By Zach Lazzari | Photos by Ryan McSparran
Travel to Wyoming during hunting season, and you might experience every climate imaginable. Hot sun, heat and dry weather can coincide with blizzards and sub-zero temperatures. You just never know what to expect. Each species also comes with it’s own set of hurdles that should influence the contents in your pack.
Prepare yourself based on the species, season and terrain. It’s a great idea to bring along a backup bag for bulk gear in case the weather takes a major swing. Use your primary pack for the essentials, and keep the spare parts in the truck. If an antelope hunt suddenly turns cold, it’s nice to have a warmer layer waiting in the wings.
Antelope Packing Tips
The abundant antelope in Wyoming are no secret. We have some of the best populations and opportunities in the west, with quality bucks and doe tags available. Antelope hunts are much different than your other big game animals. Unlike deer and elk, antelope rely on their eyesight as their primary defense. Because of that, they tend to inhabit open flats and broad rolling hills.
Antelope hunts begin early in the year, with opening dates in late August. Prepare for heat on those early season hunts. Unlike many other big game species, Antelope are active all day long, and you could easily find yourself on a stalk mid-day. Many of our archery antelope hunts utilize ground blinds strategically placed near water holes. Bring plenty of water for yourself, along with a few snacks for the blind.
On a spot and stalk antelope hunt, bring breathable camouflage clothing to protect yourself against the sun. Pack light with plenty of fluids and basic gear. A spot and stalk antelope hunt is often within a mile or two of a road and you can utilize a much lighter pack than on many other western hunts.
Elk and Mule Deer Country Packs
Elk hunts often require patience, persistence and a good mental attitude. You want to keep the pack as light as possible, while bringing enough layers for the variable weather. On an elk hunt, you may have to cover more ground in difficult conditions than on an antelope hunt.
At Table Mountain Outfitters, we are fortunate to hunt among large elk herds with little hunting pressure. You can pack lighter than you would on a wilderness elk hunt, without the necessary backcountry gear. Focus on basic layers, calls, glass, knives, water and snacks. We have some steep terrain, but a good amount of these expansive ranches is rolling hills with mixed timber. The terrain is ideal elk habitat.
Mule deer hunts will take you to similar terrain. But anyone who has hunted mule deer knows that you may spend long periods behind the glass, working to spot a mature buck. With this in mind, you might consider brining a warm, down jacket. Watching these animals through binoculars and spotting scopes is fun – but it can sometimes get cold. Longer amounts of time spent idle and glassing in cool weather can call for an extra layer of comfort, and a pack that can accommodate those extra layers.
If you have questions about hunting with us at Table Mountain Outfitters, please feel free to give us a call at 307-632-6352 or contact us online. To learn more, please expore the rest of our website.