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Don’t Sit at Home This Hunting Season!

It can happen, but it shouldn’t. I’m talking about answering a question with:  “I didn’t draw anything.” Don’t let yourself come into a hunting season with no tags in your pocket. In this article we’ll look at ways to make sure you always have some opportunities to get out and hunt every year.

Get familiar With Your Home State:

The cheapest place to hunt is usually your home state. States also allocate the most tags to residents of their state, so your best and most economical options are going to be close to home. Be familiar with what happens in your state. Many states have over-the-counter opportunities where you can simply purchase a tag; some will only have a limited number of tags so be first to the counter or to the website to purchase them. Other states may not have much for OTC opportunities, so be familiar with the lottery systems of your state and don’t miss application deadlines.

There are many advantages to hunting close to home. Pre-season scouting is easier, travel is less expensive, and sometimes you can sleep in your own bed and still hunt. Know your home state, and those areas close to your home to make sure you have a chance to hunt it.

Mule Deer Buck

Buck taken on an OTC tag.

A Plan and a Budget:

Having an application strategy and plan in place will help you pull the trigger on certain tags when you know you probably won’t draw anything else. Your plan doesn’t have to be 5 years out, but that’s how I plan my hunts. I keep a simple spreadsheet that keeps my point totals, units I’m trying to draw, and how many points I expect it to take to draw that unit. It’s fairly easy to forecast draws in some states with preference point systems, so you can plan accordingly and fill in your gaps with something in your home state, or an OTC hunt somewhere else.

A budget is also important when planning hunts. You can figure how much you’ll pay in applications, OTC tags, and even those big trips that you have to save up for. Set aside some money and you’ll be surprised how soon you can afford some of those hunts you thought you’d never do!

Alaska black bear hunts are a great example of a hunt that doesn’t break the bank! Budget and go on out of state hunts!

OTC Hunting Opportunities:

There are tons of OTC opportunities out there for hunters – many of which have ample public land to play on. You can pick up OTC tags for most species, especially if you’re willing to travel. This can add some cost, but by planning your seasons in advance will help you reach your longer term hunting goals.

Sometimes OTC hunts can be a little crowded, and it can take a few years to really dial in specific areas that you like to hunt or find success. The great thing about a lot of OTC areas is you can scout them and if you don’t like what you see, you don’t have to pay for a tag. Other areas, like migration or rut hunts, it may just take a year or two of hunting to find out about certain areas. Or reach out to someone who has hunted it before or use a hunting consultation service to get an idea about a unit before you go there. Many of these services provide good overall information and will help you narrow down units that will meet your expectations.

Pay To Play:

There are a lot of opportunities out there where you can purchase tags, and access with a bit of cash. These hunts will vary from a few hundred dollars up to as much as you want to spend. Look at landowner tags in states that allow landowners to sell tags like Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, etc. Some states allocate tags to outfitters and you can purchase them directly from them. Other hunts, like some in Canada and Alaska are readily available, but you’ll need to pay for transportation, access or an outfitter to hunt them. All of these tags are typically readily available, but the logistics will need to be planned in advance.

Don’t sit at home next fall without a hunt to go on! Many of these hunts are great, and you can find some good quality, even on crowded and hard to hunt areas. Get familiar with the opportunities around you and you’ll be surprised at what’s available!

 

Velvet Bull Elk

Application Reminder: Wyoming Elk

Hunt Application Reminder: Wyoming Elk

One of the first western states to accept applications is Wyoming. The application period for Wyoming Non-resident Elk opened Jan 1 and will close on Jan 31st. Wyoming’s elk tag allocations are high with many elk populations exceeding objective.

Remember the price increase this year on almost every Wyoming license/tag. For a full list of license fees, you can visit this link: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Apply-or-Buy/License-Fee-List

To apply for Wyoming Elk, go to: https://wgfd.wyo.gov/apply-or-buy

For more information on how to apply in Wyoming for elk, check out these youtube videos:

Wyoming Fee Changes for 2018

Wyoming to Increase Fees for 2018

Wyoming has announced licence fee changes going into effect Jan 1, 2018. While fees are increasing across the board, the non-resident increases are significantly higher. Non-resident deer tags are increasing from $312 to $374 (regular draw) while residents are seeing a change from $38 to $42.

License fee increases are part of the game and Wyoming hasn’t seen an increase in quite a few years. Wyoming is also one of the most generous states as far as non-resident tag allocation is concerned, and it’s expected that these changes won’t affect drawing odds very much.

