Archery Deer unit 87

desperatehills

Active Member
My friend and I have the points to draw the Deer tag in 87. My friend has no desire to rifle hunt, he is all about archery. Does anyone hunt this unit during the early archery season? I hear most people wait for the rifle season and that is understandable. But does the habitat in this unit make for a good bow hunt? Is this unit the type of place where a guy will see multiple bucks a day? Thanks
 

jims

Very Active Member
If you like 3 x bucks 87 is a fantastic unit! I've gone around in circles about this with several guys on this website. I have been super disappointed that the WG&F hasn't offered a management type buck hunt to decrease the number of 3x's! I was in 87 during the height of the rut after the rifle season this November and saw around 50 3x bucks rutting does and only 1 small 4x4. There are some big bucks in the unit but you better have a lot of time and patience. Archery season would be fine with plenty of rough country that would allow stalks. There is quite a bit of public land but there also are a few large private ranches. The southern 2/3 of the unit is checkard-board so not much access. Two of the larger ranches only allow guided hunts on them.

I spend quite a bit of time in the unit every year so if you have any questions send me a pm.
 

jm77

Very Active Member
71185521_1318364441676501_6944087825499291648_n.jpg

Two bucks taken out of 87 in 2019. Top buck was an archery kill. These type of deer are not easy to find, whether in this area, or any of the limited quota areas near 87. My advise would be to check resident draw odds and go from there. Most likely, the harder the draw, the better the area and access.

There is a reason jims bad mouths 87, and it's not because there are a lot of 3x3 bucks.
 

Chesterwyo

Active Member
View attachment 661
Two bucks taken out of 87 in 2019. Top buck was an archery kill. These type of deer are not easy to find, whether in this area, or any of the limited quota areas near 87. My advise would be to check resident draw odds and go from there. Most likely, the harder the draw, the better the area and access.

There is a reason jims bad mouths 87, and it's not because there are a lot of 3x3 bucks.
JM, did you score that top buck?
 

jm77

Very Active Member
JM, did you score that top buck?
No I did not and I haven't heard a score yet. I was told the hunter bought a Commission tag and two different people had this bucks sheds from the two years prior. It came from the southern part of the area where according to jims there are fifty 3x3 bucks for every one little 4 point.
 

chipc

Active Member
My advice is - don't plan your hunt on an anomaly. Those are great bucks for sure but in my experience they are rare in any unit including 87. I rifle hunted 87 for 6 days about 4 or 5 years ago before taking a mid - 160's buck. If you're local and have time to scour the unit in advance you could turn up a big one as you might just about anywhere. Thats where pictures like that come from. To answer your question - yes, If you work at it you'll likely see multiple bucks per day. There is good terrain for stalking in many areas but there is also a lot of 5 foot tall sage that hides the deer really well. There is a mix of public and private but there is a ton of public and I think you can still get free access to the Pathfinder ranch as well. Good luck
 

jm77

Very Active Member
My advice is - don't plan your hunt on an anomaly. Those are great bucks for sure but in my experience they are rare in any unit including 87. I rifle hunted 87 for 6 days about 4 or 5 years ago before taking a mid - 160's buck. If you're local and have time to scour the unit in advance you could turn up a big one as you might just about anywhere. Thats where pictures like that come from. To answer your question - yes, If you work at it you'll likely see multiple bucks per day. There is good terrain for stalking in many areas but there is also a lot of 5 foot tall sage that hides the deer really well. There is a mix of public and private but there is a ton of public and I think you can still get free access to the Pathfinder ranch as well. Good luck
Apparently you agree with my assessment, however the bottom picture I posted was a nonresident. Big deer are hard to kill no matter the area, but there is a reason why some deer areas get more attention from resident applicants.
 

chipc

Active Member
Yep, I agree with your assessment. However, I think The 87 resident odds are a little skewed because of the proximity to Rawlins and Casper. That makes 87 more attractive to a larger population. Don't know if that non - res was DIY or not but I know that Chipperfield guides clients to a good one or 2 on his ranch on the east side of the unit and there's generally a good one or 2 on the pathfinder hayfields that aren't open for public hunting. Those are also for their guided clients. Its not a bad unit by any means. Its a decent hunt if you have reasonable expectations - as you said.
 

desperatehills

Active Member
I think I have reasonable expectations. I will not be disappointed if I bring home a 160" buck and I certainly do not expect to see a buck like that top one anywhere. I am sure that I want the tag I just cannot decide if it is worth coming early and archery hunting.
 

