Become an INSIDER to gain access to this article

Join now

APPLICATION STRATEGY 2015: Wyoming deer and antelope

 

Wyoming mule deer buck
Photo credit: Getty Images

Wyoming's deer and antelope overview

Wyoming is a trophy antelope generator and also holds some great deer hunting opportunities. When it comes to antelope hunting, this state has it all. More B&C antelope have come from the Cowboy State than any other, and it has both trophy and opportunity hunting galore. Two deer species are available across much of the state, including both mule deer and whitetail deer. The resurgence of some classic mule deer areas and regions should make for an exciting 2015 season. The whitetail deer on the eastern side of the state are also making a recovery from a recent bout with EHD. The application process can be a bit confusing because Wyoming uses a hybrid system as well as both a regular and special draw. Sound intimidating? Luckily we eliminate as much guess work as possible to help create a hunt of a lifetime. You can apply online here.  

Why Wyoming for deer?
 

Wyoming mule deer with Tri Spoke Outfitters
Photo credit: Tri-Spoke Outfitters
  • Land of opportunity. In addition to the limited quota areas, there are also regions for nonresident general deer hunters. Regions are a group of individual areas. Most of these regions can be drawn every year.
  • Multiple species. Both mule deer and whitetail deer are available for hunting. Generally, the deer tags are valid for either deer species in most areas.
  • Trophy bucks. Wyoming has been regaining dominance in producing big bucks in recent years. Big bucks are harvested in both limited quota areas and regions.
  • Lots of hunting areas available. Even if you do not have the maximum number of points, Wyoming allows for a random chance in the draw for both residents and nonresidents. 

Wyoming typical mule deer Boone and Crockett
entries since 2000

Rank

State

Entries

1 Colorado 287
2 Wyoming 84
3 Utah 71
4 New Mexico 66
5 Idaho 61


Why Wyoming for antelope?

Wyoming antelope with Shoshone Lodge Outfitters

Photo credit: Shoshone Lodge Outfitters
  • All about numbers. Wyoming once had more antelope than people, but due to winter kills between 2007 and 2011 followed by prolonged drought, this is no longer the case. However, today the herd is estimated at over 400,000 and this is far more than any other state.
  • More record book entries. Wyoming has produced more Boone and Crockett qualifying antelope bucks than any other state. 

Wyoming antelope Boone and Crockett entries since 2000

Rank

State

Entries

1 Wyoming 570
2 New Mexico 316
3 Nevada 160
4 Arizona 108
5 Colorado 92

 

General herd conditions - Deer

Wyoming mule deer buck

Mule deer buck from Region R. Photo credit: Tangled Ridge Outfitters

Mule deer are coming out of another relatively mild winter with only marginal winter mortality. This is the key to a quality age structure among bucks. We anticipate that overall deer numbers to be good with many mature bucks available.

Whitetail deer have suffered significant losses due to disease over the last decade, but recent years appear to be more favorable. Whitetail numbers are on the rise in the northeast part of the state where the most significant loss occurred.

General herd conditions - Antelope

Wyoming antelope buck from unit 6

Antelope buck from Area 6. Photo credit: Tangled Ridge Outfitters

Overall, the antelope herd is thriving thanks to the endless amount of prime antelope habitat in Wyoming and consecutive mild winters. Spring moisture will help to ensure that the bucks reach their horn potential.

What’s new in 2015?

  • Nonresident deer and antelope application deadlines have changed to midnight on June 1 for 2015.
  • Full price leftover licenses go on sale July 8.
  • Reduced price leftover licenses go on sale July 15.
  • Region X is a new nonresident general deer region. Region X is the eastern portion of the old Region F. (Note: Region X is not live on our maps yet but will be in the next few weeks)

 The draw system: An overview

  • Tag or license: License.
  • Point system: Preference points for nonresidents.
  • Youth: Discounted points for youth for both deer and antelope.
  • Draw type: Wyoming’s draw system is notoriously complex. It is a hybrid system that combines preference points with random draw elements. Residents have a straightforward random draw with only one draw category per species. Nonresidents have the option to choose between regular and special draw options. Within each of these nonresident drawing types, 75% of the tags are drawn by applicants with the most preference points. The remaining 25% of the tags are then drawn randomly.
    • Regular Draw: 60% of the total nonresident tags are allocated in the regular priced draw.
    • Special Draw: 40% of the total nonresident tags are distributed through this special drawing with higher tag fees.
  • Resident perk: Residents must draw limited quota licenses, but they have the option to purchase general deer licenses over the counter. There are no preference points for Wyoming residents for deer and antelope.

Applications only allow for one hunt area choice. Research is important to make your choice count.

