APPLICATION STRATEGY 2019: Wyoming Deer and Antelope
Wyoming's 2019 deer and antelope application overview
Wyoming offers an incredible mix of draw odds, application options and two species of deer. Combine all of that with more antelope than residents and that makes Wyoming a must apply state for residents and nonresidents alike. While Wyoming is not noted for producing the biggest mule deer, antelope or whitetail (on average when compared to other states), what they do offer is hunting opportunities for mature bucks with public hunting access since 53.6% of Wyoming is public land (federal and state) and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) manages approximately 800 square miles of walk-in Hunter Management Areas (HMA) on private lands. It’s worth noting here that there are a handful of units that produce Boone & Crockett (B&C) class bucks year after year and is also one of the few states that offer a real possibility for a combination hunt!
- Unlike most states, there is no general hunting license to buy just to apply. That’s right! No extra money out of your pocket regardless of draw success! Wyoming has a deer and antelope point system for nonresidents only.
- Unless specifically designated in permit type you will be allowed to archery hunt on most Type 1 and 2 permits with purchase of an additional $72 archery stamp prior to going afield during rifle season. Your permit is valid to harvest one animal. Purchasing this stamp allows the hunter an opportunity to go afield during the archery season and general season. There are some Type 9 permits which are archery only permits.
- Several years ago, Wyoming changed the deer and antelope application to May 31, which did two things: 1) more hunters applied, which changed draw odds instantly and 2) with the pushback of the application deadline, it allowed the sportsman to know if they drew other states prior to applying in Wyoming. In essence, Wyoming deer and antelope became a backup plan as you could decide if you wanted to aggressively apply or simply wait for the point only deadline.
Note: The application deadline for deer and antelope in Wyoming is May 31, 2019 at 11:59 pm MST. You can apply online here.
Why Wyoming for deer and antelope
Mule deer and whitetail deer
Wyoming has both species of deer and which one you shoot depends upon the license in hand with whitetail deer predominantly in the eastern third of the state. Wyoming should not be overlooked by serious mule deer hunters. The state has nearly 50,000 square miles of public land, providing the opportunity to pursue mule deer from alpine basins to high desert to croplands. Typically, deer rifle hunt dates are in October; however, some areas will let hunters hunt bucks in September and during the November rut. Limited entry areas are available as well as nonresident general regions that include multiple areas. Some of the better areas and regions will provide an opportunity to hunt bucks reaching over 180” Boone and Crockett (B&C). Most areas around the state are capable of producing a buck scoring more than 160” B&C. In addition to the mountain areas along the western side of the state, there are huge expanses of high desert and creek drainages that also hold mule deer. Some areas can be drawn by nonresidents with minimal preference points. Resident applicants do not have preference points and permits for individual areas are drawn at random. Winter mortality can be an issue in Wyoming, especially concerning mule deer, and is certainly worth keeping a close eye on if you are cashing in a high number of preference points when applying.
Trophy potential vs. actual harvest statistics
There is a lot of excited hunters talking about trophy class and hardly any chatter about actual harvest data per area (example on Area 141 below). Yet, it is important to identify the best areas and regions to burn your points to determine where are you actually willing to put your tag on. Yes, we all will take the largest most mature buck, but when it really comes down to shooting or passing and the real possibility that after years of dreaming, building points, investing in gear and time away from family, are you willing to eat tag soup? There is no right or wrong and the word trophy is extremely subjective so we can toss these opinions directly in the rubbish bin. My point here is to be realistic with yourself and apply for licenses that may ultimately be a better fit for you albeit without the cool factor of drawing a highly coveted area. You just may be way further ahead to draw multiple licenses, hunt Wyoming multiple times, fill your freezer with tasty venison, help the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) manage the resource, increase your fun factor and have way more memories than pulling one high-demand license to maybe pull the trigger one time. Then again, only the areas that offer the opportunity to hunt old mature giant bucks regardless of success may be the best fit. Go big or go home. Only you can decide!
High success on mature antelope bucks
Hunting antelope is highly successful for first timers or antelope freaks alike and Wyoming offers a great party hunt—father and child or a group of hunting buddies up for a new adventure on a truly unique species. Antelope are found in the open prairies and rely on their eyes and speed to protect them from predators. However, hunting is equally good all day long and, with several thousand antelope tags offered annually, Wyoming is the best state for antelope hunting opportunity and overall harvest compared to other western states. Opportunity is available for both trophy hunters and opportunity hunters. Like other states, the areas that have the biggest bucks are more difficult to draw and take double digit preference points to pick up a license. These harder-to-draw areas have a legitimate chance to harvest a buck that goes over 80” B&C. There are also areas across the state that have easy draw odds and the opportunity to take a representative buck.
Hunting tips: although antelope vision is equivalent to 8x to 10x power optics they can’t judge depth; walk straight at them. Key in on water points and practice for longer shots from sitting or prone positions using bi-pods or shooting sticks. Bucks have a black cheek patch; watch for this if hunting does as young bucks with small horns can be difficult to see at some angles.
Want to maximize your experience?
