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Wyoming’s Second Chance Antelope

By Chance Thompson

It’s early in the morning, you get tucked in behind your keyboard and log onto the Wyoming Game and Fish website. Today is the day you find out your draw results. You’ve waited a long time for this. You just know that you drew that premium Pronghorn Antelope tag you applied for way back in March. You type your information in and read that magical word. UNSUCCESSFUL! How can it be? You had it all planned out; your first western big game hunt on the wind swept prairies of Wyoming. Now what? Wait another year and try again or give up on the idea all together? Absolutely not. There are still literally thousands of opportunities available this year for both residents and nonresidents to hunt antelope in Wyoming.

Every year after the preliminary draw has taken place thousands of tags are still available in units that are considered sub-par or that have private land issues. The fact is that a majority of these units offer excellent opportunities and have ample public land on which to hunt. It takes a lot of research and planning but it is entirely possible to hunt antelope on a yearly or bi-yearly basis. By purchasing these tags after the draw, your preference points are still yours to keep which allows you to build valuable points for a future hunt in one of the premium trophy units in Wyoming that may require several years’ worth of points to draw. Another great aspect is hunting these units is you are allowed the opportunity to study antelope behavior under real field/hunting conditions. This knowledge will become invaluable when you finally obtain the trophy quality tag.

There are several steps to get your research process headed in the right direction. The very first step would be to look at the leftover list and narrow it down to a minimum of 3 units that interest you. The units may share a border or they may be several hundred miles apart from each other. You need to see how many tags are leftover in each unit. Sometimes units may have only a handful, others may have hundreds. There is a narrow window from the time the leftover list is printed to the time when the tags actually become available for purchase. So it is important to get your research done and make a decision on which unit you would like to hunt. Some of these tags will be sold within minutes of being available. Others are available right up until the season starts.

An invaluable tool to help narrow down your search is a good map. BLM maps are very good tools to determine exactly how much public land is available in the units you are interested in. These maps can be purchased from the BLM field office in the area that you are interested in hunting. These maps are cheap (typically under ten dollars) and really help you get a feel for the land ownership status in the area. When looking at the maps you want to find blocks that are brown, green, or blue in color. Brown indicates BLM land, green indicates national forest land, and blue indicates state land. These three types of land are public and can be hunted by anyone. The white sections of the map indicate land that is privately owned and permission must be obtained from the land owner in writing before you can legally hunt these lands.

The next step would be to get on the phone and contact the Local Chambers of Commerce and the Game and Fish Department offices and request a list of private land owners in the area who allow hunting on their land for free, or a very small trespass fee. We at HuntAddicts.com are also available via email to discuss your plans and get you pointed in the right direction for your next hunting adventure in the high deserts of Wyoming. Stay tuned to the huntaddicts.com featured articles section for more in depth articles to help you make the most of your western hunting opportunities.

Chance's Antelope
Chance’s buck taken on a leftover license in Wyoming’s unit 25

In it to win it! — Big Game Raffles

By Chance Thompson

Many of us in the hunting community have certainly noticed the trophy class animals that have been taken the last few years by hunters who have acquired auction or governors tags. As I’m sure you know these tags are often sold for tens and sometimes even hundreds of thousands of dollars, making them completely out of reach for the majority of hunters. However, these same types of licenses can be obtained by hunters without loads of extra disposable income. Every year many state wildlife agencies and conservation groups raffle off tags that offer the same hunting opportunities as the tags that are sold at auction, but for very minimal cost. The following is a list of raffles that I participate in yearly. Keep in mind however that these raffles are by no means a secret and the odds of winning a tag are very slim. But if you do get lucky and win one of these tags you are in for the hunt of a lifetime.

