ORIGINAL: charlie elk
Do you ever worry that the birds will not be up in the hills yet at the first part of the season?
Oh Yes that is a concern. Which is why my plan stays influx pending weather and ground conditions out there. In the past I have misjudged leading to some icy, snowy, cold hunts and still managed a bird.
Hoping WyoHunter comes back with some on the ground intel for us.
Charlie it all depends on the weather as I'm sure you know. If there's a late spring with a lot of snow birds don't move on to the BHNF until the weather lets up. Last year the early bad weather seemed to keep the birds out of the area I hunt. I made 4 trips to an area where I've killed gobblers every year I've hunted it but last year NEVER heard a gobble. I should have moved to another area but didn't. In fact I covered so much ground I wore my feet out and injured my instep. I saw a couple of hens but no gobblers!
On a high note a friend hunted a different area 12 miles from me and killed two birds! I made a promise that I wouldn't hunt the area again when there's a foot of snow on the ground. My attitude is a little different than yours as I can drive the 4 1/2 hours home and wait for better conditions while you're here and have to contend with the sitiuation at hand.
Unfortunately the weather is the weather and can change at a moments notice. That being said I would opt for the first or second week in May. April can be a snowy month sometimes and usually we have a snow storm or two the third week so keep that in mind. If the weather is iffy for me I'll drive 180 miles to NE and hunt. Whether in WY or NE the birds follow the snow line generally speaking. A couple of inches doesn't bother them IMO but a foot or so does. Good luck and shoot straight!