Learn to field judge bucks. Here are a few tips: length can be deceiving and is only one measurement; mass you gain four measurements. Ears are about 7” long and prongs should be at the top of the ear. Look at the head from both front-on and the side before shooting. Hooks can turn in or back and, until you see radius and depth of hook, you simply can’t judge length. Big hooks equal hidden length; whereas, tall with no hooks is missing length. A visually shorter horn with hooks will generally outscore a visually taller buck with no hooks. At a distance, if you see a lot of black at head level, it’s worth a closer look.
Lots of public land and public access on private lands
The nation’s 10th largest (and least populated) state, Wyoming offers vast expanses of territory to roam. Nearly half (48%) is federal public land and the State of Wyoming owns another 5.6%. With deer and antelope literally in every corner of Wyoming, there is a lot of public land— although the larger continuous tracks are typically harder to draw. However, there is good news! With a little research and basic understanding of Wyoming’s access laws, you can plan your trip armed with good information about accessible areas to hunt.
WGFD also offers Hunter Management Areas (HMA), which opens thousands of acres of private land to public access. Check out interactive maps here. Or you can go old school with land status maps (1:100,000 scale) available from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that displays the major patterns of land ownership. These maps can be ordered online from the BLM or they can be purchased in person at the BLM state office in Cheyenne and at BLM district offices. National forest maps can be purchased at U.S. Forest Service (USFS) district offices or can be ordered online through the individual forest service web here.
Land status and topographic map layers are also commercially available from private vendors for download onto portable GPS units.
Reminder: Land status can change without notice so be sure to update your GPS unit with the latest information.
Wyoming statute says nonresidents must have a licensed guide or resident companion to hunt big or trophy game in Federally Designated Wilderness Areas (DWA). The resident companion will need to get a free noncommercial guide license from WGFD office.
Wyoming is perfectly suited for highly successful combination hunts with a bit of pre-planning and an understanding of the typical drawing odds and points needed to draw multiple species licenses in the same region.
Deer are typically a first and last light species and antelope hunting is good anytime in the middle of day, making a mule deer/antelope, whitetail deer/antelope or antelope buck/doe hunts a great way to get the most bang for your buck (pun intended).
Antelope doe/fawn licenses can add value to your speed-goat hunt by adding more shot opportunities and venison in the freezer during your antelope buck hunt. You will need to pay special attention to drawing odds of both your first choice buck license along with doe/fawn licenses, especially if you only want to draw the doe/fawn tags to extend your buck hunt. If you don’t draw your buck license, you are still committed to hunt Wyoming; licenses are nonrefundable. Alternatively, if reduced licenses are still available after the secondary draw, you may be able to purchase doe/fawn licenses over-the-counter (OTC) on a first come, first served basis.
Grizzly bears and wolves
Wyoming is also home to many apex predators, including grizzly bears, black bears, mountain lions and wolves. Depending upon your hunting goals, knowing areas where grizzly bears and wolves may have played a role in game population and/or in your hunt experience is an important consideration when selecting game areas.
Antlerless draw odds
New for 2019
IMPORTANT: Change to Wyoming preference point purchase
For Deer, Elk, and Antelope you will not automatically receive a preference point if you are unsuccessful in the draw. If you are unsuccessful in the draw you will need to log into your account from July 1st to Oct 31st and purchase a preference point.
12 month licenses
Effective January 1, 2019, all small game, game bird, small game/game bird combination, fishing, trapping and conservation stamps will be valid for 12 months from the date of purchase or 12 months from the previous license expiration date. The expiration date will be printed on the license.
Credit card processing fee
Effective January 1, 2019, all applications, licenses and permits paid for with a credit card will incur a credit card processing fee of 2.5% on all money collected, including the cost of the license, which is required at the time of application.
Landowner license applications
Applicants qualified to submit landowner license applications can submit their applications online. Contact your local game warden or regional office for instructions to submit landowner license applications electronically.
Applications submitted in 2018
Applicants can now see the applications they submitted in 2018 and quickly submit the same application(s) in 2019 if the specific license is offered.
View important information and an overview of the Wyoming rules/regulations, the draw system and preference points, tag and license fees and an interactive boundary line map on our State Profile. You can also view the Wyoming Deer and Antelope Profiles to access historical and statistical data to help you find trophy areas.
Additionally, you can find more information on each deer Region Profile.
Wyoming Deer Region Profiles
|Region A||Region B||Region C||Region D|
|Region F||Region G||Region H||Region J|
|Region K||Region L||Region M||Region Q|
|Region R||Region T||Region W||Region X|
- Wyoming has a deer and antelope point system for nonresidents only.
- Deer and antelope have different area boundaries.
- Wyoming breaks its license out by types.
Use Filtering 2.0 to figure out your application strategy.
Several important bills worth watching:
- SF0003 - Preference points
- HB0002 – Regulation of hunting methods
- HB0028 – Regulation of shed antler and big game horn collection
- HB0042 – Preference point amendments – This would be a point system for residents
- HB0102 – Hunters safety course- preference points.
