- Eat. Sleep. Hunt Elk.

After many hours of running models on many different bonus point systems using actual statistics and odds from actual Idaho hunts, I have drafted a new Proposal to be given to the Department for consideration. Please read through this and provide some feedback and comments. I am also planning on taking a few days off work and traveling to the Commission meetings in Kellogg to be able to present the Proposal in person. PLEASE add your thoughts and any ideas you might have on the topic. Based upon the results of the 2005 survey, bonus points actually were wanted by the majority, although a sample of less than 1.5% of Idaho hunters participated. Our position is in opposition to bonus points in Idaho, but based upon the premise that the Department will follow the survey results and implement a system, we are proposing a system that will benefit those who apply longer without completely hurting the chances of new hunters and youth. Please read and comment:

**Idaho Bonus Point Proposal**

**Background**

On September 13, 2005, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game sent a Random Survey Questionnaire to 1600 of the 72,000 hunters (sample of 2%) who applied for controlled hunts in 2005. Of those surveyed, 1043 responded for a return rate of 65% (sample of 1.45% of total hunters). Of those who responded, no more than 7.4% applied for controlled hunts in another state.

The general results of the survey were as follows:

- 42% were satisfied with the current controlled hunt draw system, while 36% disagreed and 21% were neutral.
- 30% felt that the current system favors some applicants over others, while 31% disagreed and 38% were neutral.
- 70% felt that unsuccessful applicants should receive an increased chance of drawing in future drawings, while 17% disagreed and 12% were neutral.

In section 3 of the survey, participants were provided with data illustrating an example of what draw odds would look like if a Nevada-style point system were implemented. The odds displayed showed what the odds would be for a person with maximum points, but did not show the odds for applicants with less than maximum points in future years. Questions were then presented and the results are as follows:

- 61% felt it would be acceptable for the Department to implement a bonus point system, while 25% disagreed and 14% were neutral.
- 17% felt it would be important to “purchase points” without applying, while 61% disagreed and 21% were neutral.
- 32% felt it would be acceptable to pay an additional $5 on controlled hunt applications to receive a bonus point, while 58% disagreed and 9% were neutral.
- 39% responded that they would participate in a voluntary bonus point system, while 35% said they would not and 26% were undecided.

In section 5, other ideas for improving draw odds were brought up and the results of those questions are as follows:

- 41% felt it would be acceptable to limit controlled hunt applications to one elk, one deer
one antelope, while 45% disagreed and 14% were neutral. (Example, in 2005, 2556 hunters applied for 50 late-season antlered deer permits in unit 45. Of those applicants, 2224 also applied for elk and 1193 also applied for antelope).*OR* - 50% felt it would be acceptable to limit applications in high-demand hunts to only one species, while 34% disagreed and 16% were neutral.
- 28% felt it would be acceptable to increase the wait period after successfully drawing an antlered hunt to 5 years, while 60% disagreed and 12% were neutral.
- 25% felt it would be acceptable to charge higher tag fees for high-demand hunts (at least $100), while 65% disagreed and 10% were neutral.

**Summary:**

The majority of hunters were satisfied with the existing controlled hunt system, however, a strong majority felt that there should be an increased chance of drawing for those who were unsuccessful in past draws. A majority supported a bonus point system, but did not support “purchasing points” without applying. The results were split regarding whether hunters would participate in a bonus point system and the majority felt it was not appropriate to charge $5 more to gain a bonus point. Participants also were split on limiting applications to one species (deer, elk, OR antelope), but a majority felt it would be acceptable to limit applications for high-demand hunts to one species. The majority also did not want longer wait periods after drawing and did not want to pay a higher fee (at least $100) for high-demand tags.

**IDF&G 2010 Proposed Bonus Point System**

In the spring of 2010, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game proposed a bonus point system patterned after the system used in Nevada. This system would operate as follows:

- Hunters would receive one bonus point for each species in each year they
but do not draw.*apply* - In the following year, the number of points would be “squared” to determine the number of chances the hunter has to draw for that species.
- Hunters can accumulate points separately for each species. The points for that species would be reset to zero when the hunter successfully draws a first-choice tag for that species or fails to
for two consecutive years.*apply for a bonus point* - Persistence is rewarded by increasing the number of chances in the drawing over time, but it never guarantees a tag.

