State of Big Game hunting
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
aDrenalinJunkie21 13-Feb-20
SDHNTR(home) 13-Feb-20
MathewsMan 13-Feb-20
nmwapiti 13-Feb-20
kota-man 13-Feb-20
JTreeman 13-Feb-20
LKH 13-Feb-20
tkjwonta 13-Feb-20
TEmbry 14-Feb-20
Grey Ghost 14-Feb-20
Bou'bound 14-Feb-20
Bowboy 14-Feb-20
midwest 14-Feb-20
midwest 14-Feb-20
Smtn10PT 14-Feb-20
lawdy 14-Feb-20
cnelk 14-Feb-20
Tennhunter 14-Feb-20
Fuzzy 14-Feb-20
APauls 14-Feb-20
akbow 14-Feb-20
Tennhunter 14-Feb-20
Missouribreaks 14-Feb-20
Jaquomo 14-Feb-20
Tdvorak 14-Feb-20
Mule Power 14-Feb-20
sticksender 14-Feb-20
tundrajumper 14-Feb-20
Empty Freezer 16-Feb-20
13-Feb-20
This isn't a fun topic, but it's important.

I'm *relatively* young I think for this site (I'm 25, I've been on the forum on and off since I was roughly 15 or 16). Hunting, and specifically bowhunting, is the thing I'm most passionate about. I recently put a list together of animals I "need" to hunt and "really want" to hunt before I just can't do it anymore. To say the list the thought of it is...daunting from a financial and tag-acquisition stand point. Caribou numbers are down all over the place. Wolves are killing elk and deer. I could apply for a sheep tag (pick any of them) every year from now until I retire, and I still may not get one.

Instead of being caught up in the problems, of which we could list 100s - what's the solution? How do we make this better? Maybe I won't get to finish my list - but if we can make it easier for others to fill theirs one day, that seems noble to me.

From: SDHNTR(home)
13-Feb-20
The solution? Find a job that makes lots of money and allows you lots of free time. In other words, Build your own business. Work like hell for 10 years, then figure out a way to make other people work and assets make money for you.

From: MathewsMan
13-Feb-20
Live where you can hunt a lot of things on your list.

From: nmwapiti
13-Feb-20
Either live somewhere with a lot of hunting or find a job that gives you plenty of time off. I wouldn't put a lot of money on hunting being easily available and/or affordable 30 years from now when you retire. It's changed a lot in the 30 years I've been doing it.

From: kota-man
13-Feb-20
Yep...Two choices/options:

1. Move where you can hunt everything you can relatively inexpensive.

2. Build your own business.

I’ve got a close nit group of friends whereby most of them falls into one of these two groups. They kill a TON of stuff on an annual basis.

From: JTreeman
13-Feb-20
I fall in to the make more money/time.group. I cannot at this point move to where I would need to be to do the things I want to do. And quite honestly I want to do a lot more than any one state/location could offer. It’s kinda unfortunate, but it takes money to do a lot of these things. You don’t have to be a millionaire, but you certainly have to prioritize it. And another thing, living where you can do a lot of things still requires time. Lots of the guys that I know that live where they can do it also work for themselves, only way they can have the time flexibility. To REALLY do it all you have to plan your lifestyle accordingly. And when then you can’t do it ALL...

—Jim

From: LKH
13-Feb-20
Well, from your post you are quite literate and may have the option of making a lot of money. That's one option. Another is to stay single and live frugally. That will give you enough cash to do quite a few hunts.

If you have a profession that allows you to move on to different jobs you could move to a number of states and even provinces so you can hunt as a resident.

You're just a baby and have a lot of time left. Because of my navy career I never hunted sheep, grizzly and goat until I was in my 40's. All my better deer, elk an caribou came in my 50's. At 72 I'm going to NF for moose this fall.

You have a lot of time left.

From: tkjwonta
13-Feb-20
This is just a small piece of the equation, but I try to apply/plan hunts in some part based on my impressions of ability of the state agency to manage wildlife resources. This is especially true for those once in a lifetime species. It is true that your odds of drawing a sheep tag a pretty low, but you put in some time/money/effort to help improve habitat and you have confidence in state game agencies and other conservation groups to "put more sheep on the mountain" that could go a long way to increasing your odds someday.

Also, try to have some time and money flexibility so that you can jump on short notice opportunities and potentially save some money and go on hunts you otherwise might not be able to.

