"The Myth of Preference Points"

5MilesBack

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I've yet to hear a good reason why someone who has bought points for a few more years somehow has more of a right to hunt than a resident that just moved to a state or a NR that just entered the draw.
First of all, hunting in a state is a "privilege" not a right. So that person that bought points for a few more years than the new resident or the NR new to the game, has more of a "privilege" to hunt any specific unit more than those with less points. But given that CO has many OTC units, leftover tags, and easy to draw units.........everyone has had the same opportunity to hunt in Colorado. That's not even debatable.

But you're probably talking about all those "really high PP units" and the "but I want to hunt over there" crowd. Ya.......not all things in life are attainable to everyone. Just because someone thinks they are entitled to own the one and only original Mona Lisa painting on a $50k/year salary but can't........doesn't make that "unfair".

I've been a resident of CO my entire life and have been hunting since 1980. Yet I've never hunted one of those "top units" in CO even though it would have been very attainable over the years. I just made a different choice and prefer to use my points more quickly on units that take a heck of a lot less points. I know and have accepted that I will never hunt "those specific units" in my lifetime. But that's OK........I don't have a right or a privilege to hunt those without meeting the minimum requirements. Everyone has to make their own decisions in life based on their own circumstances. Don't grow bitter over everyone else's choices and privileges that they've worked for or waited for.
 

5MilesBack

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The counter point isn't the ability to hunt. Its that's points systems are a pyramid scheme that only benefits those who get in on the ground floor. That's not true at all. I've hunted many limited draw units over the years and benefited greatly from those minimal points that I've used each time. Every time you use those points.....you're starting over in the points game. I think everyone assumes that you have to save the points for one particular unit that takes 50 years to draw. That's not the case at all.

If we're talking CO how can you look a 12 year old kid in the face and tell him he won't have a chance to hunt that premium unit out his back door until he's 60.
I'd tell him there are a heck of a lot more units to hunt in CO rather than that "ONE" single unit out his back door. My middle daughter was 16 just two years ago when she got her first draw elk tag, a ML tag. She shot the first bull I called in for her at 30 yards, and it taped out at over 330". That's a trophy of a lifetime for most folks.......without "waiting" 50 years just because "they have" to hunt that one specific unit.
 

204guy

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So the defense of PP is now, you dont have to hunt the best hunts in the state to have a good hunt? Convincing.

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LandYacht

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The alternative to preference points is a lottery draw. I can manage my hunting right now with preference points. If you are bent on hunting a 20+ point unit you’d be ahead to buy a land owner tag in that unit. Then use your points on an attainable unit.

Guys are complaining about the SW units becoming a draw only, but that will weed out a few more applicants at the same time. When demand exceeds the resources something has to give. That something might be your ability to hunt the uber premium units ever. More units should be draw to help manage the pressure that CO is seeing now.

I’d much rather have a quality hunt than a 350” bull. Now change that to the magical 400” mark and my story might change, but those elk aren’t going to get that big without management.

Guys will bitch about having to pay to play. You can’t speed up the clock without money. There’s no such thing as a cheap job done well and quickly.

I can’t determine anything besides blind luck if a lottery is in place. If every state went to lottery there is always the chance that you would be sitting at home watching hunting shows if your number isn’t picked, no thanks.


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sndmn11

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Littleton, Colorado
The alternative to preference points is a lottery draw. I can manage my hunting right now with preference points.
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This is exactly why I like the Colorado system. We can plan a year or two in advance what, when, where we are hunting with almost certainty. If I want to hunt X unit in the 4th rifle season because the past years points say I can draw it, I can get out and scout it during that season the year before. With a lottery system, someone could feasibly scout and learn something for an infinite number of years before they draw it. Then we would get the whole "I can't even hunt in my own backyard" argument again but just from a different angle.

My family and I like being able to predict with good success what our hunting season looks like, it helps with planning the calendar, it helps with planning scouting, it helps with planning training, it helps with planning gear purchases.
 

Jethro

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Pennsylvania
The way demand outnumbers supply, even if every western state changed to a straight up lottery, people would still be complaining. With such low draw odds in 2 years the guys that weren't lucky enough to draw would be on the forums demanding we come up with some type of system that gives preference to those that stay in the draws for a long time.
 

5MilesBack

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So the defense of PP is now, you dont have to hunt the best hunts in the state to have a good hunt? Convincing.
For Colorado......absolutely. For other states......maybe........maybe not. Colorado has over 100 units West of I-25, and many more East of I-25 depending what you want to hunt. The top tier premier elk units comprise a whole 4 of those units, and the second tier for elk units has maybe another 4 units. Take those units out of the equation and you have over 90 units to choose and plan from. The toughest archery draw in CO gives out 7 whole tags every year. Even if it was a lottery draw the odds would still be WELL below 1% of ever drawing. It's kind of like our sheep and moose lottery draws.......most are 2% and under odds even with a bunch of weighted points. I'm at 15+ and still waiting to draw either. I could draw this year, or I could literally never draw. At least with OTC and low point units, I can still hunt every year and keep waiting for the units I'm willing to hunt when I get the points.

