How to Best Draw Big Game Tags
Drawing primo tags across the US seems far-fetched for some.
I’ll be the first to admit that for the past 10 years I relied on trying to remember when draws would take place and then put in for tags as I thought of them or decided that’s a hunt I would be interested in.
The problem with this method is many of the amazing tags take years to obtain. If I had started putting in for all these tags 10 years ago when I started hunting out of state a little more I would be drawing some pretty amazing tags by now. Unfortunately, that’s not the case but I guess it’s better to start late than never!
One of the major benefits of putting in for tags is the fact that hunts become available that would have otherwise been out of most people’s price range. For example, some sheep tags, moose, elk, mountain goat, etc. that are very expensive hunts but can be done at a reasonable rate in a DIY situation if the tag has been drawn. Many sheep hunts have become extremely expensive, but if you’re lucky enough to draw a tag it would be completely doable to head into the public land high country and complete a hunt that would cost thousands without the draw. This also goes for elk hunts in states such as New Mexico and Arizona. These areas have some incredible hunting opportunities, however with an outfitter in can be very expensive. With a tag in-hand it’s quite easy to find public land to hunt. A person may need to set aside more time for scouting beforehand, but this same public land is what a person usually hunts even with an outfitter.
With that said, it takes a while to draw these tags. Though, the most important part is putting in for them and getting started. To ensure that you’re getting in on all the potential hunts you may want, I highly recommend looking into a tag service such as Huntin’ Fool. This is the service I now use and love because of the ease of this process. Initially I sat down with someone and went over every option in each state. They keep all my choices on file and put in for me each year. If there are any changes I want to make, they note those and keep them on file for the following year. If you’re not interested in using a service another great way is to mark them on your phone calendar as reminders and keep all your state online logins the same. This will make it much easier to quickly access your accounts and get registered for the draws.
Lastly, if you’re trying to keep costs to a minimum it’s very important to look at each state’s fee. Many are very reasonable to simply be entered into the draw, but there are still states that cost a fortune just to put in. If unsuccessful, most give back your money but you will be out that money for several months. My recommendation is to decide how much you can set aside and choose wisely. Another thing to keep in mind is many of these tags are not drawn until late in the summer. This can make it difficult with work to take off last minute. If you’re getting close to having enough preference points ensure you can have a little flexibility if needed in your schedule. I wish all tags came out in the spring giving people enough time to plan ahead, but that is simply not the case.
Ultimately there are tons of opportunities available to each and every hunter out there, and it’s never too late to start! I’ve already drawn two tags that I never would have applied for or known about in the past.
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