The system would generate “the revenue to cover the cost of the program and ** perhaps raise additional funds for other programs**.” (emphasis added).

**Additional Information**

In 2009 there were a total of 3,723 applicants for once-in-a-lifetime tags, not including cow moose tags. Because applicants are not allowed to apply for additional species if they apply for a “once-in-a-lifetime” hunt, there were 3,723 individual applications (673 for Mountain Goat, 2,226 for Sheep, and 5,179 for Moose).

In 2009 there were also 36,835 1st choice applicants for deer, 45,411 applicants for elk, 18,114 applicants for Pronghorn (Antelope), 1,239 applicants for Spring Bear, and 1,541 applicants for Fall Bear.

**Sample Draw Odds**

The existing controlled hunt draw currently provides no increased draw odds for participants who are unsuccessful in previous draws. The IDF&G proposed system would reward participants with “squared” points each year they are unsuccessful. The following stats are examples of draw odds, with and without a bonus point system, assuming that applications remained constant and the number of applicants did not increase over time.

In 2009, there were 45,411 applications for 15,311 controlled hunt elk tags. The average odds of drawing an elk tag were 34%. These odds would remain constant each year without a bonus point system. With the Nevada-style BP system, a first time applicant in Year 2 would have a 9% chance and a maximum point holder (2 points) would have a 46% chance of drawing. In Year 5, a first-time applicant would have a 5% chance and a maximum point holder (5 points) would have a 100% chance of drawing. These odds are purely statistical and do not represent individual results within each hunt.

The odds of drawing a given hunt under the Nevada-style BP system are provided below, and once again assume that the number of applications remains flat with no increase or decrease.

In 2009, there were 500 applicants for 15 tags in the unit 54 archery draw. Without a bonus point system, the odds of drawing is 3.0%. Under a Nevada-style BP system, a first-time applicant in year 2 would have a 0.6% chance of drawing, while a max point holder (2 points) would have a 3.07% chance. In Year 5, a first-time applicant would have a 0.13% chance of drawing, and a max point holder (5 points) would have a 3.26% chance.

In a lower-demand hunt, the odds would be as follows: In 2009, there were 783 applicants for 225 rifle elk tags in unit 18. The odds of drawing this tag without a bonus point system are 29%. Under the Nevada-style BP system, a first-time applicant in Year 2 would have a 7.5% chance of drawing and a max point holder (2 points) would have a 37.3% chance. In Year 5, a first-time applicant would have a 3.47% chance of drawing and a max point holder (5 points) would have a 90% chance.

It is clearly illustrated that the Nevada-style bonus point system does not significantly increase draw odds for max point holders in high-demand hunts, but it does drastically reduce the odds of first-time applicants. This style of bonus point system would be effective in rewarding applicants in lower-demand hunts, however.

Again, it is important to note that the above models assume there is no change in the number of applications. However, it should be noted that there have been increased applicants in other states when bonus point systems are implemented, especially in the first 3 years after implementing such a system. Additionally, applications for big game animals in Idaho has been steadily increasing for the past 6 years, with the exception of elk (decreased in 2008) and sheep (decreased in 2008). See below for application trends:

2009 Stats | Tags | 1st Choice Apps | Draw Odds | 3 year trend in apps (06-08) | 5 year trend in apps (04-08) | Current trend |

Mtn Goat | 46 | 673 | 6.84% | +2% | +39% | Level |

Sheep | 85 | 2226 | 3.82% | -1.3% | +35% | Level |

Bull Moose | 824 | 5179 | 15.91% | -7.5% | -2.5% | Level |

Deer | 12264 | 36835 | 33.29% | +9% | +11% | Increasing |

Elk | 15311 | 45411 | 33.72% | -2.4% | -5% | Level |

Antelope* | 1465 | 18114 | 8.09% | +8.5% | +10.2% | Increasing |

Spring Bear | 150 | 1239 | 12.11% | -3.5% | +12% | Level |

Fall Bear | 165 | 1541 | 10.71% | +17% | +28% | Increasing |

*Archery antelope tags went to an unlimited draw in 2008.