From: TEmbry
14-Feb-20
My solution 5 years ago around the same age, move to Alaska. Tags are free, 11-12 big game animals and counting (deer species and Mtn lions now creeping in from Canada). It’s not easy or even feasible for everyone, but it worked for me. Best decision I ever made for reasons beyond hunting.

From: Grey Ghost
14-Feb-20
Find a sugar mama.

Matt

From: Bou'bound
14-Feb-20
goals are great when the motivation is to have fun and priorities are right.

when anythings get reduced to checking things off a list it is a game that will never satiate and you will be left feeling empty looking for more more more. don't lose reason for the activity and don't make it something that is done by rote whereby you forget why the list was created in the first place. it is not the list it is the adventure it represents.

From: Bowboy
14-Feb-20
Become a commercial pilot and fly for UPS, FedEx etc. You'll make great money and have lots of time. Move to AK and get your own bush plane. Just see what Frank Noska has accomplished.

From: midwest
14-Feb-20
^^^^What Bowboy said!

From: midwest
14-Feb-20
There are lots of ways to prioritize hunting in your life if you so desire. It just takes a lot of drive and smart choices to make it work. I'm not one who did it but there are several guys around that have. A few of the more well known ones off the top of my head:

Frank Noska (mentioned above)

Aron Snyder of Kifaru

Dan Staton of Elkshape

Look these guys up and see how they evolved.

Not to mention a bunch of guys on here who hunt and kill piles of animals every year. I can't name them all because the list is long and I'll miss someone for sure. When you figure out who those guys are on here, pm them and ask what they do for a living and how they make it work.

From: Smtn10PT
14-Feb-20
Move to alsaka and get those species out of the way as a resident, that'll be a great start!

From: lawdy
14-Feb-20
I moved. I was offered a job in Fairbanks, Alaska teaching after getting out of the service in 69, but took one in Northern NH. I like deer hunting, but am a rabid hare hunter with beagles. We have a 6 month season up here, and it is all woods. My music enables me to spend summers in Newfoundland and fish. This coming winter I will be going up to hunt hare and ptarmigan with a guide friend who has never hunted with hounds. A few gigs with the guitar will cover gas and the ferry.

From: cnelk
14-Feb-20
You're young. In a few years you'll figure out that there is more to life than hunting.

Sure it sounds sexy and fun now, but I guarantee you, 'Life' will get the way sooner or later.

From: Tennhunter
14-Feb-20
I’m 34 now exactly 10 yrs ago 3 guys whom I graduated college with all had basically the same idea not to the extent that we had a list but we made a pact that every year we would agree upon a destination hunt. I’m am probably lowest on the totem pole as far as money goes one became a pharmacist one a financial advisor and me own my own business as well as work another job. I am married and have two kids but my family supports my passion. We’ve done Alaska 4 times, Colorado 2, Wyoming 2, Idaho 1, Montana 1 and are headed back to Alaska in September. Life is about priorities and if hunting is one you will make it happen I’ve sold vehicles before to make up extra cash for trips. If your always planning the next trip you will always find ways to make it happen. Research research research is my best advise all of our hunts have been DIY some hunts have taken 3 yrs to plan and wait for tags some over the counter and some we started building points 8-10 yrs ago. Anything is achievable if you set your mind to it, just picking a list and expecting to check an animal off every year by using guide services and outfitters is not my thing, getting to see different parts of this country and the beautiful scenery to me has been just as fun as the animals I have taken. Good luck and get to planning.

From: Fuzzy
14-Feb-20
when I was 25 I'd have sworn I'd NEVER get to hunt outside of the South Eastern US, for small game, deer, bear turkey etc At 35 I was convinced of same. At 57 I've hunted Newfoundland 3 times (moose and black bear) Kodiak Alaska once (Blacktail deer) and hogs in Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina Oklahoma, and Florida. All that while working a low level State Government job and raising 4 kids. Priorities, financial discipline, networking and goals.

From: APauls
14-Feb-20
Just read an article two days ago about how the largest caribou herd in Alaska has increased 25% over this last year. 50,000 animals on a 200,000 animal herd. As with all things caribou they don't know if it is totally accurate due to measuring methods etc. But point being, caribou numbers have spiked and crashed since ever. People and their relationship with wolves = same thing. We love em now, we prob won't tomorrow. Heck I'm still hoping to see all these things turn 180 degrees in my lifetime and you're nearly 10 years younger than me. Hunt what is available and strong now. It may not always be that way.

