By David Virostko, Professional Hunt Advisor, License Application Specialist, March 2016
There are some really neat changes this year across the West, many of which have been explained through the first three issues of Huntin’ Fool. One of the biggest pieces of news, at least for me, is the mule deer hunt dates in Colorado. In 2016, the dates have been rolled back, lining up the potential for some incredible rut rifle hunts in the Mile High State. The savvy hunter should know that just because the fourth season dates are extremely late doesn’t necessarily mean that will be the best hunt out of all the rifle seasons. Many times on years like this, the stars actually align on the third rifle and even the second rifle seasons. Play smart with the points you have, and don’t get caught up in looking at how many points it takes to draw a particular unit. Just because you have 9 or so points does not mean you should only be looking at hunts which take 9 or so points to draw. Some of the best tags I have ever pulled, I had more than enough points needed to do so. Oftentimes, these are the hunts that can pay huge dividends if you’ll only do a little more homework. With the hunt dates being what they are, there will undoubtedly be some hammer bucks taken during the 2016 rifle seasons in Colorado. Look at your points carefully, strategize the unit you are thinking about from every angle, and then apply.
Kentucky is probably one of the last states you would think about applying for if you were after a giant bull elk, but maybe you should think again. During the 2015 season, David Giles smoked a giant 408" bull that officially ended up being the new Kentucky state record. (See his photo in the Kentucky state section of this issue.) The draw odds may be steep in Kentucky, but it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to play the game. It’s only $10 to apply for a chance at a firearm tag and only an additional $10 to apply for an archery tag. There are no bonus points, so everyone is on the same playing field. For these reasons, it is a great state to apply for if you want to give yourself more opportunity at putting an elk tag in your pocket.
When guys call in about Idaho, I often tease them, saying, “I love to hate Idaho. I don’t like the way they charge an arm and a leg for the mere potential to play in their state, I don’t like how I can’t apply for all of their big game species, and I don’t like how my chances are worse now than they were 12 years ago when I started applying there.” However, the undeniable fact is that Idaho has some world-class hunting, and if the above-mentioned negatives don’t bother you, then I would strongly advise applying there. Most guys who choose to apply for sheep, moose, or mountain goat usually apply for sheep. However, moose draw odds in Idaho are some of the best in the West. If deer, elk, or antelope are what you are after, there is trophy potential for all species, but with the amount of giant mule deer coming from the Gem State lately, many guys are starting to look pretty hard at all the mule deer units Idaho offers.
I hope that by now you have applied for some hunts that have you holding your breath for the draw results. The application game can be tricky, but it is one of my favorite aspects of hunting. Strategizing, researching, and putting your points where you best see fit is a big part of a person’s hunting career. The end result can always point back to where it all started, and that’s with your strategy in applying and how to obtain a tag. While there are many license application companies out there, I challenge you to find one that is as personal or attentive to your goals as we are here at Huntin’ Fool. This department is one I am extremely excited to be a part of, so if you’re ready to stop dreaming and start drawing some tags, give us a call and let us get you signed up for our services. I promise you the most personal, one-on-one license application experience you will find anywhere.