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I have 2 pts for sheep in Wyoming 1 pt in Montana and Nevada. I’m 34 years old. Is is a pipe dream to ever imagine drawing a tag the way things are going? Should I continue buying pts at the chance when I’m 60+ I might have a chance? Thanks for the help!
Do the math and you may want to just go ahead and buy a sheep hunt in Canada, Mexico, or Alaska...
Honestly, you are basically looking at spending $150/year for a raffle tag with about a 1 in 400 chance of drawing.
Whether that’s something you think is worth it depends on your financial situation and/or how badly you want to give yourself a chance to hunt a WY bighorn. Only you know the answer to those questions.
Here's the WY total points going into the 2018 draw. As you can see there are 1152 nonresidents with the same amount of points as you.
And 8,472 people at the same level or ahead of you. With 52 tags available for non residents this year and assuming that stays constant, you are potentially looking at 163 years to draw. At the current rate of $150 per point (no increases assumed) you are looking at almost $25,000 in just points, not including the cost of applications. Now that is not realistic and there is a chance to draw every year on the random and people ahead of you will certainly drop out, but the bottom line is crap for guys just now getting in the system.
I’m very interested in hunting a big horn in states. I’m just not sure how to move forward with prefence points. Since it seems I’m late to the game.
None of them are easy to get a tag. Points can help, but expect a long wait for a tag in the best of circumstances.
What do you do for a living? Consider a move to British Columbia or Alberta and you can hunt sheep every year.
I would stick with MT and Nevada and pass on Wy. you will at least have a chance at a random tag I have 16 points in Nevada and 6 in Montana. I will be 70 in march I have drew a tag in Montana and killed a nice ram. I had a buddy that still has number 2 in P&Y and after his 7 year wait he drew a second tag with no points
I'm a little older than you and have a few more points than you do. I believe that applying for sheep in CA, WA, WY, and NM is pretty pointless unless you're a resident of that particular state. Applying for sheep in ID, OR, NV, AZ, UT, CO, and MT are worth it, but partially based on already applying for other species in some of those states. You have to really want to hunt sheep to apply in ID, OR, or CO, because it's expensive up front.
I have 16 points for WY sheep and wished I never started accumulating them. I will probably never draw a tag unless I pull the random tag in the drawing. On the other hand I have to keep giving WY my $150 donation for a preference point each year because I have too many to quit. Catch 22.
Another consideration in Wyo is where do you intend on hunting? Most of the units that are open to nonres are 100% wilderness where sheep are found. The going rate for guided sheep hunts in Wyo is around $14,000...and possibly going up. Add to the $14K the price of the tag plus applying each year for lotto type draw odds.
One state you don't have listed is Idaho. If I was just starting out applying for sheep Idaho would be a consideration. All Idaho nonres have the same poor draw odds since there are no pref pts. You have to buy a hunting license every year to apply so it's a bit spendy.
If money isn't an issue go ahead and apply for as many states as you can and you may get lucky drawing a tag in your lifetime. It's getting to the point that it costs around $100 to $200/year per state....and climbing. If you apply for 5 states thats around $750/year in point, license, and application fees. Multiply that x 20 years and that's around $15,000. You have dismal odds of drawing 1 sheep tag in 20 years but could go on a pretty good Alaska sheep hunt next year for close to the same price!
If it were me I'd likely save that cash and go on a poorman's sheep hunt (like free ranging aoudad) or save up all your application fees for a guided thin-horned sheep hunt. As Treeline mentioned above you could move to Canada or Alaska and hunt sheep every year!
Another consideration is to go hunt OTC sheep every year in Montana....at least you would be sheep hunting! If you think about it you could actually hunt Montana sheep every year for the price of applying for around 5 states. One other "last resort" sheep hunt would be to apply for ewe sheep tags. You'll have the experience and excitement of hunting incredibly gorgeous sheep country! You will likely find that harvesting a ewe with bow can be a challenge!
While I agree with your point jims and especially with your point on WY, that math doesn't really work on a per state basis. I apply for sheep in every one of the states I listed above where I said it was worth it, along with 35 other tags and it costs me about $1500/yr. If you only want to sheep hunt, that's one thing. But Western States that have sheep tags also have tags for goats, elk, bison, pronghorn, etc. Some states like WY and ID you have to pick your specie, but a lot of sheep apps are biproducts of elk apps and visa versa. 100 bucks a year in Utah (on average) gets you 8 apps. 200 bucks a year in AZ gets you 4 or 5. Same with NV. There's some better odds out there than others. A prospective sheep hunter just needs to look them all over and decide what he's willing to spend.
