An informed opinion on getting into sheep/goat draws?

TheWanderer

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So I just watched the mountain goat meat eater hunt and I've always kicked around the idea of "Would I like to do a sheep/goat someday?"

Because I could sure afford to go on more elk/deer hunts if I didn't plan on the $ for one.

But the question the show brought to my mind is has anyone done an analysis (maybe an accountant like Randy) about: Is getting into the draws worth it? Or if I'd just like to do one someday should I just save the money and go on a Canadian or Alaskan hunt?

There's got to be some break point of age at which you enter the draws and how many that you might have some expectation of when you'd draw and how much it will have cost by the time you draw. Compounded with the personal question of will you be able to do that hunt at the age you might draw.

Has anyone ever put some numbers to this?

TIA
 
Assuming some one has run the numbers and found a good strategy, they damage the strategy as soon as they share it for others to follow.

I have a strategy that I wish everyone else would take. Please stop applying for Bighorn ram tags in Montana. If hunters would follow that advice, I'd think my chances would improve.
 
If you feet are dry right now I would say your way better off putting the money towards a goat hunt in Canada or Alaska. Personally I do both, I try to draw tags even though it’s unlikely and then I save to go on hunts. If I could only afford to one… I would put all the money towards hunts rather then waiting for a tag that may never come.
Keep in mind that nothing is static so even if you ran the numbers there is nothing that prevents a state from pulling the rug out from underneath you after you have invested money and time into their draws.
 
Really depends on where you live.

I apply every year in Colorado, cause I have shot of drawing no matter how many weighted points I have and because it’s cheap for me to apply and accumulate points. Some units have incrementally better odds than others.

If you don’t live in a state with goat hunting it will likely be hard to justify the results of your cost benefit analysis with NR application and point costs, NR tag cost, and the abysmal chances of drawing.

I don’t apply in any other lower 48 states for MSG and likely never will unless I become a resident in one of them.
 
A hunting buddy and I began putting in for draws the same year. We both struck gold in ‘06 when he drew a Montana NR sheep tag and I drew a NR Idaho sheep tag. It’s only gotten more difficult since then.
If you’re already applying for other species in a state, might as well put in for goats and sheep.
 
If you just want to hunt one, save money and go hunt goat or sheep in Alaska. The lower 48 tags require that your goals be different (want to hunt all on your own, have a certain area in mind, certain species, etc) and accept the risk that your $ is likely to be gone without any return, ever.
 
sell drugs and buy your hunts.

Mountain Goat in BC or Kodiak
Dall Sheep in AK/NW Territories

Also sink money into raffle tags given out by state Wild Sheep Foundation Chapters, the odds are usually 5x as good as state draws.
 
Tough question to answer as everyone's situation is a bit different.

There's basically 2 camps of people with thoughts.

1. You'll never draw according to the odds and there's no use starting. Probably true, but between my Dad, Brother, and I we've drawn 2 Montana goat tags, 4 Montana moose tags, 3 Montana sheep tags (1 ram and 2 ewes on waiting periods or second choice). My Dad also drew Wyoming moose and I've drawn Wyoming moose and sheep. I've also drawn desert sheep in Arizona, muskox in AK and oryx in New Mexico. So, if you ask me if its been worth applying for the last 30 years??? Yes. Odd are lower now no doubt but every tag you don't apply for is one you're never going to draw.

2. Save money and hunt. This sounds great by theory but the question is...do you have the time, money, and patience to wait 10-15-20 years to accumulate the funds to do $35-50K hunts for sheep, goat, moose etc? Even if you accumulate the funds, are other "priorities" in those 15+ years going to take priority financially over an expensive hunt. IME, most people DO NOT have the fiscal responsibility it takes to build that kind of war chest for their own retirements, let alone hunting.

I'm sort of hedging and doing both 1 and 2. I'll say this, even when you have the amount of money saved for option 2, its really tough to "treat" yourself to hunts with the price tag of sheep. I can do it with lots and lots of room to spare, but coming from a very middle class background, I'm finding it difficult to part with that kind of money.
 
A factor that I did not appreciate until experiencing it was how much internal pressure comes with a hunt with a high price tag.

A year after getting married, before we started a family, my wife was agreeable to me going on a guided hunt in northern BC. My primary goal was to get a ram. The area was where Dalls and Stone merge.

Well, with each passing day of not seeing a ram, the pressure weighs on you. I never killed a ram. Passed on a big moose, to keep hard won elevation. Killed an average mountain goat and a better than average bull caribou.

It was a grand experience, but I've always felt a little chagrined that a ram was not to be.

When you put a lot of hard earned cash on the line, there is a pressure that comes with it. I have never felt the same pressure on diy hunts. I have been fortunate to have drawn three moose tags(cows), and another mountain goat tag over the years. The sheep tag has proven elusive, but I will keep trying for as long as I think I could do the tag justice.
 
It cost's about $75/year to apply for Sheep in WY. Best odds were about 1/300. $15 to apply in AZ if you do other species as well. Best odds were about the same as WY. Two raffle tickets for $100 isn't out of line.
 
