The game is getting crazy for big game hunting.

BRI

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Anduhconduh, Montana
Unfortunately I think this will just be used as reason no changes will be made to improve the quality of hunting or quantity of animals on public land.
 

Ben Lamb

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Aug 6, 2010
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Cedar, MI
Montana data is just FUBAR... it's either just wildly inaccurate or prohibitively expensive.

What do you expect? They are simultaneously being overrun with vermin Elk, while wolves, bears & lions are eating everything and there are none left for hunters.
 

wllm1313

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What do you expect? They are simultaneously being overrun with vermin Elk, while wolves, bears & lions are eating everything and there are none left for hunters.
“Tis yearssss, hunters came out in record apply for zzee permits and purchases license in April 1... wooo jokes... I like the one with the water in the buck. More than 82,384 residents, great peoples... aways have the best beer and 16,650 nonresidents f-you you dirty people in Minnesota or Baker... that's not even Montana, is west Dakota... oh yeah, apps permits. That’s a 12.48 percent and 29.52 percent *woah* increase over last year, perspectively.”


ah...got it... makes more sense now.
 

BuzzH

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Laramie, WY
“Tis yearssss, hunters came out in record apply for zzee permits and purchases license in April 1... wooo jokes... I like the one with the water in the buck. More than 82,384 residents, great peoples... aways have the best beer and 16,650 nonresidents f-you you dirty people in Minnesota or Baker... that's not even Montana, is west Dakota... oh yeah, apps permits. That’s a 12.48 percent and 29.52 percent *woah* increase over last year, perspectively.”


ah...got it... makes more sense now.
Could be in contention for post of the year so far...

Lots of reality in that post, it is like drunk Uncle runs the MTFWP.
 

RobertD

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Jul 16, 2020
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Southwest Georgia (GA)
To answer your question directly, I am one of those people who will stay in the points game.

As far as predictions go, I do believe applications will level out soon. After this year and perhaps next, much of the effects of stimulus payments should level out. Without getting political, or attempting to predict some kind of recession, I will say I expect taxes to change a bit and the average household's disposable income to shrink back towards pre-pandemic levels.

As many know, only a percentage of the country is actually "worse off" now than before; many have seen their savings, portfolios etc. increase over the last year. A lot of that is... less than permanent, IMO.

That said, most of the interest in western hunting will remain. I expect something like a return to mean, but to a mean that is still high. It should be a several year cycle before the next "new" trend takes over. We had the North American Whitetail/Bone Collector era of hunting media, the shorter Duck Commander era, and now the Western big game era. I am scared Alaska is next...

One thing that will affect the trend is the drop off in higher point-holders that will start in the 2030s. I don’t look forward to it or expect it to do much for draw odds, but there may be a touch of reverse point creep as older dudes age out of some of the more challenging western hunts. There will be bigger problems to solve then that overshadow any improvement in draw odds, I think.

I hope to see more states requiring tag expenses up front (knowing this would hurt my ability to apply for more states). If you can pay for the tag in June when you draw, you can pay for it in April when you apply, or at least that's my opinion.

Would also like to see more hunts that "cost" you your points, as in you can't build points AND hunt the same state the same year. I'm not 100 percent on this one though, as it might make odds better on low point hunts but much worse on the higher end.

Either way, as long as I physically can, I will do my research and try to secure hunting opportunities at home and all across this awesome country. What is that quote? Never tell me the odds ;)
 

1_pointer

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Dec 20, 2000
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Indiana
To answer your question directly, I am one of those people who will stay in the points game.

As far as predictions go, I do believe applications will level out soon. After this year and perhaps next, much of the effects of stimulus payments should level out. Without getting political, or attempting to predict some kind of recession, I will say I expect taxes to change a bit and the average household's disposable income to shrink back towards pre-pandemic levels.

As many know, only a percentage of the country is actually "worse off" now than before; many have seen their savings, portfolios etc. increase over the last year. A lot of that is... less than permanent, IMO.

That said, most of the interest in western hunting will remain. I expect something like a return to mean, but to a mean that is still high. It should be a several year cycle before the next "new" trend takes over. We had the North American Whitetail/Bone Collector era of hunting media, the shorter Duck Commander era, and now the Western big game era. I am scared Alaska is next...

