License Application Services
New to the Eastmans forum. I apoligize if this topic has been discussed previously.
Posting in the General Hunting room to get the most exposure to the topic.
Just started aquiring western hunting preference points last year. Bought a sheep, moose, deer and pronghorn point in Wyoming. I think the Wyoming system is a excellent system for those of us on a budget and just need to aquire some points first. I also understand why states are interested in getting the hunters money up front and what they can do with it before the draw actually happens. Interested in expanding my application and point aquisition process for 2013. As I am sure many people understand, applying for tags/points is not a cheap engagement. But we also understand that applying for as many as possible increases our chances of drawing success.
Been looking into services such as 'Hunting Fool' and Cabelas T.A.G.S. The appeal of these services to me is that they front the initial monies required to apply for draw licenses. One of my primary long term intersts is Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. Unfortuneatly these are also the most expensive of tags to apply for. Using a service would reduce the up front costs to the end user by a significant margin.
Wondering if those individuals who use a license application service could discuss the process a bit and give a newbie applicant some recommendations regarding which service to use and why.
Some of my primary game interests include sheep, coues, blacktail, mule deer, pronghorn and moose.
A few states don't require the tag fee to be fronted for sheep. Nevada and Arizona come to mind. However, you'll have to buy the roughly $150 non-refundable license to be able to get your points. If you do that in those states, then you might just as well buy points for everything else since they are cheap after that. I don't use an application service and just have to fork out some cash for a few states.
So I realized I didn't really give you any advice.... It depends on how much cash you have available but if you can swing it, I would recommend to just do it yourself. Now in a state like Colorado where it will cost you almost $4,000 to apply for both moose and sheep, then maybe you will have to use something like Cabelas TAGS. Although I just looked and they charge $160 each for moose and sheep so you will be throwing $320 out the window just for Colorado. For states like AZ and NV though, I would say definitely don't use them since you can just do it yourself and not have to front the tag fees.
One more thing, if you decide to do it yourself, it will take awhile and a little bit of reading to figure out how all the draw's work. Eastmans is a great way to learn most of what you need to know about each state and each state will be slightly different. Hopefully that helps!
The fees these services charge to "front" the tag cost are huge. Get yourself a credit card that you use for nothing but applications. Pay the tag fees yourself and apply the refunds to the card as well. The total out of pocket cost will be far less than the application services.
Don't forget, in states like WY you are spending hundreds of dollars of years on points alone, with no garauntee the rules will not be changed. Every state that has implemented a point system so far has changed the rules significantly. Even WY continues to review major changes to its system. Very few these systems are sustainable, and will eventually collapse under their backlog of applicants. Many applicatns with fewer than 10 points in WY will never draw a sheep tag, unless they live more than 100 years. Hope springs eternal, but the lottery is a better bet in many states.
""Many applicatns with fewer than 10 points in WY will never draw a sheep tag, unless they live more than 100 years. Hope springs eternal, but the lottery is a better bet in many states.""
I agree that your odds of drawing a sheep tag are smaller than those that have 10 points, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't apply. Someone has to draw, and you can't draw if you don't apply.
You are probably better of just applying instead of just buying points, if you can financially swing it.
If I can financially swing it, I am going to apply for every non-resident goat tag in the lower 48 in 2014. And every non-resident antelope tag.
I'd buy points in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Washington and Wyoming because it's a base to build on. Then apply for the tags that you can afford. Idaho has no points system and a very strange way of awarding non-resident tags in that you are only allowed to apply for 1 species, as a non-resident.
I don't understand how you said they would collapse under the backlog? Wildlife is not an entitlement, just because you have x number of points doesn't mean you are entitled to a tag.
The goal for most people is big ticket tags. But there isn't enough big ticket wildlife to satisfy the need. In the end if you want a gauranteed tag go to Canada or Mexico, or just hunt Asian or European sheep and goats.
Another thing to consider is that as Wyoming's tag point prices increase a lot of folks will be priced out of it.
