Nothing beats big game season

It’s officially hunting season. Archery antelope season started Sunday in more than half of the pronghorn areas. And there’s a lot more to come.

This is the best time of the year. Football season has kicked off, hockey season heats up the ice in a little while, and the World Series is just around the corner. But best of all, hunting season is finally here again.

I’m not talking about bird or small game season. Hunting rabbits, ducks, grouse and geese are great ways to spend a day, but nothing beats big game season.

I took up archery as a youngster, mainly because I’m impatient. I can’t wait until September to start hunting. I need the extra two-week jump-start the archery antelope season gives me. I never have much luck, but my lack of early-season success hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for the August hunting opener.

I only fear I’ve been practicing the wrong skills all these years. I think I focus on being out on the wilds, rather than on stalking my quarry. I wind up subconsciously seeing the hunts as an opportunity to get away from the daily grind instead of a chance to fill the freezer or take down a nice trophy. And the thing is, that doesn’t really bother me too much.

Last year, I thought I was just making excuses for not getting my antelope and deer early in the season. I had chances to take small bucks or does on many an opening day, but I didn’t shoot. My excuse was always that I didn’t want to end my hunting season on the first day.

But in Wyoming, we have the opportunity to get additional licenses. We’re allowed one buck or any deer or antelope license and two additional doe/fawn permits. We can also get a bull or any elk tag and an extra cow/calf permit. And some years, in some areas, we can get two any antelope and four doe/fawn antelope tags, or up to four doe/fawn deer licenses. That’s two elk, five deer and six antelope. If you’re a good hunter, you might want to buy another deep-freeze.

So this year, I decided to test my theory. I bought general elk and deer licenses, and I got an any antelope tag, too. But to take away my favorite excuse, I also got leftover deer and antelope doe/fawn permits and a cow/calf elk tag.

We’ll see if I can fill one of each early without killing my hunting opportunities for the rest of the season, or if I’m just a lousy hunter. I’ll keep you posted on what I find out.