By Robert Hanneman, Hunting Consultant, December 2014
Each one of us is going to have a different application strategy based on what we want to hunt and where we are at in our hunting career. For my wife, Amy, and me, our application strategy is simple, we apply for every tag or build points for every animal we hope to hunt in our lifetime. This can get really expensive applying two hunters for all of these states and species, but it is an investment in our hunting future. By building points, we are setting ourselves up for great tags in the future. At the end of this article is a list of states and species we will be applying for in 2015. We mainly apply for trophy areas where we have a good chance of punching the tag on a giant, and we usually draw one to three great tags a year.
As for weapon preference, Amy and I aren’t picky about if the tag is archery, muzzleloader, or rifle. We are just looking for the best opportunity to harvest a trophy animal. Being proficient with a bow or muzzleloader will allow you to draw more tags as the draw odds are usually better than rifle hunts.
It looks like we are sitting really good going into 2015 as I have the points to draw an Arizona archery elk tag, a Wyoming region G deer tag, and a Colorado archery deer tag and Amy has the points to draw Utah archery elk and a really good third season deer tag in Colorado. After all of my research is done I will decide if we will be applying for any of these tags this year or if we will be building points. The good thing we have going for us is that we live in Montana, so we are in a perfect location to hunt Montana, Idaho, and Oregon on over-the-counter deer and elk tags if we do not draw any limited-entry tags.
The best advice I have for someone is to not worry about drawing too many tags. Every year I talk to a lot of hunters who are afraid of drawing too many tags. If you do shoot the moon and actually draw too many tags, it is a great problem to have! Some states allow you to turn tags back in, and the worst case scenario is that you eat a deer tag to go on a sheep hunt.
Good luck in the 2015 draws, and if it cannot be me drawing that great tag, then I hope it is you!
- Alaska — Dall sheep, buffalo, muskox, caribou, Roosevelt elk, Grizzly bear, and Alaska moose
- Arizona — elk, antelope, Mule deer, and Desert Bighorn sheep
- California — Desert Bighorn sheep, Tule elk, and Mule deer
- Colorado — archery Bighorn sheep, elk, and deer
- Idaho — elk, deer, and antelope
- Iowa — deer points
- Kentucky — elk
- Kansas — Mule deer
- Maine — Canadian moose
- Montana — Unlimited Bighorn sheep, moose, Mtn goat, deer, elk, antelope, Bison, and Mountain lion
- Nevada — deer, antelope, Desert Bighorn sheep, and California Bighorn sheep
- New Hampshire — Canadian moose
- New Mexico — elk, Coues deer, antelope, and Ibex
- Oregon — California sheep, deer, elk, and antelope
- Pennsylvania — elk
- Texas — Desert Bighorn sheep
- Utah — elk, deer, antelope, moose, Mtn goat, Desert Bighorn sheep, Rocky Mtn Bighorn sheep, and Bison
- Vermont — Canadian moose
- Wyoming — elk, deer, antelope, Bighorn sheep, and moose