By Chance Thompson
Many of us in the hunting community have certainly noticed the trophy class animals that have been taken the last few years by hunters who have acquired auction or governors tags. As I’m sure you know these tags are often sold for tens and sometimes even hundreds of thousands of dollars, making them completely out of reach for the majority of hunters. However, these same types of licenses can be obtained by hunters without loads of extra disposable income. Every year many state wildlife agencies and conservation groups raffle off tags that offer the same hunting opportunities as the tags that are sold at auction, but for very minimal cost. The following is a list of raffles that I participate in yearly. Keep in mind however that these raffles are by no means a secret and the odds of winning a tag are very slim. But if you do get lucky and win one of these tags you are in for the hunt of a lifetime.
Arizona’s Big Game Super Raffle
I feel that this is without doubt the very best raffle program going today. This raffle includes tags for every hunt able species in the state. It includes Elk, Mule Deer, Coues Deer, Bison, Bear, Mountain Lion, Antelope, Javelina, Desert Bighorn Sheep, and Turkey. Also included is a raffle for an incredible optics package from Swarovski. This includes 2 pairs of binoculars, a spotting scope, range finder, and rifle scope. I like to purchase tickets for Elk, Mule Deer, Javelina, Desert Bighorn, Antelope and Turkey. Normally I wouldn’t be interested in participating in a Turkey raffle but Arizona offers the opportunity to hunt the rare Gould’s Turkey. The winner is allowed to hunt any unit they choose. Additionally the winner of these tags is allowed to hunt a full 365 days beginning July 31. This gives you the opportunity to harvest a trophy animal in full velvet. The prices for these tickets range from $5 to $25 each and can be purchased online. The deadline to purchase tickets is July 12. Get all the rest of the details at http://www.arizonabiggamesuperraffle.com/index.html
Idaho Super Tags
This raffle is conducted by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Available tags include Deer, Elk, Antelope and Moose. There are two separate raffles for two different tag options. The first raffle is for tags for individual species and the deadline to purchase tickets for the first raffle is May 31, the drawing is held June 15. The second raffle is for what is called the deluxe package where the winner receives licenses for all four species. These tags can be used in any open hunt unit during the established season. This deadline for this drawing is August 10 with the drawing being held on August 17. I purchase tickets for all species as Idaho is within easy driving distance of my home. However I do not participate in the second drawing as I feel it falls too close to hunting season and I typically have all my hunts scheduled and my vacation time accounted for. Prices for these tickets are $6 for the first ticket and $4 for each subsequent ticket. Tickets for the deluxe package are $20 for the first ticket and $16 for each ticket after that. More details at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/superhunt/
Montana Super Tags
This raffle program is very similar to the one offered by Idaho. They do however offer a few more species. Available tags include Elk, Deer, Antelope, Moose, Bison, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat, and Mountain Lion. These tags are valid in any open hunting district within the state during the established seasons. The deadline for this drawing is July 2 for Sheep, Goat and Moose, and July 30 for all other species. The price for these tickets is $5 each. I only purchase tickets for bighorn sheep as Montana has some of the biggest rams available. I choose not to purchase tickets for any of the other available species as I feel that they are comparable to what I have in my home state. Further details at http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/licenses/supertag.html
Wyoming Wildlife Federation Dream Hunt Sweepstakes
The Wyoming Wildlife Federation (WWF) holds 3 separate raffles, 2 of which are for guided hunts. I purchase tickets for the buddy hunt. This raffle includes 2 commissioners’ tags that the winner can either keep or give one to whomever they choose. These tags are for which ever species you would like to hunt (Deer, Elk, or Antelope) and you are allowed to only hunt one unit of your choosing. Additionally, the winner receives $1000. Prices for these tickets are $30 each. The drawing takes place on August 24. More details at http://www.wyomingwildlife.org/ht/d/sp/i/19609/pid/19609%20
Oregon Big Game Raffle
This raffle is conducted by the Oregon Department of Fish and Game. Available species include Elk, Deer, Antelope and Bighorn Sheep. These tags are good for any open unit and offer an extended season. I like to purchase tickets for Deer, Antelope and Bighorn Sheep. I choose these hunts because Oregon has some incredible trophy antelope hunting. And the deer tag can be used to hunt the rare Columbian Blacktail Deer. And they also have good opportunities for Bighorn Sheep. Prices for tickets range from $4 to $11 and must be purchased by May 4. Additional information is available at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/auctions_raffles/instructions.asp
Washington Big Game Raffle
This raffle is conducted by the Washington Game and Fish Department. Available tags are for Elk, Deer, Mountain Goat, Moose, and Bighorn Sheep. Prices Range from $5 for deer to $10 for Sheep. I purchase tickets for Moose and Sheep as Washington has great trophy opportunities for both. Very little information is available about these tickets as you must purchase them in order to obtain any information. http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/permits/raffles/index.html
In summary there are some great opportunities out there for guys who are willing to fork over a few bucks and roll the dice along with thousands of other people. If you do get lucky and win just one of these tags the experience will more than pay for the money that you spent to enter the drawing. And if you do win make sure you contact us here at HuntAddicts.com. We can help you narrow down a unit choice, and possibly even help you on your hunt. Good luck and remember you gotta be in it to win it!