Based on current application trends, it would be safe to state that the odds listed above are “best-case”, and actual odds would be lower due to increasing applicants. The odds above are also assuming that bonus points would only be awarded to unsuccessful applicants in the draws and that applicants would only be able to apply for a “once-in-a-lifetime” hunt OR the “general” big game draws, and not receive bonus points for ALL species each year.

**Elk101 Proposed Bonus Point System**

Without clearly giving a statistical advantage to max point holders in high-demand hunts, but at the same time creating a drastic reduction in odds for first-time applicants, we feel the Nevada-style bonus point system is not an effective way to reward those who are unsuccessful in the draws. With a goal of rewarding those who are unsuccessful, as well as enticing new hunters, youth, and other first-time applicants, we have ran statistical models on several bonus point systems and options and offer the following proposal(s).

**Elk101 Bonus Point Proposal A**

- Hunters may apply for one “once-in-a-lifetime” hunt OR they may apply for hunts in the general draw (deer, elk, antelope, bear, turkey, etc) – no change to the current draw process).
- Applicants who are unsuccessful in the “once-in-a-lifetime” draw (moose, sheep, goat) will receive one bonus point for the species they apply for in each year they apply and do not draw.
- Applicants who are unsuccessful in the general draw (deer, elk, antelope, bear, turkey) will receive one bonus point for each species they apply for in each year they apply and do not draw.
- The points for each species would be reset to zero when the hunter successfully draws a first-choice tag for that species or fails to apply for a hunt for that species for two consecutive years. (Bonus points will not be set to zero when applicants are successful in unlimited hunt or 2nd choice hunt drawings).
- Bonus points may NOT be purchased and are only awarded for each species a hunter applies for during the controlled hunt draw process.
- Successful applicants in a general hunt draw will be required to sit out one year before they may apply for that species again – no change to existing process.

The following stats are examples of draw odds, with and without the Elk101 Proposed Bonus Point System A, once again assuming that applications remained constant and the number of applicants did not increase over time.

In 2009, there were 45,411 applications for 15,311 controlled hunt elk tags. The average odds of drawing an elk tag were 34%. These odds would remain constant each year without a bonus point system. With the Elk101 BP System A, a first time applicant in Year 2 would have a 20.3% chance and a maximum point holder (2 points) would have a 40.6% chance of drawing. In Year 5, a first-time applicant would have a 14.7% chance and a maximum point holder (5 points) would have a 70.3% chance of drawing. These odds are purely statistical and do not represent individual results within each hunt.

The odds of drawing a given hunt under the Elk101 BP System A are provided below, and once again assume that the number of applications remains flat with no increase or decrease.

In 2009, there were 500 applicants for 15 tags in the unit 54 archery draw. Without a bonus point system, the odds of drawing is 3.0%. Under Elk101 BP System A, a first-time applicant in year 2 would have a 1.5% chance of drawing, while a max point holder (2 points) would have a 3.05% chance. In Year 5, a first-time applicant would have a 0.64% chance of drawing, and a max point holder (5 points) would have a 3.20% chance.

In a lower-demand hunt, the odds would be as follows: In 2009, there were 783 applicants for 225 rifle elk tags in unit 18. The odds of drawing this tag without a bonus point system are 29%. Under the Elk101 BP System A, a first-time applicant in Year 2 would have a 16.8% chance of drawing and a max point holder (2 points) would have a 33.6% chance. In Year 5, a first-time applicant would have a 11.1% chance of drawing and a max point holder (5 points) would have a 55.4% chance.

