So started "the class of 2009." People who now have 9 points after the most recent draw (except maybe more points for one individual specie), are the group that draws more tags than any other point group, specifically by numbers.
Colorado, this past year, has made a change such as you no longer have to submit the cost of the tag fee. It used to cost around $8 thousand dollars (refunded if you didn't draw) as a NR (much less as a resident, although it added up if you had a hunting wife and children) to apply for everything.
As we've all seen, it's much cheaper now and we watched as odds for the most expensive draws, sheep, goat, and moose, went through the roof as people who didn't want to or couldn't swing the high upfront costs before, entered the draw with the lowered cost.
Now we have a "class of 2018" in Colorado. A group that will probably never be matched again in sheer numbers of apps.
The thing that's surprised me out of all the stats, though, as I've poured over them the past few days, is not the dismal sheep odds, not the change from moose tag being a possibility in one's lifetime to being an improbability, but rather, the deer and elk apps.
Deer and elk are among the most commonly hunted animals. Nonetheless, if you wanted to get into the draw in CO for elk and deer, you still had to front the fee. If you entered for just a point, it was a bit cheaper as you could just submit the female of the specie fee, but you still had to send away hundreds of dollars as a NR and you don't get that money refunded for a few months from when you send it.
I've been pouring over the deer and elk draw numbers and am blown away by how many more people applied with zero points in so many units for deer and elk. I'm questioning now what I thought would happen, but many of the easier-to-draw units had a huge influx of applicants.
It's much more dramatic for NRs than it is for residents - and that makes sense. Many residents would go ahead and front the nominal money required for a deer/elk application. But I guess many NRs couldn't stomach the cost of the draw.
Many of the lower tier deer and elk units have had an annual increase in the number of applicants in each unit, as there is always fresh blood applying. But the average increase is not only not sustained, but for residents, has been pretty flat. For NRs, the annual increase in numbers of applicants has often been about 10% more than the prior year when averaged out for a large sampling of units.
What I'm seeing now, is an overall increase of 10-20% applications for residents, which is often times a 100% increase in the overall number of NEW APPLICANTS when averaged over 5-10 years. The picture is much more dismal for NRs. Many deer/elk units have had a 1000% increase in the average number of NEW APPLICANTS during the same time period.
What this means, is that if nothing changes, point creep for deer and elk will hit each unit as the "Class of 2018" catches the points needed for that unit. This won't be realized for upper tier elk units, probably forever, or till most of the people reading this are dead. But it'll hit the deer draws first.
Currently, CO is a great place to draw a good deer tag because of their draw system. There are many great units that can be drawn with 1 or 2 points. By 2021, that will be a thing of the past as run-away point creep will be the name of the game.
As far as elk goes, it's a different story: All deer units are on a draw. Not so the case with elk. There are basically 4 tiers in CO: The NW corner of the state which are the most coveted which are about 20 years from being drawn by only 80 year old men till the system is changed (they require one more point almost every year, often times for a decade or more before the next point class draws), 61 and 76 which are about 30-35 years from being drawn by only 80 year old men (which creep a point about 4 out of 5 years), the 4-5 point unit draws which have about 1/3 point of creep per year (they require another point about every 3 years), and then the draws that require 0-1 points to draw.
The NW corner and 61/76 will not be affected by the class of 2018 for a very long time. By the time those applicants catch the units, they'll be 80 years old and it'll be more of an issue of outliving fellow applicants than building points.
Where the class of 2018 will have their effect, is in the lower two tiers. Deer will be hit hard first, although, due to every unit being on a draw, not as hard. The lower tier elk units will be hit second. First the 0-1 point units, but then the 4-5 point units. And they will see their point creep severely accelerated. If you don't believe me, go look at the number of applicants year in, year out, for one of these units, then look at this year. Then take the number of tags given out each year and then it's simple division to figure out what's going to happen to point creep. This mostly applies to NRs as the swing in numbers applying is often times 10X that of residents.
I'm hoping to draw a CO elk and deer tag next year - with current point creep, I'm certain I'll draw my deer tag and almost certain I'll draw my elk tag. After that, I'm wondering if I'll even build elk points in CO - I almost never did just due to the impossible point creep already present. If I draw next year, I'll be 2 years behind the class of 2018. If my math is correct, a unit that will cost me 4-5 units now, will cost me more than 20 points the next go-around...and these are not units worth waiting decades for.
CO already had a huge problem with their system. It's a pure preference point system which is not sustainable and now there's no disincentive to apply which has exacerbated their problem. When demand outstrips supply, some people have to go without tags, but in a pure preference point system, that rewards two classes of people: The people who get in year 1 and the people whose parents start applying for their children who can then outlive the rest. Eventually, no one else can draw a tag and only the old hunt the LE tags.
It's a huge problem. And within 5 years, it's going to be a much bigger problem for elk and deer. Sheep and moose odds will be in the toilet in 2021 (DBHS already are), but that's about the time that people who expected to draw deer tags will be scratching their heads and several unit's elk tags will start to see their point creep turn into 76/61 type levels.
After I drew my Ram, Billy, Elk & Deer----------> I never did Antelope or Moose as I have them On The Wall already from other states.
I left the Colo draw game.
Going forward its wise to save up for a landowner Tag or apply to systems with no points (New Mexico). Another option is save for diy Alaska or move to a dream state and camp out. C
PS: If you continue to “play” understand your real odds are the “random” tags and that’s a small chance.
