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Part 2: Will The Weak Economy Make it Easier to Draw a Tag This Year?

April 1, 2009.

When Hunt The West looked at this topic on March 26th, I observed that applications for the regular nonresident elk draw in Wyoming were down 16% from last year, while applications in the more expensive Wyoming "Special" elk draw were only down 5%.

My general conclusion based on this limited amount of data was that you might expect a little easier time drawing moderately competitive tags, but no significant decrease in odds drawing more expensive "dream" tags.

With the 2009 Arizona elk and antelope draw complete, we have some more data to help us understand the impact of the economy on drawing tags.

In 2008, there were 120,392 applicants in this first phase of the Arizona draw.

In 2009, there were 117,873 applicants, a reduction of only about 2.1%.

The Arizona totals include both nonresident hunters and resident hunters. I think it's reasonable to assume that resident hunters are more likely to continue to apply in their home state, regardless of the economic outlook. I think this is a key factor in why this decrease was less noticeable than what we saw in Wyoming.

To recap:

Draw 2008 vs 2009
Trend in Number
of Applicants
Wyoming "Regular" Nonresident Elk Down 16%
Wyoming "Special" Nonresident Elk Down 5%
Arizona Elk and Antelope Down 2%

The data still seem to indicate that the weak economy will offer only a minor reduction in the number of hunters trying to draw high-end tags for Western big game.

Keep sending in your applications, but don't expect more than a minor bump in draw odds this year.

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