BuzzH

Long Time Member
If you like 3 x bucks 87 is a fantastic unit! I've gone around in circles about this with several guys on this website. I have been super disappointed that the WG&F hasn't offered a management type buck hunt to decrease the number of 3x's! I was in 87 during the height of the rut after the rifle season this November and saw around 50 3x bucks rutting does and only 1 small 4x4. There are some big bucks in the unit but you better have a lot of time and patience. Archery season would be fine with plenty of rough country that would allow stalks. There is quite a bit of public land but there also are a few large private ranches. The southern 2/3 of the unit is checkard-board so not much access. Two of the larger ranches only allow guided hunts on them.

I spend quite a bit of time in the unit every year so if you have any questions send me a pm.
I smell rags burning, I think its Sebastian's pants on fire....

I also think Sebastian must be pretty sure there's something worth finding, what, with spending all that time looking around in unit with only 1 small 4x4 and "50" 3 points.

Seems like its also a thinly veiled attempt to steer people with more points than him away from the unit.
 

jims

Very Active Member
As I've mentioned for years 87 is loaded with 3x bucks. There is no if...and...or buts...about it! Blame it on 2 years of 4 pt or better regs or what ever...the truth be told this is a serious problem in 87! I sure hope the WG&F wakes up and tries something new to manage the overwhelming 3x population! There are a few....and I mean a VERY FEW whopper bucks in 87. That is one reason I keep harping that the WG&F try something to turn the quality of bucks around! It's really sad because I really believe 87 has great potential.

Buzz, take a drive through 87 and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about! I have about 30 minutes of video I took during the rut in late November and have 0 footage of anything other than 3x bucks rutting does. Why would I lie about all the 3x bucks I see and rave so much about trying to get the WG&F to try something new by offering management buck tags? Please take a drive through 87 and bring along a tally sheet! Let us all know what you find! I've never seen so many 3x's in any unit in Wyo. In fact, I don't know any Wyo unit that comes even close. JM and I have discussed this in detail so he knows my concern.
Zim had a hunt in the unit a couple years ago and ate his tag....do a search and you'll likely find his post. I brought the 3x genetics up in his post and the same guys laughed at me! Prior to Zim applying for 87 I warned him about all the 3x's. Zim and several other serious nonres muley hunters that I've contacted have drawn tags after years of applying...and eaten their tags. As mentioned there are some wall hangers in the unit but you may spend an entire season wading through 3x's waiting to find a decent 4x4. This is the same boring trend I've seen in the unit for years and years.

With that said, I will be honest and say 87 is on my radar just because I've spent the past 15+ years off and on in the unit and know it super well. It's a close drive for me to scout and hunt the heck out of trying to find the 1 or 2 whoppers that may or may not exist. I can honestly tell you that I don't have a monster buck lined up if I happen to draw a tag but I know the unit well.

I've seen a couple wall hangers in the unit over those 15+ years but that is only 2 bucks out of hundreds I've looked over in a lot of time spent in the unit. I saw a buck that looked exactly like the nonres thinner nontypical buck in the photo above 2 seasons ago. That was the only buck I've seen even close to that size the past 5 years. I may be able to turn one up...maybe not if I draw that tag?

It really doesn't bother me that JM posted photos of giant bucks....he is absolutely right that there are some big bucks.....unfortunately those are such an anomaly. There are other units that are likely better so it really doesn't spoil anything for me....since I may not even apply for the unit! If I do decide to hunt 87 I will put in the time and boot leather to turn up a whopper....but it will be after hours upon hours of searching for one and a little luck!

