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The future of Preference Points

Mighty Mouse

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Feb 16, 2022
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This is inaccurate. Maybe not with "the system", but by the way the system is marketed to applicants. The idea of a random/bonus point/ etc system is that you have a chance every year to draw a tag, the points weight the odds to reward loyalty.

Preference point systems are marketed as, you forgo any chance at drawing a tag until some point where you have a guaranteed chance, the problem is if you never have a chance. Preference points systems are great if you get in early, because you guarantee your tag by forcing everyone else to forgo any chance at a tag for decades.
Colorado implemented preference points before I was born, so I don't know how the system was originally "marketed" to hunters; if claims were made of "guaranteed" tags, then yes, that was misleading. The only guarantee in a preference point system is that higher point holders are given preference over lower point holders.

Regardless of how the system was originally marketed, no one now or in any recent timeframe has any good excuse for believing that preference points will guarantee them a tag. All the data needed to make a reasonable prediction about when you will draw a tag is readily available (speaking of Colorado in particular, I'm not as familiar with other preference point states' data availability). Points needed to draw in the most recent year is a known quantity and creep rate can estimated from previous draw reports, which allows you to estimate when you should be able to draw any given tag. Being unhappy with the estimated years required doesn't mean the system is broken or somehow unfair.

The goal of a point system should be to facilitate a more predictable and equitable distribution of tags than a random lottery. Both systems are equally "fair" in that everyone is playing by the same rules, but a random draw does allow for a wider, more disparate range of outcomes than point-based systems. A preference point system enforces an orderly and (to a degree) predictable distribution. Bonus point and hybrid systems fall somewhere in between.

My point is that you like preference points because it works, for you, because you are one of those less than 5 year applicants.

If you started chasing a premium unit you'd be pissed as you realized you never actually had a chance... kinda by design.
I wouldn't be upset because I wouldn't start chasing a tag that I never had a chance at in the first place. All the data needed to estimate realistic chances of drawing a particular tag is readily available. I do apply for some premium tags in other states, just not in Colorado where I know I have zero chance (due to my chosen strategy). I wish those other states also had preference point systems.
 

VikingsGuy

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The cost of public lands is separate from the management of wildlife. Like it or not, the Federal Gov't does not manage hunting. We're talking about the allocation of that state-managed resource, not the public lands it takes to maintain them.
An artificial separation by choice/lazy-history - a choice that could change with the flick of a pen. (just like corner crossing)
 

VikingsGuy

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Until the pen is flicked, we abide by the rules sir.

This is not 'Nam.
This demonstrates the limitations of our "like icon palette". Do I give you a thumbs up for the first sentence, a Wow for the second, or a HaHa for the overall contribution? Left with no clear option I settled on an unnecessary clarifying post ;)
 

Jdp010

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Joined
Mar 20, 2015
Messages
71
I think the most hilarious case of this in all of hunting is CO bear hunting.

There is 1 unit in the state that takes more than 3 points.

That unit has 1 tag for NR.

In 2020 there were 847 people with more than 3 points, ostensibly hoping to draw that tag.

847 for 1 tag in a pure preference point system. 🤦‍♂️

No one with 2 brain cells should buy NR bear points in CO (above like 3)

I profess to have about 3 brain cells and every year I buy $9 NR bear points ostensibly waiting for a unit 851 tag. I've never even thought twice about actually hunting a bear but I throw 851 on my app every year despite being a few points behind max. Technically, I could get lucky and get called with a last minute return.

You have to play the game the way the agencies design it.

Any of the following could happen and make my $9 (times X years) look like a reasonable investment
1. I could unexpectedly retire/move to Colorado
2. I get even with years of CPW discrimination by establishing 1-1.5 year RV park residence in Colorado and "rent out" my current home to my kids or on VRBO.
3. # of tags increase and CPW allows point averaging for groups,
4. CPW reinstates point banking and I hunt a 3 point unit, X years in a row (actually being discussed)
5. To extinguish points, CPW decides that points can now be pooled across all species (then squared?). Then, I use my bear points for elk.

