PLAN YOUR FALL HUNTING TRIP NOW
The long winter can take a toll on the mind and spirit of a bowhunter. Now that bowhunting season is closed, many hunters go stir crazy because they are sitting in the house waiting for spring turkey season. Instead of sitting around waiting for the next hunting season to open, consider planning a fall hunting adventure now. Many bowhunters dream of going on a hunting adventure, but the truth is very few do. If you want to hunt in a different state, now is a great time to plan a hunt.
If you are a bowhunter who is on a budget, the more time you give yourself to plan a hunt, the better chance you have of staying within your budget. If I am planning a fall hunting trip, I try to start planning the trip 9-12 months in advance. This gives me time to research public land hunting areas, select an outfitter if I am hunting with one, and decide which state I am hunting in.
If you are considering going somewhere to bow hunt this fall, chances are you are strongly considering going on a whitetail adventure. If you have never been on an out-of-state hunt before, I would consider chasing antelope instead of whitetails.
CONSIDER ANTELOPE HUNTING
Tagging a big whitetail buck on an out-of-state hunt can be very difficult unless you spend a lot of money hunting with an outfitter. If you have never hunted out of state, an antelope hunt is an adventure unlike any other.
I have hunted in over thirty states and I have hunted for a wide variety of game species. What I have learned over the years is that most bowhunters want to travel because they want to see new places and hunt animals that they have never hunted. Most people want to hunt deer and elk. One of the main reasons I suggest antelope over elk and deer is because the odds of success are much higher and the cost is much lower.
For example, a few years ago I hunted antelope in Colorado and I killed a nice Pope & Young buck. The cost of the hunt was about $2,000. This was a trespass hunt which means you pay a fee to hunt public land. There isn’t a guide, lodging, or hand holding. In many cases, you are handed a key to a gate and told where you can hunt.
WHAT STATE SHOULD YOU HUNT
A few of the best places to hunt antelope are Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. I love hunting antelope in Colorado because Colorado is a beautiful state. Most of the antelope hunting takes place in the southern portion of the state, which is open country but the mountains are nearby. The odds of killing an antelope in places like Colorado if you go on a trespass hunt are well above 50% most of the time. Odds of being successful on an elk or whitetail hunt when traveling out of state is usually 10% or less.WATERHOLE HUNTING
The least challenging way to bowhunt antelope is by sitting in a blind over a waterhole in the early season. I killed my antelope in mid-August. The weather is super warm and sooner or later, the antelope need to drink. I killed my buck coming in for a drink of water a few hours after daylight.
The downside of this style of hunting is sitting in a blind from daylight until dark can be a little boring. The upside is if you wait long enough, the odds of getting a shot are fairly good. The best thing about hunting antelope over water is the blinds are usually positioned 20 yards from the water, which is an easy shot for most experienced bowhunters.
SPOT AND STALK
The other popular way to hunt antelope is to spot and stalk them. Many bowhunters will hide behind a decoy and try to stalk within bow distance of a buck. During the rut, big bucks will sometimes coming running towards an antelope decoy to chase off the buck which is actually a decoy. When this type of method works, it can be a lot of fun.
Many of the ranches that hold large numbers of antelope also hold a lot of cattle. Bowhunters can hide behind a cow decoy and stalk within shooting distance using a cow decoy that resembles a beef cow. Stalking antelope can be a ton of fun; the downside is 50 or 60 yard shots are common with this hunting style.
Hunting antelope by sitting in a blind or by stalking them is a fun, especially if you have never experienced the Western United States. Right now the weather is cloudy and cold. For many of us, the ground is covered in snow. It is a great time to start dreaming about fall and planning a hunt.