The elk herd in Wyoming continues to be very stable and healthy. Although the hunter success survey results for the 2020 hunting season have yet to be released I fully expect to see little change in unit ratings versus last year. The elk hunt season in Wyoming seemed to be very average with horn growth being off a touch due to the very hot and dry summer we experienced. So far, the winter has been extremely mild with very little moisture. The bulls should be wintering out very well putting them in great shape for a spring green up. As long as the moisture cooperates this fall should be another solid year for Wyoming bull elk hunters.

Note: As soon as the hunter success numbers are release I will “re-grade” the elk hunts in Wyoming with any corresponding changes. Be sure you check out our TagHub digital application for that updated information when it comes available right around the draw deadline, go here for a 30-day free trial.Area 59-1: Put into the right hands, this hunt has all the makings of big bull greatness, if the weather cooperates. With only 10 tags available on quota this hunt is a late season migration type hunt with season dates the first two weeks of November. This area is known for massive bulls if you get the perfect weather window to work with. Too much snow and you can get back to the bulls, not enough snow and the bulls will stay nearly too high to get to. This hunt area is extremely rough and you should expect to have to use horses on this hunt. Max points is a necessity to even think about this hunt, there are no random tags in the draw for this hunt however. Hunter success here hovers around the 70% mark which is pretty high for a hunt of this type. This hunt scores a perfect 100/100 due to the limited nature, huge bull potential and very solid hunter success track record. OVERALL SCORE: 100/100

Area 100-1: As usual, the Area 100 elk hunt hits the list due to its nearly perfect track record in almost every measurable element. With a newly increased quota to 200 bull tags instead of the historic 100, this hunt is a tick easier to draw as of recently. This hunt will still take max points to have a good chance at a tag here, however with the new higher quota there are a few tags available in the random draw which for low point holders looking for a lightning strike on something very lucky this tag would be a great long shot option. A stealer 95% hunter success average on branch antlered bulls is very hard to argue with on this hunt. This is the easiest elk hunt in the state of Wyoming but finding a true giant here can be very tough on most years. The bulls in here are generally in the 300 to 340 range. But there are lots of them. The bull to cow ratio here is extremely high and the herd continues to expand into the masses of desert terrain in this massive elk unit. The first two weeks of the hunt here will still see some heavy rutting action and the bowhunt in here is about as good as it gets in Wyoming. Due to the extremely high hunter success, massive area, favorably long season and easy terrain this hunt scores a perfect 100 out of 100 again this year.
OVERALL SCORE: 100/100Area 54-1: The elk hunt in Area 54 is certainly no secret. I live in this elk unit and I can tell you first hand, this elk hunt has about every type of elk terrain imaginable. The elk hunting in here has wavered a tick over the past few years mostly due to elk changes in behavior and location, which has some of the elk now drifting in and out of the unit depending on moisture and weather conditions. The bull to cow ratio in this area is very high and the elk herd continues to be very healthy. This area has incredible antler genetics and can produce true giants on a good year. The hunter success here has dipped a bit over the past five years but has now seen a resurgence as of the last two years and now is back up to over 60% for the 2019 hunting season. The elk season in this area is a full eight weeks long, giving a hunter plenty of time to get the job done here. With plenty of area to hunt, good access and no Wilderness to deal with this hunt is a very solid choice for a savvy elk hunter in good shape who wants a chance at a real giant. The bulls in this area can run anywhere from 320 up to 380 and larger. Due to the long season, limited hunting pressure (50 tags), and huge bull potential this hunt strikes big bull potential gold with a score of 90 out of 100. OVERALL SCORE: 90/100Area 16 (Either Type): As another great opportunity option the Shirley Basin elk hunt is as close to a slam dunk for a six-point bull as Wyoming gets. With two hunt options here, an early type-1 hunt in October and a later, November type-2 hunt this area is a very solid choice for the hunter who wants a great shot at a nice 300-330 class bull in relatively hunter friendly terrain. The later hunt has only 50 tags available on quota and is a bit more hunter friendly when it comes to hunting pressure, but the earlier hunt will see some great rutting action, and a bit lower hunter success at 70% versus the 76% hunter success rate that the later hunt produces. The bull to cow ratio here has dropped a bit over the past five years, but the overall herd size has expanded drastically to over double the state management objective. This hunt is 65% public land with no Wilderness to worry about. There are a few large ranches in this area that guide hunters and if you are open to a guided hunt, this area is as good as it gets for Wyoming elk hunts. An applicant will need 12 or 13 preference points to draw a tag here. Due to the very high hunter success rate, good public access and favorable seasons this are scores a very solid 95 out of 100. OVERALL SCORE 95/100Area 61 (Either Type): The Greybull River elk hunt is a very desirable trade off between big bull potential and public land hunt excitement. There are two hunt available here and either hunt is very, very solid. The type-1 hunt is a Wilderness only hunt and therefore a guide would be required. The more limited later season type-2 hunt is a non-wilderness option with very solid hunter success at nearly 70%. The bull to cow ratio here is extremely high with over 50 bulls per 100 cows making this hunt a very, very action-packed elk hunt in some very scenic country. This elk area borders and comprises the back side of our top elk hunt area of 59. The bulls here can move back and forth between the two units making the potential genetics for big bulls here a given. The non-wilderness hunt here will take you 13 or 14 points to draw while the Wilderness hunt will only require about 10 or 11 preference points. The hunt-able elk country in this area is nearly all public and very glassing friendly. The bulls in here tend to be in the 320 to 350 class on average, with a long shot at a 370+ on a good year. Due to the very glassing friendly nature and favorable season dates this hunt scores a very solid 90 out of 100. OVERALL SCORE 90/100