Some people say the draws are a crap shoot and you should just take that money and save it and buy a sheep hunt. The problem is, at the rate those hunts are going up, if you saved at the cost/rate it takes to apply in 4-7 states, sheep hunts could cost 50 grand by the time you have enough saved. Now you're looking at hunting sheep when you're 100 years old. I'll keep applying in 7 states. This is why I moved to AK, so I can do this several times while I'm still young. I'll continue to apply for desert sheep in the lower 48 because that's a dream hunt. And I bet I'll draw before I can no longer hunt desert sheep.
I appreciates everyone's input, I was late to the game when in comes to western hunting. I've had no one to show me the ropes when it comes to preference points and applying. I've pretty much just been teaching myself as I go. I'm very interested in hunting big horn sheep sometime in my life, just trying to figure out which way I should go.
pahoyt, I have a buddy here in PA that drew Wyoming on his second attempt at a random tag three years ago and shot a great ram. He did a guided hunt outside Cody and with all due respect to Jims, I'm pretty sure he paid way less than $14K for the outfitter. Point being, that someone has to draw that random tag and even at $14K its a lot cheaper than Canada for a bighorn. There are also a bunch of raffle tags available that run from $5 - $100 per chance and again, someone has to win. I'm turning 55 this year and have completely missed the boat on points for sheep, plus I'm facing the ability factor, but I have a huge desire to hunt Wyoming for a bighorn and will keep plugging away until I physically can't do it. Not to say I don't hit other states that do random, but I see no reason to check the preference point box at this stage of my life.
Jims, who charges that much? (14k) Boulder basin 9.5k 7D 10k Lost Creek 10.5k WWO 9.5k Some of the best in the business there. If you are looking at a 14k WY hunt you need to keep looking.
I had to look, myself and found the same. If you know a few people in Wyoming you may be able to get a resident to go and save that cost but those outfitters Dogman listed are top notch and definitely worth talking to.
I've taken the Powerball approach to a Wyoming sheep tag and just buy a $10 Super Tag ticket when I apply for my elk tag. I am fully aware it's a sucker bet and the proverbial "snowball's chance in hell" but at least it's a chance :-)
Somebody has to win!
I know a bunch of sheep nuts that apply for every state that will let us, raffle tickets, and super tags in the hopes of hitting the lotto somewhere and get a sheep tag. Hopefully before we are too old and crippled to get up the mountain.
It is a bad addiction.
stop wy sheep now! wasteful
I drew a WY sheep tag in 2004. Passed on a small legal ram first day. Never saw another ram rest of the hunt. It’s painful, but what else can u say. It’s hunting
Oops on the $14k in Wyo...looks like it's closer to $10k. Still a large chunk of change but a chunk cheaper than Alaska or Canada sheep!
Another consideration for tough draws like sheep. There are a lot more new applicants each year that start applying than tags allocated. In other words....your draw odds are getting worse and worse by the year. It may be good projecting how much it costs and how many applicants are applying for tags 20 years from now. Also, sometimes states change the draw process mid-stream so you never know what will happen in the years to come. One thing I can guarantee is the price to apply and price for licenses aren't going to decrease! I hate to paint a poor picture but it aint pretty! As Garth Carter said about 15 years ago....you can't draw unless you apply and someone has to draw these tough draw odds tags. Apply for as many tags as you can afford! Myself I'd rather spend my hard earned money on great hunting and fishing trips rather than chasing a far-fetched dream! There are some fantastic adventures to take that really don't cost that much cash.
It's true what jims says about applications prices going up. It's also true that new people are applying every year. One thing not mentioned though, is that a lot of these point systems were initiated when the baby boomer generation were our(the OP and I) age and those guys, year-by-year, are dying or getting so old and fat that they can no longer hunt sheep. I think that the preference point states don't help younger guys in that regards because there's enough guys who started young or live forever, but the BP systems hold our odds so long as we get a point.
And crappy odds in 7 places over 30 years add up. We're definitely at a disadvantage. The point systems favor people who get in year 1 at the penalty of everyone who comes after them for 50+ years. But it's better than a turd enchilada. And I honestly feel I've got a shot at hunting sheep in the lower 48 in my lifetime. And I'll be able to do it on my terms.