Resident and nonresident application types and deadlines for 2015

 

Online application
deadline
(by midnight MT)

Modify/Withdraw
deadline date

Results available
Deer June 1 June 1 June 20
Deer preference
point only
July 1 to September 30    
Antelope June 1 June 1 June 20
Antelope preference
point only
July 1 to September 30    

 

License costs

Resident

Nonresident

General hunting
license
N/A N/A
Conservation stamp $12.50 $12.50


Species license costs

 

Resident

Resident
youth

Nonresident Nonresident youth
Deer regular draw $43 $20 $326 $124
Deer special draw N/A N/A $566 $124
Antelope regular draw $38 $20 $286 $124
Antelope special draw N/A N/A $526 $124
Deer preference point N/A N/A $40 $10
Antelope preference point N/A N/A $30 $10

*Resident license applications include a nonrefundable fee of $5.
*Nonresident license applications include a nonrefundable fee of $14.

Special limitations to consider

To hunt big game in wilderness areas, nonresidents must have a licensed guide or a Wyoming resident to accompany them, according to Wyoming Game and Fish (WGF). The northwest part of the state has high grizzly bear numbers. If planning to hunt the backcountry in this area, be prepared for a possible encounter.

Unlocking the system

The special draw is the key to better draw odds. Higher license costs help to limit applicants. While the cost may be higher, the extra fee could be worth the shorter wait!

Wyoming deer Region H, regular vs special draw
Wyoming deer Region G, regular vs special draw

The point system

Wyoming works on preference points, not bonus points. Only nonresidents accrue points for deer and antelope. You gain one point for every year you are unsuccessful in the draw. If you miss the application deadline to apply, nonresidents can purchase a point for $40 (deer) or $30 (antelope) from July to September. Nonresident youth can purchase a point for only $10 for each of these species.

**The maximum number of points for both deer and antelope is nine going into the 2015 draw.** 

If you apply for deer or antelope and your application is unsuccessful, you will automatically get a point. The fee will be deducted from your refund by WGF. Preference point totals going into the 2015 draw can be found below.

Antelope preference point totals
going into the 2015 draw*

Number of
points

Number of people

Total
points

1 14,524 14,524
2 8,982 17,964
3 6,840 20,520
4 4,792 19,168
5 3,373 16,865
6 2,175 13,050
7 1,576 11,032
8 1,139 9,112
9 1,053 9,477
Total 44,454 131,712

*Nonresidents only. Residents can't acrue points.
 

Deer preference point totals
going into the 2015 draw*

Number of
points

Number of people

Total
points

1 12,532 12,532
2 6,792 13,584
3 5,244 15,732
4 4,375 17,500
5 3,375 16,875
6 2,787 16,722
7 2,394 16,758
8 2,195 17,560
9 2,656 23,904
Total 42,350 151,167

*Nonresidents only. Residents can't acrue points.

Youth

There are no youth specific seasons in Wyoming, but the license fees for youth are discounted, which makes it attractive to apply youth for both deer and antelope. Nonresident youth can purchase a point for only $10 for each species making this a great state take a youth hunting.

Party applications

For deer and antelope you may apply up to six people on one party application. Residents and nonresidents cannot be combined on a party application. If there are fewer tags available than the total number on a party application, and that party application is drawn, Wyoming will issue additional tags to fulfill the party application.

Wyoming deer and antelope draw FAQs

Where and how do I apply?

Wyoming’s application is entirely online. Call customer service at 307-777-4600 (8:00 to 5:00 MT) with any questions. See deadlines and fees in the tables above.

Is Wyoming good for building points?

Yes. You can purchase one point per year after the initial draw application has passed. Compared to other states, it is fairly inexpensive to build points here for deer and antelope.

Can I turn my tag in if I decide not to hunt?

No. The only way to turn a tag back in is if you are deployed or can prove a severe medical condition.

Do I have to pay license fees upfront?

Wyoming requires that applicants submit license fees, plus the application fee in full when applying for a species. If unsuccessful in the draw, you will receive a refund minus the $14 nonrefundable application fee.

Can I archery hunt in Wyoming with my any legal weapon tag?

Yes. Not only can you use archery during the rifle season dates, but in many cases you can purchase an archery stamp that will allow you to go afield early and hunt with archery equipment.

The seasons

In Wyoming, there are deer seasons offered for “any legal weapon.” Although most hunters refer to this as rifle season, the hunter has the option to hunt with any legal weapon of their choice. Antelope seasons are offered as either archery only (type 9), or as any legal weapon. Pay close attention when you select your hunt choice.