I've got an AZ big horn sheep tag this year. It only took me about 25 years to get a tag and feel fortunate to draw one. I think it is a personal decision. I personally don't have a problem doing both.

There are other options too. Move to Alaska and go hunt goats and sheep as you want. Go get a tag every year and have a blast. If the drive is there you will find a way. If moving isn't an option then find a second job or side hustle. It wouldn't be that hard to make an addition al 10K+ a year to put towards the hunting fund.

I believe it costs me about 2K a year to put in for most of the western states (NM, NV, AZ, ID, MT, AK, UT) for Sheep and assorted hard to draw tags. So, I guess I could save the 2K a year and in 15 years go on a 30K hunt somewhere.

I could go on for hours about how people should get out of debt and save money so they can afford these types of hunts.....Think Dave Ramsey. Unfortunately most want to hunt today instead of saving and investing so they can do any hunt they want in the future.
 
"Would I like to do a sheep/goat someday?"
If you think outside the box, including being the trigger puller you open up a ton more possibilities.


Obviously, not everyone is going to have an AK resident buddy, but to the point there are probably a number of ways you can get yourself on a hunt.

Make friends on the forum, go with them on their hunt if they draw a tag. Have you and all your buddies apply and go with whoever draws... etc. I bet your odds of inviting yourself on someones hunt are actually decent... I mean if you are a fun person to be around, have good optics, and are willing to pack out their shit... who is going to say no to that

^ I don't for a second feel that I missed out on something not being the one who took the shot, YMMV
 
I have drawn three goat hunts, one bull moose and zero bighorn ram. I apply every year in all the states out West other than CA and AK which offer non-residents tags for sheep or moose or goat. I have applied for 30 years though only about 20 years ago expanded to chase all those states. I participate in every lottery for a sheep, goat, moose and bison tag that I trust is a legit drawing. I have a lot of points built up and applying the last 10 years has cost me a lot more than the first 20 years. I expect the next 10 will cost 2x as much as the past 10 years.

That said, these are the good old days. I rarely see things get easier or less expensive in life. So, you have three paths. First, live in or move to a state where as a resident the odds to draw a primo tag are around 100% during your remaining lifetime. Second, save up and buy a primo hunt knowing you need to save a lot more than the cost today for that hunt but knowing you are not playing a crappy series of games as a nonresident in the draws and you get to pick the when/where of your hunt. Third, do what I do and play a crappy series of games where have around 1 in 400 odds per primo drawing and can't plan the year of the hunt assuming I pull a tag.

As an old guy with a lot of hunts under my belt the goat and moose hunts were nice but my top three hunts for memories and feeling of accomplishment are a rut bull elk hunt in the wilderness using horses, a pre-rut mule deer hunt in the wilderness using horses and a pronghorn hunt on the open prairie where my wife tagged along to help glass. I have been told the hardest part of most sheep hunts is getting the tag. The goat hunts were the three most dangerous hunts of all my hunts. My moose hunt was mostly choosing a bull near a trailhead. My point is I want to go on a sheep hunt but doubt will become a top memory for me so I have to ask why I am still trying to get that tag and I can't rationally resolve the lure but is there.
 
If you think outside the box, including being the trigger puller you open up a ton more possibilities.


Obviously, not everyone is going to have an AK resident buddy, but to the point there are probably a number of ways you can get yourself on a hunt.

Make friends on the forum, go with them on their hunt if they draw a tag. Have you and all your buddies apply and go with whoever draws... etc. I bet your odds of inviting yourself on someones hunt are actually decent... I mean if you are a fun person to be around, have good optics, and are willing to pack out their shit... who is going to say no to that

^ I don't for a second feel that I missed out on something not being the one who took the shot, YMMV
I'm always looking for someone to pack beer into sheep camp.

I'm headed in to hunt goats this weekend, the tag holder is packing his own beer though.

@BuzzH nailed it, but I would also include the guys that got in near the ground level on the point systems in many states. They are decades ahead of the guy just getting in (and have better odds, if better is just perceived, 0.05% vs 0.5%), or live in states where odds for residents are much higher due to 90% or more of the tags going to them. Not to say that their chances are that much higher for a NR with lots of points over those without, but still its improved.

One thing to consider, is there is about 130+/- NR sheep tags (maybe) and 35-40 NR goat tags (maybe). I haven't looked in a few years and just going from memory. NV and WY offer half those NR sheep tags as I recall. MT for instance give out 9-10 sheep tags, but I believe the most goat, at 20ish. Points or no points, there are 10s of 1000s of people applying for those few tags.

If you add up all the licenses/point fees, applications, etc in every state that has sheep/goats that you can apply, its at least $2500 a year investment. You have to weigh your chance of drawing vs your chance of living until you can't hunt? You could just apply for a few states with small fees, but your odds of drawing are very low. Its a gamble that pays off for some. As mentioned above, for every guy that wins there are 1000 that didn't.

Seems like a no brainer to me, you could double the money you are paying a year in fees/apps, put in a fund and go hunt in 5-10 years. If you can afford $2000-2500 a year in fees/apps that you will never see again, you can afford $5k. I'd also toss in a chance or two at raffles and states with no PP like ID.