The post WYOMING ELK – Guy’s Top Picks 2021 appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

True or False – If you have the most points of anyone applying for a particular sheep hunt in AZ you are guaranteed to draw it.

False – for any one of five reasons. I’ll bet the last one will shock you.

You were ineligibleThere were more people than just you with that level of points, more the number of permits available in that hunt and they lucked out and you didn’t.The nonresident cap of 10% was filled before your app came up and you are a nonresident.Youi are a nonresident and there was only 1 permit available for the hunt. That’s because nonresidents are not allowed to get more than 50% of the permits for a hunt and 1 of 1 is 100%. You should have read the Expert Analysis on the Arizona TagHub page first. In 2020 there were 16 single-permit sheep hunts and 666 nonresidents wasted their application by applying for them.Last, and this is the one most people don’t know, out of 49 desert sheep hunts in Arizona last year, only 12 had any permits at all drawn in the first, that is, bonus point round. That’s less than 25% of the hunts.

What? How can that be?  R12-4-114 Issuance of Nonpermit-tags and Hunt Permit-tags, section C.1 a. “The Department shall reserve a maximum of 20% of the hunt permit-tags for each hunt number, except as established under subsection (C)(2)(b), for antelope, bear, deer, elk, javelina, and turkey and reserve a maximum of 20% of the hunt permit-tags for all hunt numbers combined statewide for bighorn sheep and buffalo to issue to persons who have bonus points and shall issue the hunt permit-tags as established under subsection (C)(2)(c).”

So, in 2020 there were 107 desert bighorn permits available. Once 20 were drawn in the bonus point round, all the other 37 hunts were shut off and all their permits went to the second, random draw round.

So, how come the draw report only shows 16 people drawing in the bonus point round? Simple answer – if 4 people drew but had their card declined, they were shown as not having drawn until they were called to correct that, which surely all did, but the report doesn’t get adjusted to reflect that.

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Hoof rot or TAHD has been around for more than 30 years in the Pacific Northwest but has spread and really become worse in the past 15 years. Unfortunately, we still don’t know what causes the disease. Over the last few years, I have looked into possible causes and the plethora of theories on the disease, which is found primarily in elk. For anyone not familiar with hoof rot, I encourage you to take a look at the blog I did two years ago introducing some of my findings and reported theories. This article can be found here.

Since then, the situation has been brought to light even further. As more and more people grow concerned, the idea of herbicides used by timber companies to eradicate vegetation in cutting units has caused a change in the soil which allows bacteria to flourish that haven’t in the past. The spraying regiment by the Weyerhaeuser timber company that was implemented in 2006 consists of five different chemicals used on clear cuts after they are logged. Chemicals like Atrazine, Clopyralid, Hexazinone, and Indaziflam are a part of that regimen. You might know them as Roundup, Crosshair, Rodeo, Transline, and Velpar. These chemicals keep brush at bay, such as Alder, Scotch broom, and blackberry for a long time so it doesn’t compete with the new chemical resistant Douglas fir seedlings. There are four plausible hypotheses for how chemicals sprayed in the forest may be the root cause of hoof disease in elk as described in the Daily Chronicle by Jon Gosch.