Mule deer buck in snow

Photo credit: Shoshone Lodge Outfitters

Deer
Over the greater part of the last decade, mule deer in western Wyoming were struggling due to multiple years of winter loss and prolonged drought. Recent years have had relatively low snowpack without severe low temperatures. Below average winter mortality has helped to bring the hunt areas in western Wyoming back to healthy numbers. Deer numbers and age class has improved, but terrain in areas like Region G and Region H can be very rugged and require backcountry hunting. Being in good physical condition is necessary to hunt in these regions. Getting in shape will be worth it for a chance to harvest a buck that exceeds 180” B&C. Wilderness areas along the western side of the state will also make access illegal for the do-it-yourself nonresident hunter unless accompanied by a licensed guide or Wyoming resident.

The limited quota areas in Wyoming have been lackluster at best in recent years. The limited quota helps to keep hunting pressure low, but tag numbers have been high and much needed tag cuts took place in 2014. Some of the better limited entry hunting areas in the Northwestern part of the state provide a fun hunt with the opportunity at a mature buck scoring 160” to 170” B&C. The limited entry areas in southern Wyoming like 87, 101, and 102 once produced great bucks, but have struggled to generate a buck over 180” for several years now. We are hopeful that the tag cuts and mild winters over the last two years will help improve the quality of bucks in these areas.

Wyoming's top Boone and Crockett deer entries: typical

County

Entries

Areas and Regions within county

Lincoln 51 Region-G (135, 143, 144, 145), Region-H (131, 138142, 151152153168), Region-K (134)
Carbon 32 Region-D (66, 70, 7374, 75, 78, 79, 80, 81, 83), Region-E (8796, 97, 98), Region-W (82, 84100)
Sublette 25 Region-G (135143, 144), Region-H (92, 128, 130, 131, 139, 140, 141, 142146, 152, 153, 154, 155, 162)
Teton 16 Region-E (115128, 148), Region-H (141146, 149, 150, 151, 152, 154, 155, 156, 162)
Park 11 Region-F, (105, 106, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118165), Region-X (121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 127, 165)

 

Wyoming's top Boone and Crockett deer entries: nontypical

County

Entries

Areas and Regions within county

Carbon 32 Region-D (66, 70, 7374, 75, 78, 79, 80, 81, 83), Region-E (8796, 97, 98), Region-W (82, 84100)
Fremont 9 Region M (35, 36, 37, 39), Region-E (9092949697, 128, 148, 157171), Region-H (130141, 146), Region-W (131
Lincoln 51 Region-G (135, 143, 144, 145), Region-H (131, 138142, 151152153168), Region-K (134)
Park 6 Region F (105, 106, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118), Region-X (121122123124125127165)
Sheridan 6 Region-C (17, 23, 26), Region-Y (24, 25, 27)


The whitetail deer in Wyoming are largely found on private lands, but quality bucks are available. Whitetail hunting in parts of the state, like Region A in northeast Wyoming, offers public land hunting. That said, the private land hunting for whitetails is still the best and access will be needed. Numerous bucks are harvested each year that exceed 130” B&C and many bucks break 140” B&C. While disease impacted deer numbers over the past few years, a rebound appears to be taking place. Rifle dates for whitetails in the rut can be a fun experience.
 
Antelope
Wyoming is far ahead of the competition in producing antelope opportunity and numbers of trophy bucks. Generally speaking the central to south-central part of the state is known to produce great bucks with great public access. Large ranches in many hunt areas around the state will restrict access, but private land can often be accessed if permission is requested. Hunting areas with plenty of public access and good trophy potential generally require more nonresident preference points to guarantee a tag in the draw. Keep in mind that Wyoming offers trophy antelope hunting in other areas with limited or difficult public access, and not all of these areas will require an outfitter or special permission for access if you are handy with a GPS unit and land status chip. There are a lot of hunting areas that can be drawn as a second choice, and provide a hunting opportunity, but private land could be an issue. The overall health of the antelope herd looks good for 2015. Low winter mortality over the last few years has helped create thriving numbers. 

Wyoming's top Boone and Crockett antelope entries

County

Entries

Hunting areas within county

Carbon 307 32, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 55, 56, 57, 61, 62, 63, 68, 108
Sweetwater 191 55, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 64, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 112
Fremont 169 60, 61, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 74, 75, 76, 84, 85, 87, 91, 92, 97, 106, 107, 117
Natrona 149 21, 25, 26, 31, 32, 48, 63, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 113, 115
Campbell 34 1, 7, 15, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 26, 27


Draw odds and tag availability

Deer

  • Limited quota hunting areas are available to both resident and nonresident applicants.
  • General deer tags are sold over the counter to residents and are valid statewide where no limited quota hunt is conflicting.
  • General deer tags for nonresidents are offered within regions that consist of a group of individual hunting areas. These general tags must be drawn.
  • Approximately 20% of deer tags (licenses) are allocated to nonresidents.
  • Many nonresident region tags can be drawn second choice. This allows the applicant to build a preference point and draw a tag in the same year.

