Dreaming of a Future High Quality Elk Hunt?
Even if you don’t have the time or money for a limited entry or special Elk permit at this time, you can still set yourself up for a future dream hunt. You can do this by participating in the bonus/preference point system that many states have to offer. Most western states have established a bonus/preference point system. That is with the exception of Idaho and New Mexico. These options allow you to purchase one point annually at a fraction of the cost of the entire hunt package. This way, ten years down the road when you have the time and money, your odds of drawing that dream elk tag is not so far out of reach. It is like putting your dream hunt on Lay-a-way.
Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon, Colorado, Montana, and Washington all offer a point system. All of these states have units that are capable of producing 350 plus bulls. Some states have more quality units than others, but it may be your niche if you do research and begin purchasing points in one of the states that is less known for trophy quality.
Most states with a point system will give a certain percentage of the tags available in any given unit to the individuals with the highest points. For example, Arizona allocates 20% and Utah allocates 50% of the available tags to those with the highest points in any given unit. The remainder of the tags go to the rest of the pool. Even with these allocations there are a lot of lucky participants who draw excellent tags with a limited amount of points.
I hear a lot of people talking about point creep these days, which simply means max points keeps moving up year after year. This can make the thought of an elk tag, to us with few points, seem out of reach. This is due to a limited number of tags available and a high number of applicants. Point creep is the nature of the point system. It may keep some people from starting to accumulate points. I look at it like this – even if it takes me 15 years to draw a tag for a prime unit, I will still be out less money than if I had purchased a top quality ranch hunt or any other guided hunt of equal quality. Plus you have the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself. Corey Jacobsen here at elk101.com did his research and drew a permit in Arizona with just a few points. He found a less popular unit that holds some tremendous trophies and capitalized on the opportunity with a 390” bull.
So don’t let point creep frustrate you. There are still some excellent units to hunt that you won’t have to wait 20 years for. See state by state information below if you are interested in building points only.
ARIZONA – Draw deadline is Feb 9th. License cost is $151.25 and the point cost is $7.50 for a total of $158.75. you must purchase the license and choose point only.
UTAH– Draw deadline is Feb 24th. The application cost is $65.00. Choose the point only option as your first choice.
WYOMING – Deadline is Sept 30th for points only. You can purchase the points only from July to Sept.
COLORADO – Deadline is April 7th. You must purchase the $546 license fee. If you choose the point only option all, but $3.00 is refunded.
OREGON – Deadline is may 15th. You must purchase $141.00 license. Point only (point saver) option is $6.50 for a total of $147.50.
NEVADA – Deadline is April 20th. You must purchase the $142.00 license and choose point only option. An additional non-refundable $15.00 will be added to the cost for a total of $157.00
There is still potential for a quality elk hunt in Idaho and New Mexico. New Mexico offers some very top quality units and the application fee itself is minimal. Idaho elk numbers have decreased dramatically in the last 3 years with increased predator numbers and a couple of long winters. There are still some good quality draw hunts available to both Residents and Non-residents, however. Some of the new archery draw hunts can potentially be the best hunts Idaho has to offer.
Good Luck with whatever you choose to do!