UPDATED: January 20, 2023 Historically, about January 15 is the coldest day. So, now the days are getting longer, and they should be getting warmer. Don’t bet on it, we had January weather in October/ November –Now we have October/November weather in January. I wonder what February will be like.
It is the time to plan. Hunting in Washington is not getting any better. The commission does not seem to care for hunters, and predator control is something they have just heard of, so out of state hunting gets to be more desirable every year. I list the ones I am interested in as they come due. Hot off the press? As you know, WWC is suing the governor as he has not appointed commission members that would follow the rules for hunting. Guess what? I hear that since the news of the suit surfaced, suddenly, it appears that the commission is reversing course and is going to allow “management” spring bear hunts!
Big Game Draws - Wyoming applications for elk are due January 31st. Wyoming allocates 75% of the tags to the preference point draw. The other 25% can go to anybody that applies. The random tags are equal odds regardless of how many points you have. Although, some high demand areas do not have random tags available. There was a movement to change to a point multiplier system like Washington, but, hopefully, I don’t think that will happen. The good part is that you do not buy a hunting license. The bad part is that you are required to submit the tag fee in total just to apply. If you have enough points to draw in the preference pool, you will probably draw. If you do not have points, be careful to apply in an area that has random tags available. Bull or any elk tags are $707. Reduced price cow/calf tag are $303. Points accumulate for bulls. Cow tags do not require points. You do not get a point just for applying. An opportunity to buy a point comes up later in the year. I prefer the areas around Rock Springs. I have killed six-point bulls in 2 of the three units I have hunted in down there. There are no wolves, and the country is not terribly difficult. Random tags tough to draw, but I am going a little farther east in 124 this year.
Arizona applications for Elk and Antelope are due February 14th Arizona requires applicants to purchase a $160.00 license, but only $15.00 to apply and either draw or you are given a preference point. 20% of applicants with the most points get a tag. The remaining goes to a bonus point system, so everybody gets a chance in most draws, but, unlike Wyoming, the more points you have, the better your chances. Arizona considers your first two choices. The early elk hunts are as good as elk hunting gets. In the two times I have been there, it was just a matter of how big a bull you would settle for. A real bargain for a $665.00 tag. Arizona is proud of their antelope. They charge $565.00 for a tag. They don’t have the numbers of antelope like Wyoming, or Montana, but they are managed well, and trophy size is good. My experience with antelope is limited to 5B, 10, 13B, and 18B. Hunts were all good, but I will probably go for 5B and 6A if I apply this year.
Oregon applications for spring bear are due February 10th I list this opportunity as the Washington spring bear season has been cancelled. It is not that far down there, and I did see 7 different bears on a trip a few years ago. Oregon is tough. They charge $172.00 for a license, but only $8.00 to apply per species and only $16.50 for the tag. They have preference points, and they allocate a small percentage to nonresidents.
Idaho applications for spring bear are due February 15th Idaho does not have a point system