TeenageHunter's Guide to Hunting Out West

Discussion in 'Hunting Out of State' started by TeenageHunter, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. TeenageHunter

    TeenageHunter McNorrisBieber Staff Member

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    Lately, I've noticed people curious about hunting out of state and the information provided by others essentially "buried" in the Iowa Whitetail Conference forum. Sligh and I decided to make a "Hunting Out of State" section on the forum for better access to more information about hunting out of state. I'll be posting regularly about draws, statistics, and tactics to make you more successful on your next adventure!

    A little background for those of you who don't know me. I'm originally from Southwest Iowa and lived there my entire life up until college. I was spoiled with big bucks and lots of property to hunt because my Dad only hunts once in a while to spend time with me. My first out of state trip was to Kansas to turkey hunt. Since then I've been hunting in Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Texas. Spending most of my time in Wyoming and even going to the University of Wyoming for a while. I'm now working at Cabela's in La Vista, Nebraska and will be going to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa this fall and graduate in May 2019 with an Agriculture degree.

    If you have any questions along the way feel free to ask!

    Terms
    One of the biggest questions I've received over the years is "How do I even get into hunting out west?" One of the best things you can do for yourself is to learn the terminology first for the state your planning to go. I started out mule deer hunting in Colorado and learned pretty quick that hunting out west can be tricky at first! You have all these new terms like...
    -State Land
    -BLM (Bureau of Land Management)
    -National Forest
    -National Grassland
    -Wilderness Areas
    -HMA (Hunter Management Area)
    -WIA (Walk-In Access)
    -Block Management (Montana ONLY)
    -Open Space (Colorado ONLY)


    All these terms can be overwhelming for a hunter who is trying to figure out how to hunt out west for the first time. I'll cover the more generic information in the thread and you can do your own research or ask more specific questions about the state your researching here!

    BLM (Bureau of Land Management)

    https://www.blm.gov/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bureau_of_Land_Management

    "The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior that administers more than 247.3 million acres (1,001,000 km2) of public lands in the United States which constitutes one-eighth of the landmass of the country.[2] President Harry S. Truman created the BLM in 1946 by combining two existing agencies: the General Land Office and the Grazing Service.[3] The agency manages the federal government's nearly 700 million acres (2,800,000 km2) of subsurface mineral estate located beneath federal, state and private lands severed from their surface rights by the Homestead Act of 1862.[3] Most BLM public lands are located in these 12 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.[4]"

    In other words, the BLM is one of the largest public lands coordinators in the US. Most of the land is PUBLIC but limited access in some areas where ranchers have blocks of private land surrounding it. Most states you're allowed to camp on BLM as long as you're not being destructive toward the land. Be sure to check local, regional, and state fire bans that might be in place.

    You can do more digging on the blm.gov site. If you have more specific questions feel free to ask I'll attempt to answer them to the best of my ability. Here's a link to the hunting and fishing brochure on the site...
    https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/documents/files/BLM Hunting and Fishing 013018.pdf

    National Forest/National Grassland
    https://www.fs.fed.us/grasslands/index.shtml
    https://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/map/state_list.shtml

    People are normally surprised they can hunt National Forests and National Grasslands. You can even hunt SOME national parks! (https://www.doi.gov/blog/hunting-and-fishing-national-parks-and-fish-and-wildlife-refuges)

    "In the United States, there are 155 National Forests containing almost 190 million acres (297,000 mi²/769 000 km²) of land. These lands comprise 8.5 percent of the total land area of the United States, an area about the size of Texas. Some 87 percent of National Forest land lies west of the Mississippi River in the mountain ranges of the Western United States. Alaska has 12 percent of all National Forest lands."
    -https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_National_Forest

    Most of the National Forests and National Grasslands are open to camping with heavier restrictions than BLM. Make sure you check out which state and or national forest or grassland you might plan to hunt!


    "What should I hunt first?"
    This is the question I receive the most from everyone! Here's a video I've made to encourage people to start out antelope hunting in Wyoming.



    I only spent $425 TOTAL to hunt four antelope does in Wyoming. This is including gas, tags, ammo, food, bags for processing, game bags, and a few other small things.



    On another hunt, I took out a few friends for their first time hunting out west. We were able to hunt for two days and made the most of it! My Jeep broke down on Day 1 and we were only able to shoot one antelope on Day 1. Luckily it was a quick fix and they had the parts in and we were back at it again on Day 2 and Olivia was able to harvest her first animal ever in one of the hardest units to hunt in Wyoming for antelope! (56% success rate).

    at 1:50 I asked him "How hard is it to shoot an Antelope in Wyoming?"



    Please let me know what you think about the thread and I'll continue to add more information.

    Should I make separate threads for separate species of animals or keep all the information in one thread?
     
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  3. IowaBowHunter1983

    IowaBowHunter1983 Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Awesome and great idea! I would vote breaking the thread up by State. One thread could get overwhelming in a hurry. I'll be in Wyoming in Sept for my first western hunt.
     
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  4. LYON

    LYON PMA Member

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    Good stuff TH. This will be super helpful for many of us!
     