The first is that herbicides are known to dramatically reduce the quantity and quality of forage for elk, and that alone can cause hoof problems as farriers have testified, as I illustrated two years ago. The forage that remains after the herbicides is of questionable quality, and likely a factor in researchers’ findings of poor forage quality in the Mount St. Helens elk herd. 

The second hypothesis is that the immunotoxic properties of the herbicides such as atrazine are weakening the immune systems of elk and making them susceptible to bacteria they had previously been able to ward off. Atrazine is one of the most commonly sprayed forestry herbicides despite being banned by the European Union in 2004 because of persistent groundwater contamination. According to a report by the National Toxicology Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “atrazine was found to adversely affect the immune system and, thus, is considered to be an immunotoxic compound.”

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This review video compares the backpacking pillows from Klymit and Sea to Summit! Both of these pillows give you extra comfort on your next camping trip, especially when you’re five miles from the trailhead. Watch our review to see which of these camping pillows would be ideal for your next adventure!



The post Travel in Comfort! Backpacking Pillows for Hunting appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

Eastmans’ family friend and trophy tour pioneer Roger Selner measured more big game trophies in his lifetime than any Boone & Crockett scorer. He traveled the country with his elk and deer tours for over 30 years covering one million miles. Known as the “trophy whisperer” and Uncle Rog to those who knew him best, Roger Selner left us in December 2020. He will be sorely missed.

The post Saving Hunting History! Roger Selner – The Trophy Whisperer appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.


Go black bear hunting with a father and son team. Eastmans’ subscriber Johnny Hamilton is helping his son Travis hunt for his first trophy bear. There’s no shortage of bears on this web episode of Eastmans’ Hunting TV. The pair gets more than they bargain for when they find four bears in one drainage and one boar appears at only 10 yards away!


The post TWO Bears in 5 Minutes! Father, Son Black Bear Hunting appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

Sometimes lofty expectations can all but ruin a sheep hunt. Sheep hunting is not exactly a value type experience no matter how you cut it. Expenses can pile up fast and almost always swell beyond predetermined levels. Unless you live in Alaska or Canada, most of us are in the same boat – buying points and applying for bighorn hunts while trying to scrimp together enough dough to head North for the thin-horned variety. On these hunts, being in the know is usually the best antidote for cost overruns and expectation loft. Knowing what you are getting into, what you can expect and how much it’s going to cost are all part of the plan when it comes time to book a northern sheep hunt. 

These five questions will help you minimize the risks and maximize the rewards of your next sheep hunt. 


1) What type of hunt is this? There are basically four ways to kill a ram in the very northern reaches of this continent, fly-in, backpack, horseback and float hunt. The first is by far the most common mode of transport to thin-horned ram country- the fly-in. 

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Help us keep wild sheep on the mountains. Wildlife conservation can’t afford to take a year off. Wild Sheep Foundation’s annual Sheep Week will go on! This year’s 2021 hunting and conservation expo will be a virtual experience like no other. Visit with outfitters and manufacturers, join the live auction, chat with your friends and more from any internet-connected device. Bighorn sheep, Dall’s sheep, Stone sheep and wild sheep across the world depend on this fundraising.

Click to view slideshow.

The post Wild Sheep Conservation Can’t Stop! Join Us at 2021 Sheep Week appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

In this review, Luke Washington puts the YETI Panga dry bag to the test on the river and on dry land! Watch this review if you are in the market for the ultimate dry bag! CLICK THE LINK BELOW TO PURCHASE!


The post Yeti Test GONE WRONG! Dry Bag For The Outdoors (Eastmans’ Review) appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

Eastmans’ Dan Pickar breaks down how to use onX Hunt to understand and read terrain when you’re hunting or scouting for an upcoming hunt. Toggling between aerial, topography and hybrid views can give you a wealth of information to help you make good decisions on the stalk or before the hunt.


The post onX Hunt Aerial Imagery Hunting appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.



I am blessed to know many of the finest mule deer hunters in the country. Some of them you have heard of, like Brian Barney and Guy Eastman. Then there are some that you haven’t and probably never will because trophy mule deer hunters are often a secretive group who don’t want their names drawing attention. Which brings me to what I consider the best perk of my job, it is learning about how these consistent killers have grown over the years and regularly put big bucks on the ground. This article is all about the tactics that I or some of the best I have ever met employed to kill mature, grey faced, strong scoring mule deer almost every single season. 

Tactic 1- Live with the Deer!

