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Old 01-07-2019, 01:06 PM   #1
Calebthelee
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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Default Advice for a Novice

Good afternoon GS--

Please help me out, I am a novice at the Western hunts and applying for a tag in general. I've got a couple buddies that are new at it as well and looking to go on our first DIY hunt. From reading posts on here I've already learned that I need to become a member of GoHunt--Check. I've spent several hours picking through the website and by this point have an OK understanding of Arizona and NM.

My Question--
This will be my very first DIY hunt, I've grown up on land in East Texas and on and off having leases and ranches available to hunt for WT and Mule deer in Texas. What advice do you have for a newcomer that knows not the first step? What species, state, (maybe even unit) would you recommend to a newbie to go and get his feet wet to have a good experience--if nothing else, learn a lot in the process. I've spent the last couple of years acquiring good glass as I hunt a company owned ranch that is a little over 100k acres out in Pecos county, but what else?

Any and all advice is greatly welcomed, thanks GS!
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:52 PM   #2
Darrin
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Join Date: Jan 2019
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I'm a newbie also, but my plan is to go after wild hogs. In texas it's a year round hunt with no limits or any restrictions. I'm also thinking about trying a turtle in the spring/summer to see if the meats any good. Best of luck to you.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:08 AM   #3
RGV Hunter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
I'm a newbie also, but my plan is to go after wild hogs. In texas it's a year round hunt with no limits or any restrictions. I'm also thinking about trying a turtle in the spring/summer to see if the meats any good. Best of luck to you.
There are many in Texas where you can do hog hunts. Many people here can refer you to some reputable outfitters.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:53 AM   #4
TexAg07
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2019 will be my third year going out west. I'm a research junkie and spend a lot of time on GoHunt as well. Normally I would recommend a Wyoming Antelope hunt for someone's first trip out west, which is what I did. Relatively easy to draw and not as much pressure as an elk hunt or a high country mule deer hunt and allows you an extra year to pick up gear/clothes that you will need. Seems like you already have some experience/gear required for Western style hunting though so I would say first you need to narrow down to what species you want to hunt first.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:56 AM   #5
Jspradley
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If you wanna DIY a hog hunt, check out the GRXH thread. :-)
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:11 AM   #6
diamond10x
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The first step is deciding what animal you want to hunt. As far as game choice for a first... well that’s all up to you and what interests you. From there you can narrow down what state and then using your gohunt membership you can figure out what unit best fits what you’re wanting to do.

As for a first DIY I wouldn’t set your sights to high, such as killing a big 6x6 elk or a booner mulie, but have goals like learning how to hunt your unit or chosen game. This will allow you to learn and not get overwhelmed and put off by it being to tough. It’s very different than Texas whitetail but man it is fun. If you’re like most people like myself, hunting out west has just about ruined hunting here for me.
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:35 PM   #7
WItoTX
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Hunt In: Wisconsin, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana
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If you get out west, camp for 7 days with no cell phone service, and don't leave early, consider that a huge success. IF you see elk (Or whatever you're chasing), count that as another win, and if you get an actual encounter, well you a years ahead of where you should be at that point.

If you have gohunt, you are well on your way. As they release their "insiders guide" you will narrow down where you want to go. Factor in drive time, and when the actual season is. For example, Colorado first rifle is a Saturday through Wednesday, so you have to take off almost two weeks if you hunt the whole time. New Mexico is M-F, so only one week.
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:44 PM   #8
justletmein
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I'm too green to offer real advice, but will say I really liked having this little solar charger gizmo because the Colorado mountains/OnX maps drained my cell phone battery something fierce. Plugged my battery charger block into this every morning before heading out and it was fully charged when I got back each night.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012YUJJM8
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:44 PM   #9
Jspradley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WItoTX View Post
If you get out west, camp for 7 days with no cell phone service, and don't leave early, consider that a huge success. IF you see elk (Or whatever you're chasing), count that as another win, and if you get an actual encounter, well you a years ahead of where you should be at that point.



Truth!

Don't get too hung up on killing an animal, I still haven't killed anything "out west" but the experience is part of it and should be relished.

