"Pulling the Rug Out" - Preference/Bonus Point Systems

Nameless Range

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This weekend I enjoyed listening to the most recent Hunt Talk Podcast with Randy and Matthew. In that podcast, bonus/preference point creep was discussed, and how it is a part of hunting the west and likely will be forever. Randy mentioned how Montana once "pulled the rug out" from under folks and ended a preference point system - an act some folks are still bitter about.

It got me thinking. If we were to end point systems, how would it be done? What would be the most fair way forward? Though I would love it, I know that it is unlikely and for some is undesirable, so this is just for the sake of discussion. I am a dummy and haven't given it a bunch of thought, so please don't feel I am advocating for any of the following ideas, but these were a few ways of "pulling the rug out" I thought about:

*These ideas are for bonus points in Montana, not preference points.*



-Remove points from the draw system entirely. Refund point holders the amount they paid for the points. Go to a system where everyone has one name in the hat.

-Discontinue the ability to purchase points, but allow those who have them to hold them and continue to have better chances according to their points in the draws until the point holders are dead

-Discontinue the ability to purchase points, and introduce a "point decay curve", whereas points will be reduced from individuals at the same rate they were purchased, so going forward in time the same amount of years points have been available (18?), by that many years in the future no points would exist and everyone's chances would be even.

-Discontinue the ability to purchase points, but have two seperate draw groups that would exist figuratively - one having the amount of tags in any given unit likely to be drawn by those with no points, and one having the amount of tags likely to be drawn by the amount of people with points. The latter pool would eventually shrink, until more tags and people were in the former due to the statistical likelihood of people within it having a chance at the tags. Once the no-point-pool folks were statistically more likely to draw better than half the tags, the point-holding-pool and the people within it would have their points erased and everyone would have no points and just be in the no-point-pool. I'm aware this is somewhat arbitrary and a statistician would likely have good reasons why it is stupid.


Anyone have any other ideas?
 
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MN_Bowhunter4

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I was listening to this part on the way to work this morning. I'm not an adult onset hunter, but am certainly new to the points game in western states. No input from me, but curious where this discussion goes.
 

noharleyyet

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Refund point holders the amount they paid for the points.
Revenue schemes are just that...the money vanishes & the states need more so they move the goalposts & jack NR. You could raise R rates...but crickets.
 

wllm1313

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I would assume that you would want to get rid of the system quickly maybe with 5 years? So maybe take the max number of bonus points, say 30 for a given species, square them so 900 and then multiple them by 6 (30 points, divide by the five year time period) so 5400. Don't allow anyone to buy any more points.

Essentially give everyone with skin in the game a gigantic advantage for 5 years and then pull the plug. I don't think there is any way to refund people for points, and it isn't possible to let everyone in the system draw so I think you just need to toss a bone to people who have played the game for years and then pull the plug.
 

Mallardsx2

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Give people all of their money back and end it if thats what they want to do..I could use that check right now. lol

Unfortunately that money is spend and gone. Nobody really and truly knows where though. lol
 

JTHOMP

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-Discontinue the ability to purchase points, but have two seperate draw groups that would exist figuratively - one having the amount of tags in any given unit likely to be drawn by those with no points, and one having the amount of tags likely to be drawn by the amount of people with points. The latter pool would eventually shrink, until more tags and people were in the former due to the statistical likelihood of people within it having a chance at the tags. Once the no-point-pool folks were statistically more likely to draw better than half the tags, the point-holding-pool and the people within it would have their points erased and everyone would have no points and just be in the no-point-pool. I'm aware this is somewhat arbitrary and a statistician would likely have good reasons why it is stupid.
From one dummy to another this sounds like the best bet. Although I don't feel I know enough to speak about phasing out Montana bonus points vs preferrence points.... Phase out the points with two separate pools with the number of tags issued to the random no point gradually increasing. Seems logical and fair.

Devil's advocate view, but I think it may alter or prolong that phase out option of the no point pool becoming statistically greater. At least for highly coveted species and units, how many other people would see an open door in the random draw and then flood the market? Personally I have no desire to one day try to get a tag for those species partially because of the years of investment and uncertainty. How many others are currently on the sidelines with similar thoughts would jump in and flood the draw pool?
 

twsnow18

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In a perfect world, yeah, just ditch all the point systems.

