I just heard some bad news. I didn’t draw two of the premier tags I was hoping to snag for this coming hunting season. Most whitetail hunters have high odds—if not downright guarantees—of getting a tag, but even some of those coveted tags are getting harder to land than a 787 Dreamliner with smoke-choked cockpit.
If you’ve applied for a limited-draw permit and didn’t score, you’re probably scrambling to find another hunt. Here are some ideas that might help you turn a questionable season into an exciting trophy pursuit.
Dig into leftovers. Did you see the video I posted recently? It talks about leftover licenses, and now’s the time to begin snooping for them. States oftentimes don’t sell all of their deer tags for particular units and some states have over-the-counter sales. Some of these are doe or cow tags, but buck and bull tags are scattered within the units. Stop wasting time on YouTube and start snooping for your next hunt via leftover tags.
Shop online for outfitter deals. This is the time of year when outfitters begin having more sales than Sears. They know most hunters book hunts in winter and spring. By summer, any openings they have could go unsold unless they reduce the price and book fast. Peruse your favorite outfitters’ websites, check out OutfittersRating.com for a reliable listing of trusted outfitters, or research an area you’ve always wanted to hunt. You might find the deal of a lifetime.
Purchase a preference or bonus point. Even if you didn’t draw that premier tag, don’t forget to purchase a preference or bonus point. This action gives you higher odds in the future to draw a preferred tag, and although it might take several years, this increase in odds almost guarantees success in some units. In my home state of Wyoming, you can purchase preference points through the summer months without applying for the license.
Switch species or seasons. Sure, you had your heart on a bighorn sheep tag, but maybe you should consider another species to enjoy a hunting adventure this fall. Sheep, elk and mule deer are tough tags to draw but, even if you don’t snag a Wonka golden ticket (my favorite cliché), you still have options. First, you can pick up numerous archery tags over the counter across the country. Check your state and check the state next door. Next, look at a different species. Whitetails are the bread and butter of America, and I guarantee that if you look around you can find a hunt somewhere. If you want to go West, but didn’t draw an elk tag, look at pronghorn. While you’re out there, search for a fresh elk unit and study the land.
What am I going to do? I’m using my horses during the next month to scout some new elk country, and I’m picking up a leftover tag for pronghorn because I didn’t draw my top choice. Neither option is ideal, but I’ll still be hunting … and that’s better than sitting home and watching me on TV any day of the week!