Drawing Tags vs. Guaranteed Tags
The intent of this post is to present the pros and cons of the “accumulate points, draw a tag, and then find an outfitter system” versus the “get a guaranteed tag along with your guided hunt system.”
Let’s first clarify one important point in this article. I’m speaking to hunters looking to go on an outfitted hunt, not DIY. If this included the option of DIY my opinion would change. Also, my suggestions are the most cost effective. I will not discuss auction or governors tags as often they can go for 10’s and even 100’s of thousands of dollars. *For the hunters who can afford this strategy we can be helpful.
First and foremost, as a consultant, for Outdoors International I deal with clients trying to plan for the “hunt of a lifetime” on a daily basis. This is what we do. 24 and 7. In helping clients hunt in exclusive areas, with top end trophy quality, (I’m talking 185-200+ muleys and 330-350+ elk) planning in advance is essential… and planning gets thrown out the window when you’re “hoping to draw.” It’s much easier, and not that much more expensive to work with an outfitter who offers guaranteed tags (usually about $100-$2,500 more because of the tag cost). Now we can help you plan in advance and get’r done!
A few of the states that offer guaranteed tags, plus hunting on killer ground are New Mexico, Idaho, Colorado and Utah. In both Utah, Colorado and New Mexico the tags are bought from landowners and in Idaho the outfitters get “outfitter allocated tags.” Both outfitter tags and landowner tags in Idaho are ILLEGAL (as of now) to sell or buy. The only way you can get either one is to be gifted a landowner tag or get one for free from an outfitter that comes with your hunt.
The only time I recommend clients to participate in the points system is when a certain ranch or area where I have an outfitter is mostly privately owned and therefore only takes a few points to draw (this is common in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico). In my opinion the points system is currently so prevalent that the points needed to draw are often creeping by a point every year or every other year in some of the best areas. It’s a running horse that many will not catch. I think, long term, your better off putting in in state that isn’t doing the points system as your chance to draw sooner is more likely because of lack of participation.
Well, there you have it. Let us know if we can be helpful in your quest to hunt “exclusive” ground for elk and deer. You can call us direct at (208) 991-HUNT. With enough advanced notice (often 1-2 years) you can have a guaranteed hunt for a reasonable price in the top end areas of the west.