WDFW fee increase bills did not pass. While I am certain everyone in the department is disappointed, there is an upside. For years, as a manager, from time to time, business slowed down. It made taking actions you should have taken before. Those times were an excellent opportunity to get rid of some "dead wood". A time to focus on priority items, and if layoffs were required, you kept the productive employees. I believe the department can be more efficient, and will be better as time goes on.
Big Game Draws Washington applications are due May 22nd As you know, Washington has bonus points, and they square them, so you need to either apply or buy a point to stay in the game. For deer, look to areas that are hardest to draw. The Elk quality hunts offer a chance for a good bull. Mountain goats are managed very conservatively. Any sheep tag is good. And, although we have traded many of our moose for wolves, there are still some old bulls out there.
Wyoming for deer and antelope are due May 31st Wyoming has "Regular" and "Special" tags for these species. No difference except you pay more for the special than the regular. The idea is that if you apply for the tag that costs more, fewer people will apply, so the odds will be better. That is not always the case. Deer tag is $622.00 or $389.00. You must submit the entire amount plus a 2.5% credit card fee with the application. Antelope is $629.00 or $341.00, plus the 2.5% Wyoming has a preference point system. Cost is $41.00. Tag are issued to 75% of the applicants with the most points. So, anybody can draw, although the unit must have at least 4 nonresident tags available to be OK with the random draw.
I prefer the units South around Rock Springs for both of these species. The Red Desert has been on my bucket list for antelope for years. Montana applications for antelope, and antlerless deer and elk are due June 1st. For the $205.00 (plus some junk fees) antelope in Montana is a great hunt with long seasons. So long, that the horn may be gone or pull off easily toward the end of the season. The 700 series unit have a lot of permits and a ton of BLM land to hunt on. There are ranchers that will let you hunt and "block management" properties, although quite a few of those are walk in. There is a bonus point system, and they square the points. For really hard to draw tags, the squared points works against you after a few years as the pool gets huge, but for the antelope, a tag not that hard to draw, you should draw every 3 or 4 years, maybe more often if you are lucky. California applications are due June 2nd I don't usually pay much attention to California, but they keep sending me the regulations because I buy a sheep raffle ticket or two, but there is a draw opportunity for a desert ram if you are willing to pay $175.00 for a license. The tag is about $1600.00 if you draw. Idaho applications for antelope, elk, and deer are due June 5th If you applied for sheep, moose, or goat, this is of no interest to you as you are not eligible to apply. For those of you that did not apply earlier, you must purchase a license for 155.00 plus $14.75 per application plus some junk fees, plus 3% credit card fee. Tag fees are reasonable if you draw. For deer and elk, unit 40 is my pick, although unit 11 produces a number of 4 point mule deer. I like unit 37 just because I watched a monster antelope there. The thing was enjoying the thin air at nearly 9000 foot elevation. I was hunting bighorn! Idaho does not have a point system, so outside of the nonresident limitation, everybody is on equal ground. By the way, wolf tags are cheap in Idaho, and you buy up to ten of them depending on where you hunt. Jerry Barron