Antelope

  • There are no general season tags for antelope.
  • Limited quota tags are the only option for antelope hunting.
  • Approximately 20% of the antelope tags (licenses) are allocated to nonresidents.
  • Many hunting areas can be drawn second choice, which allows the applicant a chance to build a preference point and draw a tag in the same year.

Special features for deer and antelope in Wyoming

  • An archery stamp can be purchased for deer hunters that draw a rifle tag, allowing the hunter to go afield prior to the rifle hunters.
  • Crossbows may be used during archery seasons.
  • There are more antelope in the Boone and Crockett record book from Wyoming than any other state.
  • No points are available for residents. Residents draw tags randomly.
  • Rifle deer seasons in some regions and hunting areas provide rut hunting opportunities. Especially for whitetail in November.

Managing points and expectations

I have 0 or 1 point. What can I expect?

Deer
Obviously, residents always have zero points and should apply for a limited quota hunt choice that they desire most if they are interested in hunting with limited hunting pressure. Otherwise, a resident should simply purchase a resident general deer license and consider hunting an area that is open during for hunters with a general license. Remember that resident hunters can hunt within wilderness areas without any restrictions.

Nonresidents with zero or one point who want to hunt this year should focus on some of the general regions that are undersubscribed. Our tables in the Region profiles will show the comparison between tag allocation and number of applications. It is easy to see which regions can be drawn with zero points. Pay close attention to the difference in these numbers between the special and regular draw. Keep in mind that some of these regions can be drawn as a second choice and still provide a chance to build a point. To determine which region may be available as a second choice, look for higher tag allocation than total number of first choice applications in the region profile. All nonresident regions other than Region G, Region H, or Region K have historically been available to draw with zero points under the special draw.
 
Antelope
For residents, the plan of attack should be the same as deer. Tags are drawn randomly and there are no points for residents. The premium hunting areas with easy public access and big bucks are typically found in the center and southcenter portion of the state. Analyze the area profiles to determine the amount of public land within the hunting area to better understand the difficulty of access.
 
Nonresidents should understand that most of the antelope hunting areas with better access and consistently produce trophy bucks generally require three to seven points in the general draw and one to four points in the special draw. There are other areas available that can be drawn with zero points but access may be tricky and an outfitter may be the best bet for access. If you are interested in going this year, hunting areas along the eastern side of the state are easiest to draw. An outfitted hunt is a great way to gain access in easy to draw hunting areas and our Outfitter Directory is a great way to find an outfitter. 

What can I do with 2 to 5 points?

Deer
Nonresident applicants in this point range should really focus on the general regions. If Region G or Region H is selected, then make sure that you are physically prepared for the challenge that lies ahead. Your points should definitely be enough for Region K or Region H, but Region G may still be out of reach. All other general regions are definitely available. 

Antelope
The quality hunts with good public access should be your targeted areas, even if they are still slightly out of reach in the preference point draw. Remember that the random draw allows for 25% of the tags be drawn regardless of your points. With a little luck you could pull that tag a little early. 

What can I do with 6 to 9 points?

Deer
For deer, the nonresident applicant with this many points is getting into a great position. A lot of hunting areas and regions are now available to you, especially with 9 points. The deer hunting areas in the southern part of the state, such as 101 and 102, will provide a fun hunt with a chance at a buck scoring 170” or more, but bucks scoring over 180” can be a challenge to find in these areas. The biggest bucks are found in the regions of western Wyoming. Region G and H are your best bet. Both regions require great physical endurance, but will reward you with a true backcountry experience and a chance at the biggest mule deer bucks that Wyoming has to offer.
 
Antelope
Any antelope season is available to a nonresident applicant with this number of points. The area around the Red Desert in the central and southern part of the state will provide the best chance to harvest a trophy buck with great public access and limited hunting pressure. Hunting areas 57, 58, 60, 61, 63, 96 and 114 are all great choices.

Between deer and antelope there are literally hundreds of hunting areas to consider. Wyoming has hunt choices that can be drawn with little or no points for the nonresident applicant, as well as the high demand hunt choices that can be drawn with just a handful of nonresident points. Maybe this will be your year to head to Wyoming in search of a trophy mule deer or antelope! If your year is already planned and Wyoming does not fit, then make sure to apply this summer for an inexpensive preference point.

Comments

50 States for 50 Bucks
Save 25% During Our Flash Sale!
Get Hunting Gear for Less