I started applying for every sheep tag I could about 20 years ago after I drew a CO bighorn tag where I got in on the ground floor. I have not drawn another tag but should be able to hunt sheep in WY if I can stay/get healthy enough to do it. It will not be the fun/exciting hunt that I envisioned when I started because I do not have the knees/legs or stamina that is required to make the most of the hunt. Still I am looking forward to the hunt but at my age I actually enjoy bow hunting whitetails in my home state more. ( Have not drawn a WY tag yet but have enough points to draw a slightly lesser unit and may be able to draw any unit in 4-5 years. I have a decision to make.) In the other states I feel that I have to win the lottery to get a tag. NM cut back on NR tags so there are only 2 for thousands of applicants. I think that UT has 3 NR sheep tags for 6,000 -7,000 applicants. I do not think that NV is much different. I think that MT has about 1 NR sheep tag for every 2,000 applicants. I have a lot of points in MT that get squared but that probably only improves my odds from "all but impossible to draw" to "extremely unlikely to draw". Someone draws every year just like someone wins the lottery. Not very good odds for any individual. WY gives out the most NR tags so I think that the simple math shows that to be the best odds state but also it is an expensive tag to apply and build points for. Also WY has some easier to draw sheep tags so in 20+ years you may be able to hunt a unit with small rams. In the mean time you may draw a random tag in a unit with rams that we dream about. In all other states I think that someone getting into the system has no reasonable chance of drawing a NR sheep tag in their lifetime. When I started I thought that it was just a matter of waiting my turn. I was wrong.
Now I have drawn some great non-sheep tags by putting in a lot of applications for a lot of species and states. Just like the law of averages works against an individual they can so work for you. By spending ~ $2,000 a year on applications plus sending in thousands refundable fees each years I have drawn some great tags. If the odds are 1 in 100 and I apply 40 times a year I should draw about every 2 1/2 years and over time it does seems to work out. However I am paying a lot to draw those tags and I can not control what I draw when and where very well so after nothing for awhile I may drawn two tags in one year. The same holds true for sheep tags, If the odds are on average 1 in 2,500 and you can buy 250 chances a year for 10 years you should get a tag. That means buying a lot of raffle tickets for a lot of money. It may not be cost effective but if money is not a problem it may be a solid approach. Of course if everyone does it the odds get real bad then a lot of money gets donated with little chance of an individual obtaining a tag even though someone will. In summary, I think that the best you can do look at each state individually, Divide the number of NR tags by the number of NR applicants and decide if you like the long term odds verses the expense. Some people above you will either draw, die or drop out over the next 30 years but you will not be the last man standing starting at your age and you may never be guaranteed a tag .
I would look closest at WY because they give out the most NR sheep tags. However the point creep has not stopped there. At some point it has to based on average life times. There are already enough people ahead of you to draw all of the regular draw tags for the next 100 + years. Of course in 100 years it is very unlikely that anyone applying now will still be applying. So what will happen? I think who draws in the regular draw will be determined by who stays healthy the longest while still applying. Lets say that the healthiest hunters can still hunt sheep at 70 years old and the average 70 year old started building points a 18. Therefore it would take about 52 points to be guaranteed a tag. If you started older you have to stay able to hunt until you are older to get to 52 points. If you start at 32, in this example you would be hunting sheep at 84 years old. Now I am not confident in the healthiest hunter pool being reduced enough at age 70 that they would all be able to draw. Right now the average age in the regular draw is pretty high and the age disparity at the time of the beginning of the point system has not fully worked through the system. At this time I feel that you will have to start applying very young and be able to hunt when you are elderly well beyond the average person to draw a sheep tag except for the random tags unless WY changes the system. WY is presently issuing 52 NR sheep tags with 75% or 39 in the regular draw. There are 1,938 NRS in the system with 1 point so 1,938 got in last year. Every point pool higher than 1 and up to 20 has more than enough applicants to draw all of the tags for a year. Therefore the point pools have to be reduced on average to 39 people . Age and health will be the biggest factors. If 1,000 of the 1,938 in the one point pool stay in until death or health forces them out, an individual has to out last 961 people and will be one of 39 out 1,000. (I am assuming that the other 938 will get out for some other reason.) You have to be in the healthiest 4% and you will be old. I see no other way for this to play out. Now if WY decides to reduce NR sheep tags from 20% to 10% because the same thing is happening to residents but not as badly, things only get worse for NRs.