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  5. goatman

    goatman I hunt days ending in Y

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    Also depending where you are hunting some towns throw a supper for the hunters the night before opening day. I haven't made it yet to one of those but always wanted to. Hunters are welcome out west which is a change.
     
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  6. LoessHillsArcher

    LoessHillsArcher Well-Known Member

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    Love the thread! I work about 2 minutes from Cabelas, I'll have to stop over and say hi some day over lunch
     
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  7. TeenageHunter

    TeenageHunter McNorrisBieber Staff Member

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  8. meyeri

    meyeri PMA Member

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    Good thread, never imagined I'd be reading great advice on western hunting from a "teenage hunter" with a cat as his picture. lol. Seriously though, this is awesome, you're gonna convince some guys on here (probably me) to pull the trigger and dive on in.
     
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  9. TeenageHunter

    TeenageHunter McNorrisBieber Staff Member

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    Welcome to the internet :)
     
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  10. flugge

    flugge PMA Member

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    Good Work Biebs... As I get older, the more hectic things come, and the less I get to travel. So its helpful to have a site and area to come and read it all in one spot.
     
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  11. BDAHMS

    BDAHMS Be here Now

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    great post and nice work TH. See you in a month
     
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  12. TeenageHunter

    TeenageHunter McNorrisBieber Staff Member

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    Wyoming Elk
    I believe when it comes to Elk most people think of Colorado as the "go-to" state and they overlook Wyoming General Elk areas. Wyoming is a fantastic elk hunting state boasting great success rates in most General areas. In this section, I'm going to cover some basic FAQ you can look up on the Wyoming Game and Fish site and go over some things to look for when scouting for elk in Wyoming. However Wyoming is starting to show point creep with over 3,400 people applying this year for 1,700 tags.

    Wyoming State Land information: https://sites.google.com/a/wyo.gov/osli/resources/recreation
    Camping isn't allowed on most of Wyoming's state land!

    However, most of Wyoming's BLM and National Forest/Grasslands are available for primitive camping.

    Orange Requirements:
    Clothing Requirements. Hunters Required to Wear Fluorescent Orange or Fluorescent Pink Clothing. All persons hunting big or trophy game during an open firearm season, shall wear in a visible manner one (1) or more exterior garments of a fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink color that shall include at least one of the following: a hat, shirt, jacket, coat, vest or sweater. Fluorescent orange camouflage or fluorescent pink camouflage are legal. Hunters participating in limited quota muzzle-loading seasons are also required to meet the fluorescent clothing requirements. Archers and crossbow hunters hunting during a special archery season or limited quota archery only Type 9 season are exempt from this requirement.

    Big game and trophy game rifle and muzzleloader hunters are required to wear one exterior garment of fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink. This also applies to archery hunters hunting during the rifle season. This could be a hat, shirt, jacket, coat, vest or sweater. Bird hunters on Game and Fish Wildlife Habitat Management Areas are also required to wear fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink. Fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink camouflage is legal.

    MeatCare:
    “Edible portion of big game animal” means the meat from the front quarters as far down as the knees, meat of the hindquarters as far down as the hocks, and the meat along the backbone between the neck and hindquarters including the loins and tenderloins, excluding meat on the ribs and neck.
    1. Front quarter - meat of the front quarters as far down as the knees 2. Hind quarter – meat of the hindquarters as far down as the hocks 3. Backstrap - meat along the backbone between the neck and hindquarters 4. Tenderloins - tenderloins are located inside body cavity

    Gun Laws:
    Wyoming has no restrictive laws concerning firearms that may be legally possessed under the law of one’s home state. Safety dictates that all firearms in a vehicle should be unloaded with the action open.
    In Wyoming, you can have your gun loaded with a bullet in the chamber in your vehicle while hunting.



    FAQ's

    Q. I hear that only boned big game meat can be transported from Wyoming due to concerns about spreading chronic wasting disease. Is that right?

    A. Game and Fish regulations are designed to minimize the possibility of spreading Chronic Wasting Disease by controlling the transportation of carcasses between hunt zones. Resident and nonresident hunters who take a deer, elk or moose within the CWD zone and wish to transport that carcass outside of the CWD zone must ensure the head and all portions of the spinal column are either left at the site of the kill or disposed of in an approved landfill. Evidence of sex and species are required in accordance with the provisions found in the current hunting regulations. Only the following portions of any deer, elk or moose taken from any other state, province or country within areas designated as positive for CWD may be imported into Wyoming: edible portions with no part of the spinal column or head attached; cleaned hides without the head; skull plate and/or antlers cleaned of all meat and brain tissue; upper canine teeth; finished taxidermy mounts.

    Q. Can I use a crossbow in Wyoming’s archery seasons?

    A. Yes. The crossbow must have a minimum ninety (90)-pound draw weight and a bolt of at least sixteen (16) inches in length equipped with a broadhead or expanding point designed to have a minimum cutting width of one (1) inch after impact.