- HB0205 – Big and trophy game animals – minimum hunting age
- HJ0001 – Wyoming support for delisting the grizzly bear
- SF0093 – Grizzly bear hunts
- HB0073 – Use of dogs-recovery of killed or wounded big game
- HB0305 – Land access study
Important dates and information
- You may begin applying here now.
- The resident and nonresident deadline to apply is May 31, 2019 at midnight MST.
- Nonresident preference point only applications will be accepted July 1 to Oct. 31, 2019 at midnight MST.
- Results will be made available June 20, 2019.
WGFD conducts a leftover drawing for full and reduced price elk, deer and antelope limited quota licenses remaining after the initial limited quota drawing.
- The application period for leftover elk, deer and antelope drawing: June 24 to 28, 2019.
- Results of leftover drawing available: July 11, 2019.
- Licenses remaining after the initial drawing and the leftover drawing go on sale on a first come, first served basis: July 15, 2019.
Wilderness area restrictions
Millions of acres of U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands are available for hunting, including some of the most wild and scenic wilderness areas in the West. A registered Wyoming resident or licensed outfitter must accompany nonresident hunters in order to legally hunt in a designated wilderness area. Study the Unit Profiles to locate what areas have designated wilderness, which creates access restrictions for nonresidents. If you are a nonresident and would like to legally hunt in a wilderness area, please contact an outfitter. A complete list of outfitters in Wyoming can be found in our Outfitter Directory. Residents need not worry about the wilderness area restriction since they can legally hunt without restriction.
A Wilderness Study Area is a separate distinction and can be hunted by nonresidents without a guide. A Wilderness Study Area is a BLM designation. The law limiting nonresidents only applies to U.S. Forest Service Designated Wilderness Areas.
MIGRATION, DROUGHT AND SNOWPACK IN WYOMING
Wyoming covers a very diverse range of habitats, elevations and has all four distinct seasons. This simply means wildlife migrate—often much further than you may think. To better understand Wyoming’s migrating deer and antelope, follow the University of Wyoming’s Wyoming Migration Initiative. If you follow migration maps along with the precipitation and snow pack maps below, you will definitely see a pattern. This pattern is key to understanding species density fluctuations by seasons.
May 2019 Snow Water Equivalent Percent of Normal
May 2018 Snow Water Equivalent Percent of Normal
May 2019 - Drought Status
May 2018 - Drought Status
The draw system
Understanding the draw
There are four combinations on how a nonresident can apply for deer and antelope in the Cowboy State: regular random, special random, regular preference point and special preference point.
- Random is simply that: 25% of licenses are issued in this pool; your points carry no value.
- Preference point licenses go to the applicant with the most points; 75% of licenses are issued in this pool
- Regular draw odds: 60% of licenses are issued in this pool with less expensive license fees.
- Special draw odds: 40% of licenses are issued in this pool with more expensive license fees.
With the special licenses costing approximately twice as much, theoretically, the applicant should have better odds because few people are willing to spend the extra dollars; however, there is no guarantee on how many hunters will apply in each pool compared to the number of allocated licenses and, thus, actual draw odds. Hunters can see trends over multiple seasons and identify hidden gems where applying in a less expensive pool may actually not only save a few bucks, but also positively affect their drawing odds. This is also a reason to plan ahead and collect points so when you want to go hunting, you may be able to not only draw a higher demand unit, but also apply in the less expensive regular pool. As you will see in the “managing expectations” portion below, drawing can be two-fold: 1) what hunt areas the special license opens up in regards to 160”+ mule deer, 135”+ whitetail and 70”+ antelope is not really that significant and only really plays a big factor when wanting to only hunt the top units and 2) most of Wyoming is drawable with zero to low total point counts. Playing these key metrics may be your best opportunity to take a mature buck by drawing and hunting more often than being married to building huge point counts and hopefully going afield only one-time.
Special licenses come with no extra privileges.
Wyoming also has an option preference point system in place for nonresidents for deer and antelope should you not draw your license. With maximum deer and antelope points going into the 2019 application season set at only 13 and many units taking much less to draw, it’s a great idea to build at minimum a few points. However, in a very few instances, it may make sense to not purchase a preference point.
Remember when applying in Wyoming only your first choice is looked at before the state moves onto the next successful applicant; however, many second choice selections still have plenty of licenses leftover that goes to the hunter’s second choice, so choose wisely. If you definitely want to hunt this year and the unit you want to hunt has 100% draw odds on second choice, apply for a unit with three or fewer licenses available to build a point and draw your second choice. Depending upon how close you play the historic draw odds, there may be a bit of risk of not drawing your second choice.
With no point system in place swing for the fence on your first choice. If you don’t have any luck, then look at leftover or general licenses. Try new areas to expand your hunting base. HB0042 died in Committee in 2019; this bill would have changed residents to a point system and is certainly something to watch over the next few years if the proposed legislation resurfaces.
Nonresident regular vs special: Unlocking the system
As noted above, 60% of the licenses for any given hunt are allocated to the regular draw and 40% are allocated to the special draw. Of those, 75% of each are given to the applicants with the most preference points and 25% are randomly drawn with no consideration to the number of points you have.