Every good mule deer hunter does their best to live with the deer. They scout in the summer, they hunt them in the fall and they go to winter range to find out which grey-faced brutes lived through the deadly game of high country hide and seek. Finally, they spend the spring watching the transitional ranges to learn their travel routes to help find bucks when the snow gets deep and it’s time to leave the high basins. 

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On December 20th an Ohio wildlife officer was shot in the line of duty while investigating three men allegedly poaching deer in Clinton County, Ohio. Officer Kevin Behr is expected to make a full recovery but the event is alarming to say the least. 

Yes, Ohio is a long way from Wyoming and the rest of the Rocky Mountain West but this story isn’t so much about where this shooting occurred as it is an eye opener for what all of our Game Wardens and Conservation Officers potentially face every day they are in the field working for you and I. The uncertainty of every single encounter wildlife LEO’s have on a daily basis is very much the same as police officers with an added caveat; almost every person they come in contact with during hunting season is in possession of a deadly weapon. This should serve as a reminder to each of us that these men and women do this job willingly and devote themselves to the preservation of our natural resources, often at great personal peril. 

The folks who dedicate themselves to be the protectors of America’s greatest national treasure, its wildlife, deserve to be held in as much esteem as their peers who wear the blue. In addition to treating them with the respect they deserve, we need to be actively helping them in the field. 

This help can be something as simple as policing our own ranks to make sure our hunting companions are above board and in compliance with state and federal game laws. Or, it can be taking the time to report misconduct as we experience it or witness it. I know most of us talk a good game when it comes to condemning poachers and law breakers but I’m willing to bet that when push comes to shove, we don’t follow through when the rubber meets the road. It’s simple, these officers are tasked with incredibly difficult jobs and are often asked to enforce game laws and investigate cases in areas that are enormous. Park County, Wyoming is nearly six times larger than the entire state of Rhode Island and we have only a couple game wardens to patrol the entirety of it. Without honest hunters policing our own ranks and willingly aiding the enforcement of our game laws, poachers have an undeniable advantage. 

I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t want to snitch on someone.” That someone gave up the privilege of you turning a blind eye the minute they chose to violate the law and they are counting on others doing nothing about it. 

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This is a DIY public land mule deer bow hunting adventure! Join Eastmans’ Elevated podcast host Brian Barney as he hunts for an open country buck with his good friend Dan Heavrin. They both have licenses to tag and are working together to get it done on this episode of Eastmans’ Beyond the Grid.

The post Bow Hunting Open Country Bucks – Self-filmed DIY Mule Deer appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

This bow review dives into the new features of G5 Prime’s latest bow, the Nexus. This bow is 50% quieter than the Prime Black series! And a new insulated grip that gets warmer as you hold it. Without trade shows to visit, Dan Pickar decided to visit directly with the engineers at behind this new hunting bow. Prime shooter Jason Matzinger joins to share his experience elk hunting with the Nexus during the 2020 season.

The post NEW Prime Nexus – 2021 Bow Review appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.


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Guest Author / Hunter: BRAD SHURTLIFF

It was late February when I received a call from a friend of mine asking if I had seen the draw results from the Salt Lake Hunt Expo. When I told him that I had not, he couldn’t hold back and exclaimed that I had drawn a Paunsaugunt Utah Archery Buck tag! I had heard a lot about the unit, but I had never been fortunate enough to draw a tag. Living almost 500 miles from the area and having very little experience there, I knew that I would need to employ some help, so I spent the next day or so researching outfitters. David Virostko—owner and operator of Virostko Hunts and North Rim Outfitters—seemed to be speaking my language.

David had repeatedly told me that we would hunt the biggest deer that we felt that we could kill. With that theme in mind, we focused our efforts on two deer that had been running together— “Clunk” and “Ugly.” Clunk was a huge non-typical with a frame unlike any buck I had ever seen. Ugly was a giant typical framed deer with three small cheaters on his left side.

David knew the watering hole where these bucks watered, so with 100-degree temperatures, we focused more of our efforts there. David had another hunter, Tim, who had actually sat the water hole on the opener, but to no avail. Day two found Tim in the blind again. As the morning drew on, Clunk couldn’t resist the urge to drink, and with one great shot, Clunk was claimed by Tim. And with that, my guide, Justin, and I were off to chase Ugly.

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Learn how to clean your next trophy big game skull at home. This quick guide to a DIY European mount will save you time and money with professional results.

