Points...

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
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"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.

uVfV21Yh.jpg


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.

Guy
 
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.

JD338
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
Guy, you are behind on points compared to others, but the highest point holders aren't guaranteed the tag.
I was drawn for a Clemens Mtn big horn sheep tag in 2020. I was 68 years old with the maximum number of points. I think it was 24 points.
I had moved from Yakima to MT 10 years before, but kept the faith (continued to apply as a non resident for 10 years). I learned that my friends in their 60's would not help out. My 62 year old wife was my hunting partner and only person to help every day and shared my excitement when I made my kill.
 
Guy, you are behind on points compared to others, but the highest point holders aren't guaranteed the tag.
I was drawn for a Clemens Mtn big horn sheep tag in 2020. I was 68 years old with the maximum number of points. I think it was 24 points.
I had moved from Yakima to MT 10 years before, but kept the faith (continued to apply as a non resident for 10 years). I learned that my friends in their 60's would not help out. My 62 year old wife was my hunting partner and only person to help every day and shared my excitement when I made my kill.

Howdy Luis! Congrats on getting your ram.

Yes, a friend of mine drew the Quilomene sheep tag... With only 6 points! :)

That turned out to be a pretty short and easy hunt for him. He spotted the ram from a boat on the Columbia. He and a buddy beached the boat, hiked up a ridge, and shot the ram. Was back in the boat less than two hours after leaving it! :) Not the biggest ram in the world, but a fine specimen of these great animals.

Oh, I didn't get drawn this year either. :) I'm fine with that. I have taken more photos of the rams since posting this last fall.

Regards, Guy
 
"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.

uVfV21Yh.jpg


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.

Guy
Guy, Let me tell you about the state of Maine and Moose. I started applying for a moose tag in the late 70's. At that time each hunter put in one application and as usual there was a much smaller percentage for non residents. The residents got the bulk of the tags. On my 17th year of putting in I finally got a bull tag. I got my bull and at that point could not put in for another tag for one year at which time I could try again. I started reapplying and Maine changed the system. Now you can buy applications in groups of ten and as many as you want. It turned into a money making deal for the state. Also, the total cost of my hunt was probably around 3300.00 which included lodging, meals, a guide and processing. I understand that prices have gone up but after 43 years my hunting buddy finally drew a cow moose tag and after figuring everything in it's going to cost roughly $8000 dollars.
 
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.

JD338
Hope so Jim.
 
I’ve been incredibly lucky with Elk tags, always seem to get at least one. Deer in Oregon has been tough. Mule deer. Black tails are OTC, hunted them a lot when I was young but I hate the rainforest. The good old days were the mid to late 70s. Hunting was wide open then and you could hunt just about anywhere, saw a lot of Oregon doing just that.
I have been lucky since I retired in 2011 with Montana Deer tags, always seem to get one of those too. Haven’t killed too many but I’ve seen plenty of deer. Just enjoy hunting them and typically I’ve already put an elk in the freezer. I really would like to hunt mule deer more consistently.
 
If you got in late to the point game it's a race between age/ability against everyone else with more points then you or you might get insanely lucky. I'm not wishing harm to anyone but I'd imagine there are some that will drop off due to age, ability, death, etc as the point totals get so high. I'm sticking with the ones I'm applying for but I'm not likely to get into any other point races now that I'm in my 50's unless it's pretty much guaranteed within a few years. I actually thought that would be the case for a region G deer tag in WY when I started applying, it was 5 points at the time and hadn't experienced a ton of point creep prior to that. Now it's 8+points and will probably be 9 by the time I draw. After this last winter I might just keep buying points for a few years to let the herds recover. Hunting is definately a money game now days. I would plan to just try and buy a landowner tag, go guided or hunt a state with over the counter tags if I was young and starting into the "out west" tag chase.
 
One of my elk hunting partners lives in Texas and has had a lease fo years. I learned the other day that he's lost his lease because some rich dude outbid him offering a lot more money.
The hunt w did was on a landowner tag for cow elk and the last hunt I did on the ranch was mighty iffy. Bull elk were spooky as hell and cows literally non-existent. Mountain lion tracks all over the place. All the guides had several lion tags to give to any elk hunter who shot a lion. I lucked out on my cow the very last few minutes of the last day of the hunt. That was four years ago and now the outfitters no long has these hunts available. There won't be any of these hunts on the place for the foreseeable future. I quit trying to draw tags in Arizona many years ago. I liked doing the Kaibab/Arizona strip but it seen Arizona gives most of the tags to non-residents. Best deer hunting in the state but apparently not for the likes of us residents. At least that's what it appears to be as the last time I was up there, there were more out of state plates that AZ plates. Supposedly, by law, only 10 percent of all game tags go to non-residents. Yeah, right.
Paul B.
 
We are all in the same boat. Point creep, tag reductions and reallocations, increasing encroachment by state/government-reintroduced predators, reduced access by private landowners, etc. all add up to fewer and more expensive opportunities for working class hunters. Give it another 20-30 years and I bet we are reduced to hunting once every 5-6 years if at all.

I count myself lucky to live where I do and to have the opportunities with which I’ve been blessed. But I fear for my son and potential grandchildren. Will they have any such chances? 😔
 
Human population in utah is exploding and places to hunt are shrinking. Worst
Part is in the winter there is much less habitat for big game to migrate into and more roads and fences to cross.
My oldest daughter drew a goat tag this year-and got accepted into a college program so we Will see what happens. My next daughter drew a good landowner deer tag so I have high hopes. I drew a Wyoming rifle tag for deer and bough the archery option. Gonna spend all the time I can hunting but I truly don’t care if I kill one or not. I also have an utah rifle deer tag. I want to kill one here so will give that one my best effort. I’m lucky to have a great Fall ahead but I know next Year won’t have much in store for us
 
Seems like you and your daughters have some great hunting ahead of you this season! :)

Guy
 
Back in 2009 I did a landowner hunt in New Mexico for antelope. I decided to say to hell with drawing for one in Arizona so when some people on another site proposed a group hunt I jumped in. The price had been reduced enough that I could afford it. I was even hoping to meet up with some of the others from the site but all were a no show. Still, I got the hunt and the reduced price, plus a nice representative head for the wall. I'd been putting in for antelope ever since I was eligible to do so. (1980) Then they went to the point system, and never drew once. I think it was 2008 when I last tried for a tag. Kind of the same deal for elk. Same outfitter did reasonably priced cow elk hunts so I went in 2010. IIRC, the hunt was something like $1,500 plus License and tags. The last hunt I did with them before my accident in 2020 was in 2019 and the total for the hunt, license and tags was $4,000.
Paul B.
 
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