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Planning an Out of State Hunt – Part 2



The dream hunt is within sight – how to plan it effectively.

As mentioned previously, the further away you travel the more detailed your planning needs to be and the more in advance you need to plan. Whether you are planning a fully guided hunt of a do-it-yourself hunt, good planning can make or break the hunting experience.

For our purposes we are focusing on the do-it-yourself hunter. Later we will look at fully guided adventurers. For the do-it-yourself hunter there is a lot to consider when planning an out of state adventure. It begins with the species you want to hunt. This determines everything from budget, location, methods etc. If you are looking for whitetail in the Midwest, Elk in the Rocky mountains, Pronghorn of the plains, or Mule deer in the back country of Montana it all begins with the species. Some species and locations require the use of a guide or resident. Alaska for example has requirements for Dall sheep and Mountain goats, and different more stringent requirements for big bears. Wyoming, and Montana have different requirements for back country hunting. Knowing this will help determine where you go.

License availability will also dictate a lot of the choices. Many states have lotteries for tags, learning the whole application process can be daunting. But it is very do-able and worth it if you are looking for trophy animals. For those looking for the adventure and whose standards of quality animals is a bit less, there are plenty of over the counter license available for many animals in many states.  In many of my cases the availability of license has determined the species for me. I often choose a location, and then look for the available license and that determines what I hunt. Personally, I love to hunt different locations, different terrain and different species. This is THE determining factor for me when deciding where and what I am going to hunt. Over the counter elk tags in Colorado are what are sending me to Colorado this September. Either sex tags make the choice easier for me. Plus the added availability of deer tags and bear tags over the counter make this a great choice.

If you are after other species or locals check for tag availability and plan accordingly. A friend of mine loves hunting deer in Montana, some years he draws a tag and other years he doesn’t. He actually drew a tag three years in a row, but now is on a five year drought and hasn’t drawn in five years. Having a backup is a great option, if you don’t draw the tag you are drooling over. There are many opportunities available. Snow goose in the spring, turkey hunts in Alabama, duck and geese in the Mississippi flyway, bears over bait, predators in Texas, hogs in South Carolina. There are more opportunities than we could ever fulfill while working full time jobs.

Hunters looking to hunt out of state or for different species are really only limited by their imagination. It’s easy to watch some of these hunting shows and see the $12,000 deer hunt and roll your eyes at the excessive cost of these hunts. Or to see elk hunts on private ranches and wonder what it would be like. But every year trophy animals are taken by nonresident hunters on public land. Those who plan well have greater success. Remember though set your expectations for what you want to accomplish. For example this September on my first archery elk hunt, my expectations are simple. I want to enjoy hunting the grand mesa’s, I want to hear bull elk bugle close, and I hope to get a good shot at a legal bull, and lastly I want to return home safe. That’s it. Sure I would love to kill a three hundred inch bull, but I am getting an either sex tag for a reason. If I never have the opportunity at a big bull, and a cow offers an opportunity, I will be just as proud of my unguided cow elk as a small bull. The opportunity to hunt different animals in different locations is why I go. Big antlers are great, but the adventure is why I go. Your motivation may be different than mine and that’s great. Regardless of the motivation, go.