You may ask why 87 is so tough for Wyo res to draw? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that 87 only offers a few tags and is only a relatively short drive from Casper, Rawlins, and Cheyenne....3 of the biggest cities in Wyo! Other than units 34 and 89 most of the other units in the vicinity of these cities are general deer units. Generally, if Wyo res don't draw one of the few limited units close to home they hunt general deer units!

All I can say is if you draw an 87 tag and expect to look over lots of 160+ 4x4 bucks you will be super frustrated. You better have lots of time to scout and cover gobs and gobs of country looking for the few 4x's that exist! If you would be thrilled with a nice 3x then 87 is your unit! There are plenty of 3x bucks to choose from.

Even after I burn all my deer pts I will still preach to the choir that there are gobs and gobs of 3x's in 87 and the WG&F should try something to change this! I'm actually glad this post started since it may bring more attention to the poor quality of bucks in 87 and the potential it has if things are changed!

I would be glad to chat with anyone seriously interested in this or other units. Please send me a PM!
 

BuzzH

Long Time Member
You must be the "3x" magnet...others seem to find plenty of good bucks in there.

I've hunted and worked in that unit, and like every other mule deer unit on planet earth, there are 3 point bucks in all of them.

Your story about seeing 50 "3x's" is too outlandish to believe...when something doesn't make sense, there's a reason for it.

Your story doesn't jive with reality...and it makes no sense for anyone that is not interested in the unit to spend 15 years scouting it. Also makes no sense to film 50 bucks you aren't interested in.

As I've said before,

You have quite the imagination, should probably start writing fairy tales.
 

jm77

Very Active Member
I would have to say I have spent a great deal of time in 87 over the years, far more time than jims I'm sure. The composition of bucks is no different than any area around Casper except, like 89, there is a high buck/doe ratio. Over the years, the only change I have seen in 87 deer wise, is a decrease in trophy size bucks. Three seasons ago my wife had the tag and a moose permit. She hunted all her vacation for moose and harvested her bull with 3 days left to hunt deer. In those days we saw a lot of bucks, many 4x4 and 5x5 3 1/2 year old bucks, including some 3x3 and 3x4 bucks, some with, some without brows. We saw four shooter bucks for her, all over 165, including her buck, 6x6, a larger buck she missed 29" 4x4, a 5x6 and a giant 3x3 with nice brow tines. I watched a hunter killed the 3x3 with brows.

I'm not sure where jims looks in 87 or when he would hunt during the season. I don't have a clue what kind of hunter Zim is and when he hunted, but if you can't dig up a 160+ buck, given you have a decent knowledge of the area, you haven't reached the level of hunter I am used to.
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jims

Very Active Member
Buzz,
All I can say is lets meet up and take a drive! My guess is we won't see more than 4 or 5 bucks with a true 4 x 4 frame (no 3x's with brows) in an entire weekend of hard searching after the rifle season! 50 3x3 in a weekend during the rut in 87 is pretty close! I spoke to a local Casper guy that spends a gob of time in 87 working on the Pathfinder Ranch. When I asked him about 3 pts...….he told me, "you mean 3-pt-itis! Obviously he knew the unit very well! I've spent time in other neighboring units and the proportion of 3x bucks is totally out of control in 87.

I didn't spend 15 years scouting for deer in a unit I wasn't interested in. I've spent 15+ years in the area scouting, hunting, and filming game in case I want to deer, antelope, or elk hunt there. I've obviously kept tabs on bucks I've seen in case I ever wanted to apply there. FYI, I was actually filming deer for a video that I'm putting together. I never said I filmed 50 bucks that I wasn't interested in! I had no other bucks to video other than 3 pt bucks in rut!

I certainly couldn't find any true 4x4's after the season was over this year during the rut. Maybe the few that exist were cherry-picked and shot! I would think they would be out in full force after the rut?