I've killed 300"+ bulls in both OTC archery units and limited low point draw units and had great hunts in both.
 
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jmez

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Piedmont, SD
So the defense of PP is now, you dont have to hunt the best hunts in the state to have a good hunt? Convincing.

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Different strokes for different folks. I don't care if I never hunt the best units in any state. I truly enjoy the experience of being in the mountains hunting elk in the fall. A cow hunt is just as enjoyable to me as a bull hunt. As long as I'm hunting elk I don't care.
 

isItFallYet

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Riplip

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The problem is though a 20 year old entering in to hunting out west using the point systems is competing against 40-50 year old people who have been playing the game a long time. Even as the younger accumulates point so does the older man. There is no catching up to him unless he stops trying. Half of being lucky in the point system is being older and having started in the 90’s or early 2000’s like plenty of people here have.


2 NR hunters (maybe they were 20 year old's!) with zero points drew the hardest to draw tag elk tag Montana last year, bet that really pissed off the 50 year old's with 15 & 16 Bonus Points.....Every year there are applicants who draw premium units with little or no points in Arizona and Wyoming under the random draw and every year someone gets lucky in New Mexico and Idaho on their first try. Yes a 20 year old will most likely never draw a top tag in a true preference point state like Colorado or Utah but there are certainly numerous options for someone new to hunting without points to fill their entire fall with just a few or even no points. Hell I am over 50 and only have points in a few states and really don't worry too much about it. No system if perfect but if you look at several States you can come up with a good strategy without getting to caught up in the points.

Educate yourself and really get to know and understand the draw process and allocation for numerous states and make a short, medium and long term plan for whatever species you are interested in and start hunting.
 

rfurman24

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The argument against preference points being that you can not hunt the best units in the west is just plain stupid. What exactly do you believe is going to happen in this magical "best unit" with a random draw? I can tell you. Your odds will be <1%. Look at New Mexico. You are not going to get the best hunts short of a miracle. You can not plan hunts based on their system. The same can be said about the best units in Idaho. There is absolutely zero chance I am going to plan my fall hunts on a <1% draw odd. I will take the points and look at the units I can obtain as opposed to bitching because I can not get "the best". All I see is people who make excuses as to why they can't hunt or why they don't kill animals. I know guys smoking countless nice animals every single year in easy to draw or OTC hunts. The points system is a game. Learn to play or stay home.
 

Scottyboy

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Minnesota
I think when point creep is discussed, people often forget about their home resident state. Where u have better odds than the non resident trying to go on thier dream western hunt. I think sometimes the grass is greener on the other side starts to take over.

I'll use me as an example. I love western hunting and the points system frustrates me at times. But I also live in iowa. Am guaranteed two tags a year for the big iowa whitetails that others dream about. But even though I hunt here and dont shoot a buck less then 150bc due to the amt that I see... All I think about going after a sheep or my next muley hunt. Sometimes we need to reflect and appreciate our home systems if they are advantageous and not complain about others
If you are ever wanting some company, I have a handful of PP to offload in Iowa.. 😉😆😆
 

isItFallYet

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No problem...full price elk tags have a statutory cap of 7250 for NR's. After the 16% of the LQ full price tags are drawn, the balance is made up by issuing general elk tags to reach the 7250 cap.

So, if you drop the 16% LQ allotment to 10%, the additional 6% would be issued as general tags.

If you look at the drawing odds for Wyoming NR general tags, you'll notice that the special fee general tags have a lot of demand...as in 2 points to be assured a tag in the preference point draw.

With the increase in general tags via the reduction of 6%, that puts a lot more tags up for grabs in the special NR general pool...that means more $$$ to the GF.

This makes sense, even though I would not like to see it happen. Out of curiosity, when did the NR Special tag system begin?
 

rob86jeep

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Dec 19, 2017
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It seems like a lot of people in this thread are upset they can't hunt the "trophy" unit in a state unless they amass points for the next 20-30 years. The funny thing is the only reason they want to hunt that "trophy" unit in the first place is because it takes a lot of points to draw so they think it's the best...
 

BluMtn

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Washington
It seems like a lot of people in this thread are upset they can't hunt the "trophy" unit in a state unless they amass points for the next 20-30 years. The funny thing is the only reason they want to hunt that "trophy" unit in the first place is because it takes a lot of points to draw so they think it's the best...

In my case I want to be able to hunt a branched antler bull in my own back yard where I have been hunting for the last 52 years before the game department finishes screwing up the elk herds. Washington State game dept has mismanaged our herds to the point where the herds are just about gone in our corner of the state. I spend a considerable amount of time in the mountains in my area and every year I see less and less elk and the quality and quantity of bulls is getting smaller and smaller.
 