**Summary**

Comparing the Proposed Elk101 BP System A to the IDF&G Proposed Nevada-style BP System in high-demand hunts, it is clear to see that the odds for first-time applicants are not as drastically decreased (1.5% vs. 0.6% and 0.64% vs. 0.13%), yet the odds for max point holders is similar (3.05% vs. 3.07% and 3.20% vs. 3.26%), thereby rewarding those who unsuccessfully apply as well as continuing to entice new hunters and youth.

In lower-demand hunts, max point hunters still enjoy very high draw odds, while first-time applicants also have a good chance of drawing.

At $4.25 per bonus point going towards the costs of operating this system, over $500,000 would be generated at the current application level, thus paying for the costs of operation. Additional revenue in the form of “purchasing points” without applying for a hunt is not recommended or needed.

**Elk101 Bonus Point Proposal B**

- Hunters may apply for one “once-in-a-lifetime” hunt OR they may apply for hunts in the general draw (deer, elk, antelope, bear, turkey, etc) OR they may apply for “High-Demand” hunts for antlered deer and elk. Applicants who apply for “High-Demand” hunts may also apply for antelope, bear, and turkey and gain bonus points for those species if unsuccessful.
- Applicants who are unsuccessful in the “once-in-a-lifetime” draw (moose, sheep, goat) will receive one bonus point for the species they apply for in each year they apply and do not draw.
- Applicants who are unsuccessful in the general draw (deer, elk, antelope, bear, turkey) will receive one bonus point for each species they apply for in each year they apply and do not draw.
- Applicants who are unsuccessful in the “High-Demand” draw (deer and elk) will receive one bonus point for each species they apply for in each year they apply and do not draw.
- The points for each species would be reset to zero when the hunter successfully draws a first-choice tag for that species or fails to apply for a hunt for that species for two consecutive years. (Bonus points will not be set to zero when applicants are successful in unlimited hunt or 2nd choice hunt drawings).
- Bonus points may NOT be purchased and are only awarded for each species a hunter applies for during the controlled hunt draw process.
- Successful applicants in a general hunt draw will be required to sit out one year before they may apply for that species again – no change to existing process.

The drawing odds for the Elk101 Proposed Bonus Point System B, once again assuming that applications remained constant and the number of applicants does not increase over time, would favor maximum point holders in “High-Demand” draws and encourage new hunters and youth to apply for “General” draw hunts with much higher odds with lower points.

Tags would be considered “High-Demand” tags if the odds of drawing the tag is less than 15%. A higher fee would be charged for the “High-Demand” tag, thus generating extra income for the Department without “taxing” those who do not apply for the hard-to-draw units. Additionally, a 3 year wait period would be proposed for applicants who are successful in drawing a “High-Demand” tag, thus increasing the chances for unsuccessful applicants even further.

**Summary**

We truly believe that having no bonus point system is the most fair process for drawing tags in Idaho, and would strongly urge the Department to consider the long-term effects of locking themselves into such a system. In-line with the wishes of Idaho sportsmen according to the random survey conducted in 2005, however, a bonus point system would be appropriate.

If a system is to be implemented, we feel that the Nevada-style system proposed for Idaho is not the best for many reasons. Additionally, the wording in the proposed system is vague, leaving much interpretation of whether or not it would be possible to gain points for ALL species, or if points would only be an option for those who are unsuccessful in the draws. We absolutely DO NOT support the option of “purchasing points” for species that are not applied for. Points should only be awarded to those who are unsuccessful in the draws (i.e., only a moose point, OR a goat point, OR a sheep point, OR points for the general big game draws, not a combination of these).

If the Department decides to implement a Bonus Point system, we would proposed Bonus Point System B as outlined above. This would generate additional income for the department by those who apply for, and draw, “High-Demand” hunts, as well as provide better draw odds for those with higher points, at the same time still allowing those with lower points to apply for “High-Demand” hunts or the easier-to-draw “General” draw hunts. This system would take more effort to implement and maintain by the Department, but we fell it would be the best all-around system.

If Proposal B is not feasible due to logistics, personnel, time, etc., we propose Bonus Point System A as outlined above. The effort involved would be less than with the Department-proposed “Nevada-style” system, but the overall effectiveness of BP System A would be more balanced and robust for years into the future.

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