    Q. Do I need to buy an archery license for both my deer and elk license?
    A. You need to buy only one archery license in addition to your deer and elk license to hunt during the special archery season. You do not need to buy separate archery licenses for elk, deer, antelope or whatever other big or trophy game you may be hunting with bow and arrow. The archery license is required of all archers who have a regular, not "archery only" license. Holders of archery only licenses do not need the separate archery permit.

    Q. Is it true nonresidents cannot hunt in national forest wilderness areas without a guide?
    A. Basically, that's right. Wyoming statute says nonresidents must have a licensed guide or resident companion to hunt big or trophy game in federally designated wilderness areas. The resident companion will need to get a free non-commercial guide license from a Game and Fish office. The law does not prohibit nonresidents from hiking, fishing or hunting game birds, small game, or coyotes in wilderness areas. Only nonresident big and trophy game hunters must have a licensed guide or resident companion.

    Q. If I shoot an elk and pack out a quarter at a time, what do I do with the tag?
    A. Large animals like elk are frequently packed out in quarters or pieces. If this procedure becomes necessary, the carcass coupon or tag should remain with the person packing out the animal. Remember that whenever a kill is made under any circumstances, the normal tagging procedure as outlined on your license must be followed. Simply detach the tag from the license, cut out the entire wedge or square for the day and month and sign the coupon. If you need to leave your animal to get help to pack it out the tag must be left attached to the carcass.

    Q. When do I have to leave evidence of sex on a big game carcass I harvest?
    A. Wyoming regulations require evidence of sex must accompany the carcass taken in a hunt area where the taking of either sex is either controlled or prohibited. The evidence can be either the visible sex organs or the head.

    Q. Can I hunt checkerboard lands?
    A. "Checkerboard" is the term given to alternating sections of private and BLM lands stretching for some 300 miles along the Union Pacific Railroad in southern Wyoming. Even though this area is approximately 50 percent public, the same requirements apply as with accessing any public lands, namely, you must have public access to public lands to be able to hunt there. If the access to public lands is on a private road, landowner permission must be obtained. A person can hunt on the BLM lands provided there is public access to those sections. A person who carefully follows a BLM land status map or GPS units loaded with land status info can often figure out which sections are public and private and have a successful hunt. However, it makes for a much more trouble free hunt if permission is first obtained to avoid the concern and possibility of trespassing.

    Q. Do I need a license to hunt coyotes and jackrabbits?
    A. Coyotes and jackrabbits are legally classified as predators along with raccoons, red fox, porcupines and skunks. Under Wyoming law, these animals may be taken year round and no license is required. However hunters must still abide by other laws pertaining to the taking of wildlife, i.e. prohibition of shooting from roads, fulfilling hunter safety requirements, hunting using artificial light etc. Further explanation of the dos and don'ts regarding these and other laws is contained in any Wyoming hunting regulation pamphlet.

    Regulations: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Regulations/Regulation-PDFs/REGULATIONS_CH7_Brochure.pdf

    Hunt Planner (View Harvest Success rates, draw statistics, prices, etc.): https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Hunting/Hunt-Planner/Elk-Hunting

    FAQs: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/FAQ/Big-Game-License-Applications-FAQ

    A few Wyoming video's I've taken...










    If anybody has questions feel free to ask! I'll be hunting Wyoming Elk, Deer, and Antelope this year.
     
  13. TeenageHunter

    TeenageHunter McNorrisBieber Staff Member

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  14. bwese

    bwese Member

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    Based on your pictorial essay and posts it seems you have drawn to hunt WY elk several years in a row. How do one manage to get drawn each year in WY for an elk tag?
     
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  15. TeenageHunter

    TeenageHunter McNorrisBieber Staff Member

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    I don't always hunt General but I did in 2017 and I'm lucky enough to hunt General again in 2018. I drew this year because I know somebody who needed help in an area and they were kind enough to share their points with me.

    My cow elk hunt and my first bull were leftover tags.

    Wyoming groups everyone's points together and averages them for the draw. We had an average point balance above 2pts and we're able to draw with ease. More than likely
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
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  16. bwese

    bwese Member

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    Thank you TH. I didn't realize pts could be shared. That's good to know. I wish I would have thought to find someone to give my points for moose to before I let them expire. Point creep for moose was going to put me into my sixties before I was going to be drawn if it went on the way it was/is. If that is the case I would have had 750 or more into points just to get drawn, didn't make financial sense to me.

    I have hunted elk 6 times in WY all via general or cow tags. Prior to three years ago I never had to buy a preference point to get drawn. It took 3 points to draw a general tag this year. I know of guys that use 6 points to draw spike tags in a draw unit. I don't know the answer to point creep but for now all one can do is buy points and continue to put in.

    In my opinion I believe that if a person wants to go elk hunting in WY and haven't gone yet apply for cow/calf tags to learn the ropes and the land and then eventually when one accrues enough points apply for the area you want to hunt.
     
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  17. TeenageHunter

    TeenageHunter McNorrisBieber Staff Member

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    Your points expired?
     
  18. bwese

    bwese Member

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    points expire if one quits buyng points 2 years in a row. The WY G&F will contact one via email and letter(at least that is how I was informed) to let them know that they will lose their points if they don't buy one that year.
     

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