As you can see above, there is a random portion to each hunt drawing as long as there is a minimum of four nonresident licenses. What this means is that applicants applying even for the first time have some chance to draw. Remember that preference points hold no weight in the random draw; every nonresident applicant is on a level playing field for those licenses.
It’s important to review your preference points and the expected number of licenses for the hunts you are considering. If there are less than four licenses, there will be no random license allocated. If you are applying for a hunt with three or less nonresident licenses and you do not have enough points to be in consideration for the licenses, you are essentially wasting your application.
Regular vs. special draw example
|Region G||Mule deer||7 points||6 points|
|Area 57||Antelope||11 points||10 points|
It's important to check your Draw Odds for the regular draw as well as the special draw. There are circumstances where applying for the special draw will not give you better odds. There are also circumstances where entering the special draw may decrease the number of points you need to draw a certain area by one to three points.
Up to six applicants can apply together on a group application. Nonresidents and residents cannot apply together. For a group application, preference points are added together and divided by the number of applicants in the group. The group will go into the draw with that exact number out to the fourth decimal place. Example: a group of three with 1, 6, and 10 preference points will go into the draw with 5.6666 points. Wyoming will over-allocate licenses to cover all applicants in a group. For example, if there is a quota of one random license and a group of three applicants is selected, every applicant will still receive a license.
Within easy-to-use goHUNT Draw Odds, there is vital information to find sleeper units, identify which units have annual point creep and which units have leftover licenses.
If you would like to see a bit further back in draw odds history, Wyoming publishes decades worth of draw odds for you to review as well as the last two years of leftover draw odds here.
Key points to note:
- There is no general hunting license required like most states.
- A habitat stamp is required and is good for 365-days from purchase date at a cost of $12.50.
- A hunter safety card is required to be carried with you while hunting if born on or after January 1, 1966; however, it’s not needed to apply.
- Hunters (except during archery season) must wear one exterior garment of fluorescent orange color.
Youth hunters: a must apply state!
The minimum age to take any big game (except bison) is 12 years old.
Youth can start collecting preference points; however, he or she must be at least 11 years old at the time of submitting an application for a big game limited quota license in the initial drawing and must be at least 12 years old when in the field hunting. Youth can apply for preference points when they are 11 years old, but must be at least 12 years old by December 31 of that year.
Preference point only October deadline
As stated above, for deer, elk, and antelope you will not automatically receive a preference point if you are unsuccessful in the draw. If you are unsuccessful in the draw you will need to log into your account from July 1st to Oct 31st and purchase a preference point. It is highly recommended that you print a copy of your application confirmation page for your records after applying. You can apply for a preference point here.
Other important licensing options
- $10 for each species or $30 each for any three species
- Bighorn sheep, Shiras moose, mountain goat, bison, elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, antelope, black bear, mountain lion and/or wolf.
Applicants can select up to three hunt choices. Every applicant’s first choice is considered before moving to your second and then your third choice. If you draw your first choice, your preference points will be purged. If you draw your second or third choice you will be given the license as well as retaining and gaining a point for your application.
Full price and reduced price applications
In the initial drawing, applicants may apply for one full price license and up to two reduced price (female) licenses. The full price and reduced price applications are separate and when you apply online you will see there are different links to apply. There is no point system for reduced price licenses, they are allocated through a random draw.
In 2017, Wyoming began using a drawing to allocate leftover licenses. The application period for leftover deer, elk and antelope licenses is June 25 to 29, 2019. And the results of the leftover drawing will be available July 12, 2019. Licenses remaining after the initial drawing and the leftover drawing go on sale on a first come first served basis on July 16, 2019. There is no quota split for leftover licenses between residents and nonresidents and all applicants are placed into the same pool. Residents and nonresidents can apply together in a group for leftover licenses. There are no application fees and no point systems.
Wyoming's 2019 mule deer breakdown
Current mule deer herd condition
Wyoming is home to both mule deer and whitetail deer with mule deer being by far the most abundant and sought-after deer. There are two categories of deer hunt areas in Wyoming: limited quota and general. Limited quota deer hunt areas have a set number of licenses valid for that specific hunt area. These areas have full price “any” or “antlered” deer licenses (Type 0, 1, 2 or 9). Type 3 licenses are only valid for any whitetail deer and do not permit mule deer harvest. Many hunt areas also provide reduced price doe/fawn licenses (Type 6, 7 or 8). Nonresident deer hunters wishing to hunt a general area must obtain a region general license specific to a select region.
For those sitting on points, pay close attention to the famous Greys River drainage, Region G, Region H and Area 141 licenses as many of you will remember the winter of 2016-17 was a hard one and, of course, the first victims are always fawns and young deer. Now, fast forward two years and the population of mature age class bucks will be below average with a dip in quality. Plus, it’s simply too early to say if this past winter has any true negative effects, but early reports due show winterkill has hit Wyoming pretty hard during the 2018-19 winter, but it's not as bad as 2016-17. Refer to snow map above.