I wouldn’t, and don’t, apply in ID. Sure, someone has to draw, but for the money you flush down the drain I think there are raffles out there where your money is better spent. Same with MT now that they changed the application fee structure a few years ago. If you are young (20s) and just starting out in the app game you are better off investing the money in the market now and pulling it out when you are in your 50s+.
Would definitely be an interesting math problem to figure out. I would guess that if I took the money that I have dumped over the last 20 years for applications and raffles and put it in the market, I might be able to do several sheep hunts by buying the hunt straight up.
I wish I had a copy of the questionnaire WY G&F sent to NR about 5 years. It was clear they wanted to know how they could get the most $$$ out of us for least number of tags.
If you think it is bad now wait 5 years. Then 5 more. Max points tags will get cut to a lower percentage to get new NR apps in. NR tags might get cut. They will time the order of these items to get the most $$$$. They will do everything they can to keep you in the draw and spending the most $$$.
I do not like it but I am lucky I can afford to play and with 18 sheep points and 16 moose this stuff helps me - but I do not think it is fair to the average guy.
Bottom line is WY is running a business and they are making great decisions for that business. Overnight NR sheep points went form $7 to $100. I believe 1/2 the guys dropped so almost 8x more $$$ and 1/2 the work.
However I do not think it is fair that most game is on federal lands and they are doing everything they can to hit NR hard and squeeze us - no other state comes close.
And do NOT get into the mentality of other states are close - if other states jumped off a bridge.................
Try cutting your teeth on an Aoudad hunt in South West Texas. I did a few years ago and it was a hunt of a lifetime. Ended up with 2 rams: 32 inch and a 30 inch. Yes, they were rifle kills but it's no easy hunt. Fraction of the cost but a beautiful animal to chase in those hills. No need to draw a tag, just find a great outfitter. PM if you want their info.
goyt has some good points, but comes to the opposite conclusion I have. At my age, starting to build points in my early 30s, I figured I'd never catch the PP tags for sheep in WY. I don't think it's going to happen for anyone who doesn't get started at least a decade before I did and the PP cost is ridiculous.
As far as the poor odds in other states, you can't take the number of NR tags and divide by the number of NR applicants and say you've got 1 in xxxx odds of drawing. Now, only that many people will draw, but in BP states, you do have better odds the longer you draw. In NV, I only have 5 sheep points, but my odds are anywhere from 1 in 1000 to 1 in a few hundred for DBHS and there's 2 different sheep apps. CA DBHS odds in NV are worse than DBHS, but its only another $15 for the application and I'd be applying in NV even if it were just for elk. $30 for a chance at 2 sheep tags is a no-brainer for me. Guys with 20 points right now in NV have odds more in the one in 75-100 for the good units and up to 1 in 20-30 for the lower demand units. That's not that bad... I doubt I'll have those odds when I have 20 points, but I believe I'll get a sheep tag eventually somewhere.
The story is similar in AZ. With 7 points, I'm looking at mostly 1 in 300-1000 odds, but with 20 points, guys have 1 in 75-100 odds unless they're trying for that 1 or 2 units that everyone wants a tag from. And I'm putting in for elk in AZ anyways.
I’ve got 23 points in AZ and NV for DBS. A friend of mine drew 268 2 yrs ago with 16 pts and got a great ram so somebody gets tags every year
IdyllwidArcher, I certainly agree with you that you will have a hard time out lasting WY sheep applicants that have the same or more points as you when you will most likely be spotting some of them 10+ years. Your only chance of drawing would then be their random draw and WY is expensive and will get more expensive. For a 12 years old who is willing to apply for 50+ years it may be the best and only state where there is a real chance to wait your turn. Even then if they do not draw a random tag they will be hunting at an older age and have to stay healthy which is not always possible.
I understand what you are saying about how dividing the number of NR applicants by the number of NR tags does not represent the individuals true odds and you are correct. However if we consider the chance of drawing a tag during a lifetime it is the best way I can think of to evaluate the odds. When we first start we have no or few points so our chances are much poor than average. At some point we have the average number of chances for the pool and your chances are the mathematical average. After that we continue to have better than average odds. In a world where everyone got in at the same age and stayed in the same number of years an individuals odds would average out to be real close to applicants divided by tags for their lifetime. Clearly everyone will not stay in for the same number of years so those who have staying power have the better odds of drawing a tag in their lifetime. The more people with staying power the worse their individual odds become. Also if more people get in young and can stay in longer the odds get tougher in future years. Regardless applicants divided by tags and compared to the number of years you have to apply is a good gut check IMO. Of course anyone can draw and some one will. I also agree with buying points in states where they are cheap and you are applying/buying a license anyway. You are relatively young and I hope that you draw at least one sheep if you stick with it.
