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Understanding the draw system

Hats off to you primitive-weapons deer hunters who braved the arctic blast to chase the whitetails. I was glad I was tagged out, and Taryn said she wasn’t about to go out and freeze when we have three deer and a bear in the freezer.
Without going into a lot of detail, for those of you not familiar with primitive weapons, this only allows the hunter to use a muzzle-loading rifle, using several forms of black powder with a cap, primer or flintlock ignition. Crossbows and standard archery equipment also are permitted. It does not, as one might assume from the word “primitive,” allow rocks, clubs and spears.
January and February are exciting times for those hunters planning where they would like to hunt this year. I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ve been asked many times, “How do I know where to hunt out west?” or “what is this draw system you talk about?” and “what are preference points?” So I thought I would spend a little time trying to at least give you the basics because it can get complicated.
First of all comes the Hunter Safety Course. Most states won’t even let you hunt unless you have this certification. First rule in hunting: safety, safety, safety. Then you need a hunting license. Most of these are simply state licenses allowing general hunting for small game, birds or fishing.
Then comes the tag system. This additional license is a limited allocation allowing the hunter to harvest a specific animal (deer, elk and such). Many also are specific as to method of harvest (rifle, bow). This allows the state to control how many animals in each specific area to be harvested to keep the herd, flock or population healthy.
Of course not everyone who gets a tag will be successful. This is where management really comes into play. Each one who has a tag is asked to report on where, when and what animal was harvested to compile an average success rate for each animal and region. This tells them what percentage of tags to sell beyond the targeted kill rate.
Some areas sell the tags “over the counter” if the number of animals to be harvested is greater than the number of hunters who typically hunt that area. Most of these are for general public hunting areas. But if the demand is greater than the number of tags allocated, then the state or region has a lottery or limited-draw system.
A lot of these limited-draw tags are specific to an area where better or trophy-quality animals are managed. Many hunters apply or “put in” for limited-draw tags in several states to improve their odds of drawing.
To help improve the hunter’s odds, some areas implement a preference-point system. If I apply but do not draw a tag on my first choice of an area I want to hunt, I receive a point. The next year my odds improve for drawing that tag. Some areas even add a bonus or loyalty point each five years to help you draw. Hunters who do not want to hunt that area this particular year can “buy a point” without fear of losing past points or missing a year.
Some areas are so popular that to draw a tag is truly the “hunt of a lifetime.” That’s why they call it a lottery.
Because the application process and draw management can be extremely complicated, I have a professional consultant company manage my applications each year. I have 12 points accumulated for elk in Wyoming and Arizona. I also have 12 points for mule deer in Arizona. Hopefully these will get us on some trophy animals in the coming years. We’ll keep you posted.
Don’t forget to bring your pets out of the frigid temps this winter. They will (as I do) thank you for it.
God Bless!

Published: January 12, 2018
New Article ID: 2018180119978