I am buying bear points as cheap insurance against odd agency decision-making. And if none of the above ever happens, it was a $9 donation to CPW. After being used to settle CPW racial discrimination lawsuits, some very small portion of that $9 benefits wildlife (I hope).

Some of the honest states have shut down point buying when no tags currently exist. Other times, they let guys buy points - and that seems odd to many. If cheap, I buy those points. You can only analyze later under the "new rules" whether that was an intelligent move.
 

VikingsGuy

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Until the pen is flicked, we abide by the rules sir.

This is not 'Nam.
OK - so weak attempt at humor did not amuse. How about a serious answer? When arguing for change to a failing system, it is appropriate for the advocate to point out the fragile underpinnings of that failing system.
 

Ben Lamb

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OK - so weak attempt at humor did not amuse. How about a serious answer? When arguing for change to a failing system, it is appropriate for the advocate to point out the fragile underpinnings of that failing system.
LzEWIideITFHbgcFQp3OcP6zbejJjNhpf1W80jCCdUFze7d0D-w3sVATP8vDbchv0ftrVjmm_sopUw_BEyqscPb4-uNrhDg3rOQAcz5r0Jh3D1MH2xsKuHLQPH0c0hB7aKecJCrFCNC1Go0-eoK5QA4mgNQSKCz4wvjF1j8y9oOLtyrS7SdoPiY2TcMDTxU3z0QgCgDq4_GW_4tPtJ7x4HlLxsehdUYZHZ_vW-ptCfd_KvDV_WL0bmlhKPDAFrkzwD2Aav__ZIiJi1ELbE5vrIckSsf0AQutBMIGhdB5TihbfvvokW2qjLcYTmOZXi4MwhS_h0TVBvx9VRf8FAPBPD70uASGt-IFubSW47zGVhP_vQ9_ERhK8m0qC2B_veDOZFsjHOa5Dz_AD2wwMO2ZZvDKVw_3-6pJb8WCFuCsia1PxS__nP7jUtQZFSy6FGmMwJJVKXGp0h95fES2ck-mr2c7BUi4CnRpMNI04Dx6KG26XfM2JOQC1Dce6Zofl3du-0Ykow4MYZzH0_QgAUDmcUFVwgBAPZ_eQcxCAoVrsGaszi3SbO5uDJ1O0amHmQaoNmwI9BnG0KvMjwAayNzjfEXJAG5T7waPxMDbRNRpEGtnowLGNzLJCUILrP7_H6M30jgFmV_NtMZTM9z6rwIQh8BMtNDST_NaPQHg2SWYJBMIzuY4ZsoLacRM0XtP5hhuRArCZsS7-Ode2JBatUnm94w3ZJrEa0QMjicGoKXhj2-uZtXkq8rm4Twr3sd5=w551-h741-no
 

Hilljackoutlaw

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ID has the worse NR system imaginable.

Take a day off work, get in an online que that will crash, will kick you out, and when and if you get a low enough random number you then get to see what tags are actually available you may have just wasted an entire day because there aren't actually any elk tags left.

but the rest of it is good. I love the apply for M or G or Sh or D/e
Oh yea I agree with that. The "OTC" system now is a pain in the ballsack!! I have a buddy I grew up with in PA that comes and hunts with me every year and could just get his tag when he arrived and we would go hunt just a few years ago. Now I give him a list of units to choose from so he knows what to pick when he gets thru the que. It screws me royally...I would just like to hunt the frank every year but I'm a loyal and good hunting partner and will suffer thru whatever unit he can get now. Haha

I was just referring to the random draw instead of the points system.
 

Firedude

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Sep 2, 2015
Messages
299
Here is a chart from toprut showing a weighted point system (colorado) versus bonus points, bonus squared.

I added in the red line to show your odds if it was a straight lottery.


