MT sheep app info

Big Fin

Staff member
Dec 27, 2000
Bozeman, MT
Well, I was going to wait and post this after the May 1 Montana moose/goat/sheep deadline, but I figured guys would then say, "Now you tell me."

As I have stated in other threads, I have an entire office that revolves around research to find enough tags to fill a 10-13 hunt schedule each fall. From that has come a pile of maps, articles, information, you name it. I subscribe to every service I think is helpful. A lot of them just take the same stuff you can get from G&F websites, put it in a chart format and call it "research." Some go so far as to recommend units, which is fine, but would have me competing with thousands of other readers. And some services seem to get the basic details wrong way too often.

I hope the Montana guys don't kick me for posting this. And those of you NRs who apply in MT and have actually dug deep into the true numbers, please understand that this forum is for helping people, so if it leaks a bit of information you have held close to your chest, I apologize.

Below is graphic from the research group you've seen here recently, This graphic is very similar to my spreadsheets that analyze the MT moose/goat/sheep drawing trends, just more visual. You need the Excel files if you want to look at this data in much greater detail than the PDF files in the regs, or the "simple odds" provided by research services. These two graphics do that for you.

This is the first time I have seen a service break out a few key units to this level of detail when talking about application strategies, and not just in Montana. INSIDER talks about how to analyze data, not how to take what a research service reprints. I can find all the historical draw data I need in the public domain. What helps me are ideas about how to analyze the data; specifically little things I might be overlooking. And that is why I subscribed when they first rolled out last fall.

Since the May1 deadline for MT sheep is fast approaching, I decided I should post this. It relates to the two most popular sheep units in MT, Unit 482 and 680. Every research service in the Universe tells residents and non-residents to apply in one of those units. With good reason. They grow huge rams and there is a lot of accessible ground to have a good hunt. The quality of rams in each unit is very close. Nobody I know would decline a tag in either unit, no matter how many sheep hunts they have been on.

If you are good with numbers, you will know why the charts below are a big help in your Montana sheep apps. Not a guarantee for a sheep tag, but by making the correct choice you can double/triple your already low odds, as compared to you if you fail to look at this information closely and you make the wrong choice.

I'm looking for a level of detail will show you why you should/should not apply for Unit 680, depending upon if you are a resident or non-resident. And if you are interested in hunting trophy rams, what you find applies in 680, the opposite will apply in Unit 482. If you look at the information in the Unit 680 chart below and you don't get some really important information, then math is not your strong suit.

Here is the graphic they have on their website.

Mt 680.jpg

I asked the guys at INSIDER if they had the same thing for Unit 482 that I could share with the Hunt Talk crowd. They sent me the following chart to post in this thread. The 482 chart is not really necessary, if you look at the Unit 680 chart and go to the MT FWP website and download the Excel file with the granular detail of drawing information. But since they provided it, here is the 482 graphic.

MT 482.jpg

I'm not going to tell all the details here. The math riddles are part of the fun of this research stuff. Suffice to say, if you take the above information and analyze that against the fact that MT uses a 10% REGION quota for M/G/S (not a 10% unit quota), you will realize where you should be applying based on your residency and your point level.

I have spent 20 years applying in all these western states. I have file cabinets of information. I have hard drives full of data. My desk top has links to every resource I think can help me draw tags. In the last six months of reading INSIDER, I have cringed a few times when I see them present some of this analysis strategy in a way that mirrors my own analysis. And is a level of information that the supposed research services do not provide.

A big part of my application strategy has been to take advantage of the fact that the research services do not have time/interest in getting into finer details that really show you trends, etc. When a research service provides an asterisk that says "these are simple odds" I smile, knowing others will follow that advice and it allows me to use a deeper detail that steers me away from what one would conclude using "simple odds."

Some will just take their chances and call it good. I get that. For me, I need to have every statistical advantage possible if I am to get 10-12 tags per year for the TV show. This different level of analysis that focuses on application strategies is far more valuable than the places that just copy and paste the "simple odds" from each state's website and tells their readers where they should apply. For some, that is a good starting place. Since I am one of those junkies who enjoys the analysis and I need/want that extra bit of information, the INSIDER is worth it to me.

This year I found some new tidbits in their ID analysis; info that I had overlooked in years past. It has caused me to change from applying for deer/elk/antelope as I had the past five years. I am now back in the moose draw, as I was for twelve years before giving up and going to the E/D/A pool.

I guess we will see if any of this helps me draw a tag in ID or MT this year. Odds in both states, for all species, are low. But it is nice to know that I am doing what I can to make my odds as good as possible.

If one of you draw a 680 or 482 tag, I hope you have a great hunt.
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