By Drew Dockstader, Hunting Consultant, December 2014
I know it must be a fact that the older you get the faster the years go by. Even though I know there are still 365 days in a year, it seems that time flies by faster each year as I get older. Maybe it’s because people my age try so hard to hold onto our youth and want to resist the changes that our advancing age does to our bodies and our abilities. At any rate, the hunting season is pretty much over already for this year and another application season is upon us. If we want to keep hunting, we must keep applying for tags or be willing to fork over the dough for landowner or outfitter tags.
Working at Huntin’ Fool® this past year has taught me a great deal, but it has also caused me to have some remorse for not applying for more tags when I was younger because if I start applying for species in some of the better areas now, I may be too old to really get the most out of the hunt by the time I draw. Therefore, part of my advice to the younger hunters is to start building points in as many states as you can afford so you can enjoy the hunts before you are too old to enjoy them.
This year I did burn my 14 points on an Arizona archery elk hunt. It was a tough hunt in one of the better units, but the rut was just beginning to kick in at the end of the season and the big bulls were like vampires, afraid of the light of day. It was still a very enjoyable hunt for the reasons that I most enjoy hunting, being in the great outdoors with friends and family.
This year I will keep building points on the species and states where I have acquired enough points that I should draw a good tag in the near future, otherwise I will put in for areas and states that have more random draw tags to give me some hope of drawing something. I still love to hunt, even if I am not the one holding the tag. With that being said, I will help my family members put in for tags and build points so that I may at least go along and be the camp cook or something like that. Almost anyone my age, with a few exceptions that I know, would tell you that it is just as much fun, if not more, to go along on a hunt with a family member or close friend and watch them bag a trophy. I was able to do this on several occasions this year, and I had a blast just being able to share our love of the outdoors with each other.
I will also purchase landowner tags where available in states that I want to hunt but have not drawn. I will purchase over-the-counter tags for some of my family members and me to ensure we are in the field doing what we love in 2015.
Another fact that I learned this year at Huntin’ Fool® is just how many hours of research goes into our articles and statistics each year for the various states. It is a very inexpensive resource that anyone who is serious about hunting the West should have a copy of in their hands and pore over the vast information from the hours of painstaking research. I don’t mean to make this sound like an advertisement for Huntin’ Fool®, but if I would have followed some of the advice and suggestions when I was a member in the past, I would have more hunting opportunities now, plain and simple.
I have seen many nice trophies that were taken this year with tags that were drawn in various states. If you had a successful hunt this year, congratulations and send us a picture and/or story. We love to share in your success! Good luck with the application process for 2015.