Add that to the $55M for hunting licenses (2017 USFW data - http://forums.bowsite.com/tf/bgforums/thread.cfm?threadid=475301&messages=7&forum=5#4600764) and the increases coming in 2019 to resident and nonresident license costs, it's a pretty healthy increase to their coffers.
Heck, they could be looking at busting a big "B" in just hunting applications and licenses alone!
Based on their advertisements to get support from all the sportsman's groups and the legislature (http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Financial-Sustainability/Resources/Hunting-Fishing-and-Parks-for-Future-Generations-Act.pdf) hunting applications and licenses alone will be more than what their flawed study shows hunters contributing to the state economy.
Still can not believe that there is any way that they can claim that Wildlife Watching is $2.3 Billion a year! Where are all these "Wildlife Watchers", besides the people viewing them out the window of their car as they speed down the highway? That is a secondary activity to other activities and this presentation was focused on making it look like hunters are not paying "their fair share". It also provides exactly $0.00 to CPW revenue.
If it brings in so much money to the economy, why can't CPW make up their "shortfalls" by charging people to "watch wildlife"?
Charge every resident and visitor to Colorado a "Wildlife Watching Tax"? Basically make it illegal to be in the state without your "Wildlife Watching Stamp"?
The same will eventually be true for the higher demand deer and elk units. Maybe that is the intent and the CPW's answer to fixing their PP system.
That leaves two possibilities. Either the CPW is amazingly incompetent and didn't see this coming, or they believe this was the best path to go down. I disagree with some of their decisions but they aren't dumb and I can't believe they didn't predict the impact of this change. That leaves option #2 which means the system is changing in a way that fits their plan and agenda. Making a change when both parties agree there is a problem can be hard enough. Making a change when one party is convinced they are already doing the right thing is really hard. I'm not holding my breath.
The likely change if any is charging for preference points. The likely path I see that taking us is becoming a 100% draw state.
This change is a giant blow to folks who have been hunting limited units regularly, or have been saving points for sheep, goat, or moose, or those just entering the system hoping to draw a premium tag of any kind someday. People used to complain when draw odds changed by a small amount due to some natural demand increase or a few tags being reduced in a unit. This one move is like 20 years of those little hits all happening at once.
All the discussions about possible tweaks to improve the point creep issue over the last couple decades years were wasted energy.
What nobody has explained to me is why not raise the point fee to a figure that limits those not “as serious”. For example if your target is $2m in PP fees, it takes 666k entries. At just 20 a point, still manageable for many, it only takes 100k entries. The government still gets their money and hunters still get a chance to draw.
I burned my 4 points this year on a cow tag with my dad. We'll have a fun hunt together in some pretty mild terrain. I have no regrets burning them, but I don't know that I'm going to start up again being 1 year behind "The Class of 2018". Not only will point creep skyrocket (think 15-20 points for 49), but Colorado is going to set the hook and absolutely hammer us with fee increases to maintain our points (let's not kid ourselves, anyone starting out after this year will only be paying to maintain their place in line, hoping those ahead die first.) Sadly, cost will be the final determining factor in just how bad the point creep is. I suspect that that if you have plenty of money, it may not be quite as bad as we are thinking (but still bad.) Time will tell and there will be some big decisions about Colorado in the future for me.
#1-The current point holders (Greater than 1) Very few of these folks will draw the units they are targeting. Many will eventually cash out on lower PP units. (Accelerating point creep on the lower PP units) Many of these folks will keep chasing units that will keep on creeping. The majority of those chasing the NW units will die before they hunt them.
#2- The 2018 newbie applicants. Some of these applicants have no clue of the process. Others are under the illusion that they will be able to hunt units such as 76, 61 etc. The reality of the situation will not dawn on them until later years. There will be no such thing as 0 or 1 PP units. Any unit with a quota (elk) will start climbing.
#3- The post 2018 applicants. The bulk of these applicants will never hunt a PP unit. They have no clue. Anyone in group 1 who cashed out there points (without a lobotomy) will not enter group 3.
This is how I see things playing out,,,,,,,, until the CPW changes the rules (Again). The one constant applicants can rely upon,,,, change.
They had to do something to get their revenue up because they were going broke! And all that money they were overspending was going to what? Expanding public access? Increasing game animal populations? Decreasing crowding? Better quality? Hmmmm...
Who better to fix their revenue problem than us hunters who will gladly fork over more coin to help them out?
It’s all for the future generations...
What? You mean anyone trying to draw a tag will have to wait much longer or may never get it?
Maybe they were talking about “future generations” of CPW bureaucrats?
I sincerely hope that we start to see some major improvements for hunting from CPW. However, if history is any indication, hunters will likely get the short end of the stick yet again.
21,000+ NR applicants draw their first choice and return to zero points annually.
Two things I would change in this pic. #1-The family hugging the hunter should be wearing spandex. #2- The hunter should be in street clothes if he is applying for PP units only. This pic seems appropriate to this topic.
Frankly, I don't feel bad for myself one bit. I've been lucky and had some amazing experiences bowhunting out West. I feel sick to my stomach for my son and his cohort however. Unless I, or he, manage to hit the Powerball (and neither of us play it), I don't see the future looking very bright as far as western hunting opportunities for today's youth. Am I seeing this right?
When NM dropped the up-front fee requirement a bunch of successful folks weren't able to pay the fee. The department did an online leftover sale and had game wardens cheating and all kind of other problems. It was a mess. Not saying it will necessarily change back, but the CO hunter pool just expanded to include a whole new group.