Not much is really going to change as the I am lucky I can afford it guys that go with Huntin' Fool application service or those that go with other Appl. Services will always be in the draw game for pennies on the dollar.
It isn't my cup of tea to go with these type of cheap application services but there is nothing wrong with those that need them. These Appl Services go all out if ya do indeed draw thru them with Text or phone calls or emails if you happen to draw thru those service so that is nice. Then ya get your Pic in the next Mag--Ad saying ya drew thru that service.....
Personally, I could care less about Odds or Application Services as you all know, I go for the unit/species I want and let the dice roll as they may...... Kinda like the NFL 'On Any Given Sunday' vs 'On Any Given Draw' !! haha
Ya gotta love it all fella's
Good luck, Robb
Yeah, it certainly does show you how many guys are going to go without drawing. This is why I'm opposed to PP systems in cases where the demand outmatches the tags by such a great margin. The system only benefits first year applicants at the expense of everyone else for the next 50 or so years. Thus, why I won't play the game in WY. PP systems are great where it takes 5 to maybe 10 years to draw the tag, otherwise, it's just a Ponzi scheme.
I am dropping out of WY sheep and moose this year. I learned early in life that you dont throw good money after bad.
Point systems are terrible. Wait times after draw are better. If 80 people apply for 4 tags then anyone who draws that tag waits 80/4 = 20 years. If 5 people apply for 4 tags then no wait required. If you go after a high demand tag then you are going to wait a lot of years but that is fair to the folks that did not get a tag when you did. If you go are willing to apply to a low demand unit then you will not wait as long. No preference points. No bonus points. States with point systems will never go for this approach as the $100,000s they get from points is easy money and there is always a guy willing to jump on the point train at the back of the line even if they bail after a few years when realize the odds are not improving for them, the point costs always go up and often the NR tag allocation goes down. Woulda, coulda, shoulda do not get a vote so is a crappy game rigged for the Year 1 pool then trickles down to Year 2 after several years then to Year 3, etc. By Year 20 any newcomer is looking at a wait longer than life expectancy. Most applicants do not draw a NR sheep tag in Idaho but you have the same odds to get a sheep tag no matter if your first or tenth year. In Wyoming, most applicants do not draw a NR sheep tag but your odds greatly vary depending on if is first or tenth year. And so it goes. Idaho is fairer. Wyoming created a one-time inequity that bunched tags into the Max Point pool rather than allow those tags to be awarded equally whether Year 1 or Year 10. No where in society other than point systems is that approach seen as a good thing.
It is sad but the bottom line is you were just hoping to outlive other people. Your odds go out more each year from people giving up or dying then from people drawing tags.
Or talk to BULELK1 he calculated my nonresident odds at one in 20 in Nevada for desert sheep!!!
Not true Mr. Vathome
On Jun 1st, '17 I stated;
''84 appl (2016) 2 tags issued in 2016 & 2017 non-ressy pool....1 in 42 odds----wow crazy! Robb "
You are welcome
Like Bigdan said, I would continue to apply in states like Montana where your name goes in a draw every year. I have maximum points for moose in Montana, and close to it for sheep and goats, and have never drawn. I have a son that drew sheep and goat with hardly any points, and a son that drew goat last year with zero points. Maybe you are a lucky person, and draw with few points.
Wow Robb. You only looked at first choice applicants - and even then one guy had 24 bonus points = 577 chances. My unit was the easiest to draw in NV - almost no one will list it as a first choice. There are 5 choices. Still amazing how you stalk me and track my every move and document each hunt and know what units I am in and when. I hope you do not use your math for your retirement planning. Stay on your meds.
I calculated my odds using total applicants then calculating each bonus points, squaring, adding 1 then divided my my chances and got 2063.9 to 1 odds I would draw.
You always' inflate the value' of anything you do so no big deal.
84 Total applicants---------->
I drew in WY in 2016 with 16 points and it was NOT a random draw tag. It was a Max Points tag.
That is a very nice ram! Congratulations
I remember that hunt ya posted about on here---
Grueling but Very Rewarding for ya man.
Good luck, Robb
I drew a Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep tag in Arizona with less than max points. It is such a quality hunt that I wouldn't ignore even the remote possibility of drawing it. So I would suggest putting in in Arizona.