Area 144 - 2017 harvest age structure of mule deer (2+ year old deer)
|Class||Number of bucks||% of deer|
|Class 1 deer||7||15%|
|Class 2 deer||24||50%|
|Class 3 deer||7||15%|
Wyoming mature mule deer buck classifications
Top units that have genetics to consistently produce 180”+ bucks are (not in any particular order): 87, 105, 106, 101, 102, 130, 128, 146, 140, 139, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 144, 141, 142, 145, 143, 135 and 134. Pay attention to units that may have and/or are still recovering from winterkill.
The goHUNT hit list areas for Wyoming mule deer
Top areas to consider for 180” or better mule deer
143, 135, 144, 145
Limited quota area*
Wyoming offers additional several other areas with a trophy potential of 170” to 180”. You can find these areas by using Filtering 2.0 and adjusting the trophy potential slide filter.
How to uncover hidden gem mule deer areas
Uncovering a hidden gem for Wyoming deer and antelope is the same as many states, which should be considered when managing your point counts and comparing your hunting goals and point totals with your buddies.
Using resources like Filtering 2.0 and Draw odds is where you will be able to dissect all of the qualifiers for you and your goals. Using this system, it has never been easier to help you locate a unit that fits your individual goals. You can pour over information like trophy potential, draw odds percentages, buck:doe ratios and percentage of public land. You will also be able to analyze the number of applications that are submitted each year as well as the number of tags drawn to show you how a specific unit is trending. With all of these tools at your disposal, it has never been easier to locate your perfect hunt.
To get started with Filtering 2.0
- Select state.
- Select species.
- Adjust the Trophy Potential slider to your desired size (e.g. 170”+).
- Click whether you are a resident or nonresident and indicate how many points you currently possess (nonresidents only).
- Select your minimum percentage of odds for drawing the tag. This can be very good for weeding out hunting areas with unlimited (100%) tags.
- Select which season(s) you are wishing to hunt. Have other hunts going on throughout the fall? You can also set your date parameters and Filtering 2.0 will automatically find what's in season that time of the year.
- Choose what harvest percentages you would like to see in the hunt areas.
- Lastly, click on any of the remaining hunt areas to read in-depth profiles containing valuable information.
For instance, let’s say you are a nonresident hunter, have minimal preference points of two, want to hunt bucks with the trophy potential of 160”+ and want an area with a tag drawing rate of 70% or higher in the regular draw and a harvest success rate of 50% or higher. Sounds like a pipe dream, right? Most people would also agree, until they watch Filtering 2.0 go to work. Using those parameters, you will be able to narrow the search down to 29 results. This is a lot better starting point than looking at all 128 hunt areas. Getting familiar with the INSIDER tools will allow hunters to see the whole picture all at once and reduce the risk of burning points on an area that may not live up to your expectations.
Boone & Crockett entry trends for Wyoming mule deer
Wyoming's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for typical mule deer
|Areas found within county|
|Carbon||9||Region-D (66, 70, 74, 75, 76, 77), Region-E (88, 92, 94, 96, 97, 98,|
128, 148, 160, 171), Region-W (82, 100, 131)
|Lincoln||7||Region-G (135, 143, 144, 145), Region-H (130, 138, 139, 140, 142, 146,|
149, 150, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156), Region-K (132, 133, 134, 168)
|Campbell||2||8, 10, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22|
|Sublette||2||Region-G (135, 143, 144, 145), Region-H (130, 138, 139, 140, 142, 146,|
149, 150, 151, 152, 53, 154, 155, 156)
Wyoming's top B&C producing
|Areas found within county|
|Carbon||2||Region-D (66, 70, 74, 75, 76, 77), Region-E (88, 92, 94, 96, 97, 98,|
128, 148, 160, 171), Region-W (82, 100, 131)
|Sublette||2||Region-G (135, 143, 144, 145), Region-H (130, 138, 139, 140, 142, 146,|
149, 150, 151, 152, 53, 154, 155, 156)
Trending buck:doe ratio areas
You have probably noticed that we provide data on buck to doe ratios for each hunt area in Wyoming. Male to female ratios are a critical measuring data tool for wildlife managers and indicate the current status of the herd. A higher buck to doe ratio may indicate that a hunt area could have a higher availability of mature bucks compared to an area with a lower buck to doe ratio. This doesn’t always indicate that the bucks will be the highest scoring bucks, but more bucks equates to more bucks to find and harvest. When selecting a hunting area, or comparing several areas, take this into consideration to help your decision. For a complete understanding of male to female ratios, please refer to a recent article covering this in depth.
Top areas for mule deer buck:doe ratios
The big two… Region G, H
The famous Region G and Region H are still producing quality bucks each year. Do you like to pack deep into the backcountry? Maybe on horseback? So do lots of other hunters. This is due to ample public land, great season dates, and giant bucks. Regions G and H have become exponentially more popular over the past several years. There are big reasons these Regions are gaining popularity; like a 190” plus big reasons. Some caution should be known, that the popularity of Region G and H could be hurting these areas.