Rich M

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No need to diss the younger generation. I'm 57 and am definitely not comfortable waiting in line, but I will. I started back in the 90s, a little late to the party. I think "most" people now a days need instant gratification. I fight needing instant gratification myself. The huge problem is too many hunters wanting premium hunts. There is no happy solution.
I'm actually wondering why it is such a big deal. "Everyone" wants the best hunts but no-one is willing to wait or to pay more, but they want others who have been trying for 10-20 years to give up so they can step in front?

With the way the population is going (up), there is less opportunity due to more people. Add social media influencers, onXmaps, and services like Go Hunt - it just makes it tougher.

The complexity and the uncertainty had less folks trying, now we have an entire industry built around the preference point hunts - it makes it harder for folks, not easier. Go Hunt tells EVERYONE to apply for Unit X so they do, guess what happens to the points required to hunt there... LOL, it should be obvious for folks yet some people think they are more special than everyone else and should just be able to go.

There has to be a way that is fair, that reflects a person's efforts and that's preference points. If you started applying in 2010 for a hunt with a 20% draw rate, you would find that every year it would go down cause more folks apply - especially if Eastmans or Go Hunt tells em to. So your 20% draw rate is now a 10% or 5% draw rate and a person could apply their whole life without drawing if there were no preference points. That's not fair.

Preference points allow folks to get in line and decide when they want to hunt and where. I've done 2 low point hunts - mule deer and antelope. Was successful both hunts. Now I want to do a better hunt (with less folks to deal with) so I'm willing to sit it out and buy the points until I get to where I want to step off.

Kinda like saving for retirement or to buy a house or car. There is an investment in money over time and ultimately you reach the goal.

Then we have folks who are late to the party and want the benefits without any sacrifice or effort. Uh - No.

Yeah, I'm 50. Got into the western hunting scene in 2017 and am more than happy to do the point thing so I don;t have to hunt a crowded unit.
 

Rich M

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you pretty much proved mine and other people’s point. You are 50 and are collecting points till you retire to get the hunt you want. If waiting that long is alright with you go ahead. As well as I am speaking purely on elk hunting on this part, I can find a antelope or mule deer tag every year I just can’t be picky about the state. But being that points system is expensive to play in to on top of buying tags it isn’t very feasible for me. Colorado is $100 per preference point, so I could easily spend hundreds each year with zero return. The points system makes no sense for me to play financially.
Yes, I'm willing to wait and don't feel like I have to go every year. Just got into this in 2017 and realized that I wasn't gonna try to do a lot with my age and the point thing. Did 0 point hunt in 2017 for antelope in WY and had fun, got 2. Did 0 point hunt in 2019 for muley in CO and got a nice 4x4 buck.

The CO fee change did change my mind regarding collecting points there. The cost should be considered an investment in your future hunt, not as tossing the $ to the wind.

I don't know if you are trying to do the multiple state thing like Randy Newburg pushes. You do realize that OnX, Randy Newberg, Meat Eater, Go Hunt, etc... are all making it tougher to get a permit? They are creating a demand and also in some cases telling people where to go. WY General ? is the "best one" and its all about a 180-inch+ buck - then some "influencer" says Unit ? is the place to be. 500-5000 guys apply, screw up the whole thing with "point creep". Go Hunt and the influencer guys are the primary reasons for point creep - add the increased population and we have a perfect storm...

The problem isn't folks like me collecting points for a handful of hunts in a lifetime. Think about where the demand is coming from and what you actually want.

The guys in my group - we're all old farts - want to go for antelope (any buck antelope - no inches) and we decided we're gonna get a couple 2-3 points and see what that will do for us. This year's creep will dictate what we do. I already know a unit from 2017 and can put all 3 of us on antelope but don't want to deal with the crowds. Hoping to get to hunt without a guy or group every 400 yards.

Then one of the guys wants to do mule deer again. So me and him are collecting points. Probably consider making a move once we hit 5-7 points. Again, not after inches, just a fun hunt with an old friend where we don't have people behind every tree.

After the antelope hunt goes down I'm gonna start collecting to have a better antelope hunt and will probably have 10 points to use when I retire. Will take my wife on a vacation and shoot an antelope (again, not after inches) somewhere near where we can fish a river for trout.

The whole idea of western hunting, to me is enjoying the experience a few times.

You have different reasons and rightfully so.

I just ask that you think about it and understand that while "they" say that hunter numbers are going down, the available private land to hunt on has shriveled up to make way for houses and shopping malls. It forces folks to do something if they want to hunt. Then we have the influencers and the pretty picture they paint, so yes folks want to go. Then Go Hunt tells em all where to go.

Points allow you to invest in some future hunts, the OTC hunts are going to be lost as time passes and demand increases. Either they will cap the license numbers or go quota as things get more crowded.

I've seen all this happen over the past 42 seasons of hunting. It will NEVER be better than it is right now.
 
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