Buzz, as usual, thanks for the kind words and your meaningless, snide post! You haven't changed!
 
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BuzzH

Long Time Member
Sebastian,

Your story is changing...were you lying on your last post or this one?

First its you'll see one small 4x4 out of 51 bucks, now its if I take a drive with you, we will likely see no more than 4-5 with a true 4x4 frame.

Which is it?

As far as Zim is concerned, he's running around telling people on another board that he shot a trophy buck in 87...seems at least a couple internet warriors around that need to get their story straight.

Finally, pardon me for being more inclined to believe what jm77 has to say than you. From the time I've spent out there, my experience, although much more limited, was on par with what he is saying.

Not the best picture...but this buck was in 87 and has more than 3 points on the side...and his running mate wasn't much smaller.

 

jims

Very Active Member
Well Buzz, who is twisting things? I never said I was searching for muledeer in my original post when I said I saw 50 bucks and only 1 4x4. If I was actually targeting muledeer bucks I bet I could possibly find 4 or 5 with a true 4x4 frame.

I could post photos of several nice muley bucks in 87 over the years. That doesn't mean a whole lot when such a high % of bucks in 87 are 3x3s!

Buzz, as I said before you haven't changed! You are as rude and crude as ever! I'm surprised that Founder allowed you back on this website. It was a relief having you ousted! Keep it up and you'll never post again on this website! Just a word of caution!
 

rocky2track

Active Member
Some bucks/does have the genetics to produce big bucks and some don't. This pic is from Region G. Are we doomed with the two bucks on the left and right. I mean, who'd want to shoot them in this region that only is suppose to hold +170" bucks...look at the body and withers on those bucks. Hopefully the one in the middle made it through the season.
P8110300 - Copy.JPG
 

desperatehills

Active Member
Beauty is in the eye of the tag holder. 4 or 5 4-point bucks is more than I typically see in a season where I archery deer hunt here in my home state. I don't actually target deer at home, I elk hunt and hope to stumble into something. If Jims is right and I have to weed through a bunch of 3 points to find a 4 point I will consider it a great hunt. I am at the point of my hunting life that I am happy just seeing animals. These hunts are more of a excuse to go and see new places, the protein I bring home is just a bonus.

I do not know of anywhere in the western states where mule deer hunting is as good as it use to be. I hunted Oregon in the 80's and it was incredible. We all wish we could step back in time.
 

alaska_bou

Active Member
I don't have the extensive experience in 87 others claim but I drew the tag this past fall in 2019 for the second time since 2000. From my experience I tend to agree with what Jims said regarding a higher proportion of 3x3 bucks opposed to other units. In-fact, both the highest scoring deer and the biggest bodied deer I found were 3x3s that failed to fork on either the main beam or G2. Maybe this was just a coincidence as I did find smaller/younger deer with "normal" 4x4 frames.

I know three others who also had the tag last fall who hunted hard from July through October for a 180+ deer. Two ate their tags and the the third ended up with what I would call an average 3x4 deer close to the last day.

Let me also mention that on Halloween 2018 I got to hold a freshly-harvested and heavy mid-190 perfect 4x4 typical that had an 87 tag on it...

Overall numbers of deer were higher than I had expected and I can say to anyone considering the unit that 87 is a fun hunt with great access and lots of elk and even a few bighorn sheep to enjoy.
 

