done. I'd show up 3 - 4 days before the opener, find the biggest goats you can and more than likely, you'll be done on opening day with better than average bucks that aren't all broken up. Three years ago I shot an 81" buck out there that I had been archery hunting for two weekends. Opening day of rifle season he was on the ground at 10:30am. Shot one that went 80 1/2 on the second day the year before. I've been out there every year for the past five years. Will be again this year because my dad seems to pull the permit almost every year. I put in for and drew a tag in a different area as quality seems to have tanked in 74 the past two years. Good luck...
 

HiMtnHnter

Active Member
Sep 28, 2012
445
3
Wyoming
I'd be out here for the opener if I was you. Everyone talks like you'll be hunting at the mall. Far from it. They're only giving out a couple hundred tags for a very large area. A bunch of folks will have the same mind set of what you've been reading. May only be a 100 guys or so out there on opening day which is nothing. By the end of the first day, half to a third of those guys will be done. I'd show up 3 - 4 days before the opener, find the biggest goats you can and more than likely, you'll be done on opening day with better than average bucks that aren't all broken up. Three years ago I shot an 81" buck out there that I had been archery hunting for two weekends. Opening day of rifle season he was on the ground at 10:30am. Shot one that went 80 1/2 on the second day the year before. I've been out there every year for the past five years. Will be again this year because my dad seems to pull the permit almost every year. I put in for and drew a tag in a different area as quality seems to have tanked in 74 the past two years. Good luck...
"The early bird gets the worm" tactic is useful as well, especially in more heavily hunted areas.
 

DABAU

New Member
Jan 22, 2014
34
1
Georgia
"The early bird gets the worm" tactic is useful as well, especially in more heavily hunted areas.
I'd be out here for the opener if I was you. Everyone talks like you'll be hunting at the mall. Far from it. They're only giving out a couple hundred tags for a very large area. A bunch of folks will have the same mind set of what you've been reading. May only be a 100 guys or so out there on opening day which is nothing. By the end of the first day, half to a third of those guys will be done. I'd show up 3 - 4 days before the opener, find the biggest goats you can and more than likely, you'll be done on opening day with better than average bucks that aren't all broken up. Three years ago I shot an 81" buck out there that I had been archery hunting for two weekends. Opening day of rifle season he was on the ground at 10:30am. Shot one that went 80 1/2 on the second day the year before. I've been out there every year for the past five years. Will be again this year because my dad seems to pull the permit almost every year. I put in for and drew a tag in a different area as quality seems to have tanked in 74 the past two years. Good luck...

Unfortunately I'm limited to how many days I can come out for since I am coming from Georgia. I would love to get there a couple days early to scout before the opener but I have to make sure every day I am there I actually can hunt.

Thanks for all the feedback guys, I do appreciate it.
 

Topgun 30-06

Banned
Jun 12, 2013
1,354
1
Allegan, MI
Unfortunately I'm limited to how many days I can come out for since I am coming from Georgia. I would love to get there a couple days early to scout before the opener but I have to make sure every day I am there I actually can hunt.

Thanks for all the feedback guys, I do appreciate it.
You'll do fine and should enjoy things a lot better than fighting the "orange army" the opening few days. Good luck and shoot a bigun!