Historically speaking the Cowboy State is home to more antelope and more big antelope than any other state in the country. However, the past two years have been less than stellar in the pronghorn regard. With a string of very wicked droughts over the past four or five years now, the antelope in Wyoming have really struggled to maintain high herd levels. The past two years specifically have been very, very lackluster when it comes to horn growth and trophy quality.
This year the state has made some fairly massive cuts in tag quotas nearly statewide for the 2021 hunting season. With thousands of antelope tags removed from the quotas, good tags could be as hard to draw as ever.
There’s no question antelope numbers will be down this year in Wyoming however I would venture to say that there should still be a few good bucks in some of the very best areas. If you are a high-point holder, this might be a good year to hold off and just buy a preference point if you can. The risk of poor hunting on a 12 to 15-point burn at this point could be very high.
That said, here are my top picks for the 2021 Wyoming antelope season.
5) Area 67-1 | This is a very strong area in most years, good and bad, and it is hard to deny the fact that there might be a few good bucks floating around in this area this year. The winter here was very mild and the spring has been cool and damp, so I think the habitat should be pretty solid this year. The drought last summer and early fall was brutal and I think it will have a drastic effect on the antelope numbers. But as the fifth pick in my pile, I think there could be some upside potential even with the risk from a marginal few years in this area. The tag quota here has been steadily reduced over the past few years and counting, making this hunt a tough one to draw. I think even with the point creep we are experiencing this hunt should take about 10 or 11 points to draw this year.
4) Area 62-1 | The antelope hunting in Area 62 is generally very, very good. The genetics in this area are about as solid as they get anywhere in the country. This area sits dead in the heart of Carbon County which is the top county in the entire country for records book antelope heads. If there is a big buck antelope, anywhere in the state of Wyoming next fall it will either be here or in the next area, my number three pick, 57. For this reason, I just don’t think you can overlook this area on any year, good or bad when it comes to the potential for a big antelope buck. Due to its location and elevation, this area should be greening up very solidly by now. With some spring and summer moisture this unit should be top notch when it comes to good antelope feed and habitat. The fact the Continental Divide runs right through this unit sometimes protects it from the droughts a bit but it can be susceptible to poor wintering conditions. However, this was a very mild winter and for that reason alone, this area could be ripe for a big antelope buck or two this year. A successful applicant here will probably need 13 or more points to garner a tag for this fall’s hunt.
3) Area 57-1 | The East Baggs hunt is one of my favorites each and every year. I grew up hunting this area for antelope with my dad and uncles even before I was able to hunt myself. This hunt is usually as good as it gets for Wyoming antelope, no matter the year. I just cannot overlook this area for big bucks even coming off of a few drought years. This area can get very good moisture during the spring and summer months, which if that does in fact happen, we could see some very good horn growth here this summer. I really like this hunt in general, and think it could be a decent choice for the 10-point burn.