Western Hunting losing it's appeal

hntr

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Jul 24, 2020
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72
This thread is gonna start quite the controversy. I am from Missouri and have been hunting out west a few times. Colorado seems so over hunted on elk over the counter. Takes forever to draw a trophy unit or even a decent unit with good odds. I've been putting in for Wyoming elk for 10+ years and the with the point creep it looks like it will be over 15 before I can draw my desired unit. (My dad and his buddies uses to hunt it every other year). Wyoming keeps limiting non resident tags. Most other states are lotteries and who knows when you will draw there. Seems like to me I'm almost wasting money putting in for draws. To me western hunting has turned into a rich man/patient man's game and losing it's appeal. Makes a Midwesterner think I am better off saving up for outfitter tags, hunt Alaska, and just take trips whitetail hunting and upland bird. I know some people will tell me to stop crying, etc. I'm just stating the facts we all pay taxes for this land and us non residents are getting absolutely shafted.
 

Trial153

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Oct 28, 2014
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NY
This is all part of the reality of situation and I think somewhat by design.
The harder it get to have predictable tag allocations the more pushes you will see for "solutions" that are free market based. Transferable LO tags, more auction tags and outfitter allocations. Naturally every state will he different however the overall trend will be towards those ends. And you will see a segment of hunters jump on board with it for both selfish and ideological reasons.
 

wmr89

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Feb 26, 2020
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Utah
You pay taxes for the land and you are welcome to go to any state you want and use that federal land for camping, hiking, etc. But wildlife is state managed, so if you want to go to a state and hunt their wildlife you need to jump through their hoops.

I agree with your analysis though, point creep and draw odds are getting ridiculous. You are probably better off saving and buying landowner tags and outfitter tags in some areas. Especially since, for you, it will mean a pretty decent trip to get out west anyway. I will probably start saving for those types of hunts and tags before I start applying for other western states.

On the other hand, if it is really important to you, there is still opportunity to hunt every year in the west. The units may not be trophy units and the hunts may have higher pressure but there are options for hunts that can happen every year and every 4-6 years while you build points for that once in a lifetime hunt.

But if it isn't important to hunt every year, it wouldn't take too long to save for a nice landowner tag instead of buying an Idaho or Colorado tag every year. The popularity of western hunting is on the rise and for many people they are willing to wait or pay what it takes to hunt every year, even if the hunting isn't all that great.
 

COSA

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Apr 29, 2012
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208
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Montana
In agreement. Used to apply for most states and species, but have dropped out of most. Declining trophy potential/Odds, competing against gang hunting when you do draw, and rising prices.
Went to Africa in 2019, that's where I'll be taking the money I save on applications every few years - much better value.
 

Ratbeetle

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Jul 20, 2018
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887
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Colorado
Honestly, I don't know why nonresidents even bother as you really do get shafted. If I hadn't moved out west, I would just continue hunting whitetails and save up for DIY and guided hunts in AK.

With a few exceptions, DIY lower 48 nonresident western hunting just doesn't seem worth it in my opinion.
 

rob86jeep

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Dec 19, 2017
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540
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Colorado
People always seem to complain about low hunter recruitment, too much hunting pressure on OTC tags, too low of draw odds on better units, point creep, and increased tag cost. The problem is all these things compete with each other. You can't make a change to one without affecting the others (and usually in a negative way).

I've hunted OTC elk in Colorado twice while having success both years and come across very few people while hunting (and this is in one of the most crowded units in CO). One year was a back country hunt and the other was road hunting (day hunting within 2 miles of the road). One was also as a NR and the other as a resident. I'll continue to hunt CO off and on for the rest of my hunting time.

I feel like people are going to complain no matter what changes are made because people just like to complain.
 
