Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
"Out west" there is considerable competition for big game tags. Pronghorn, whitetail, mule deer, elk, even black bear... And others...

This is what determines if YOU get to hunt out west. If you're willing to spend, you can get what amount to land-owners tags, outfitters tags. If not, it's apply for the tag and hope. Sometimes that works, more often it doesn't.

For example: Here in Chelan County Washington we have some GREAT bighorn ram tags... It's a statewide draw and non-residents can apply.


I've been applying for 15+ years and am well behind what I need to draw the tag. A point is awarded for every tag not drawn. I'm in my mid 60's. The odds are THOUSANDS to one against drawing. So, I apply every year, faithfully. Hoping. Mostly I just go take photos of the rams.

So by the time I actually draw this tag, I'll likely be in my 70's or 80's... If ever. Now bighorns aren't mountain goats, but they tend to inhabit some pretty steep terrain. In my 70's or 80's I'm unlikely to be able to effectively hunt these amazing bighorns.... So I "hunt" them now with my camera.

Points... Point Creep... Ya, that's a thing... 10 years ago it took far fewer points to have a decent chance at drawing the tag.

Sigh.. Points... I can find great big bighorn rams. I can find awesome bull elk. Sometimes I can find big mule deer, that's tougher... But I'm unlikely to EVER draw the tag.

So, I can spend money... How much? Enough that millionaires carefully consider.

Hunting has changed. Yes we can go hunt deer and elk and bear with our "over the counter" unlimited tags. Want something special? Get in line...

Sigh. It's just the way it is.



Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
I'm with you Guy. I'm heavily invested with Moose preference points in WY. I'm at a level where I can draw but WY has reduced the number of non resident tags. They are considering a weighted system but my odds have been reduced significantly.
Hopefully the Shiras Moose draw God's shine on me next year.



Oct 28, 2008
Yep... even here on the east side of the country it has gotten difficult.

Tags are easy, and relatively cheap...permission, on the other hand, has gotten ridiculously difficult and/or expensive.

It's the reason I gave up on hunting and took up fishing.


Mar 6, 2017
General tags here are open to everyone........things like doe tags are first come first serve until the allotted amount is satisfied for that area. Elk tags available in the more western part of the state are a draw system. Private land access is most definitely not like the old days, I do hunt some private land I thankfully have access to, and none of it is posted........in other words there might easily be other hunters on it, and most times there is. I told my wife several years back that it isn't like it used to be and it's not ever coming back to that time, but I'm not quitting.

One good thing about here is I can always hunt the Governors land, and do at times, and there's plenty of it. Getting game out of it can be a difficult endeavor, however.


Sep 10, 2006
Yup- sad but true. Rich mans sport in some respects. Missed the Draw for one of the few non-resident Antelope tags in SD this year. Can go broke buying points, but time is against me. Antelope tags are awful expensive for a non- resident. Dad was able to draw an Elk tag in SD. One in a life time. Not sure how many years he had to try.... Found out just a month ago that he and my uncle actually sent another younger hunter on to the herd they were watching, and that young man was able to tag a bull. Dad ate tag soup.
Makes it all the more important to take advantage of the opportunities we do have. I Will "hunt" from the car window with the in-laws this year, over the counter whitetail deer. Basically one long day, waiting for a deer to walk in front of the window. Not much of a hunt even for me. But the regret for not trying, would set in about December 1st and stay with me until April..... Its like a cold rock of regret you carry in your pocket.
Have to try and do what we can and try and enjoy and appreciate the fellowship and opportunity.
Not trying to preach or be inspiring here... just trying to keep myself motivated too. Keep posting those good stories. We all need it.


Apr 30, 2016
I have about settled on the fact that I have to get happy with whitetail, bear, turkey, and hogs. Not to forget birds and small game. Maybe upon retirement there's a western hunt with my buddies, that's something we've been talking about for 20 years. Leaning heavily toward a "do it yourself" BLM pronghorn hunt. Mostly because that won't have to wait for us to retire, and seems doable with plenty of research and planning. BUT, I can't imagine ever being disappointed in tagging the game that's available to me.


Jun 15, 2019
Yes. This is sad, but true. I think one of the things is that since big game hunting has become a source of revenue, I fear a lot of it has become a question of how much money state authorities can wring out of people. Also, part of me thinks the point system is designed to string us along in the hope that we'll finally get a tag. Sort of like the Sunk Cost Fallacy. Personally, I do not put in for draw hunts of any type; OTC or leftovers only, but I also accept that I will never hunt certain types of game.