One of the most rare and exciting hunts you can do in America is that of the pronghorn antelope. It is one of our most unique mammals, and although in the same “family”, most definitely distinct from the antelopes found in Africa and Asia.
The antelope is incredibly fascinating, beautiful, and, most importantly, unique.
Being able to tell everyone that you’ve managed to catch one is sure to cause envy among your peers, and will make you one of the more rare hunters out there!
You’ll have to take the trip to Wyoming, as it has more antelope than the entire rest of the continent combined (and not to mention their ease of hunting licenses and beautiful landscape). Check out our Wyoming hunting state guide here!
Antelope hunting is no easy feat and is more suited for the experienced hunter. They can boast speeds of up to 55 mph, and since their main part of the ecosystem is to either graze or be hunted by other predators, are hyper-aware of their surroundings.
In this guide, I will give you an overview of how antelope hunting works, how you can do it, and a few tips on the best way to bag this beautiful creature.
Let’s get into it!
Licenses, permits, and all that yada yada
Wyoming antelope hunting is based on a draw system. Though more often than not, there are actually enough tags for most applicants!
Additionally, if you’re unlucky and don’t get a license this year, Wyoming has a preference point system that ensures you have a higher chance for a tag next year.
They are the only state exercising this, which is one of the many reasons I love Wyoming (and I’m saying that as a Washingtonian).
Fun fact: harvest success for Wyoming antelope hunting is over 80%!
Archery vs Firearm Hunting
The archery season kicks off in September, about a month ahead of the firearm season. This is always my favorite time to hunt, especially in states like Wyoming, as it offers much milder weather conditions than the rest of the year.
For you archers out there, you’re going to face a lot more challenges than the average firearm hunter when it comes to antelope. Since pronghorns are not only skittish but also see really well, getting within 60 yards can be difficult and challenging.
Experience in spot-and-stalk techniques, good use of terrain, and appropriate camouflage will be your best bet to land a clean kill.
Firearm season starts the first couple weeks of October and lasts for about a month. Depending on where you find yourself in the state, this means cold temperatures and sometimes even snow — so keep that in mind when planning out your tactics.
For firearm hunting all you need to ensure is a good understanding of the terrain you’ll find yourself in to make clean and safe shots.
Otherwise, it is much like deer hunting, except the animal is significantly smarter, faster, and more aware. The longer distance you can muster the higher your chances will be.
How we approach the pronghorn
I am a massive proponent of spot and stalk hunting in all forms, but especially when going after antelope. Bring some binoculars, scout out the area for herds or lonely bucks, and then stealthily approach at a good distance.
If you can help it, try to hunt near water sources. Especially earlier in the season, antelopes tend to stick close to any clean water source, which means that if you wait long enough – it will only be a matter of time before your prey appears.
Another useful tip to note is that of decoys. Male antelopes especially are easily drawn in by decoys as pronghorns are incredibly territorial. Something like this is sure to draw an angry buck close by to establish his territory.
Conservation & Management
Much like every other state in the US, Wyoming is incredibly strict on its conservation and population management. All antelopes in the state are carefully monitored, and only the exact number of tags that is healthy for the overall population are handed out each year.
There is a common misconception that antelopes are a dying and rare breed in the US. That is because a lot of people confuse them with African Antelopes, and cannot fathom the concept of different species existing in different continents with similar names.
Trust me, you are safe, and not unethical if you hunt the pronghorn!
If you’re looking for more information regarding the ethics of hunting, I urge you to read more about it right here.
Wyoming antelope hunting, a unique way to love the sport
Wyoming antelope hunting is an exciting way to keep things fresh and new for experienced hunters. I am incredibly excited for my next trip into the Wyoming wilderness because I just recently landed my very own pronghorn antelope tag!
Antelope hunting is deeply ingrained in Wyoming’s cultural fabric and also provides a significant economic boost to the state, with hunters spending on licenses, gear, accommodation, and other services.
It is a wonderful way to get a unique kill under your belt, and combining the rare hunt with the beauty of the Wyoming landscape puts antelope hunting up there as one of the top items on your bucket list.
At least it should be now.
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