One thing that will affect the trend is the drop off in higher point-holders that will start in the 2030s. I don’t look forward to it or expect it to do much for draw odds, but there may be a touch of reverse point creep as older dudes age out of some of the more challenging western hunts. There will be bigger problems to solve then that overshadow any improvement in draw odds, I think.

I hope to see more states requiring tag expenses up front (knowing this would hurt my ability to apply for more states). If you can pay for the tag in June when you draw, you can pay for it in April when you apply, or at least that's my opinion.

Would also like to see more hunts that "cost" you your points, as in you can't build points AND hunt the same state the same year. I'm not 100 percent on this one though, as it might make odds better on low point hunts but much worse on the higher end.


Either way, as long as I physically can, I will do my research and try to secure hunting opportunities at home and all across this awesome country. What is that quote? Never tell me the odds
For the two items/issues I bolded, I agree that each of those would be good things. However, I feel those will become more the norm and expansion of each of those programs in states with point scheme's will happen. Each are a good 'business' decision for the F&G departments. Keeps more interest in their product and sells more hunting licenses. I do not see a reason why a state wouldn't implement them.
 

Redman

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Indiana
I am from the Hoosier state and got in the game before OnX, GPS was not affordable, you had to read a topo map and know how to read a compass. It was solitude back then. Now with technology helping us it takes a lot of the brain power out of the equation and gives a sense of safety albeit falsely attached to technology. People used to think I was crazy going out with a bow and sleeping under a tarp in the middle of nowhere. Now some of these same people are interested in doing the same thing. Some have gone and came back saying they would never do it again. They really don't understand all the hard work involved even with the help of technology. Mountains are still tough and animals are still wanting to survive. I believe many people focus on gear and physical fitness and less on the animals and the skills it takes to find them let alone kill one. I believe the numbers will drop. Many will be hooked which is my hope but more will throw in the towel.
 

Bugle 'Em In

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Aug 13, 2011
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Great State of Montana!
I think now that the "secret" is out on hunting the West and its not as intimidating to get into the game, we are now living the new normal. My guess is that financial might eliminate some, but it was the unknown that kept a lot of people at home in the past. The "dreams" of hunting the West will far outweigh some crappy public land experiences for most people...and as Buzz said...there are some beautiful places to take your gun for a hike in this state.
 

CMF

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Apr 25, 2019
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I hope to see more states requiring tag expenses up front (knowing this would hurt my ability to apply for more states). If you can pay for the tag in June when you draw, you can pay for it in April when you apply, or at least that's my opinion.
Not really, when you're applying for multiple tags for multiple people(wife/kids) with low percentages(<0.1% to 4%), you can only expect to draw one or two, if that, from a couple of dozen applications. That is 20-30k on the line when you only need 1-5k for tags.

Of course, fewer people would apply, and odds would be better, but it sucks to have that money on the line for a tag I may never draw in my life.
 

ShootsManyBullets

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Dec 27, 2013
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OR Trail
Well some of them new fellers puttin' in might find that the huntin' aint all that great everywar even if da scenery iz. Or day might tink "I drove all tis way from Minnesota eh so I better shoot dat forky on day 2 or da wife's gonna be pissed dat I drove all the way to Montana and only tings I brought home was a couple Cold Smokes, some road but, and dirty clothes. "

On another note inflation may take care of our issue. I noticed the home improvement store now has lumber prices posted with electronic price tags so they can increase prices daily without having someone walk around the store and put new stickers out.

We're about to see how hard we can pound the average American household with inflation of pretty much every household good and raw materials. The hidden little tax they don't tell you about...Might be the thing that thins out the herd in regards to applications.
 

