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Idaho Draw Details
With the Idaho OIL draw results coming out soon, I thought some of you might be interested in this analysis. If you apply for one of the Big-4 species in Idaho (CBHS, RMBHS, Moose, Mt Goat) you know they operate on a random draw with no point system of any kind. Non residents are limited to no more than 10% of the total license allocation per species, rounded down. And further, NR's may receive no more than 1 license from any hunt code that offers less than 10 licenses. If the hunt code offers more than 10 licenses total, the NR limit is 10% of the total for that hunt code, rounded down.
The main benefit of the Idaho system, when compared to other more restrictive random-draw states (example Montana), is that NR's are eligible to draw a license in every single hunt area. The final result is, because of a high level of NR participation in the OIL draws, NR's almost always reach their maximum allowed number of tags for each OIL species.
The way the draw in Idaho works, stated in simplified terms, is that every person's name (resident and NR all together) is "in the hat" once. Figuratively speaking, names are drawn out one at time, until all licenses have been awarded. The NR ceilings are applied as each name is drawn, and once the NR ceilings are met, any further NR names drawn are ineligible. Of course this is all done electronically by assigning every applicant a random number, then sorting from lowest to highest, then awarding the licenses based on rank.
Glancing at the "draw odds" report on the Idaho website, it's not possible to learn the NR draw odds for any particular hunt code. Take for example Mt Goat. In 2018, there were 224 NR's who applied for the 48 available permits. NR's were drawn for their maximum limit of 4 permits. But the report shows only "% odds" for the permits actually drawn, and "0" for all other permits. See chart below. But of course this is false data, since every NR who applied had a percentage chance to draw the license they applied for. And no NR actually had the as-listed 8% or 9% chance to draw a Goat permit.
But with a little effort we can create an iterative analysis to estimate actual draw odds, based on past draws. Which is what follows below for 2018 Mt Goat. Due to the time it takes to create the tool and enter the data, this is the only species I've done as of now. Might have time to do some more species after the 2019 data comes out. I know that other groups and some of the app services are all doing state odds tables nowadays, but I still prefer to do my own, just so I know how it was done. This app takes the actual published applicant data from the IDFG website, then simulates running the draw repeatedly. The results are then totaled and we arrive at a fair estimate of the NR chances to draw any given hunt code. The more iterations we run, the more accurate the estimates will be. If the applicant numbers don't change much from year-to-year, this gives an idea of what future odds may look like for any hunt code.
Below is the actual Excel spreadsheet published by IDFG, and then to that I've added the NR estimated odds on the far right, highlighted in green.
Some interesting observations are:
1. Although there were 863 applicant names in the hat, in some cases the NR limit of 4 tags was reached very quickly....within the first 5 or 6 picks. In other cases it took 50 or more picks to fill the NR limit. On average it took only 10-20 picks to hit the NR ceiling. So your only hope as a NR, is to get a very low random number.
2. It is remotely possible for NR's to draw zero licenses. NR are not guaranteed any licenses. But in repeating the draw 1000 times using 2018 data, NR's reached their 4-tag limit virtually every time. This is the result of a reasonably high number of NR's in the draw, and their applications being spread fairly well across all hunt codes.
3. There was no hunt area, regardless of total demand, which had drastically better odds than any other, even for the lowest demand hunts. Except as mentioned in #4 below.
4. The worst odds for NR's to draw a license is with a hunt code in which resident applicants severely outnumber the NR applicants, and when there's only one tag. An example would be Area 1, with 48 resident applicants and only 1 NR applicant, and only one total tag available.
Pretty much like every other state offering extremely high-demand hunts, in Idaho your best hope is to apply for the unit you most want to hunt, be patient & keep applying, and pray for some luck to fall your way. Good luck this month!
Nice work! I do recall some of the subscription services over-hyping and significantly over-estimating the ID big 3 non-resident odds, especially for sheep. Some have seen the errors of their ways, some have not.
I think a quick summary is the moose odds can still be pretty good, because the supply/demand issue is not so extreme. But for sheep and goat the situation is pretty bad, with all sheep odds < 1%.
I am sitting Idaho put for sheep for the first time in over 10 years. The convention fees added to the nonrefundable costs make for an expensive very low odds draw. The 8 weeks I waited for my refund last year was the cherry on top. I dont see myself applying in Idaho anymore unless I plan on using the licence for year anyway..
This is the most legitimate odds calculation I have seen. It does exactly what Idaho does.
I had always wondered if applying for the least desirable unit improved your odds. Based on this model it would appear that if your odds are improved they are not improved by much.
Thanks for sharing!
GJ Greg, but the first rule about applying in Idaho is you don't talk about applying in Idaho :)
Last year was ridiculous. They hired a private company to handle the draw and it took an extra month to get the results and an extra month or two to refund the money. I sure hope they've got that figured out better this time.
Nicely done, some subscription services need to check themselves because their draw odds are way too high for non-residents
Great work! Thanks for giving us all a reality check.
Spot On Greg.
One of those Confusingly Understandable draw systems!
I rotate years, in other words, I do the big 4 when Sheep 11 is available that year and then Elk/Deer the year Sheep 11 isn't available...…
Good luck, Robb
Wow! I actually had no idea how this actually worked. Starting next year I was going to be putting in for ID moose. I know that area that I want to hunt doesn't have many, but I know generally where to find them after seeing them while elk hunting. I always thought my odds for that unit would be better since there were either very few or 0 NR applicants in that unit most years. Sounds like it has virtually 0 impact on what the draw odds for any particular unit.
Thanks for this information!
Shiras42, good plan.....the Moose draw is your best bet as a NR to eventually pull a tag in Idaho.
This is impressive stuff here, Greg. Nice work. Thank you for sharing with us.