If you sock away $5k/yr and assuming inflation for sheep hunts remain at about 5%. A dall sheep hunt today is $20k, you'd be hunting sheep in 5-6 years. Highly doubtful you will draw a sheep tag in the L48 in that time, or even in 30 years. In 30 years with that kind of investment strategy, you could go on a number of sheep and goat hunts in 30 years, vs drawing. You can dream about drawing a tag or you can make it happen. Goats are about 1/2 the price right now, but going up every year as sheep hunts get more expensive.

No right or wrong answer. I think it really comes down to disposable income vs risk/reward. The guys that don't have a lot of prior are willing to accept the later.

Hope you can go on a hunt sometime in the near future.
 
Out of curiosity could you share years you drew and for your most recent how many points you had/years you had been applying?
AK, 2009, no points as non-resident, applied in AK for first and only time and just for goat, was to be a 2-person application but my brother bailed, no points but had outfitter/guide agreement in place if drew, economy had tanked so expected 1 in 20 odds as applied in Dec 2008 became 1 in 12 in the draw.
CO, 2014, 3 + 8 weighted points as non-resident so in 12th year of applying or maybe is 13th
MT, 2020, 16 points as a non-resident
 
I'm always looking for someone to pack beer into sheep camp.

I'm headed in to hunt goats this weekend, the tag holder is packing his own beer though.

@BuzzH nailed it, but I would also include the guys that got in near the ground level on the point systems in many states. They are decades ahead of the guy just getting in (and have better odds, if better is just perceived, 0.05% vs 0.5%), or live in states where odds for residents are much higher due to 90% or more of the tags going to them. Not to say that their chances are that much higher for a NR with lots of points over those without, but still its improved.

One thing to consider, is there is about 130+/- NR sheep tags (maybe) and 35-40 NR goat tags (maybe). I haven't looked in a few years and just going from memory. NV and WY offer half those NR sheep tags as I recall. MT for instance give out 9-10 sheep tags, but I believe the most goat, at 20ish. Points or no points, there are 10s of 1000s of people applying for those few tags.

If you add up all the licenses/point fees, applications, etc in every state that has sheep/goats that you can apply, its at least $2500 a year investment. You have to weigh your chance of drawing vs your chance of living until you can't hunt? You could just apply for a few states with small fees, but your odds of drawing are very low. Its a gamble that pays off for some. As mentioned above, for every guy that wins there are 1000 that didn't.

Seems like a no brainer to me, you could double the money you are paying a year in fees/apps, put in a fund and go hunt in 5-10 years. If you can afford $2000-2500 a year in fees/apps that you will never see again, you can afford $5k. I'd also toss in a chance or two at raffles and states with no PP like ID.

If you sock away $5k/yr and assuming inflation for sheep hunts remain at about 5%. A dall sheep hunt today is $20k, you'd be hunting sheep in 5-6 years. Highly doubtful you will draw a sheep tag in the L48 in that time, or even in 30 years. In 30 years with that kind of investment strategy, you could go on a number of sheep and goat hunts in 30 years, vs drawing. You can dream about drawing a tag or you can make it happen. Goats are about 1/2 the price right now, but going up every year as sheep hunts get more expensive.

No right or wrong answer. I think it really comes down to disposable income vs risk/reward. The guys that don't have a lot of prior are willing to accept the later.

Hope you can go on a hunt sometime in the near future.

Here is how I decided to add more and more states as I ramped up my sheep and goat applications as well as raffle participation:
Cost to apply for that species x years to draw then add in cost of tag.

If I am only applying for goat then is the entire cost of license/stamp/etc. If only for sheep then same. If sheep and goat in one state then I split the cost then add back in the application fee and credit card surcharge, if any. I do not lay off any of the cost if applying for other species such as elk since often the only reason applying is I had to front the license cost to get in the goat and/or sheep game in that state.

I then looked at the recent odds to draw that tag. Say was 1 in 120 for my level of points and residency type when look at recent stats for the tag in that unit. And, my cost was $100. 1 in 120 odds means I should expect to pay for the draw each of 120 years, on average, to draw that tag. $100 x 120 is $12,000 then add cost of tag now so another $750. For Idaho, they use an "if-then" draw process so need to look at the entire draw not just for one unit. Montana is similar as have a region cap but ID is the one that most distorts "odds" if look at where tags where drawn last year and think you have 1 in 6 odds to draw a goat in GMU 123-2 since non-residents got one tag and only six applied to that GMU. Nope, that GMU did not have a guaranteed non-resident tag and may not award one for another decade as overall state-wide cap closes most GMUs to non-residents after a small portion of non-resident applications are selected.

Okay, I then added raffles in the same manner. If for $100 I had 1 in 400 odds then that is a $40,000 tag.

Sort the results by lowest "drawn tag cost" first and then you have a way to decide if MT is a better value than NM and if the WA Lottery is better than the WA draw.
 
just depends on how you want to spend your money to go on a hunt or a chance to go on one.
 
Gastro Gnome - Eat Better Wherever

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