First Elk hunt....tips and guidance for central wyoming ?

Joined
Oct 3, 2022
Messages
34
So I got a hair brained idea and entered my wife and I in the wyoming elk draw this year for cow/calf tags in a couple units south of the Bighorns...niether of us had enough points for bull tags so we decided a cow hunt would be good to get our feet wet if we could manage to pull a tag
Well, we were drawn for unit 120 type 6tags...so now I've got to get serious about planning.
I've been to wyoming a few times for deer/antelope and we have both been midwest whitetail hunters for many years so we have the gear/guns/basic hunting knowledge etc..
I know very little about elk unit 120 despite all I've tried to read before applying other than they will likely be found more in the north/norwest part of the unit.
I would love any input folks that have been there might have in regard to general parts of the unit to start looking, glassing point selection, any possible trespass fee private land options to look into(I've been poking around on this without much luck). How bad is the hunting pressure in 120, any tips for avoiding the crowds on a cow/calf hunt? Best routes to access the public land in north/northwest part of unit.
Any general cow elk hunting tips other than find the right kind of country, get up high and glass?
This will be my wife first western hunt, and first elk hunt for both of us so my main focus will be trying to fill her tag, if I get the chance as well that's just a bonus.
We haven't nailed down dates as we are waiting for antelope draw results that we put in for in same area. That being said, With wyoming being a crossbow state, archery isn't out of the question for the special archery season as my wife is plenty capable with hers and i have one as well. That option kind of rides on whether or not we get antelope tags as we could manage one slightly extended trip for both, but not likely two separate drives out there this year.
We have a pretty capable off road camper based on a Toyota Tundra so we are not opposed to camping out for the week as far out as we can get and not tracking to and from a hotel every day.
However, if there are reputable and reasonable(under$3k a piece) outfitted options for a cow hunt on private land I MIGHT entertain that...though from what I've seen it appears many large outfitters are leasing up and monetizing every private acre they can and charge pretty crazy prices for admission...I would prefer to do this DIY on public or trespass fee private basis though.
We are totally green to elk hunting. We will do our home work but any constructive input is welcome. I do plan to reach out to the Biologist here soon as well. I'm a bit scattered at the moment and feel I'm now rambling so I'll stop.
Thanks!
 
Joined
Jul 1, 2015
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1,115
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Colo Spgs
I just did quick glance, and there’s a ton of BLM land there (non-checkerboard).

You’ll do fine going by yourself and making it an adventure.

Have good long range optics to get on any kind of ground that gives you a height advantage to see long range (ground looks mostly flat tho), but there’s gotta be some spots to look long range with binos/spotters.

Move around a lot in your vehicle and find them.

Get OnX or Go Hunt subscription so you know public vs private. E-scout it. And do it !!!


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Wyo_hntr

WKR
Joined
Oct 20, 2023
Messages
900
Location
Wy
I would highly suggest you look through the "hunt area information" in the hunt planner on the G&F website. Also read through annual job completion reports.

Those will provide good information.
 
OP
S
Joined
Oct 3, 2022
Messages
34
I've been reading the hunt planner info pages here today and printing most of it out and am an avid onX user...fantastic tool, just wish they updated more often, seems to be way behind Google earth.
I'll get focused in on a few areas that look promising and get to work with OnX and Goggle earth for glassing points and access points and camping spots.

If successful we would likely take meat to processor around Casper as we have a long haul home. Any recommendations there?
How much cooler space does 2 cow elk take after processing? I've got a 75 qt fridge/freezer on a house battery and solar setup mounted in truck to keep/make ice from bottles water as we go just not sure how much space we'll need to get things home. I'd rather plan on space for 2 tags getting filled than be light on coolers space and have to go shopping while out there.
 
Joined
Jul 1, 2015
Messages
1,115
Location
Colo Spgs
If you get processor to turn it around fast (pay more) and can flash freeze — or — just flash freeze quarters without processing - you can baggie it up up after flash frozen and transport in any imaginable way (card board boxes / clean garbage cans / cheap chest coolers)

Always a good problem to have after the elk are down

Don’t forget. Desktop computer versions big you better graphics and options when using OnX etc.

And then Google earth is option too nice you have some grid points to zero in on


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Hydroguy

FNG
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
Messages
11
Location
St. Augusta, MN
I've been reading the hunt planner info pages here today and printing most of it out and am an avid onX user...fantastic tool, just wish they updated more often, seems to be way behind Google earth.
I'll get focused in on a few areas that look promising and get to work with OnX and Goggle earth for glassing points and access points and camping spots.

If successful we would likely take meat to processor around Casper as we have a long haul home. Any recommendations there?
How much cooler space does 2 cow elk take after processing? I've got a 75 qt fridge/freezer on a house battery and solar setup mounted in truck to keep/make ice from bottles water as we go just not sure how much space we'll need to get things home. I'd rather plan on space for 2 tags getting filled than be light on coolers space and have to go shopping while out there.
We built a plywood box many years ago before the big cooler craze started. It's 2'x2'x4' and lined with 2" pink foam insulation. We pack the bottom full of frozen 1 gallon or 1/2 gallon jugs. We don't open that cooler for anything but putting meat in. We killed two bull elk on back to back days in hot weather a couple years ago and we were able to completely cool the meat before the ice melted. We then took the meat to town and had it processed and frozen. That box is more than big enough to haul two elk and would probably hold your two antelope as well. If the weather is a little cooler, and can cool the meat overnight before putting it in the cooler you probably would get by without buying additional ice. Blocks of ice last way longer than cubes do too.
 
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