wymuleyman

New Member
While I’m not going to get in the middle of the back and forth I will however offer my take on 87. Being that I live 30 minutes away and spend a very big chunk of my time out of doors in this area I have to 100% agree with the disproportionate amount of 3 pt. framed deer in this unit. I run lion hounds, which I run Ferris more than anywhere for lions, call coyotes, camp, and over the years chased mule deer and every year we draw tags to hunt antelope we hunt area 63 which is the north side of Ferris. i won’t say there aren’t big deer in that unit, there is! But what some don’t understand is a good chunk of them deer get killed where one person may have permission but the next guy won’t get the same permission or they paid for the hunt. There is a reason this unit is a highly sought after tag for sure but those big deer are not easy to find.
For years we put in for this unit faithfully and been lucky to draw a handful of times. However the last year I personally put in for it was 6 years ago I believe. That particular year my hunting buddy had the bull tag and I had a deer tag. We covered 22 days worth of that mountain and last evening I elected to shoot a decent whitetail that I had found because I couldn’t find a decent enough mule deer. I know of one decent buck killed however. Guess it was right place right time as hunting typically is. I love that area, and it is tough not applying there anymore but I’ve found greener pastures elsewhere. My wife had the tag in 2018 and second to last day shot a smaller 4 pt. as she had just given birth to our second son 6 weeks prior and was suffering some issues from the birth. She had never taken a mule deer and wanted to so she did. She had told me the last two years she will never put in for it again. I think for her it was difficult because pre season we saw some really good deer but once season hit they were no where to be found. For us at least.
 

jm77

Very Active Member
My wife had the tag in 2018 and second to last day shot a smaller 4 pt. as she had just given birth to our second son 6 weeks prior and was suffering some issues from the birth. She had never taken a mule deer and wanted to so she did.
This is the very reason we see less trophy 4pt framed deer than we actually would. To each their own and if it's legal, all the power to you. But that "smaller 4 pt" turns into a bigger 4 pt the following year, yet every year I hear people talk about how they settled for a smaller buck, only because it was a 4x4 and then complain about the lack of trophy quality. With so many "3 pt framed deer", wouldn't one of those be the logical choice for a tag burning first deer? This is a buck my daughter took in 87, when she was 13, after a close call with a 180 buck who surprised us at close range and a failed stalk on a great 170 class 5x5 buck we just couldn't get close enough to. In my mind a perfect older deer on the last afternoon to hunt.
1919448_106111436070128_2375786_n.jpg
 

elks96

Very Active Member
I will chime in here as well... I have hunted in 87 several times and spent a ton of time in the unit. I have had the deer tag 1 time and have been on several elk hunts with others. I have called coyotes on a regular basis in the unit. I have covered Ferris mountain many times and have been in almost every nook and cranny on the mountain (some spots I will never visit again).

From all my experience, there is a horrible 3 point gene in the unit. Extremely disproportional to other areas I have hunted. I am sure there are a few few good bucks but most of the big bucks i have crossed paths with were 3 points. I have never once seen a big 4x4. On my tag I killed a mature (6+ year old) buck that was heavy and only 26" wide. He was barely a crab claw on one side and a 3 on the other. He was big bodied and mature. He was also the biggest buck I saw.

Honestly from over 90 days on the unit chasing elk in sepember over the last several years, I have not seen a single big or even a decent 4x4 mule deer. My experience is limited to Ferris itself and the surrounding sand dunes and some on Bear, but even driving in and out and in the fields of the pathfinder etc. I have never once seen a good solid 160" 4x4 buck.

For comparison in an easy to draw general tag area I have killed 3 bucks over 180.

What does it mean? I love hunting Ferris, but in no way would I consider it better than most general units...
 

jims

Very Active Member
Elks96,
Glad I'm not the only one that sees the disproportionate number of 3x's in this unit....and I'm not dreaming this up! I know there are a few whoppers available but not common. If enough guys bring this to the attention of the WG&F maybe they will try a strategy to change things.
 

elks96

Very Active Member
If you know how to hunt mule deer, put your time in and don't listen to these guys who don't know how to hunt the area, you'll do just fine.
Please teach us almighty master.... HAHA! Saying this is because we are not good hunters is complete BS and you know it. I have had one limited tag in WY and 4 general tags. My general tags I killed a 197" a 188" Buck a 187" and a 184" buck.

