Sitka Mountain Gear
Buying Preference Points for Kids
Contributors to this thread:
Ace of Spades 12-Jan-15
LINK 12-Jan-15
Scoot 12-Jan-15
eddie c 12-Jan-15
Vids 12-Jan-15
NovemberMadman 12-Jan-15
earlyriser 12-Jan-15
gobbler 12-Jan-15
Sage Buffalo 12-Jan-15
JusPassin 12-Jan-15
LungBuster 12-Jan-15
Junior 12-Jan-15
cnelk 12-Jan-15
MathewsMan 12-Jan-15
Ace of Spades 12-Jan-15
wildwilderness 12-Jan-15
Straight Shooter 12-Jan-15
365 outdoors 12-Jan-15
jims 12-Jan-15
trkytrack 13-Jan-15
arctichill 13-Jan-15
cnelk 13-Jan-15
Bob H in NH 13-Jan-15
Vids 13-Jan-15
Milo 13-Jan-15
MQQSE 14-Jan-15
MOfarmer 14-Jan-15
Bob H in NH 14-Jan-15
Ace of Spades 14-Jan-15
MattyB 15-Jan-15
coelker 23-Jan-15
DeerNut 28-Sep-20
My kids are both under 2... I want to set them up to have preference points to hunt a trophy unit once they are around 18. My question is what are the rules in the western states as far as age to be able to buy preference points for them? I'd be looking at either CO, MT, or WY.

Thanks, Josh

From: LINK
Just set some money back each year to buy them a unit wide landowner tag in a prime unit when they are 18. Points would be cheaper but I'm pretty sure in most states they can't put in until a certain age.

From: Scoot
For most states they need to be 12 before you can start getting points. Someone here will know all of the details, but I believe that's the general approach of most Western states that have points.

From: eddie c
I'm with Link. what if you spend all that money on points and they don't/can't hunt?

From: Vids
Pretty sure 12 is the minimum age in CO.

You didn't mention AZ. Points for youth are cheap in AZ and the bulls are better than most everywhere else. DO NOT pass up building points in AZ. I don't know what the minimum age is to start though. Deadline is fast approaching so don't procrastinate.

From: earlyriser
It's sad that hunting has turned into this. No offense intended. My kids are in the same boat.

From: gobbler
Statistically, most kids starting now will probably never draw sheep tags or even cream of the crop deer and elk units in their lifetime.

From: Sage Buffalo
If you saved anywhere between $500-$1000 a year for each you could take them on an amazing multi-species hunt for their graduation present.

I know a great place where you could shoot a big bull (100% success rate for both gun or bow), nice WT or Mulie and a giant antelope (bow or gun)for that price.

Obviously you could spend less but the point is save money every year and go on a premium guided hunt when they are ready.

From: JusPassin
Or, a college fund maybe?

From: LungBuster
10 in AZ for kids.

From: Junior
If you do decide to go the points route. You had better be prepared to go hunting for all species they have points for, before 18. Make sure they have a chance to draw the tag with x-amount of points to. Youth points are cheap, but once they are 18 the adult price gets expensive.. If I was going to do this I would pick a state like Wyoming, and just build antelope and deer. Save money for elk! FYI: A lot of states have put the brakes on point averaging. That sure does screw the family with kids a couple years apart in age. Especially sucks when they change this rule half way through the game!

From: cnelk
My kids both have and have had Pref Points in Colorado. They are 18 & 21. Here is what you do [if you plan on your kids going to college]:

Start applying when they are 12. Build PP for 6 years and dump them when they are a senior in HS for a hunt before they head off to college the following year. Then while they are off in college, build up their PPs again for 4 more years or so.

If you do it this way, they can still hunt 2nd-4th choice or OTC the years they are applying. And every 4 - 6 years they should be able get a decent unit.

Good luck raising the kiddos. Fun stuff.

Remember tho, you get out of them what you put into them

From: MathewsMan
Personally I don't mix trophy hunting and kids in the same sentence. Heck even beginner's regardless of age should focus more on learning and the whole experience rather than quality.

Most of Colorado and Wyoming have quality hunting opportunity without tons of points.

Thanks for the info guys. Just think it would be a fun family hunt going to a limited unit.

The rule is based on the age to buy a hunting license. You generally have to buy the license then buy the points. like mentioned, AZ is 10, CO, WY is 12 like most others, UT is 14 for LE and OIL points.

Don't forget that there are many youth hunt options that are open to kids up to 17 years old. Points are cheap and an antelope hunt would be an awesome present.


From: 365 outdoors
Vermont you can put a newborn in for a moose point. I did the same search and that was the only one I could find.

From: jims
It's pretty sad what's happening to the sport of hunting in the Western US. I hate to say it but it seems like options for youth to hunt big game is dwindling...especially if you are a nonresident.

