Apply Now for an Out-of-State Elk Hunt

Apply Now for an Out-of-State Elk Hunt

Yeah, I know. It’s tough to give up the old trusty hunting spot and try something new. On the other hand, a change in scenery is sometimes just what we need. It can make us either appreciate our hunting area even more or get you out of that rut you didn’t really know you were in. Well, have you ever thought about hunting another state? This way you can still hunt the same old spot in your home state, as well as try something new!

There are 2 options if you are looking into hunting another state: Over-the-Counter (OTC) or General Tags and Limited Entry or Draw permits.

Over- the-Counter or General tags

Most states offer an Over-the-Counter, general season type hunt. This is the best way to obtain a tag if you are looking into hunting another state. Trophy potential is usually not as good in these situations, but it can be overlooked in many areas. Do some research before opting to go this route and you may find your next honey hole! My advice is to look into areas where access is limited and be willing to put miles on your boots to get away from the crowds. Utilize harvest data on state fish and game websites for more information on unit-by-unit success rates. Some of the states do have tag quotas for individual units so do your research and act fast to secure your next hunt.

Limited Entry or Draw permits

Most trophy hunters tend to go this route. Trophy potential is typically better here than a general season simply because harvest is limited. However, there are many draw hunts have better odds than most hunters realize. The best hunts in every state can be very difficult to draw, but there are “sleeper” units in every state that have good odds with excellent trophy potential. I personally use the bonus point or preference point systems set up for certain states. 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 some states have to offer. Most western states have established a bonus/preference point system, 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, later on when you have the time and money, your odds of going on a top quality elk hunt can become a reality. 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 obviously 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 the point system will give a certain percentage of the available tags in a given unit to the individuals with the highest points (preference). For example, Arizona allocates 20% and Utah allocates 50% of the available tags to those with the highest points in any given unit. The rest of the tags are allocated to the remaining applicants through a random draw based upon the applicants bonus points.

Remember that some state application windows are already open. The application due dates for the western elk states are listed below. For more information on state-by-state application processes, visit 2011 State-by-State Elk Hunting Application Guide right here on

Application Due Dates

State App. Due Date Results Posted
Wyoming January 31 Late Feb
Arizona February 8 Mid April
Utah March 1 Late April
Montana March 15 May
New Mexico March 28 Early June
Colorado April 6 Late May
Nevada mid April Early June
Oregon May 15 20-Jun
Washington late May Late June
Idaho June 5 Early July

The list shows the order in which you need to apply if you are planning on applying in multiple states. Good luck and have fun with whatever you choose to do!