I can't even begin to explain how thankful I am for Idaho's random draw. It's not perfect, but it's the closest thing to fair.

I also understand how difficult it would be to abruptly end a point system. I honestly can't think of a fair way for a state like UT to end its point system and go to a random draw. If I had max points in some of those states, I'd be furious. Thousands of dollars invested, etc.

wllm1313's idea is probably the best I've heard thus far.
 

BrentD

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Did not New Mexico end their point system? I believe they used to have a point system of some sort, but maybe I am mistaken.
 

schmalts

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Refunding point money... LOL, never going to happen. Pulling the point system is probably unlikely as well as it has become too good of a revenue stream. I can say this, hunters need to do some better research unless they are wealthy and don't care about spending money with next to zero return. WY moose is a perfect example and was discussed before. Unless you have more than 14 points you will likely be an old man by the time you draw because with point creep, and tag numbers dropping you better hope to be one of the very few that pull the random draw tags. I bailed with 13 points after I did the math. I had thousands of hunters with more points than me for a hunt than only gives out very few tags. I am pissed at myself for not doing the research earlier. Montana Moose for a NR is better odds, but not not great by any mean because you have to do more math as reading the odds report is tricky as they do not separate R and NR in the odds report. You need to look at the odds and then factor in the 10% max VS the ratio of NR or res. . Do your research, you may be better buying a hunt north of the border for some hunts with the way point prices keep climbing. I was serious when I said you had better odds taking your point fee for WY moose and betting on a roulette table in Vegas and buying an Alaskan or Yukon hunt if your number hits. But by all means if you have the cash and feel it is great for funding the F&G feel free to do so. The trend is that point fees are going up and draw odds are going down with it. When I first started applying for tags I could have done a drop camp moose hunt for cheap. Go figure.
 
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ClearCreek

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Did you get your sheep, or just pull out? What did the 23 pts cost you, not including lost interest on that money?
Applied and drew a license, was successful. I am a Wyoming resident so the points did not cost all that much, maybe a couple hundred bucks total. I just bought a point each year, did not apply for a license until 2018.

ClearCreek
 

BuzzH

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Its not just points that have increased in price, but so have the cost of "just saving and doing hunts".

In 1995, I paid $4750 to hunt a white sheep in Alaska and took a B&C awards book ram. Could have added a goat for $1200. That same year, I could have booked a Stone Sheep for $6000.

Anyone looked at the price for Stone and Dall hunts lately?

I'm going to continue to apply for the species I really want to hunt as long as there is ANY chance of drawing....I've snagged some great tags from the random part of deer, elk, and sheep allocations.

Every single year lots of hunters draw random tags for some awesome hunts. My theory is that if you apply for all you can, as often as you can, you're going to draw every once in a while.

I can say for 100% certainty that I would have never shelled out the 50K it would take to "just go hunt desert sheep". But, I have bought an Arizona hunting license and applied for the available random tags...and I drew. I will apply for Arizona until I'm either dead or cant hunt anymore...and I'll never, ever spend enough in application fees and licenses for what it would cost me to pay for a desert sheep hunt.

To each their own, but I'm staying the course in all the States I have points in and applying smartly.
 

WapitiBob

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If the cost is worth the potential reward it's certainly worth staying in. I have no interest in Sheep but for that same $150 I buy the license and Elk app in OR, UT, and AZ combined. Different species but essentially the same risk/reward, hoping for a random tag in a cpl of those states.
 
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schmalts

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If the cost is worth the potential reward it's certainly worth staying in. I have no interest in Sheep but for that same $150 I buy the license and Elk app in OR, UT, and AZ. Different species but essentially the same risk/reward, hoping for a random tag in a cpl of those states.
Exactly, but guys really need to dig in to get the real odds to estimate the rewards, as I am convinced that those odds are not easy to get for a reason in some states. I just don't want to see guys who are barely making ends meet buy points thinking the odds are better than they are. Most noobs have little concept of point creep.
 

WapitiBob

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It’s not that difficult, people just don't do the work. Most western states draw databases are public information which may be more info than needed but a phone call or two will get you the apps per point level for just about anywhere.
 
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