Not the limitation here is it's not showing your odds over time, it's showing your odds if you had that many points in that specific year.

As well all know there is an increasing number of applicants.

So this particular unit might have had 44 tags for 1000 applicants, but next year it might have 44 tags for 1400 applicants then 44 tags for 1650 applicants and so forth. So these are actually peak odds, with them diminishing from this point each year.

Today someone with 16pts might have 25.8% odds but in 20 years those odds might be 5% for 16pts and random odds would be .9%

The caveat is that proportionally fewer people are likely to jump into a long odd lottery than they are a point scheme... which is why they exist.

Would you apply for a 4.4% odd draw for 16 years or would you rather apply for 16 years knowing at the end your odds will be 25.8%.

Most folks it's the latter, which then turns it into a bait in switch because by the time you get to year 16 so many people have entered the draw that the odds are far worse.

Meanwhile if you had stayed with the lottery, fewer people will have jumped in and your odds might have only declined to 2 or 3%.
View attachment 227769
So that's pretty good information. But let me throw a wrench in your work just to get you thinking. Keep an open mind for a minute. Please feel free to add input. When people use random odds they think of it like 10 people 1 tag. Odds are 1 in 10. 100 people 10 tags same, 1 in 10 right?

So if you think of random draws as a giant hamster wheel full of ping pong balls. Let's say 100. And we are drawing 10. (Just keeping numbers simple.) We draw 1 ball...
His odds where 1 in 10 or 10%. (1 in 100 but 10 spins around remaining) easy.

Now we draw ball number 2. His odds were.... 1 in 11 or 9%. (1 in 99 with 9 spins to go.

Ball 3. 1 in 12.3 or 8.1%.

Wait.... it keeps getting lower.

That's how random draws work. You end with an average odds just shy of double against you compared to what most people think. 1 in 19. Which is why when you run out actual random draws in a ball pulling experiment until you've drawn everybody. At 20 years the curve almost zeros. You've pulled almost every ball after 20 years of draws. But never everyone. Some guys draw 2 or 3 times and other numbers NEVER get pulled. So your lotto line should be about 2.4 percent. Random draws are not what they are sold as either.

When I get a day off I'll graph the probabilities a little better so you can see what I mean by curves. It will take a day to do, draw, photo, and explain the process.
 
Last edited:

matechakeric

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Dec 15, 2020
Messages
382
I had 1 PP in WY and I drew purely from that 25% random draw this year for general elk that folks with 2 and 3 points didn't draw. I think I'm done accumulating points and just applying annually for that random draw to call my number.

I'm never going to build up 10+ points for some of the better limited draw tags in WY. I'll take a general tag and find happiness there instead
 

Nameless Range

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Western Montana
Counter point: No preference or bonus points at all. Have a real democratic allocation of the resource: 1 application - 1 chance. No more buying your way to the front of the line, etc.

Just a straight up random draw for everything. Resident/NR split still remains negotiable within the wide range of 90/10.

When we assume that demand will increase, and it will, and opportunity in most places will not, and even if it were to increase, it will not increase commensurate with demand, is there any other realistic option over 10,20, or 30 year timespans?

You got my vote.
 

Stocker

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I had 1 PP in WY and I drew purely from that 25% random draw this year for general elk that folks with 2 and 3 points didn't draw. I think I'm done accumulating points and just applying annually for that random draw to call my number.

I'm never going to build up 10+ points for some of the better limited draw tags in WY. I'll take a general tag and find happiness there instead
Gee, thanks for rubbing salt in that wound. You wanna come by my place and kick my dog later? 53E87C2D-1926-4BE8-9FFC-D7C71E4AA49C.gif
 

BrentD

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Feb 3, 2018
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The cost of public lands is separate from the management of wildlife. Like it or not, the Federal Gov't does not manage hunting...
Explain this. I beg to differ. The state does not do controlled burns or other fire management, does not make timber sales, does not determine which timber or vegetation species will be planted or encouraged, does not control invasives, does not manage the riparian habitats, does not create water tanks, does not issue grazing permits, and so on and so forth - on Federal lands. I don't think the state does much for things like trail management and perhaps not even trail head management, but could be wrong about that. Is this not how real, pragmatic management happens? The state gets to step in and determine what proportion of the species gets to be shot, but the feds seem to be managers, pragmatically (and fiscally) speaking.