The two things that will affect your personal hunting goals more than anything else is your career, and your family. From the sounds of it you haven't really started either yet. So spend a good deal of time thinking about those two, and have the rationality to realize, that 5, or 10 years down the road, your priorities may change - and that's OK. You'd never understand why a person would give up so much for a wife or a child...until you have one. And that's OK. Looking out for yourself your entire life is not necessarily the most fulfilling life, but for some people and the way they are wired it is. No two people are identical.

From: akbow
14-Feb-20
An wise old man told me once--"If you are born poor--it's bad luck. If you marry poor--your are an F-ing IDIOT".

From: Tennhunter
14-Feb-20
I’m 34 now exactly 10 yrs ago 3 guys whom I graduated college with all had basically the same idea not to the extent that we had a list but we made a pact that every year we would agree upon a destination hunt. I’m am probably lowest on the totem pole as far as money goes one became a pharmacist one a financial advisor and me own my own business as well as work another job. I am married and have two kids but my family supports my passion. We’ve done Alaska 4 times, Colorado 2, Wyoming 2, Idaho 1, Montana 1 and are headed back to Alaska in September. Life is about priorities and if hunting is one you will make it happen I’ve sold vehicles before to make up extra cash for trips. If your always planning the next trip you will always find ways to make it happen. Research research research is my best advise all of our hunts have been DIY some hunts have taken 3 yrs to plan and wait for tags some over the counter and some we started building points 8-10 yrs ago. Anything is achievable if you set your mind to it, just picking a list and expecting to check an animal off every year by using guide services and outfitters is not my thing, getting to see different parts of this country and the beautiful scenery to me has been just as fun as the animals I have taken. Good luck and get to planning.

14-Feb-20
Hunting is not that important, many ways to experience the out of doors without the expense of " trophy " hunting. I found investing into land was a prosperous way to enjoy wildlife, and shoot a few hundred critters. I have hunted in many expensive places, but in the greater experience of life and hunting, it was not really money well spent.

From: Jaquomo
14-Feb-20
Set yourself up with a good career now. As others have said, think about moving somewhere that has liberal resident licenses and many species to hunt. In 15-20 years there will be 30% fewer hunters. Licenses will be more readily available, less crowding, and by then you should be on your way to earning the money needed to pursue your dream.

From: Tdvorak
14-Feb-20
My dad told me to “hunt while you’re physically able and worry about paying for it later”. When I was fresh out of college I had a $1,500 pickup, $8,000 in the bank and a $22,000/year job to my name. I borrowed $32,000 and went to Africa and figured I’d pay it off over the rest of my life. On that trip I learned an important life lesson and quit my job the first day back and started my own fencing business. Granted, I’ve heard a lot of guys say they “are really into hunting”. However, I don’t know many who are THAT much into hunting. Today I guide hunters for a living and love my job in Alaska and South Dakota. I took a risk that not many people are willing to take. I’m living the dream man. Last year I personally guided hunters in the field for over 200 days. The commitment I made as a 20something springboarded me into a fantastic way of life. Go For It adrenalibeJunkie! Don’t listen to people who list all the reasons why you can’t. I can’t tell you how many people told me it was impossible. I proved them wrong. I’m really proud of it too.

From: Mule Power
14-Feb-20
Do your sheep in Canada. Plenty of caribou in Alaska. We’ll never run out of elk and deer. Don’t be so down our cup is more than half full!

From: sticksender
14-Feb-20
aDrenalinJunkie21, you refer to the "state of big game hunting" and asked "how do we make this better" in reference to expensive or difficult-to-draw hunts like sheep and other high-demand hunts. Finding the answer starts with realizing that there are too few of these rarer animals to make it easy/cheap for everyone who might want to hunt them. For any 'commodity' with far more demand than supply, it tends to be expensive and rare. But I'd suggest that there are enough opportunities for those who REALLY TRULY WANT TO. Each person just needs to figure out whether or not they're in the latter group, i.e., the REALLY WANT IT guys. These persons will ultimately figure out a way to get it done. For some people it could mean moving to Alaska or Canada. For others it could mean selecting the proper work career that will permit one to afford travel hunts. I understand where you're coming from, because when I was 25 like you are now, it seemed very daunting, and I couldn't imagine that I'd ever be able to hunt species like sheep, grizzly, etc. But IMO you can only solve this for your self. Nobody else is going to do it for you. Good luck!

From: tundrajumper
14-Feb-20
AKbow, now that cracked me up, didn't think you knew me. After 60 years of marriage, we arn't doing to bad.

16-Feb-20
X2 on Sugar Momma

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