Wyoming elk hunt - draw strategies
In order to hunt elk in Wyoming, you must enter the draw by January 31 of each year. The results are generally posted no later than February 28 of each year. This is a great system, as it allows you to find out if you drew prior to entering any other draws in Oregon or other states. If you are flexible on vacation, and have a unit picked out you would like to hunt, you should always apply and hope to draw one of the random draw tags for that unit. If you draw, you can then adjust your plans for draws in other states.
I am a big believer in making a trip to your potential elk hunting area before spending your points. It is always a good idea to eyeball the area you hope to hunt. The best way to do that, in my opinion, is to draw second choice or leftover antelope tags in a nearby unit, spend a couple of days smacking antelope, and then go elk scouting.
Another option is to draw a reduced price antlerless tag in your prospective unit, or a nearby unit as a second choice or leftover tag. (DO NOT APPLY FOR ANTLERLESS TAGS IN THE REGULAR DRAWS. YOU WILL PAY FULL PRICE, AND LOSE YOUR POINTS IF YOU APPLY FOR AN ANTLERLESS TAG AS YOUR FIRST CHOICE.) Reduced price antlerless tags cost $ 275.00 for adults, and $ 100.00 for youth. They are not available in every unit. Check the regulations to see where they are available.
Using the above idea, here is what you could do, assuming you would like to hunt unit 100 for bull elk someday. Put in for the regular any elk tag for unit 100 and hope you draw a random tag. Put in for Unit 25 reduced antlerless tag as a second choice. (100% drew as second choice in 2011). Unit 25 is located due north of Unit 100. The season in both units opens Oct 15. Then hunt cows in 25, and scout bulls in 100. You will have a great time.
Wyoming also has reduced price antlerless antelope tags in a lot of units. Cost $ 40.00 bucks as I recall. You can buy several of them in a lot of units, and a lot of them are available in the leftover draws. Be a really inexpensive trip to pick up 1-2 of these, hunt antelope for a couple of days, then go check out some elk units.
The key is to spend some time on the Wyoming website, looking at the unit maps, draw odds, success rates, etc, then narrow down the part of the state you would like to hunt elk in. Then get back there on a different hunt and check it out.
Don’t forget that in most units, there are not separate bow tags. If you draw, you can go out bow hunting, and if you are not successful, go back and hunt the rifle hunt. In most cases, the bow season is the entire month of September. In some cases, the rifle season opens on Oct 1, so you could bow hunt and rifle hunt on the same trip.
In my opinion, Wyoming offers the best chance to harvest a 300+ point bull with a reasonable number of points. In my case, for example, I have elk four points, and have identified a unit I could draw this year, and an outfitter with 30,000 acres of private land where I would have a legitimate chance to harvest a 340+ bull. Rather than draw it this year, however, I am thinking about doing an antelope hutn on the ranch with the outfitter this year, second choice tag, and check out the ranch prior to committing the dollars and points for the elk hunt next year.
Okay, that covers the basics for elk hunting in Wyoming. I leave for the Rose Bowl in the morning. When I get back, I will post some additional info about the different types of hunts in different parts of the state as far as terrain, access, etc, then it will be up to you to decide if you should get in the elk game in Wyoming. Unlike antelope, I will not post unit specific info for elk, too few tags and too easy to negatively impact future draw odds. I am happy to talk to you about units you are looking at, but not in the public forum. Sorry.
Last edited by scoutdog5; 12-29-2011 at 10:36 PM.