July 24, 2024

![Western Tag Draw = Ponzi Scheme?](https://investmentshoax.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/https://www.grandviewoutdoors.com/uploads/images/muley-tag-draw-pic.jpg)

*Photo Courtesy of Worldwide Trophy Adventures TAGS*

A lot of Bowhunting World readers fantasize about hunting a massive bugling bull elk, a regal mule deer buck, or possibly a bighorn sheep or moose in the Western part of the U.S. Unfortunately, for nonresidents, the chances of drawing a tag are extremely slim, akin to winning the Powerball lottery, but the expense is significantly higher.

According to Eric Pawlek, director of [Worldwide Trophy Adventures TAGS](https://worldwidetrophyadventures.com/tags-service/how-it-works/?gad_source=1&gclid=Cj0KCQjw4MSzBhC8ARIsAPFOuyUk95Uw9wW5DN_DA_bOwwccGFu1X3zLYIABk5wJuR7blTkn9dJt5DIaAnx2EALw_wcB), nonresident application numbers are on the rise while nonresident tag allocations are decreasing. For instance, Wyoming slashed the nonresident moose, sheep, mountain goat and bison tags from 20 percent to just 10 percent of the total available in 2023.

For those seeking to draw tags in states that prioritize the quality of herds over quantity, the odds for nonresidents to draw tags for any species are very low. Interestingly, state game departments continue to charge nonresidents much more relative to residents. To illustrate, in 2020, Montana residents spent about $10,957,132 on hunting licenses, tags, permits, and stamps while nonresidents spent a whopping $28,026,136 — over double of what residents spent.

Moreover, hunters have to pay “fees” just to apply for a tag, which they might never even draw. Many states require nonresident hunting licenses or habitat stamps just to apply, and these costs can be substantial.

Considering the enormous odds of drawing specific tags, numerous hunters prefer to devise a long-term application strategy, banking on drawing a lucrative big bull elk tag in Arizona possibly once every 10-15 years. They might choose to secure a bonus or preference point, depending on the state, and usually accumulate points in various states.

“The outfitting industry has experienced hyperinflation like never before in the past 20 years,” says Pawlak. He further mentions how premium, limited-entry tags are still the only way a sportsman can secure a high-quality hunt at a reasonable price.

Sometimes, purchasing points might be pointless, since the likelihood of you drawing is next to nil. For instance, in Arizona in 2021, out of 36,027 applicants for a sheep tag, only 140 tags were issued, with only 14 assigned to nonresidents. This means about 2,800 hunters have a chance to hunt Arizona sheep in the next 20 years. If you were to live till 80 and started applying for bighorn sheep tags at 10, the odds are pretty bleak.

Despite the adversities, Pawlak assures that there are still opportunities available. He advises consistency, perfection, and being on the lookout for new “sleeper” units. He states that it’s crucial for a hunter to be building points across the West, in view of the rising guided hunt prices and the difficulty of drawing tags.

Throughout the past 30 years, I’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars on a distant prospect to draw a sheep tag. In retrospect, I should have opted for a guided hunt in Mexico 20 years ago instead of collecting points I’ll never redeem. In 2023, out of 23 tags I applied for, I just drew a single rifle muley tag in Arizona. Essentially, it seems like buying costly raffle tickets – somebody will win, but it may never be you. Sadly, in terms of both odds and costs, things are set to worsen for nonresidents.


What is a tag draw in hunting?

A tag draw in hunting is a system where hunters apply through a lottery-based system to obtain permits or “tags” that grant them the right to hunt a specific species in a specific area, at a specific time.

Why are the chances of nonresidents drawing a tag so slim?

The odds of drawing a tag are slim for nonresidents due to limited tag allocations and increasing applications. Various states prioritize residents over nonresidents and only allot a small percentage of tags to nonresidents.

How can hunters increase their odds of drawing a tag?

Hunters can increase their chances by consistently applying over the long term and using professional licensing services that can help strategize applications. Accumulating points across various states can also enhance the likelihood of drawing.