Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

Wouldn't you like to draw a great tag?

Those monster bucks and bulls are hard to find, I know this as well as anyone. Often times, the best places to find the giants are in limited entry units. Units such as the Paunsaugunt, Kiabab, Arizona Strip, and the Uncompahgre, just to name a few, are often where a hunter will have the best chance of finding a trophy buck. Of course even within' these units, finding a trophy buck can be difficult. But with limited hunter's and great gene pool's, these units have a much greater chance of producing a trophy animal. Any hunter that's in hot pursuit of trophy buck or bull, should know that hunting a top limited entry unit greatly increases their chances of bringing home giant.

So what does it take to get one of these elite tags? Well, there are couple ways. The first being, you could buy one of the landowner tags. In many of the limited entry units, the state wildlife agency issue tags to the landowners. The landowners can then do what they please with the tag, either sale it, or use it themselves. In the top limited entry units, these tags could cost upwards of $10,000. On the Paunsaugunt for example, the average landowner tag would cost you over $3,000, and the best area, near Alton, near $10,000. For the hunters with deep pockets, buying these tags may be the way to go.

Your other option, draw the tag. This means you apply for the hunt, and pray. Anyway, that's what I do. You have about a 5% chance of drawing one of the top deer tags. For elk, it's often less, but if it's your only choice, then that's what you do. In this writer's opinion, if a hunter can draw one of the top tags once every ten years, he's doing pretty good. The trick is, apply in several states every year, maybe Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. The chance that you'll draw a tag in all those states the same year is almost zero, but the chance that you'll draw one or maybe even two, is pretty good. Of course, you'll want to reevaluate your options each year as you acquire more bonus points. For example, say you have five or six bonus points for Utah deer and your planning to apply for the Paunsaugunt. Well, you probably don't want to apply for any other hunts that occur during the Paunsaugunt hunt. The reason, with that many points, you have a good chance of drawing the tag. Many states now use the bonus point system, some even allow you to apply for a bonus point only. This works great, because if there's hunt that you're pretty sure you wouldn't be able to make, then you can apply for the bonus point only. That way, next year you'll have an even better chance of getting the tag. Keep in mind, in order to receive a bonus point in some states, you must buy a hunting license whether you draw a tag or not. Both Nevada and Arizona work this way, but if you really want to maximize your chances, it's probably worth it.

Big Buck
It took seven days of scouting and five days of hunting before bud harvested his first Paunsaugunt buck.

I'll be honest, it's a pain in the butt trying to keep track of all the application deadlines and new limit entry units. But when you get the letter that says "Successful", you'll be happy about the time, effort and dollars you've invested. Then the real work begins, finding the trophy and harvesting him.

Now, before everyone runs out and starts submitting applications, let me clue you in. If you do draw one of the elite tags, be prepared to invest even more time and money. Finding a trophy buck is very difficult, in fact, if you were to draw an elite tag, you'd want to allocate even more time to scouting. Why? Because you may never draw the tag again, so you'll definitely want to make the best of it. It may take two or three scouting trips just to find a trophy buck, then a couple more to get a good idea of where he lives and where he might be on opening morning. I don't know how many people have told me how easy they though it would be to find a giant buck on the Paunsaugunt Plateau. It wasn't until they actually spent a few days scouting before they realized how hard it really is. Those trophy bucks are rare, and definitely not stupid. So be prepared.

Alright, good luck and happy hunting.

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

Click-a-Pic ... Details & Bigger Photos

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