Wyoming's 2019 whitetail deer breakdown
When most think about Wyoming hunting opportunities, whitetail are typically an afterthought, which is somewhat understandable because a lot of the areas they inhabit are private land. That’s the bad news. The good news is that whitetail populations are mostly strong.
With a robust and growing population and private land harboring a good portion of whitetail, the trophy potential is much better than most realize. There are 127 areas that offer whitetail hunts. 41 offer trophy potential of 140”+. Wyoming isn’t Kansas or Iowa, but it does offer a good opportunity to harvest a nice buck. If you want to pursue Wyoming whitetail it will take some homework. Utilize the goHUNT INSIDER tools to find a good hunt. It’s worth noting that the largest concentration of whitetail on public land occurs in the northeastern portion of the state in the Black Hills.
What can I expect?
Whitetail draw odds are much easier than their cousin. Let’s face it, Wyoming is not noted as a go-to state for whitetail. In the regular pool with zero points combined with 100% draw odds and 135”+ potential, there are 25 areas to choose from. With one point there are 39 areas and, with 2+ points, only one more area opens ups.
- In the special pool with zero points combined with 100% draw odds for 135”+ potential, all 40 areas are drawable.
- If you stay with 100% draw odds and increase trophy potential to 145+,
- Both regular and special pool have five areas: 1, 2, 3, 40 and 41.
- As you can see with zero or only one point, it is possible to go whitetail hunting in Wyoming, but, perhaps, consider trying it as a combo hunt.
Top areas to consider for 150” or better whitetail deer
There are several other areas where a 140 to 150”+ buck is possible, use Filtering 2.0 to explore additional options.
For deer potential of 135”+ with 50% draw odds there are 19 units that get hunters in the field, most of which are located east of I-25.
By decreasing deer potential below 135”+, potential draw odds become a mere 6% only and nine additional units are available, including more options west of I-25.
For deer potential of 145”+, there are not a lot of options. Look at Area 41 – Lower Nowood north of Ten Sleep with 71.5% public land and 36:100 buck:doe ratio.
How to uncover hidden gem whitetail areas
Wyoming offers so many areas that are easily drawn and still allow a reasonable chance at taking a mature whitetail. Utilize our Filtering 2.0 tools and manipulate the Trophy Potential to display the areas that have a chance at bucks that score 140” or better. Customize your search and click on a specific hunt area to access the Unit Profile in order to gain the greatest resource available to thoroughly learn an area. Pay special attention to how much public land is available. Once again, the key to harvesting a good whitetail buck is research into where the public land is adjacent to whitetail habitat, which is often privately owned property. Another good option is to book a hunt with an outfitter who has access to private land. Visit the Outfitter Directory on the homepage to find listings and contact information for Wyoming guides and outfitters.
Boone & Crockett entry trends for Wyoming whitetail deer
Wyoming's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for typical whitetail deer
|Areas found within county|
|Fremont||1||Region-E (88, 92, 94, 96, 97, 98, 128, 148, 160, 171),|
Region-H (130, 138, 139, 140,
142, 146,149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156),
Region-W (82, 100, 131)
|Lincoln||1||134, 135, 144, 145, 151, 152|
Wyoming's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for nontypical whitetail deer
|Areas found within county|
Managing deer preference points and expectations
For deer potential of 160”+ with 80% draw odds, there are units in only five areas that you could draw. These include Area 22 between Casper and Douglas, Area 60 between Cheyenne and Laramie and areas 79, 80 and 161 along the northwestern slope of the Medicine Bow National Forest.
If you drop the 160”+ potential, draw odds drop to a mere 6% and only opens up 19 additional areas.
For deer potential of 180”+, there are no high draw odds areas. The easiest two are: Area 87 – Ferris with 11% draw odds and 64:100 buck/doe ratio and Area 141 – Green River with 8.7% draw odds and 33:100 buck/doe ratio.
I have 0 deer preference points. What can I expect?
In the regular pool with zero points combined with 80% draw odds and 160”+ potential, there are 26 areas open, which is the very eastern boarder (2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 59, 60, 61 and 65) representing approximately 12% to 30% public land often in smaller sections. For units with more public land that are still drawable, look at areas in the Powder River Basin (121, 122, 123, 124, 127, 164, 35, 39 and 40). These areas are primarily located in Regions; A, B, T, X and M; however, they don’t encompass entire regions.
The special pool with zero points combined with 80% draw odds for 160”+ potential opens up 49 additional areas throughout Wyoming. Public land percentages now run from .6% to 100% with harvest success running 16% to 73%. There is an opportunity to go afield.
If you stay with 80% draw odds, yet increase trophy potential to 180+, then in the regular pool, you need to hit a random license; it’s that simple. In the special pool you have three options: 105, 106 and 128. All consist of 82%+ public land and a mid-30% success rate; however, with substantial wilderness areas, thus, requiring a guide.
What can I do with 3 or 4 deer preference points in the nonresident regular draw?
