As I type this I should be in Reno having a good time at the wild sheep foundation show, I had the time off and the go ahead from the wife. However I didn’t expect for those two things to happen so I didn’t budget for it. I decided to stay home and save some money to put towards applications since the season is quickly approaching! Luckily that idea kept me close to home as my truck decided to blow up its transmission… Well there goes that money I saved for more tag opportunities……
As the planning season is upon us I’ve spent most of my free time going through MRS records, online forums, state websites and maps trying to put together a plan for this upcoming year. Though I wont give break downs of areas or tags I will give an idea of what I’m going to go for and in what states. I’ve only hunted OTC tags out of state as I never managed to draw in Wyoming which was the only state I actually put in for outside of my Utah residency. One thing I have learned in Utah is that I can’t draw tags worth a damn, I drew my first tag on an archery bear tag that was supposed to be a 3 year draw odds tag, I finally drew it with 6. I’m now 11 years deep putting in for limited entry deer and think I have hit the max points for a unit I am ok with burning them on, some say I should save them for a better unit but Im ready for a tag to be in my pocket.
This horrible luck with tags I seem to have has led me to the decision that I need to focus on easily drawn tags even if the trophy quality and success rates aren’t great I can still have the possibility of something coming together if I work my ass off. I’ve decided to keep to states and units close enough I can do some scouting all while keeping the price tag reasonable. I also have a desire to tag a big ram one day soon so as I apply to states I also plan to build up some points to hopefully put me in for that opportunity one day in my life.
All tags are archery based and first off is Utah, I believe I have max points for LE deer this year and a good chance at a mountain goat tag close to home where I have seen many goats while deer hunting. As usual I will grab an elk tag OTC and this year I hope to make a better effort in filling that tag even if it requires some extended season dedication. Hoping over the border to Colorado I have found a deer unit I think I can draw at least every 3 years and an elk tag I think I could draw every 5, the season is only a touch later than Utah’s so I’m going to keep to fairly close units. Also this states chances at a bighorn tag seem insurmountable but if im putting in for deer and elk I figure I better put in for some extra points.
Stepping a little further away and further into the year is Nevada deer, the draws in Nevada are much different from Utah so getting a tag is possible at anytime so I’ve focused on an area I think will give me the best odds of getting a tag every other year hopefully. This hunt is going to be a later season hunt which means by this point Utah and Colorado will be closed (excluding Utah’s extended seasons). I plan to put in for sheep tags in Nevada for the simple reason of just having a chance at drawing one at any time. Nevada late season gives me a good time to hunt when most of my other tags are filled. following that same plan brings me to Arizona, I plan to hunt OTC tags in the winter and hopefully will find a good area to chase Coues deer and have a chance at something ive never even seen in person. Ive got very little info on this hunt yet but have lots of time to work out my plan for it, applications in Arizona are as unfamiliar to me as coues and ive yet to figure out how to put in for sheep here so it may be another year before I try.
Before any of these hunts start we will be in Idaho with another OTC tag, archery spring bear in an area we have hunted them before. My friend and I have very little black bear knowledge but almost had it happen last time, this year we hope to get it together and fill a tag. As I will have the Idaho license I will grab an OTC deer or elk tag if my other draws all fall through or I have the extra time and money to go. I will be putting in for Bighorn in Idaho for sure and will just wait my long wait until it happens. On the note of OTC tags as back up, I have found a tag for antelope in Montana that I very well may try to pick up every year or two, while going the montana route I will actually put in for mountain goat tags as sheep seems a little far to reach in that state.
This plan I hope keeps me busy hunting for many years, I do plan to add a state every few years and continually tweak as I discover info on areas. As I begin to figure things out a lot may change but that’s what makes this off-season fun, researching and dissecting info for a chance to find a nice little spot to try. I hope to find friends willing to either go with or meet up with me as I try these new areas and experience new things.
Here is to hoping you have better luck than I usually do……