OP
H

hntr

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Jul 24, 2020
Messages
72
Im in Colorado and I am over the hunting here. In fact, I am about done with hunting period.
We went OTC elk Archery this last year, last week of september, with my cousin that lives in Colorado. 80 degrees almost everyday. We hunted 3 different units. Me and my buddy never saw an elk. My cousin saw a few. We hunted hard too. 3 years ago we rifled hunted and it was an atv circus. Saw some elk, seemed like the atv boys scared them out everytime we located them. I know archery hunters in CO that used to be die hard and now have no desire to go.
 

mulecreek

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Oct 7, 2016
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Wyoming
Western trophy hunting definitely requires patience, depending on what units you are applying for. Anyone that thinks hunting trophy units should or would be a consistent, secure thing just has not ever done the math. Those that just want to come hunt in the west and are not hung up on hunting only trophy units can have consistent opportunities particularly if they are willing to apply in multiple states for multiple species. That does get expensive but it is expensive for everyone. I live in Wyoming, have for 23 years with a couple year break in the middle. I have drawn a total of 1 LQ bull elk tag for what would be considered a trophy unit. I have drawn a total of 7 antelope tags in that time. I have drawn a total of 3 LQ buck tags for what would be considered a trophy unit. In the years I didn't draw a LQ elk or deer tag I have hunted gen units and RP cow tags. In that same 23 years you could have reasonably done the same. Far too many think that every res hunter is hunting 102 deer and 124 elk multiple times. This is not the case. We wait our turn just like everyone else and in the mean time we take advantage of other areas, tags, species and states. Just like everyone else.

I will agree that it is expensive to hunt out of state. Its expensive for me as well. Turning into a rich mans game? Not to me, but everyone's definition of rich is different. Given the amount of needless crap that the average US citizen buys in a year, dumping a couple thousand $ on tags and an out of state hunt seems par for the course to me.
 

dieselchessy

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Apr 21, 2015
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283
With elk tag prices around $1000 now it just means I pull back and consolidate to just a state or two.
It really puts a damper on group hunts and hunting with family.

There are lots of folks who can afford it, so it will continue no doubt.

Rising prices and declining tags and quality. It’s the way it’s been for my entire life. You pay more and get less.
 

Ralphie

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Feb 18, 2019
Messages
111
The OP could have had some killer hunts in Wyoming with his points already. I get that he wants a certain unit. We all do.

As far as paying taxes on land and then not getting to hunt...ok since I pay all the taxes on my land I’ll write my own hunting regs and issue myself any tags I want for hunting on my land.
 

CorbLand

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Mar 16, 2016
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2,236
Do I think that most NR get the shaft from states? Yes. Do I think that states owe NR anything? Nope.

You may pay taxes to manage land the animals reside on and you can come see it any time you want but the wildlife is managed by the state and if you aren't a resident of that state they owe you nothing.

Most western states are not lottery draw, its the other way around. There are only two that are a complete lottery draw.

Demand for tags and increasing population will make it harder and harder to get tags. The state I live in is seeing record number of license sales. Hunter participation is not declining in most western states.

Points are sham and there are 10 threads regarding systems and what can be done to fix them. You can read my opinions in those.

Overall, its the world we live in and I would encourage you to advocate for what ever you believe in. If its not worth it to you, then don't hunt or hunt other places. If you want to hunt, until it changes, its the cards we are dealt and we have to play them.
 

wapitibob

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Feb 24, 2012
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Bend Oregon
The OP could have had some killer hunts in Wyoming with his points already. I get that he wants a certain unit. We all do.

The op could have hunted Elk several times while still building points.

If a NR wants to hunt Elk in WY and isn't, it's their own fault. They may not all have antlers but if you want to hunt the opportunity is there.
 

BluMtn

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Nov 24, 2016
Messages
788
Location
Washington
I am a Washington resident and have been waiting for 21 years to draw a branched antler tag in my area. What burns me is I run into fellow hunters that are on their 2, 3, or now their 4th branched antler tag. And the wolves have just about decimated the elk populations. I figure by the time I draw a tag I will hopefully be able to shoot a spike bull which I can do now do if you ever find one.

Also as an out of state you have to buy your license and tags, then submit your applications for draw hunts. So you are out about $750 to apply out of state without a refund.
 
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