It would be sort of interesting to compare "elk-use days" on federal and state lands, for instance.

I think @wllm 's graph needs a little peer review. It ignores the other, absolutely critical, third dimension - time. And a few other details might be a bit misleading.

Bonus points, bonus squared, weighted preference, etc will not make any significant changes.
 

Mighty Mouse

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Joined
Feb 16, 2022
Messages
49
So that's pretty good information. But let me throw a wrench in your work just to get you thinking. Keep an open mind for a minute. Please feel free to add input. When people use random odds they think of it like 10 people 1 tag. Odds are 1 in 10. 100 people 10 tags same, 1 in 10 right?

So if you think of random draws as a giant hamster wheel full of ping pong balls. Let's say 100. And we are drawing 10. (Just keeping numbers simple.) We draw 1 ball...
His odds where 1 in 10 or 10%. (1 in 100 but 10 spins around remaining) easy.

Now we draw ball number 2. His odds were.... 1 in 11 or 9%. (1 in 99 with 9 spins to go.

Ball 3. 1 in 12.3 or 8.1%.

Wait.... it keeps getting lower.

That's how random draws work. You end with an average odds just shy of double against you compared to what most people think. 1 in 19. Which is why when you run out actual random draws in a ball pulling experiment until you've drawn everybody. At 20 years the curve almost zeros. You've pulled almost every ball after 20 years of draws. But never everyone. Some guys draw 2 or 3 times and other numbers NEVER get pulled. So your lotto line should be about 2.4 percent. Random draws are not what they are sold as either.

When I get a day off I'll graph the probabilities a little better so you can see what I mean by curves. It will take a day to do, draw, photo, and explain the process.
The formula for cumulative probability ("P") of one occurrence of a result with individual probability ("p") over a given number of attempts ("n") is: P = 1–(1–p)^n

Below is a cumulative probability curve for one occurrence of an event with 10% individual probability.
Screenshot_20210418-083649.png

This may be the same point you're already making and I just wasn't following.
 

Bullshot

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I have a bunch of points accumulating in several states. Some will do me no good. I expect some will truly save the day and get me an otherwise out of reach tag. But I also point out to all my melancholy cohorts of the nonresident high-point LE draw life, that, starting TODAY, if I wanted to hunt antelope, deer, black bear, or elk -with no points- for THIS fall…. I still could get one, two, three, four, or ALL of those tags. Tough times indeed!
 

Stocker

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sorry man. haha
It’s ok. I think I have like a 4% chance to draw a Nebraska elk tag this year so I’m planning on that. Even though the past 2 years members of my wife’s family have drawn with 0. If it happens this year I’m starting a full scale riot in Lincoln. Keep an eye on the news because I should know tomorrow. If you see a shirtless, 7/8 boozed up guy threatening a police horse with a broken Pendleton bottle you can say you’ve spoken to me on the internet.
 

Firedude

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Messages
299
The formula for cumulative probability ("P") of one occurrence of a result with individual probability ("p") over a given number of attempts ("n") is: P = 1–(1–p)^n

Below is a cumulative probability curve for one occurrence of an event with 10% individual probability.
View attachment 227798

This may be the same point you're already making and I just wasn't following.
Sort of... I'm just picturing in differently and not articulating it without being able to take pictures.

My bell curve in my head is 100 guys over time adding back in previous successful applicants as they draw again. The line being first time someone draws the tag. So yes you are correct but I'm just graphing it with different parameters.
 
Yeti

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