Regular pool with four points combined with 80% draw odds and 160”+ potential opens up 98 areas to choose from! This means that there is a vast opportunity to go afield hunting. Using goHUNT’s Filtering 2.0, you can identify best units that match your hunting goals by looking at the percentage of public land, buck:doe ratio and harvest success. Harvest success runs a wide range from 7% to 90%.
The special pool with four points combined with 80% draw odds for 160”+ potential opens up only five additional areas! This is a good example of why planning ahead and building points is a wise investment.
If you stay with 80% draw odds, but increase trophy potential to 180+, within both Regular and special pool you have 15 options: 105, 106, 128, 130, 134, 139, 140, 142, 146, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153 and 154. Public land percentages run between 37.1% to 99.6%; however, there is substantial wilderness areas, thus, requiring a guide.
What can I expect with 5 or 9 deer preference points in the nonresident regular draw?
The regular pool with nine points combined with 80% draw odds and 160”+ potential opens up 110 areas to choose from, which is only 12 additional areas than those with four points.
The special pool with nine points combined with 80% draw odds for 160”+ potential opens up only three additional areas.
If you stay with 80% draw odds and increase trophy potential to 180+, both regular and special pool will give you 20 options: 105, 106, 128, 130, 134, 135, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153 and 154. Public land percentages run between 37.1% to 99.6%; however, there are substantial wilderness areas, thus, requiring a guide.
What can I expect with 10 or 13 deer preference points in the nonresident regular draw?
The regular pool with 12 points combined with 80% draw odds and 160”+ potential opens up 117 areas to choose from, which is only 19 additional areas from those with four points.
The special pool with 12 points combined with 80% draw odds for 160”+ potential is flat when compared to the regular pool, depending upon how hunters apply in the draw.
If you stay with 80% draw odds and increase trophy potential to 180+, then within both the regular and special pool, you have 22 options: 87, 102, 105, 106, 128, 130, 134, 135, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153 and 154. All units are on the western border in Regions G, H, F and K, except Area 87.
Best of the best areas
I’ve saved a bunch of points and want to draw and hunt the best areas. Area 101 – Black Butte with a 38:100 buck:doe ratio and 66% public land is a good choice. Deer densities are lower and this is a perfect hunt for western glassing techniques. Once you find the right buck, make a plan. Other top areas include 102, Region G and H.
Wyoming's 2019 antelope breakdown
If you want to hunt antelope, Wyoming is the right place. Wyoming has more antelope than the rest of all of North America combined and a harvest success commonly exceeding 85%. In 2018, harvest success increased to 96%. All antelope hunt areas are managed under a limited quota framework, which means that there are a set number of licenses valid for each specific hunt area. All hunt areas have full-price “any” antelope licenses (Type 0, 1, 2 or 9). Most hunt areas also provide reduce priced limited quota “doe/fawn” licenses (Type 6, 7, or 8), which can be obtained separately or in addition to a full price license. After the license draw has been held, hunters can purchase a second “any antelope” license in specific hunt areas if still available. Licenses still available after the draw are typically found in areas that are predominantly private land so hunters are encouraged to line up access before buying the licenses. Hunters may purchase up to four doe/fawn antelope licenses—only two of which can be obtained through the draw.
Current antelope herd condition
Wyoming routinely jokes that there are more antelope than residents, which used to be true; however, that is no longer the case. Between drought conditions, poor habitat, low fawn survival and localized disease outbreaks, Wyoming’s antelope population is struggling to rebound after the winter of 2010/2011. The good news is that the state is still home to over 400,000 antelope.
The goHUNT hit list areas for Wyoming antelope
Good public land access and a robust antelope population often offers a good hunt, but the odds of drawing these types of hunts have gotten tougher over the years. The areas listed below offer the best chance at a trophy buck, but, once again, the odds of drawing are long.
Top areas to consider for 80” or better antelope
How to uncover hidden gem antelope areas
Antelope occur in most areas of Wyoming and often draw odds are tied to the amount of public land available to hunt. Good access, ample public lands, and antelope often equal tough draw odds. In reviewing the draw odds you’ll see many hunts with good draw odds—some that can be drawn as a second choice. Just because draw odds are good doesn’t mean that there are no antelope in those areas. On the contrary, several of those areas have large populations and good trophy potential, but are limited on the amount of public land and access. Within these types of areas is where the real hidden gems lie. Utilize the standalone Draw Odds to find hunts that can be drawn in your point range. From there, the public land filter is often a good reference to quickly review the amount of public land. Most antelope hunts have high harvest success. When evaluating the best opportunities, access and public land are often the most critical. From there, researching within the Unit Profiles is advised to further tease out the best fit. You can also visit the WGFD hunt planner map, which can further aid you in finding public BLM and state land. Also, consider the walk-in access options. In some areas, there are sizable amounts of acres available through the walk-in access program.
For almost any point level, hunters can find a hunt and most patient hunters will get a chance at a mature buck. Each applicant should evaluate their goals and review the odds to pick a hunt that best suits them. With antelope hunting and most applicants, we would suggest that the law of averages is a better strategy than the waiting game. The more often you have a tag in your pocket and are in the field the higher the likelihood of harvesting a record book buck.