Arizona’s Big Game Super Raffle

I feel that this is without doubt the very best raffle program going today. This raffle includes tags for every hunt able species in the state. It includes Elk, Mule Deer, Coues Deer, Bison, Bear, Mountain Lion, Antelope, Javelina, Desert Bighorn Sheep, and Turkey. Also included is a raffle for an incredible optics package from Swarovski. This includes 2 pairs of binoculars, a spotting scope, range finder, and rifle scope. I like to purchase tickets for Elk, Mule Deer, Javelina, Desert Bighorn, Antelope and Turkey. Normally I wouldn’t be interested in participating in a Turkey raffle but Arizona offers the opportunity to hunt the rare Gould’s Turkey. The winner is allowed to hunt any unit they choose. Additionally the winner of these tags is allowed to hunt a full 365 days beginning July 31. This gives you the opportunity to harvest a trophy animal in full velvet. The prices for these tickets range from $5 to $25 each and can be purchased online. The deadline to purchase tickets is July 12. Get all the rest of the details at http://www.arizonabiggamesuperraffle.com/index.html

Idaho Super Tags

This raffle is conducted by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Available tags include Deer, Elk, Antelope and Moose. There are two separate raffles for two different tag options. The first raffle is for tags for individual species and the deadline to purchase tickets for the first raffle is May 31, the drawing is held June 15. The second raffle is for what is called the deluxe package where the winner receives licenses for all four species. These tags can be used in any open hunt unit during the established season. This deadline for this drawing is August 10 with the drawing being held on August 17. I purchase tickets for all species as Idaho is within easy driving distance of my home. However I do not participate in the second drawing as I feel it falls too close to hunting season and I typically have all my hunts scheduled and my vacation time accounted for. Prices for these tickets are $6 for the first ticket and $4 for each subsequent ticket. Tickets for the deluxe package are $20 for the first ticket and $16 for each ticket after that. More details at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/superhunt/

Montana Super Tags

This raffle program is very similar to the one offered by Idaho. They do however offer a few more species. Available tags include Elk, Deer, Antelope, Moose, Bison, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, and Mountain Lion. These tags are valid in any open hunting district within the state during the established seasons. The deadline for this drawing is July 2 for Sheep, Goat and Moose, and July 30 for all other species. The price for these tickets is $5 each. I only purchase tickets for bighorn sheep as Montana has some of the biggest rams available. I choose not to purchase tickets for any of the other available species as I feel that they are comparable to what I have in my home state. Further details at http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/licenses/supertag.html

Wyoming Wildlife Federation Dream Hunt Sweepstakes

The Wyoming Wildlife Federation (WWF) holds 3 separate raffles, 2 of which are for guided hunts. I purchase tickets for the buddy hunt. This raffle includes 2 commissioners’ tags that the winner can either keep or give one to whomever they choose. These tags are for which ever species you would like to hunt (Deer, Elk, or Antelope) and you are allowed to only hunt one unit of your choosing. Additionally, the winner receives $1000. Prices for these tickets are $30 each. The drawing takes place on August 24. More details at http://www.wyomingwildlife.org/ht/d/sp/i/19609/pid/19609%20

Oregon Big Game Raffle

This raffle is conducted by the Oregon Department of Fish and Game. Available species include Elk, Deer, Antelope and Bighorn Sheep. These tags are good for any open unit and offer an extended season. I like to purchase tickets for Deer, Antelope and Bighorn Sheep. I choose these hunts because Oregon has some incredible trophy antelope hunting. And the deer tag can be used to hunt the rare Columbian Blacktail Deer. And they also have good opportunities for Bighorn Sheep. Prices for tickets range from $4 to $11 and must be purchased by May 4. Additional information is available at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/auctions_raffles/instructions.asp

Washington Big Game Raffle

This raffle is conducted by the Washington Game and Fish Department. Available tags are for Elk, Deer, Mountain Goat, Moose, and Bighorn Sheep. Prices Range from $5 for deer to $10 for Sheep. I purchase tickets for Moose and Sheep as Washington has great trophy opportunities for both. Very little information is available about these tickets as you must purchase them in order to obtain any information. http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/permits/raffles/index.html

In summary there are some great opportunities out there for guys who are willing to fork over a few bucks and roll the dice along with thousands of other people. If you do get lucky and win just one of these tags the experience will more than pay for the money that you spent to enter the drawing. And if you do win make sure you contact us here at HuntAddicts.com. We can help you narrow down a unit choice, and possibly even help you on your hunt. Good luck and remember you gotta be in it to win it!