My thoughts exactly. You'll end up spending way more using a service than if you just do it yourself. I use a separate credit card as mentioned too. I also use the huntin fool and the MRS in eastmans. Whether the $100 a year is worth it or not for the huntin fool is debatable I guess, but they break down the information really well and make it very easy to apply as much as you can afford. Doing the research yourself is kind of fun too. Applying out of state keeps getting more and more expensive. I constantly am threatening to stop doing it but that seems to ware off during the off season, LoL! Of course if you have lots of money and little time to invest in applying for yourself than maybe a service is the way to go? I have more time than money...
Originally Posted by llp
For the amount of money that cabelas charges you to front the fees, you could just about be buying points in Arizona and Nevada for about roughly 8 species.. Another $80 or $90, and you could buy points for 4 more species in Utah. Not worth it to have the tag service if you ask me
There's a lot to consider when applying and how to go about it. I thought I'd share my story as I'm relatively new to the game and had a lot of the same questions you had. I started two years ago with Cabela's TAGS service. As someone who was overwhelmed by the amount of options and rules regarding hunting Western states, I thought I'd leave it up to Cabela's. It was great having a conversation over the phone with them and it was great getting a gameplan and understanding what their recommendations were. Having them float the tag fees seemed nice at first, but they are by far the most expensive option. I paid them thousands of dollars over the past two years to apply me and I don't think I'll do it again. Not that I had any issues with them, just that they are expensive. The other thing I'll say about Cabela's is that they typically apply you in units that they have ties to outfitters in. While these are not terrible units, they may not be exactly what you are looking for.
I started getting more and more into hunting the West last year and bought a subscription to the Hunting Fool. Because of that I decided to apply to a number of states on my own and let Cabelas handle the rest. This year, I plan on doing all the applying on my own with the help of the Hunting Fool and the research I've done on my own, mainly via the web. It's been great cause it's given me something to do in the off season as well! Researching units and what strategies to take have been a lot of fun, and I plan on putting all of that info to use this year. As far as the tag fees, I've basically got enough on my credit card to front them. I use a Cabela's card actually so not only do I get points back, it helps me get Signature status.
Here's what I've learned and some things to consider about applying.
- know what tags you'll actually be able to draw and which ones you won't. A few states (Idaho and New Mexico, for example) don't give preference points so you have exactly the same number of odds as anyone else applying. Some odds are really low obviously, but you have the opportunity to draw a tag. Some tags will only go to those with the highest preference points and you won't have to worry about drawing those tags for a long time.
- know how the point systems work, cause they are all different and award tags differently. Some go to the highest point total. Some have 50% or 75% go to the highest point total and the rest are random. These numbers are complicated when there are quotas for residents and non-residents. New Mexico sheep doesn't have a non-resident quota on sheep tags, for example. Other states do have non-resident quotas which may mean there may not be a tag available in that unit unless you're the highest point holder.
- Some states square the bonus points, like Nevada. This is great as it awards you for applying in multiple years, and also because you have the opportunity to draw a tag in your first year applying. Be sure to understand what your odds truly are in applying. Looking at the top desert sheep unit in Nevada, for example, Huntin Fool shows odds of like 1 in 1,300. But if you see that 50 people with 20 points applied, and so on, you see that your odds are actually something like 1 in 50,000. Even those with the most points have less than a 1% chance of getting a tag in that unit.
Like I said, I've found out it's a lot of fun to research units. Do the research, develop a strategy, and understand the rules and the odds and you'll have a great time...like I said it's a great way to spend some time in the offseason!
My wife, sons and I have drawn a total of 6 sheep tags. Four of those tags were drawn since 2007. Of those four tags, three were drawn in less than 5 years of applying. Only one tag (my Wyoming tag) was drawn with points. My wife drew in Oregon just this year and killed a beautiful California bighorn on her third year of applying. All of these tags were in excellent areas, and all of the hunts were successful.
With that said, one thing in common is every tag that was drawn was in an area where I did my own research and found a sleeper area, or found an area where I had reason to believe we would have better draw odds. When we have chosen where to apply, we know we are the only one's that are benefitting from that homework.
On the other hand, if you are working with an application service, you will be applied in an area they have researched along with 50 or so other guys in their application service. When an application service focuses on a certain hunt (sheep, elk, deer...whatever), the draw odds often go out the window.
And as others have said, application services are quite expensive to work with.