Hunting is a very progressive sport, there seems to be a desire for many hunters to go further down the rabbit hole so to speak, and there is a desire that seems to build to continually challenge ourselves. This can come in many different ways, whether it be a new ecosystem, an older age class of a certain species, or some other driving force.
Get a hunting award?
There are a number of hunters across the country who choose to chase awards from the different conservation organizations the goals that some chase when looking to accomplish the different awards and such lead them down a path that often ends up with them investing lots of money towards conservation these are all good things, they are not although every hunters cup of tea, but for some they are a fun way to keep the fire burning.
Set your goals.
So if you are not into chasing awards and such, why would you have set goals for hunting? The truth is setting goals for hunting is more about ensuring that you have a hunt lined up each year as often as you want, versus achieving awards. There are a number of ways of accomplishing this, some hunters choose to book hunts with outfitters that have access to landowner permits, or operate in some sort of over-the-counter options multiple years in advance so that they can plan their schedules accordingly, taking time off of work, balancing their schedules. There is no problem in planning your hunting goals in this way, but it can increase the overall cost from year to year and especially over a decade. This being said, there are other ways to accomplish these goals without these additional costs.
Applying for tags can help you reach your goals.
Using the different hunting application systems available across the country, but primarily found in the western states, and for species like Elk, Mule Deer, Antelope, Bighorn Sheep, Moose, and Mountain goats, you can have just as much consistency in your hunting, for a fraction of the cost. It is difficult to accomplish this when focused on one state. Truly having the option to hunt every year once, or more, in this day and age is unlikely. The likelihood of a hunter not getting itchy to go see or experience something different is not very probable.
What animal to hunt?
So how do we get started. The first thing you need to do is to pick a species that is the focal point of your goals. For example if this happens to be Elk, the next question would be if you could, how often would you choose to hunt elk or whichever species is your focus in the next ten years. If your answer is every year, this is actually a lot more plausible than you may believe when applying in the correct states. You may actually end up in the same state multiple times over this ten year period but unlikely to hunt there two years in a row. The trick to this process is not only to identify and capitalize on the state draw processes that have realistic finish lines when it comes to drawing, but involves careful planning to address the inevitable progression you will be having with your probable success throughout the process.
Trying for multiple species can help your goals.
This focal species becomes a pillar in your Hunt Plan and goals, but the system is not bulletproof and most hunters have some desire to check the box on other species, using applications you can for a very small investment can be maturing with more points through the process so that when the year comes that you need a fill in, you again are not simply locking into a hunt because it is available, but it truly is a top shelf experience. Some of these applications have deadlines late enough in the application season that you can use them as a backup plan for when lady luck doesn’t look your way. There is not much worse than looking for what’s left in July when all the results are posted. This is exactly why having backup plans that are part of your goals is a critical part of your Hunt Plan.
Give your plan time to work.
Once we have a plan around your goals when it comes to Elk, Mule Deer, Whitetail Deer, and Antelope if you are interested in pursuing Bighorn Sheep, Moose, Mountain Goats or some other species then there are additional applications that you may need to add to your Hunt Plan in order to address these goals. The unfortunate reality of many of these applications is that the probability of drawing them even after 10+ years is typically less than 1%. These goals are difficult to achieve, they either take a large amount of money or an incredible amount of luck. The trick to having these as a part of your Hunt Plan is to find a comfortable balance in the money you are choosing to invest each year, avoiding the states that simply have the most atrocious odds, and knowing that at this point we are not working towards a finish line instead we are simply trying to get lucky.
Get help to avoid mistakes in reaching your goals.
There are lots of pitfalls when choosing which states you choose to invest in whether it be wrapped around a short term goal and especially long term goal. Using the different systems to create these opportunities can be tricky but when done correctly there are ways to hunt as often as you want, constantly progressing towards bigger adventures, older age class animals, and experiences that will leave you feeling more accomplished in your path as a hunter. Knowing when to apply and not missing deadlines each year can be so important in reaching your goals. Keeping up with all the laws and rules can be difficult and time consuming. Having a person who does this for a living can definitely help.
If you have any questions or need help in building your Hunt Plan we would suggest to give the guys at The Draw a call and they can help you in avoiding any of the common pitfalls.