DIY Western hunts?

Discussion in 'Hunting USA & Canada' started by Seavas, May 1, 2019.

  1. Seavas

    Seavas AH Member

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    I am at a point where it is time to expand my horizons in pursuit of NA game. Ideally I would like to do one or two hunts each year but I realize I will be limited by the draw system for big game in western states. I do not need record book animals, an average specimen would be a trophy in my eyes. I just want to knock some new species off the list, put some meat in the freezer, and maybe something on the wall. The hunts would be with rifle, in the lower 48, unguided, and budgeting about a week for each. Access to public land, population densities, DIY success rates, and ability for a nonresident to draw/buy a tag within a few years are all factors I am considering. All said, if you were to start fresh with zero points anywhere, where would you be applying to build points or maybe even buying OTC tags for the following species:

    Rocky Mountain Elk
    Roosevelt Elk - not sure if this one is realistic for a nonresident
    Mule Deer
    Pronghorn - will start applying in WY this year, seems like the state with the best odds
    Mountain Lion - Not sure if this one is practical as DIY coming from out of state
    Shiras Moose - this one may not be realistic either for drawing a tag
    Black Bear
    Columbia Blacktail
    Any other "easy" ones?

    Do you pick a state a apply there each year or do you apply for the same species across multiple states each year til you get drawn?
    Let me know your thoughts! Thanks!
     

  2. LivingTheDream

    LivingTheDream AH Legend

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    Roosevelt elk and black tail in Oregon/Washington should be somewhat realistic. It will depend on how picky you are.

    Mountain lion I think would be the tough DIY. Maybe Arizona if you got in the mountains and glassed and got lucky? IDK.

    Shiras Moose, do you care if it is a cow? Cow would be a much easier draw. Idaho would be your best bet.

    Bear would be Idaho as well. Virginia has some good public land where you could try, but plan to scout and sit in a stand.

    Look into California, I know the non resident licenses are slim but I believe there is some opportunities in the northern part of the state.
     

  3. Chukar

    Chukar SILVER SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    I can only "help" with Orygun.

    Rocky Mountain elk. I personally wouldn't do it. They are all under controlled tags and drawing as a non-resident is going to require a lot of preference points.

    Roosevelt elk and blacktail deer. Here are your bright spots. You can OTC purchase a license and tags with no draw needed. It would be a hunt west of the Cascade mountains. I would focus on the coast range, and probably the northwest quadrant. They can be tough hunts due to thicker cover. Some of the NW quadrant zones offer up to 65% public lands.

    Cougar and bear are also easy OTC purchases. You would do OK in the same NW quadrant for black bear, the deer/elk seasons coincide with a bear tag. Cougar numbers aren't quite there in that quadrant but a tag is only $16.

    Pronghorn are tough draws.

    The Oregon regulations:

    http://www.eregulations.com/oregon/big-game-hunting/

    A beautiful statistical analysis on Oregon tag draws and also displays hunter success rates if I recall:

    https://sites.google.com/site/oregontags/

    If you would like to maybe increase your luck in Oregon, Weyerhauser owns many large tracts of timberland, especially in that NW quadrant. They offer limited permits on their lands for a relatively small fee, usually around $300 for a year of vehicle access. You won't be the only one there but the density of hunters will be less than on public lands. These are competitive and have a set draw/entry date.

    https://wyrecreation.com/permits

    Also pertinent:

    http://themeateater.com/hunt/big-game/big-game-tags-the-over-the-counter-option

    Best of luck!
     

  4. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Plenty of GMUs for OTC Rocky Mountain bull elk tags in Colorado. The Flat Tops area is one of the better locations for a DIY bull elk hunt. Every year some lucky hunter takes a true trophy on public land. All that said, the average hunter has a 20% chance of taking a bull elk. You must be in good shape because it will be at high altitude and you must be ready to walk miles in the mountains...or have Lady Luck on your shoulder.

    Lion, I’ve seen many out of season, but have yet to call one in. Same for black bear. Always around out of season.

    Best of luck!
     

  5. jeff

    jeff AH Legend

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    Idaho has OTC deer and elk tags but I strongly suggest allotting more time 10-14 days for a reasonable chance of success no matter what state you hunt on public lands
     
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  6. Seavas

    Seavas AH Member

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    Awesome info so far!

    Thats encouraging about the Roosevelt elk and the Blacktail.

    I would not be opposed to a cow moose hunt but in my limited research could not see anywhere that it was distinguished from a bull as far as tag and fees.

    If I dont draw for WY pronghorn this year I will probably look into an OTC elk tag in CO or ID. Is the lower success rates for elk because of hunters being picky and looking for a trophy 6x6 or due to low shot opportunity? I wouldn't mind a cow here either, especially for a first hunt.
    Is the suggested 10-14 days door to door or is that 10-14 days of hunting?
     

