Hunt Planner: Where to Get Over-the-Counter Elk Tags

elkNo. 1 on the bucket list for many readers of the BIG DEER blog, especially those who live east of the Mississippi, is to hunt elk. People ask me all the time, “Hanback, where should I go for elk?”

Most people who email me don’t want to spend a lot of time and money applying for an elk tag. While they would certainly love to shoot a big bull, most people I correspond with are not trophy hunters. They want to spend a reasonable amount of money for a license, go west for a week, experience all that the mountains and elk hunting have to offer, and stand a decent chance to get one.

If this sounds like you, the guys at BookYourHunt.com have put together information on where you can get an elk tag over the counter (OTC). While opportunities are limited, an OTC elk tag can be had.

Look to 3 states first: Colorado, Montana and Idaho.

In Colorado, OTC antlerless and either-sex tags are available for the archery season, and bull tags can be had for 2 of  the 4 rifle seasons in many areas. Also available are either-sex permits for some WMAs located in the plains.

In Idaho, home to some 107,000 elk, OTC tags are available in many general hunting units. Idaho is the last western state that most hunters think about, but it should be one of the first you consider for OTC elk.

While Montana has a March draw for elk tags, the state’s “leftover tag” program provides a good opportunity for non-residents. After the initial spring lottery drawing, if there are still tags left (usually there are) these tags are offered for OTC sale on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Many years I have purchased leftover elk and deer tags this way in Montana (I have one for the 2017 season in fact).  A leftover tag is good for either rifle or archery in many units across the state, but not in coveted trophy areas where only a few tags are issued each year.

You probably figured that  OTC elk hunting was not on option in the big-bull, draw states of Arizona, Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah, and mostly that’s right. But BookYourHunt.com points out that Arizona and Wyoming sometimes offer limited OTC tags “in areas outside natural elk habitat” and where “success rates are very low.” This would be a tough, long-shot hunt, but at least you might be able to get a tag and go.

As for Utah and New Mexico, these states have landowner preference programs where ranchers and landowner/outfitters can obtain tags and sell them directly to their clients. This would essentially be an OTC tag purchase for you, though there is some paperwork involved.

You’re not getting any younger, and the older you get, the longer your bucket list grows.  While you might be able to squeak in a hunt in Colorado or Idaho this fall, now is the time to start planning your dream elk hunt for 2018.

Clinton’s Dismissive Anti-Hunting Remarks Offend All Sportsmen

hillary

Hillary Clinton was interrupted by a few animal rights protesters at a rally in Las Vegas last week. Secret Service agents rushed to her aid and the incident was diffused.

Clinton then joked that the kooky activists must have been there to protest Donald Trump. “Trump and his kids have killed a lot of animals,” she said. “Thank you for making that point.”

Hillary proceeded to screech that grating laugh, and the fawning crowd cheered wildly.

Well, I did not cheer when I heard those remarks on the radio. In 16 words, Hillary unabashedly trashed America’s 13 million hunters.

Not only were the remarks offensive and disrespectful to all sportsmen, in the literal sense “Trump and his kids” have shot a lot of game is just not true.  While Donald Jr. is a proud hunter and one of us—“If I could only choose one (type of hunting) I would have to say bowhunting for whitetails,” he said recently—I do not believe Eric, Ivanka and the others hunt and kill animals.

The only thing that matters is what the candidate says and does. While Donald Trump Sr. has stated openly that he does not hunt, he is on the record as saying that a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director he appoints would “ideally be a hunter” and under his watch “there would be no sale of public Western lands.” Those are substantive pro-hunting positions.

Not surprisingly Hillary’s comments, which dripped with sarcasm, are reflective of what the Washington Elites think of us and our lifestyle. They laugh and smirk and dismiss us as a bunch of ignorant, gun-toting rednecks “that kill a lot of animals.”

Does Hillary realize, or care, that America’s hunters and fishermen fund nearly 75% of the annual income for all 50 state conservation agencies? Does she know, or care, that through license fees and excise taxes on firearms and gear, sportsmen contribute $200 million per year for wildlife conservation?

While I remain offended by Hillary Clinton’s dismissive anti-hunting remarks, as a gun-toting redneck that kills a lot of animals I am used to that type of talk.

The only thing that matters is that this presidential election will be the most important one ever regarding the Second Amendment. While hard to believe, Hillary is farther left than Obama on our right to own and carry firearms.

Regardless of what you think of Donald Trump, on guns and hunting the choice is clear.

Penn. Poacher Loses Hunting License for 50 Years

spotlightingCharles Harr, Jr., 19, had his day in court earlier this week. Harr was charged with allegedly spotlighting deer, killing some 11 animals.

