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WYOMING ELK – Guy’s Top Picks 2021
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: 100/100Area 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: 100/100 Area 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: 90/100 Area 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 95/100 Area 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