Happy New Year to all! We are beyond hump one, the shortest day, and in only few days, we will get beyond hump two, the normally coldest day. More daylight and more degrees. I am OK with that.
It is the time to plan. With the political climate favoring majority opinions and desires, and hunter numbers not being the majority, hunting in Washington does not look promising. It may cost a little more to go out of state, but as it in a lot of things, “You get what you pay for”. You do have to plan now, not only for this year, but for the years ahead.
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% go to the anybody that applies. Although, some high demand areas do not have random tags available. 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 tag 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 2 six-point bulls in 2 different areas down there. May not be the biggest six points around, but not everybody has shot a six-point bull. There are no wolves, and the country is not terribly difficult.
Arizona applications for Elk and Antelope are due February 8th 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. At $565.00 for a tag, the price of a pound of meat is a better deal for elk than antelope. 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 5A and 5B 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.