You hear it every year, and this one is no different, Wyoming’s deer herd is in pretty rough shape and that has not changed for this year. I do, think we are headed in the right direction over-all however.
With some help from Mother Nature, we have now had two very mild winters in a row. This winter was very mild in throughout the state with the only exception being the southwest corner in parts of Region-K. Add to this a very moderate spring with warm temperatures and very little moisture and we have a very solid recipe for the beginnings of a rebound. After talking to the biologist in Region-G my confidence is elevated for this fall somewhat. The deer wintered out very well and the fawn recruitment has been very, very strong for two years in a row now.
Although Wyoming’s deer may not be at historic highs or even close at this point, there could still be some very solid deer hunts to be had this fall in a handful of areas. Most hunters will see plenty of younger bucks but may struggle to find the older mature survivor bucks of the brutal winter of 2016.
This year I have built out a top 10 listing for Wyoming’s deer hunts with a few additional potentials that could offer up a good hunt for those willing to put in the time and effort without the large preference point burn.
10) Region-H: This hunt barely makes the list but could offer up a good hunt for a bigger, older age class buck that managed to survive the rough winter of three years ago. This region is rough, rugged and remote but also has a solid reputation for big deer that is hard to overlook on any given year. A great lower point option (3 or 4) with lots of potential and plenty of public land country to hunt in.
9) Area-34-1: With some very gentle sagebrush country and plenty of deer to pick over, a hunt in this area can be a very good option for not overly experienced mule deer hunter or an older hunter wanting to get out and get after a good four-point buck. With a nine-point draw and a very high success rate this hunt is a good hunt for a nice 20”-26” buck deer.
8) Area-141-1: For those who wish Regions-G & H had less hunting pressure to deal with, this could be just what the doctor ordered. This limited quota notch out of the famed Region-H is a very good mountain hunt with very limited hunting pressure with only 80 total deer tags available. The season dates here are during the entire month of October and the potential is very good for a really big buck. This can be rough country however and there is some Wilderness to deal with in this hunt area.
7) Region-G: The outlook for Region-G this year is mixed to say the least. I find it very hard to deny this hunt purely based on its reputation and track record for big mule deer. This hunt still remains one of the top mule deer producers of giant Boone and Crockett class bucks in the entire country. Even though the winter of 2016 was devastating to this deer herd, there are always survivors. This hunt should provide an opportunity to see plenty of younger age class bucks this year, and for the hunters that really hit it hard and do the time, this hunt can still produce a big, older age class buck. This hunt will cost you this year however, requiring eight or nine preference points.
6) Area-128-1: As somewhat of a rut hunt with very limited pressure, this hunt has managed to claw back into the list for this year. With only 50 deer tags available and a very generous season during the first three weeks of November, this hunt is pretty hard to deny as a great option for a big buck. Far from a slam dunk, this hunt can have mixed results and is somewhat weather dependent. Max points will be needed to even begin to consider this hunt.
5) Area-102-1: This hunt seems to be on an ever so slight rebound as of the last few years. The hunt in 102 has benefited from a very reduced tag quota. This area is known as a buck factory with very solid mule deer habitat. The area is very accessible and easy to hunt in most portions. This would be another very solid hunt for an older group that might have some trouble humping the mountains after bucks. Thirteen points or more will be needed to hunt here this year. A hunter here should be looking for a nice four-point buck in the 22”-27” range.