Robert's 2016 Application Strategy

By Robert Hanneman, December 2015

I can’t believe it is already application season. This time of year, we get a lot of calls about application strategies. The number one question we get is, "What do I do if I draw too many tags?" The best advice I have for someone is to not worry about drawing too many tags. If you are lucky and draw a bunch of tags, it is a great problem to have! Some states will 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. With that being said, I hope all of you had a great hunting season in 2015. My family was blessed with a few great animals in 2015. I really love this time of year as researching units across the West is one of the things I truly enjoy. I love it when I find a great unit that is not on the radar of most people other than locals. That’s what makes my job fun.

For my family, our application strategy is very simple, we apply for every tag or build points for every animal we hope to hunt in our lifetime. This has become more expensive recently with my oldest son, Connor, now being able to apply for tags, and with my two other boys, Caleb and Colter, nearing hunting age, it is going to get even more expensive in the near future. However, I look at the expense of applying and building points as an investment in our hunting future. By continuing to build points, we are setting ourselves up for great tags in the future. We mainly apply for trophy areas where we have a good chance of punching the tag on a giant. We usually draw one to five great tags each year.

As for weapon preference, Amy and I aren’t picky about it 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. With Connor, it is different as I only apply him for rifle tags or muzzleloader tags where he can use a scope.

It looks like 2016 is going to be a busy year for the Hannemans. I have the points to draw an Arizona and a Utah archery elk tag and a Colorado muzzleloader elk tag. 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 or if we will be building points this year. The thing we will be doing for sure this year is burning Amy’s points on a Colorado deer tag due to the great hunt dates. To fill the rest of the season, we will be hunting Montana, Idaho, and Oregon on overthe- counter deer and elk tags.

Below is a list of states and species Amy and I will be applying for in 2016:

  • Alaska – Dall sheep, bison, muskox, caribou, Roosevelt elk, Grizzly bear, and Alaska moose
  • Arizona – elk, antelope, Mule deer, and Desert Bighorn sheep
  • Colorado – archery Bighorn sheep, elk, and deer
  • Idaho – elk, deer, and antelope
  • Iowa – deer point
  • Kentucky – elk (both archery and rifle)
  • Kansas – Mule deer
  • Maine – Canadian moose
  • Montana – Unlimited Bighorn sheep, moose, 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 – All species
  • Vermont – Canadian moose
  • Wyoming – elk, deer, antelope, Bighorn sheep, moose, and Mountain goat

Many members call in and ask what they should be applying their kids for. Here is my application strategy for my son, Connor. At 10 years old, he is limited to the states he can apply for, but we take advantage of all the states that he is eligible to apply in.

  • Arizona – Desert Bighorn sheep, elk, deer, and antelope
  • Idaho – elk, deer, and antelope
  • Iowa – deer point
  • Kentucky – elk
  • Maine – moose
  • New Mexico – youth elk, youth deer, and antelope
  • Oregon – points for deer, elk, and antelope
  • Vermont – moose
  • Washington – Bighorn sheep, moose, and Mountain goat

Good luck in the 2016 draws. I hope all of you end up with a good tag this year!