The post Skull Cleaning – Do-It-Yourself Big Game European Mount appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

TagHub from Eastmans’ is the hunting research tool you’ve been asking for! TagHub gives you next-level research ability in a customizable, sortable, 24-7, digital platform that’s at your fingertips. It also includes material not found in our print editions. A TagHub Elite membership includes… PLUS access to discount codes to your favorite brands AND all access to our NEXT LEVEL giveaways!

The post ELITE MEMBER Now Available On TagHub! appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.

In October of 2019 we brought you an update on the CONTROVERSIAL FEED GROUND ISSUE in western Wyoming. Our Wyoming Game & Fish Department is still working through the process relating to their feed ground sites and have been conducting public meetings (click HERE to watch these recordings and get updated on the talking points). Written comments can still be submitted by January 8, 2021 by clicking HERE.

In addition, there is a Q&A session online at 4pm, January 5th, 2021. More info to follow in the coming days on the details of this session.

As Wyoming Game & Fish Department director Brian Nesvik STATED IN THIS RELEASE from the department, “People may be familiar with feedgrounds as it relates to their interests but don’t know the ‘why’ behind the Game and Fish decisions. This is an educational effort.”

Education and being familiar with the historical side of this issue is so vital to making an informed comment as members of the general public. Director Nesvik also mentions that the department is not considering closures in the short and mid-term, and intends to support the western Wyoming practice that has been in place for over 100 years. 

100 years of feed ground activity is a long history when it comes to wildlife management, disease transmission, winter ranges being eaten up by human encroachment, large predator management strategies that have had disastrous consequences on non-predatory wildlife, and many more issues must all be taken into account during the decision making process.

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Brandon’s Pack

I’m a minimalist at heart and try to keep my pack as light as possible for the specific hunt I’m on.  However, there are essentials that I have in my pack on every hunt and these items include:

Raingear – most of my hunts are in Wyoming where we rarely get rain all day nor rain for several days in a row, BUT in September 2019 we had a day and a half soaker and the raingear was essential! In addition, raingear can double as decent wind protection and protection again wet morning dew when hiking through tall grass or brush. I use the Sitka Dewpoint pants and the Sitka Thunderhead jacket.High quality game bags – I tailor the amount and size of game bags to the hunt I’m on, but always have them with. Bags from either Caribou Gear or T.A.G. Bags are worth the money AND one of the bags can double as a pillow case and/or a bag for hanging food in bear country.Replaceable-blade knife – My favorite is the Outdoor Edge Razor-Lite EDC due to its durability and lightweight. I carry one extra blade with since these babies hold their edge so well. Most of the time I can bone out an entire animal (including elk) with one blade before it needs to be sharpened or replaced.Coffee cup – as I get older, coffee is essential in the morning. My morning routine is to get up, lay down a bear bait from last night’s supper, boil water for coffee and brush my teeth. I’ve found the YETI Rambler 18 with the Hotshot Cap works great and fits easily in my pack.Possibles bag – I use and old Eberlestock mesh bag that one of their dry bags came in and keep my odds and ends in, such as a pen for validating my carcass tag when I harvest an animal, small sewing kit for emergency repairs, bow string wax, alcohol wipes for cleaning optics/camera lenses, extra batteries for headlamps, hunting licenses, etc.First aid kit – I have a kit I’ve compiled over the years that fits in a quart Zip-Loc bag and includes small bandages, larger cloth bandages, gauze, athletic tape, Tecnu First Aid Gel, and so on.Emergency/Fire starter kit – This, too, I keep as simple as possible and I include waterproof matches, magnesium strike stick, cheap lighter (although I did just start toting around the new plasma lighter from Pyro Putty which is USB rechargeable), Vaseline-rolled cotton balls, emergency whistle, and an emergency foil shelter that weighs next to nothing.


Todd’s Pack

I like to keep things pretty basic on my hunts and of course different hunts require different items but here are six things that are always in my backpack no matter what I’m hunting or where I’m hunting it. 

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Learn how to use filters inside Eastmans’ TagHub to find the best hunting opportunity to fit your hunt needs. Dan Pickar breaks down how he uses TagHub to narrow down deer hunting options in Montana. Regulations vary widely between states, but the filters in Eastmans’ TagHub make it easy to narrow down the best hunting options for you.


The post FIND Your BEST Deer HUNTING Unit! How to Use Eastmans’ TagHub Filters appeared first on Eastmans' Official Blog | Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk Hunting and Bowhunting Magazine | Eastmans' Hunting Journals.