So yes I must not know anything about hunting deer and that is the reason why this occurs...
 

jm77

Very Active Member
Please teach us almighty master.... HAHA! Saying this is because we are not good hunters is complete BS and you know it. I have had one limited tag in WY and 4 general tags. My general tags I killed a 197" a 188" Buck a 187" and a 184" buck.

So yes I must not know anything about hunting deer and that is the reason why this occurs...
Read my post, that's not what I said, but when you say" I have never once seen a big 4x4"

Or "Honestly from over 90 days on the unit chasing elk in sepember over the last several years, I have not seen a single big or even a decent 4x4 mule deer."

Or " I have never once seen a good solid 160" 4x4 buck." you are telling me that you have either no conception on how to find big deer in 87 or you know little to nothing about 87.

Also, you didn't kill any of those big deer without showing us pictures.
 
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elks96

Very Active Member
Read my post, that's not what I said, but when you say" I have never once seen a big 4x4"

Or "Honestly from over 90 days on the unit chasing elk in sepember over the last several years, I have not seen a single big or even a decent 4x4 mule deer."

Or " I have never once seen a good solid 160" 4x4 buck." you are telling me that you have either no conception on how to find big deer in 87 or you know little to nothing about 87.

Also, you didn't kill any of those big deer without showing us pictures.
Posted all of them on here from years past. You are welcome to go look...
 

BuzzH

Long Time Member
Being rude to other members here won’t be tolerated. Please stop.
I guess I better take some muledeer hunting lessons!
Yes, you'd be smart to get your notepad and pen out...only intelligent thing you've said on a forum in quite some time.
 

jims

Very Active Member
I don't claim to know everything there is about field judging/scoring so thought it would be fun to give myself a re-fresher course in B&C measuring. It was interesting going to the B&C website and finding a chart that provides the average minimum B&C length and circumference measurements and % of total score for each of those measurements. This is a fantastic reference for deer and other species.

Here is a link:

:
 

nontypical

Long Time Member
While sheep hunting last year, I ran into this bunch a few times. Clearly, the big 3 is the most mature of the bunch. In my short experience guiding hunters years ago, most would take the young 4x4 rather than the older, more mature 3x3. Each to their own, but it's a solid reason why the 3 pt gene is so prominent. I've see it in 102 for years.
IMG_2765 copy.jpg
IMG_2788 copy.jpg
 

chipc

Active Member
Here's a pic of the buck I shot in 87 a couple of years ago. I hunted 6 days dawn 'till dusk and shot this one on the last evening. Big heavy mature deer but the rack is nothing special. I saw a young deer early in the hunt that would probably have scored better but I passed on him. I had fun but it was not the hunt that I expected.
photo (2).JPG
 
Yeah, Wyoming residents should stop putting in for 87 so I can draw it again.

If you are scared of snakes, then I would avoid it. Lots of prairie rattlers.

Lots of ankle biting cactus as well.

Too many people fly fishing on the miracle mile catching decent browns and bows all day.

Archery the year I drew would have been a lot of fun, but I still don't have one of those stick and string things. I didn't see a single person hunting it with a bow and if you look at the harvest stats most don't.

Lots of good deer in the unit.

Biggest deer I saw in my life was a big thick 4x4 in that unit.

Lots of nasty country in the unit as well.

So, like I said Wyoming residents should look elsewhere and lower the draw odds for me.
 

DoubleDropMuley

Active Member
Yeah, Wyoming residents should stop putting in for 87 so I can draw it again.

If you are scared of snakes, then I would avoid it. Lots of prairie rattlers.

Lots of ankle biting cactus as well.

Too many people fly fishing on the miracle mile catching decent browns and bows all day.

Archery the year I drew would have been a lot of fun, but I still don't have one of those stick and string things. I didn't see a single person hunting it with a bow and if you look at the harvest stats most don't.

Lots of good deer in the unit.

Biggest deer I saw in my life was a big thick 4x4 in that unit.

Lots of nasty country in the unit as well.

So, like I said Wyoming residents should look elsewhere and lower the draw odds for me.
Nice Bucks 👊
 

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