  7. jeff

    jeff AH Legend

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    The more time you have the better you get to know the area and find elk and you have a much better chance at success. On public land OTC bull hunts you better take the first legal elk.
     

  8. TMac

    TMac AH Senior Member

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    WY for Pronghorn, MD and Elk. Points are affordable there. Essentially in WY for PH, points = access to public land. Any unit there can and usually will hold VG PH. They are tough to judge for most, including me. There are good options there for mature elk and MD, and in fairly easy to draw, not necessarily easy to hunt units.

    CO is a great MD state. For MD, CO is similar to WY PH in terms of the points/access equation. Can find big bucks there in nearly any unit. Not easy but doable. There are many places there to hunt elk, but mature bulls are generally scarce in those areas. WY, NM and MT are better elk choices for mature bulls, absent CO points.

    Re: Shiras Moose, would you consider a hunt for Canadian Moose? If so, that’s your best bet.

    Cougar, they are tough without dogs. But it can be done.

    NM and MT have great elk opportunities. MT offers a combo tag, Elk/MD. Iirc, covers bow and rifle, so one can plan two trips Sept - Nov. Hunt both in the rut... Little better shot at a mature elk than a mature muley there in most areas that hold both, ergo the two trip idea on one draw. NM has some great elk hunting.

    If it were me, I might consider paying a guide for a Cougar hunt with dogs and a Canadian Moose hunt. The remainder are very achievable DIY with work.

    I have little to add to the other species as the prior posts cover them well. Am happy to respond to PM’s with more details.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2019

  9. Jfet

    Jfet AH Elite

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  10. dailordasailor

    dailordasailor AH Veteran

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    I was very fortunate to have another member here “guide” me in getting my feet wet last year in western hunting. Wyoming is certainly a great choice for pronghorn and you could easily hunt one this year (apply ASAP) just won’t get a unit with the monsters but can do it 100% diy especially with some reading and advice from others in places like here. I’m happy to share what I’ve found in research and will be hunting a unit with my wife that requires zero points this year that we’ve never step foot in.

    $350 for buck tag, then just money for flight/hotel/food
     
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  11. Seavas

    Seavas AH Member

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    Thats exactly what I'm trying to do, and I figured this would be a great intro to hunting the West for the both of us.

    May have to scratch Shiras moose from that list based on responses and difficulty in drawing a tag in the lower 48. I really want to do all of these DIY style. If I have to go through the hassle of dealing with airports, TSA, firearms imports, hiring guides, importing/shipping meat and trophies, etc, then I would rather just go to Africa!
    Thanks!
     

  12. dailordasailor

    dailordasailor AH Veteran

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    Moose is on my list for some point.

    Let me know if decide on Wyoming
     

  13. Bas

    Bas AH Enthusiast

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    Pm me for a bit of Colorado info.
     

  14. dailordasailor

    dailordasailor AH Veteran

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    I’m intrigued
     

  15. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Elite

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    Dsailor.............congrats on your Wyoming DIY antelope success and knowledge. I am reviewing the regs there, and the drawing odds again. I did this last year as well. I am unable to find any units that are principally public land that offer buck tags with no preference points. All require 3-5 years of applications. Many units are undersubscribed, but they are private land with a very hefty trespass fees, and or guide requirements. I'd like to hunt lopes in Wyoming one last time. If your area could stand another hunter, please PM me. If not, and it is a trade secret, I respect that too, and wish you well..............FW Bill
     

  16. WAB

    WAB AH Elite

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    Bill, PM me. I lived there for nine years before I moved to Alaska and may have some ideas for you.
     

  17. Seavas

    Seavas AH Member

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    Well I was unsuccessful in the pronghorn draw but I now have a point for next year. Surprisingly, the mrs was unsuccessful in the pronghorn doe draw in what I thought would be sure-thing units.

    I did draw a deer tag for unit B so I will be looking for a decent mule in October and hopefully we can get some leftover pronghorn tags.
     

  18. jduckhunter

    jduckhunter AH Fanatic

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    Pickings are pretty slim this year for antelope leftover tags, area 29 has a few type 2 tags left but there isn't much else available around your region B deer area.
     

  19. Wade J VanGinkel

    Wade J VanGinkel AH Member

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    I'm late to the thread and everyone has put up good ideas.
    Also consider arizona coues deer on the border. I've done it twice diy with success both times. Can sometimes draw with no points.
     
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  20. Seavas

    Seavas AH Member

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    Good to know, everything I have heard was that is a hunt with very low success.

    So we made our first trip to Wyoming last month. My better half connected on two pronghorn does for the freezer and I struck out on deer. We had a great time and are already gameplanning for next year.

    DSC_1855-1_LI.jpg IMG_9201.jpg
     

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