Zim

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Dec 4, 2011
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LaPorte, IN
"But we need to recruit more hunters."
Ya I was going to post the same thing. We must allow crossguns in archery seasons now in order to recruit more hunters. Has nothing to do with corrupt legislators taking money from Ravin.
 

brockel

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May 13, 2016
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Baker,MT
“Tis yearssss, hunters came out in record apply for zzee permits and purchases license in April 1... wooo jokes... I like the one with the water in the buck. More than 82,384 residents, great peoples... aways have the best beer and 16,650 nonresidents f-you you dirty people in Minnesota or Baker... that's not even Montana, is west Dakota... oh yeah, apps permits. That’s a 12.48 percent and 29.52 percent *woah* increase over last year, perspectively.”


ah...got it... makes more sense now.
How dare you say Baker is western North Dakota. You will smoke a turd in hell for that one
 

Bullshot

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Dec 21, 2018
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Two days into the rising sun
I find the draw demand issue very complex and that it doesn't lend itself to simple / obvious linear trends...

Resident populations going up everywhere... 2/3 of the outcomes (hunter participation % stays same or increases) lead to increased crowding, lower draw odds. Participation rates would likely have to severely decline to counter that trend.

Non-Resident populations also going up - fees are steeply going up and I'd bet that participation % is dropping, but since tag decreases are quickly outpacing that rate, it gives the impression like western hunting is the most popular pastime since ever. But there is often no increase in NR crowding on draw units (there's usually LESS) but certainly severely lower draw odds almost everywhere.

I can tell you that the nonresident fees and other costs involved seem to STRONGLY turn off about 75% or more of the people that speak to me about western hunting. The draw odds and "complicated" systems turn off most of the rest. For the die-hards, fees seem not to matter and they figure out the system, and apply for everything in sight, inflating the perception of increased hunter interest.

There will always be a fresh crew of "naive" newbies that watch Amazon or YouTube and put in for a draw. Most will probably drop out after failing to draw numerous times, going broke, or finding out it is too hard and 'not like on TV". But for those who persist, demand is VERY sticky.. and increases over time. My application habits have increased 1000% if not more over just the past 5 years - feeling the pressure / hourglass of middle age. But I'm still only one person. Doesn't take too many people like that to flood the numbers and bomb the odds for any particular hunt.

Put another way - if there were REALLY that many western hunters out there as a % of American population, most of us would never draw, or draw only once in a great while. Say a unit offers 10 tags, or 50, or even 500. What other quota-limited endeavor can you routinely be one of only a couple people (or couple hundred) of in the ENTIRE COUNTRY. So we are really competing harder than ever against each other in our own little universe.

Over time it will get worse on its own just through population growth outpacing tags. Throw in some trends (internet/mapping technology/TV shows/declining game populations/legislation) or some randomness (COVID cash) and the whole "system" goes to hell and quickly at that. So... no.... we are probably never returning to "normal". But most of us will still hopefully find a way to hunt if we want to, at least for a while yet.
 

wllm1313

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Manetheren
I find the draw demand issue very complex and that it doesn't lend itself to simple / obvious linear trends...
It's also interesting to look at actual number of tags given out, versus actual number of hunters in the field.

In many instances there were actually way more tags given out 10-20 years ago, 30%-40% more hunters in the field and yet now it's crowded?

This dataset is very complex and there are lots of consumer behaviors at play.

If we have learned anything it's that most people can't do basic math or understand statistics and that perception of an issue and what the data shows are often radically different. Also people will literally horde anything.
 

Mule3006Elk

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Mar 7, 2020
Messages
60
New normal.
IMO the internet has absolutely changed hunting opportunities.
In the past you really had to do your own research, call around, or know people that were in the know.
Now you only need 1/3 (research) and the ability to navigate a computer.
Traditions that were handed down can be learned by eager learners via a plethora of books, youtube videos, hunting shows, Google Earth, hunting apps like onX, forums, etc. Forums represent quick question answer opportunities and most of us are willing to help out.
All these things combined make it A LOT EASIER to get your foot in the game.
Not a bad thing just my observations.
 

Westxhunter

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Apr 26, 2020
Messages
73
This reminds me of when "a river runs through it" came out. Suddenly everyone was a fly fisherman in the forest. I rarely see any fly fisherman down here in south anymore where I go fishing. I'd wager we'll see some really nice rifles on the market in a year or two once everyone gets back to their normal schedule.
 

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