Some states are getting so expensive that I can barely afford applying myself for tags. You may want to add up how much it costs for application, license, and pref/bonus pt fees and multiply that by how many years and states you apply. As an example, I've been applying for Nevada big game the past 15 years. It currently costs me over $200/year to apply. 15 years x $200 is $3,000 with only 1 tag drawn! That $3,000 doesn't include the price of the nonres tag nor the gas, etc for the hunt.

It's getting to the point where it is almost cheaper to save up and do an Alaska fishing trip or something else. As mentioned above there are a few reasonably priced opportunities throughout the West that currently don't cost an arm and leg but those seem to be shrinking as limited tags become tougher to draw, states reduce nonres tags, and license fees increase.

From: trkytrack
They can hunt deer in Nebraska when their 12 and the tags are $5.00 (five dollars) resident OR non-resident. Plenty of youth hunts available in Colorado. Most kids don't give a rats butt about trophy anything...they are happy to just kill something.

From: arctichill
"Most kids don't give a rats butt about trophy anything...they are happy to just kill something."

The kill that is most valuable to kids is simply killing time with Dad. Hunting, fishing, doesn't matter. I would pay the price of a fully guided Canmore sheep hunt in exchange for just one more day hunting rabbits with my Dad...or "hunting" for arrowheads or even wild mushrooms for that matter.

From: cnelk
trkytrack is close but actually kids can hunt deer in Nebraska when they are 10. As long as they are accompanied by a licensed person 19 or older. [See page 9&10 of the Neb regs]. For turkey there is no age requirements for kids

I took my son out there to get his first taste of big game hunting with a ML when he was 10. He loved it and still does.

He took his first turkey out there too.

Nebraska is a great place to take the kids to get them the taste of success. Lots of opportunity and easy access

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From: Bob H in NH
You can't control if and what they will like to hunt, maybe they will have no interest. What you can start now to control is the debt load they will have when they graduate! Take the money you would invest in points and invest it in a college fund that helps them get less, or no, student loan debt. That helps them get their life started!

Once they establish their life, then work on a family hunt with them!

We did this for our sons, both are now out of college, one debt free, one had some, but nothing like some of his friends who have $1000/month student loan payments.

Told them I'd take them on any hunting trip they wanted as a graduation present - of course I had veto power or I'd find myself funding 2 polar bear trips or some other astronomical thing. Turns out they picked the FIFA World Cup in Brazil last summer. We had a blast!

Now I get to hunt with my wife!

From: Vids
I fully agree with college funding being a higher priority, but preference points in CO only cost $3 per year per species. It's cheap to build some points for them while they are young.

Even if they don't care about trophy hunting, it opens up options for more units when you have a few points in the bank.

From: Milo


MQQSE's embedded Photo
MQQSE's embedded Photo
I'm all for building points for them where possible, but enjoying each year with all of the local opportunities. Life goes by too fast.

From: MOfarmer
I started Applying for points for my son when he was 14 and it took about 3 points (non resident) to get into 61(CO). Now he has 17 points and we are still 2 or 3 points behind drawing 61.

From: Bob H in NH
Didn't realize they were $3! Seems like good gamble. another aspect is predicting the future of preference point systems across states. Will todays points, still be valid/used in 15-18 years?

The whole preference point system MIGHT come under scrutiny as things continue to take longer and longer to build points to get some tags.

I agree, it isn't about killing a trophy animal, it's about having a quality hunt with low pressure and lots of legal bulls. I know it can be had in an OTC unit, I guess it being my kids I want better for them that I've had. Would be nice for them to experience some bugling and natural activity as some of the OTC units get burned out to where bugling is non existent except maybe at night. The other idea is that if we did go OTC then the points I built up will give them a head start in drawing a trophy unit some day. It's kind of a goal of my wife and mine to do a backpack hunt as a family, it encompasses so many facets that we enjoy (backpacking, navigating, Bowhunting, family, gear, and the outdoors). Ive done 3 backpack hunts for elk, it's just a matter of being able to get out there as a family.

Thanks for the experience, opinions, and facts you've all shared!

This will not take away from their college fund.... If anything it will take away from my yearly hunting budget.


From: MattyB
Save the money and get a quality guided hunt if they even want to hunt when they are 18. I've been applying for my son for years and he has zero interest in hunting. Wish I had the money for something else now.

From: coelker
I agree with most of what has been said! Forget the points, build them if you like. Hunt what you can together and focus more on the opportunity and experience. If you want a quality hunt save money and hunt private land or guided.

Build points, but unfortunately do not ever count on using them until they are much older...

From: DeerNut
I think from hunting you can learn a lot of things, is not just a hobby it is something more. I think a good idea is to get a quality guided hunt, it will be a very good experience that they will remember for all life. In general is very difficult to understand how to educate your kids, what is right and what is wrong. For example I have 2 boys and we are playing together in video games, our favorite is FIfa, you can check ... there you will find a lot of useful things for that game.

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