More water doesn’t necessarily mean easier hunting

I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you. If you’re a bowhunter, you’ve probably experienced the bad news already, but I’ll fill you in after this break.

In my trip from the southeast corner of the state to the northwest last week, I drove past more standing water than I’ve seen in Wyoming in a long, long time. Especially in August. For the last 10 years or so, standing water was an oddity. On last week’s trip, it seemed to be the norm.

That’s good news for our state’s habitat, but it’s bad news if you bowhunt for antelope over water holes. Thanks to a much wetter summer than we’ve seen in nearly a decade, there are a lot more water holes out there on the prairie. That means you’re not as likely to have a goat going to wander into yours.

If you’ve been doing some scouting, the extra water shouldn’t be that much of an obstacle. If you haven’t, maybe you ought to use the next few days to get a feel for what the antelope are doing in your area.

Jump in the truck and drive your area. If you see any antelope, don’t stop. Don’t even slow down. You don’t want to get ‘em all riled up. If they’ve had archers trying to fling arrows at them already, they’ll be pretty stirred up as it is. Putting too much pressure on them while you’re scouting is counterproductive.

If you do spook ‘em, watch where they go. Antelope are creatures of habit, and you may have just figured out their escape hatch. If you set up on that route a few days from now and something spooks them again, there’s a good chance they’ll run right past you.

The trouble with this plan is that they’ll be running. Those critters can flat-out move, and you might not get a shot.

While you’re watching, keep track of where you see goats feeding. They might come back to the same field day after day, and if you walk the perimeter of the field, you might find their trail. That’s a better place to set up than their escape route, because they probably won’t be moving as fast when they come down their feeding trail.

Good luck this season. Don’t let the extra water this season get you down. Just keep in mind that the more water we get, the more critters there should be in the years to come.


For the audio version of today’s post, click “Play” below.