SCOUTING REPORT: No Time for Tag Soup
This year, consider applying for a limited-entry unit. You just might get the hunt of a lifetime.
With snowdrifts white and silent, and the high country still frozen, it’s time again to put in for tags if you want to hunt elk in the West come fall. Most states are still accepting applications, and now is the time to sift through the regs and pony up some cash. Even if you don’t hunt elk this fall, you can still buy preference or bonus points for nearly every state.
If you’re fortunate to live in an elk state, by all means put in for your home state; it’s cheaper and you know the country. But also consider applying in hard‑to‑draw states such as Utah, New Mexico and Nevada for their limited-entry tags. Those units with draw odds a tad better than Powerball are worth the wait—you’ll see fewer hunters and bigger bulls. You may draw a tag on the first try, and you may win Powerball, but neither will happen if you don’t play.
Some states, it seems, have caught on to this trend and require hefty nonrefundable fees. Parting with $150 for each application adds up. Luckily, states such as Wyoming and Colorado don’t saddle you with these fees, but they do have quality units.
If money is no object, then you might prefer to have a tag service company take care of the paperwork for you. There are plenty of them out there. Google The Huntin’ Fool and Cabela’s just to name a couple.
Want to do it yourself? Below is a chart to get you started. Make note of those nonrefundable fees and states such as Wyoming and Arizona, whose deadlines have already passed. Start with one state and see how it goes for you. Hunting regs can be harder to decipher than computer encryptions, but with a little time and some coffee, it’s not only possible but worth it. Good luck.