Two accomplices were apprehended and later cited on the crime spree last year. An 18-year-old friend and, get this, Harr’s father, Charles Harr, Sr. who officers believe was in the process of helping his son butcher and dispose of the illegal deer.

That is one of the saddest examples of fathering that I have ever heard of in the outdoor world. But unfortunately it is not uncommon. I have reported on many poaching incidents in my outdoor journalism career, and many if not most of them involve family.

The judge handed down the same old weak fines–$16,400 combined among the three men–that we have become accustomed to in deer-poaching cases. There was probation and officers took the rifle used to illegally kill the deer. Big deal.

But here’s what is a big deal: It’s going to be a very long time before Harr, Jr. will go hunting again. The court suspended his hunting license for 50 years.

This young man has a long time to think about what he did. If he decides to go hunting one day when he turns 70, maybe he’ll do it the right way.

Finally a judge got it kind of right in a poaching case, agree?

 

Will a Doe with Fawns Attack You or Your Dog?

doe attackI saw a teaser for an article “Deer Relentlessly Attacks Woman” and naturally had to check it out.

As the story goes, Cindy Frost spotted a weird-acting doe and fawn on her Ohio property two weeks ago. Since then, she has tried to avoid the doe, but it stares her down, becomes agitated and won’t leave her alone.

Telling the story to a local TV reporter on the story, Cindy said dramatically, “I feel like I’m a prisoner. I can’t take my dogs out for a walk; I can’t even walk down to the end of my property and when I go to my car I’m looking all around.”

Cindy says that last Thursday, she was out with her dogs when the doe became extremely aggressive, reared up and charged her!

Cindy ran and “(the doe) came right after me,” she said in another highly melodramatic and breathtaking moment. “What saved me was my black top. (The doe) couldn’t get her grip, that’s the only thing that saved me.” Cindy said she fell during the altercation and suffered minor injuries.

Adding yet more sensation and intrigue to the story, the TV reporter and cameraman said that as they were shooting the segment with Cindy at her house, they caught the ferocious deer staring Cindy down! (Ferocious was my word, not theirs.)

Pardon the tongue-in-cheek, but whitetails are not dangerous game folks. Yes, every year in early June you hear about isolated cases of does getting aggressive, but it’s very rare. And it’s rarer still that a doe would actually charge and make contact with a person.

In most of the cases we do hear about, like Cindy’s, dogs are involved. Dogs are in a yard where a doe and fawn wander near…or somebody is out walking her dog and happens to come across the deer. Either way, once in a blue moon a doe perceives the dog to be a predator, a coyote, and approaches and/or rears up to protect her fawns.

Local police and experts with the Ohio DNR related this message to Cindy, and told her the deer should move on in a couple of weeks. But if the doe continues to be a problem, both doe and fawn might have to be euthanized.

I can hardly believe they told her that, but to her credit, Cindy said, “I don’t want that.”

Hopefully Cindy will play it cool, watch her step and maybe stay inside her house like a “prisoner” for a week or so until the doe takes her little one and goes away, and this event will have a happy ending.

 

Record Gun Sales Continue As Americans Fear Clinton Presidency

gun cabelasOver the past 7 years, a popular saying in the firearms industry has been, “Obama has been the best gun salesman we could have!” The President’s anti-gun rheteroic and actions have produced record gun sales that will no doubt continue, and likely increase substantially, as law-abiding Americans anticipate a win for Hillary this November.

As this article in the Washington Free Beacon points out, “Both President Obama and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have publicly expressed support for Australian-style gun confiscation measures. Clinton has also said the Supreme Court was wrong on Second Amendment gun rights protections…”

Let me repeat that: support for gun confiscation and wrong on Second Amendment gun rights.

“There is no doubt that the string of record monthly gun sales have been driven by the anti-rights agenda of the Obama Administration and the millions of dollars that Michael Bloomberg has spent assaulting the Second Amendment,” Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, said. “Now add to that the fact that Hillary Clinton has doubled down in attacking gun ownership in her White House campaign and it is no surprise that we continue to hit new gun sales records.”

I repeat a third time: confiscation.

Regardless of your political stripes, remember that when you go to the ballot box in November.

There are 2 pro-gun candidates in the race. We blogged about Donald Trump’s position on the Second Amendment. The NRA endorsed Trump last month.

What about Libertarian Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico?

Johnson said in 2012, “I’m one of those who believe the bumper sticker: If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. The first people who are going to be in line to turn in their guns are law-abiding citizens. Criminals are going to be left with guns. I believe that concealed carry is a way of reducing gun violence.”

On the Second Amendment, Johnson believes the right to bear arms is a basic Constitutional right and expresses the democratic principle of self-defense against tyrannical government.

There are many issues in this messy and crazy election, but on our guns and the Second Amendment, the choices are crystal clear.