Boone & Crockett entry trends for Wyoming antelope
Wyoming's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for antelope
|Areas found within county|
|Carbon||85||32, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53,|
55, 56, 57, 61, 62, 63, 68, 108
|Sweetwater||50||55, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 64, 90,|
91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 112
|Fremont||48||55, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 74,|
75, 76, 84, 85, 87, 91, 92, 97, 106, 107, 117
|Natrona||31||21, 25, 26, 31, 32, 48, 63, 68, 69,|
70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 113, 115
|Washakie||8||76, 77, 79, 83, 114, 115|
Trending buck:doe ratio areas
Once again, we provide data on buck to doe ratios for each hunt area in Wyoming. Male to female ratios are a critical measuring data tool for wildlife managers and indicate the current status of the herd. A higher buck to doe ratio may indicate that a hunt area could have a higher availability of mature bucks compared to an area with a lower buck to doe ratio. This doesn’t always indicate that the bucks will be the highest scoring bucks, but more bucks equates to more bucks to find and harvest. When selecting a hunt area, or comparing several areas, take this into consideration to help make your decision. For a complete understanding of male to female ratios, please refer to a recent article covering this in depth.
Top areas for antelope buck:doe ratios
Managing antelope preference points and expectations
There are a few options for nonresidents when they apply. You can apply in the regular draw or the special draw. With antelope, going into special draw often will get you better odds because fewer applicants are willing to pay higher prices for an antelope tag. If you are willing to pay the higher price, be sure to review the odds of both. Also, within both the regular and special hunt draws there are licenses that are awarded to the highest preference point holders and some that will be randomly allocated. Once again, even the best hunts in the state often have a few licenses that will be randomly drawn and everyone that didn’t draw a preference point license are all in the running for those and no one has an advantage. The resident antelope license are all randomly allocated through the drawing. No licenses are initially available OTC. Some may be picked up on a first come, first served basis after the leftover draw.
There are several areas with 100% draw odds for antelope 70”+, predominantly on the eastern half of the state with lots of private lands. There are plenty of options to go afield this fall.
By increasing trophy potential to 75”+, there are still eight areas with 100% draw odds! The best area with 100% draw odds is Area 48.
The famous Powder River Basin and Red Desert are much tougher to draw. 18 of these top areas are drawable with 15% to 40% draw odds, depending on the area. Either way, these are still not bad draw odds for a quality speed goat hunt in your home state with lots of public land.
2019 maximum nonresident preference points for antelope: 13
I have 0 antelope preference points. What can I expect?
In the regular pool with zero points combined with 75% draw odds and 70”+ potential, there are 23 areas that offer 10% to 67% public land—often in smaller sections.
The special pool with zero points combined with 75% draw odds for 70”+ potential opens up 15 additional areas throughout Wyoming. There is an opportunity to go afield multiple years and hunting the same unit multiple times should increase your trophy potential greatly. If you stay with 75% draw odds and increase trophy potential to 75”+, then in the regular pool, you could hunt Area 30 with 28.9% public land and 55:100 buck:doe ratio; Area 103 with 24.5% public land and 56:100 buck:doe ratio. If you increase trophy potential to 80”+, then in the special pool you have two options: Area 77 and Area 79 both with 78%+ public land.
What can I do with 3 or 4 antelope preference points?
In the regular pool with four points combined with 75% draw odds and 75”+ potential, there are 10 areas and all of them have a minimum of 24% public land.
In the special pool with four points combined with 75% draw odds for 75”+ potential, 21 additional areas open up throughout Wyoming.
If you stay with 75% draw odds and increase trophy potential to 80”+, in the regular pool you have three area options and in the special pool you have 11 area options.
What can I expect with 5 or 9 antelope preference points?
In the regular pool with nine points combined with 75% draw odds and 75”+ potential, there are 41 areas and all have a minimum of 24% public land.
In the special pool with nine points combined with 75% draw odds for 75”+ potential, only two additional areas open up throughout Wyoming.
If you stay with 75% draw odds and increase trophy potential to 80”+, in the regular pool you have 14 area options and in the special pool you have 16 area options.
What can I expect with 10 to 13 antelope preference points?
In the regular pool with 12 points combined with 75% draw odds and 75”+ potential, there are 45 areas and many areas have over 80% public land.
In the special pool with nine points combined with 75% draw odds for 75”+ potential, only one additional area opens up throughout Wyoming.
If you stay with 75% draw odds and increase trophy potential to 80”+, in the regular pool you have 18 area options and in the special pool you have 19 area options.
Best of the best antelope areas
OK. I’ve saved a bunch of points and want to draw and hunt the best of the best areas. The famous Red Desert from the Colorado line north to mid-state offers the best mix of genetics, within a large area and with public access. There is potential for giant bucks. Pay attention to these key factors so you can maximize that license: stay off trigger, learn how to field-judge antelope and let great optics cover the ground. Areas 57, 60, 61, 67 always produce some exceptional antelope. Don’t overlook Shirley Basin Area 48.