For a complete list of fee chances going into affect at the first of the year, view this link:
https://wgfd.wyo.gov/Apply-or-Buy/License-Fee-List/2018-License-Fee-Changes

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment, we’d love to hear it!

Wyoming’s Second Chance Antelope

By Chance Thompson

It’s early in the morning, you get tucked in behind your keyboard and log onto the Wyoming Game and Fish website. Today is the day you find out your draw results. You’ve waited a long time for this. You just know that you drew that premium Pronghorn Antelope tag you applied for way back in March. You type your information in and read that magical word. UNSUCCESSFUL! How can it be? You had it all planned out; your first western big game hunt on the wind swept prairies of Wyoming. Now what? Wait another year and try again or give up on the idea all together? Absolutely not. There are still literally thousands of opportunities available this year for both residents and nonresidents to hunt antelope in Wyoming.

Every year after the preliminary draw has taken place thousands of tags are still available in units that are considered sub-par or that have private land issues. The fact is that a majority of these units offer excellent opportunities and have ample public land on which to hunt. It takes a lot of research and planning but it is entirely possible to hunt antelope on a yearly or bi-yearly basis. By purchasing these tags after the draw, your preference points are still yours to keep which allows you to build valuable points for a future hunt in one of the premium trophy units in Wyoming that may require several years’ worth of points to draw. Another great aspect is hunting these units is you are allowed the opportunity to study antelope behavior under real field/hunting conditions. This knowledge will become invaluable when you finally obtain the trophy quality tag.

There are several steps to get your research process headed in the right direction. The very first step would be to look at the leftover list and narrow it down to a minimum of 3 units that interest you. The units may share a border or they may be several hundred miles apart from each other. You need to see how many tags are leftover in each unit. Sometimes units may have only a handful, others may have hundreds. There is a narrow window from the time the leftover list is printed to the time when the tags actually become available for purchase. So it is important to get your research done and make a decision on which unit you would like to hunt. Some of these tags will be sold within minutes of being available. Others are available right up until the season starts.

An invaluable tool to help narrow down your search is a good map. BLM maps are very good tools to determine exactly how much public land is available in the units you are interested in. These maps can be purchased from the BLM field office in the area that you are interested in hunting. These maps are cheap (typically under ten dollars) and really help you get a feel for the land ownership status in the area. When looking at the maps you want to find blocks that are brown, green, or blue in color. Brown indicates BLM land, green indicates national forest land, and blue indicates state land. These three types of land are public and can be hunted by anyone. The white sections of the map indicate land that is privately owned and permission must be obtained from the land owner in writing before you can legally hunt these lands.

The next step would be to get on the phone and contact the Local Chambers of Commerce and the Game and Fish Department offices and request a list of private land owners in the area who allow hunting on their land for free, or a very small trespass fee. We at HuntAddicts.com are also available via email to discuss your plans and get you pointed in the right direction for your next hunting adventure in the high deserts of Wyoming. Stay tuned to the huntaddicts.com featured articles section for more in depth articles to help you make the most of your western hunting opportunities.

Chance's Antelope
Chance’s buck taken on a leftover license in Wyoming’s unit 25

Application Time 2012

Post season hunting blues can be cured — by preparing for next season. Here is a tentative application deadline schedule for the Western States. If your state isn’t included email me or comment on this post and I will add it. What are you applying for?

Coming up: Wyoming Non-resident elk applications need to be in by the end of JANUARY!  February has a few application deadlines: Arizona Elk and Antelope (pronghorn), New Mexico Oryx, and Wyoming Moose, Sheep, and Mtn. Goat.

Good Luck in the Draws!

State Website Application Deadline
Arizona www.azdfg.com Elk, Pronghorn – FEBRUARY
Deer, Sheep – JUNE
Buffalo – OCTOBER
California dfg.ca.gov/hunting/ JUNE
Colorado wildlife.state.co.us APRIL
Idaho Fishgame.idaho.gov Sheep, Moose, Goat – APRIL
Elk, Deer, Pronghorn — JUNE
Montana Fwp.mt.gov Deer, Elk – MARCH
Sheep, Moose, Goat – MAY
Special Deer, Elk, Pronghorn — JUNE
Nevada Ndow.org APRIL
New Mexico Wildlife.state.nm.us Oryx – FEBRUARY
Other Species – April
Oregon Drw.state.or.us MAY
Utah Wildlife.utah.gov MARCH
Washington Wdfw.wa.gov MAY
Wyoming Gf.state.wy.us Elk – JANUARY
Moose, Sheep, Goat – FEBRUARY
Deer, Pronghorn – MARCH