If you just wanna kill something gauranteed pony up some cash and pay to go shoot one of the petting zoo critters around here, I suspect you'll find the out west experience to be much more rewarding.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:06 PM   #10
Calebthelee
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Yes certainly not interested in just killing something. I’ve got a place to go do that. Want to challenge myself and more or less just go hunting in that country.
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Old 01-21-2019, 02:13 PM   #11
Odwraca
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Join Date: Jan 2017
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Hunt In: Texas and WY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calebthelee View Post
Yes certainly not interested in just killing something. Iíve got a place to go do that. Want to challenge myself and more or less just go hunting in that country.
The most challenging hunt I have done was Laguna Atascosa, got lucky with a rifle draw. I have also done a lot of public land hog hunting and WY antelope (EASY by comparison).

Get boots on ground early when possible, talk to the locals, hit local forums and facebook groups, abuse google maps aerial view.

I have had the absolute greatest success while spot and stalk hunting, get good boots and a comfortable pack. Pack fresh socks and clean unscented trash bags to bag your meat before placing in pack. Invest in a good water bladder and clean/store it properly.

Find your entry points and then have two backups if the first is taken. Get to your spot early and start your spot/stalk. Go in as far as you think is necessary to get away from other hunters, then double it. Take a buddy and if you do not take a buddy, please make sure you tell people where you are at.
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Old 01-21-2019, 02:34 PM   #12
Tall0
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.
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Old 01-21-2019, 03:04 PM   #13
Jon B
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I would do Wyoming Antelope as a first. The first year you will have lots of "gear" to buy. Most of this will be a one time expense and can be used for future hunts. If you can get two buddies together and split accommodations and fuel it will will be less than $1000.00 with tags per person. If you hunt hard you can shoot a 65-70" antelope without much trouble. When looking at draw results online....if an area has 100% draw success...there will be limited access or no huntable herd. There are exceptions to this rule....if you just want to kill a nice representative animal and spend time out west. You can draw area 45 for antelope every year and if you can read a map there is quite a bit of public land. Makes for an affordable and exciting hunt. You WILL see animals and will have a shot opportunity. I would recommend the following items. Good comfortable pack, boots, onxy maps chip and GPS and best binos you can afford. I use cheap white pillow cases as meat bags.

Last edited by Jon B; 01-21-2019 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:03 PM   #14
TexAg07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odwraca View Post
The most challenging hunt I have done was Laguna Atascosa, got lucky with a rifle draw. I have also done a lot of public land hog hunting and WY antelope (EASY by comparison).
I hunted Laguna this past weekend. It was in some ways just as tough as my Colorado Elk hunt this year and probably one of the few opportunities in Texas you have to do a DIY, spot and stalk western style hunt (if you choose to hunt it that way). I was extremely fortunate to come out with a nice little 8 point whitetail, could not close the deal on a Nilgai.
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:09 PM   #15
Drycreek3189
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon B View Post
I would do Wyoming Antelope as a first. The first year you will have lots of "gear" to buy. Most of this will be a one time expense and can be used for future hunts. If you can get two buddies together and split accommodations and fuel it will will be less than $1000.00 with tags per person. If you hunt hard you can shoot a 65-70" antelope without much trouble. When looking at draw results online....if an area has 100% draw success...there will be limited access or no huntable herd. There are exceptions to this rule....if you just want to kill a nice representative animal and spend time out west. You can draw area 45 for antelope every year and if you can read a map there is quite a bit of public land. Makes for an affordable and exciting hunt. You WILL see animals and will have a shot opportunity. I would recommend the following items. Good comfortable pack, boots, onxy maps chip and GPS and best binos you can afford. I use cheap white pillow cases as meat bags.
I think this has it covered !
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Old 01-22-2019, 01:34 PM   #16
wytex
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Join Date: Sep 2017
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Hunt In: Wyoming , Texas, Colorado, Nebraska
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Cow tags are also a good idea for a new hunter out west, cow elk that is. Tags are additional tags and random draw. Most areas with cow tags have early seasons for them, and later seasons as well.
Antelope need a few PP to draw a good area but some tags are given via the random draw in all areas. 45 is right here in Laramie and does have some public land to hunt. It gets hunted hard but good bucks can be found. I took a B&C buck in 45 many years ago.
Doe antelope tags can also be had for cheap and up to 4 total including leftovers.
Our general elk areas are just fine for elk hunters. Less pressure than Colorado OTC.

