Perhaps push for more "Unlimited" Opportunities in our great state of Montana and even more people can go on one of these hunts. The best means to create more opportunity is not addition through subtraction, IMO, but rather to open more districts and to work with Private Land owners to increase access to allow for more tags to be distributed in areas that currently do not have active hunt units. At best, OIL hunts for Bighorn in Montana would improve odds from 0.395% to 0.454%. I would propose that we look at additional units where an "Unlimited" quota system could be applied, pulling far more applicants out of the current point pool than simply limiting all big three species to OIL status, all while providing more revenue for the state, more hunter interest in these species, and far more hunting opportunity for these same animals. Let's not make Sheep, Moose, and Goat hunts only for those that are extremely lucky or extremely rich.Congratulations on such a fantastic moose that you ended up getting! You certainly deserved him after all of the time and effort you put in. Exceptional respect shown for the animals, the property owners, and the land itself! You are the kind of person that any of us would be proud and lucky to share a hunt with.
In Montana I am trying to push us to get our bull moose, bighorn rams, and either sex mountain goat to be once in a lifetime. It's in legislation right now. So far so good! As you are fully aware there are only a very limited amount of tags for these amazing animals and the number of folks applying grows each year. In our state you can draw one of these special tags and after waiting 7 years you can start applying again. Seems like every year I know personally or hear of someone who just drew their second bull moose tag, or their third bighorn ram tag. True story I am friends with a fellow who has drawn and harvested 3 (THREE) bighorn rams in Montana! I'd like to see me or one of my friends or family have a chance at drawing one of these very special tags, or someone else and their people. I've applied 42 years in a row for a bighorn ram and a bull moose but have never drawn a tag. Here's some stats from the 2020 hunting season pulled directly from the Montana FWP web-site.
Mountain Goat: 19,680 applicants for 179 permits
Moose: 30,908 applicants for 341 permits
Bighorn Sheep: 31,855 applicants for 269 permits
Congratulations once more on a gorgeous animal. I'm a little partial now, but using your 30-06 for this hunt couldn't get any better either!
At best, OIL hunts for Bighorn in Montana would improve odds from 0.395% to 0.454%.
Amen! What I haven't seen quantified is how many hunters have drawn a second Big 3 tag. Is the bill going to solve for less than 1% of those hunting situations? Furthermore, the squaring of points almost already fully satisfies the desire of the bill by allowing more hunting opportunities for those who've never hunted a Big 3 species since they have more points. Having been incredibly blessed this last season, I can say that I wish more people could partake.....the reality is that I think they will with the current system. The best solution for more opportunity is through conservation not fixing an unbroken system. Increasing application fees would help on the conservation front as long as the fees don't put applying out of reach for the average Joe. That would be a bill worthy of our time......unless of course the number of 2nd chances is substantively high like say 5% or more of applicants. The actually numbers would tell the tale, more than "I know a guy who's killed 3 rams in Montana over span of 40 years"This is a 0.15% increase.
The important thing to note is that the math to get to this assumes that all people that have killed a big horn in the last 40 years are currently applying for them.
Then it assumes that the new legislation would remove them all from the applicant pool. It doesn’t.
It may not be retroactive either, (depending on which legislator you ask to interpret it) which means that it wouldn’t effectively begin taking anybody out of the draw until 2030, when successful 2022hunters come off their 7 year wait.
It’s a meaningless, feel good bill.
It’s also harmful to conservation efforts. It’s basic human nature to have an interest in things that may benefit us. The chance of hunting sheep again is probably at the root of a lot of the motivation for so many people that are involved in sheep conservation.
The best way to increase the odds of drawing a sheep tag in Montana is to put more sheep on the mountain, followed by making it not almost free to apply.