A good tent and reliable transportation is needed for mountain hunting. I turn my cell phone off while in the woods, no need for it.
A GPS is a must in Wyoming, or onX sub. for your phone.
Hunting the NF is very much like hunting your woods, except farther from home and higher elevation.
Plan your trip with a good friend and come up and try it. Be prepared to shoot a cow elk when it presents itself. Lots of folks want a big bull and go home empty handed because they think elk hunting is like in videos. You need to shoot the elk that gives you a shot: cow, spike or big bull.
Fall fishing is great for spawning trout and grouse hunting in the forest is a blast too.
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Old 01-22-2019, 01:38 PM   #17
TexAg07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon B View Post
I would do Wyoming Antelope as a first. The first year you will have lots of "gear" to buy. Most of this will be a one time expense and can be used for future hunts. If you can get two buddies together and split accommodations and fuel it will will be less than $1000.00 with tags per person. If you hunt hard you can shoot a 65-70" antelope without much trouble. When looking at draw results online....if an area has 100% draw success...there will be limited access or no huntable herd. There are exceptions to this rule....if you just want to kill a nice representative animal and spend time out west. You can draw area 45 for antelope every year and if you can read a map there is quite a bit of public land. Makes for an affordable and exciting hunt. You WILL see animals and will have a shot opportunity. I would recommend the following items. Good comfortable pack, boots, onxy maps chip and GPS and best binos you can afford. I use cheap white pillow cases as meat bags.
This is good advice but I would double check the draw odds on unit 45, takes a couple points these days.
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Old 01-22-2019, 06:07 PM   #18
jnd1959
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I'm looking at the reduced price cow tag to go with our Pronghorn draw. That way if we don't draw Pronghorn we have something to hunt.
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Old 01-22-2019, 06:18 PM   #19
Jon B
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexAg07 View Post
This is good advice but I would double check the draw odds on unit 45, takes a couple points these days.
Man the population must be down....me and two friends all drew in 45 in 2013. Buy a preference point in September and plan on going into 2020 draw with two. Can't go to Laramie without stopping at the West Laramie Fly shop!
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Old 01-24-2019, 03:02 PM   #20
TexAg07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon B View Post
Man the population must be down....me and two friends all drew in 45 in 2013. Buy a preference point in September and plan on going into 2020 draw with two. Can't go to Laramie without stopping at the West Laramie Fly shop!
Not really the population so much as it's more and more of us wanting to go out West :/

Point creep is a real thing in most all Western States.
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Old 01-24-2019, 04:35 PM   #21
jnd1959
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Not really the population so much as it's more and more of us wanting to go out West :/

Point creep is a real thing in most all Western States.
Yep. a few years ago I only needed 9 points to draw the top areas for pronghorn. Now it is 12. No matter, I've decided to burn my points with my son and pick a mid level spot. If we don't get it we will have a second that is a pretty sure excess tag unit and just hunt late and pay trespass fees. I have a few of those in my pocket that, if the public/private access planted winter wheat, we could make some serious stalks.

As an Aside, if someone has 5.5 point or better and wants to try for a late season hunt (after October 15th) pm me. we can go as a group and save some $. We would likely camp but don't have to. It would sure save on the drive time with an extra driver. I have units I'm looking at seriously and I have backup units that are 100% that I "believe" we can get private access for not a lot of $ ($150-300) if we go late in the season.

We are right on the bubble for the unit I am looking at at 5.5 average points. I'm not sure what point creep will do this year. Last year it would have been 100%.

If your serious don't wait too long as I am planning to put in for elk tags as well and that is due the end of this month.
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Old 01-24-2019, 09:54 PM   #22
donpablo
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Hunt In: Iraan, Culberson County & Public Land
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I did OTC Spring Bear in Idaho back in June. Had a blast and lucked out and shot a monster. I'd definitely recommend. Helps that you can bait 'em there.

Pablo
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