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Should Washington Move to Draw Only for Yakima, Colockum, and Blue Mountain Elk Herds

No, I cherish my OTC Spike hunt too much
No, I don't care about OTC Spike hunt really, but don't want WDFW to have more control than they already do
Yes, but that should be the only change
Yes, they should institute that along with other changes to focus applicants and clear out pools to improve odds

Author Topic: Should Washington Move to a Draw Only Management for Yakima, Colockum, and Blues  (Read 7277 times)

Offline Special T

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Numbers for District 8, all the productive name brand units on the cascacde eastside.

 year    Permit   Spike    Hunters            Statewide Elk Hunters
2013     226   665        19,752      68,572
2014    289   622        21,730
2015    280   800        22,582
2016    295   722        20,803
2017    276   382        19,187
2018    188   462        17,844   
2019    115   535        16,445      54,474

Permit is bulls killed on permit, Spike is spikes and the other non special permit branch bulls killed general seasons(this is almost all spikes). 

Permit hunters score someplace around 30% success rate.  One has to believe that spikes aren't harder to hunt, so overall success on bulls would remain comparable.    The low water point, about 650 combined bulls taken.  High water 1080.  Let's call 900 the average bulls available to harvest (declining with wolves?).

at a 4 to one ratio 25% success,  you can let 3600 hunters go after them.  Even on the lowest tag year ever, that's 4.5 years to hunt bulls.    The math does not support the likelihood that you'll be hunting elk ever other year or every 3.  If Branch bulls take the brunt as everyone looks at their one opportunity to get a "real" bull, then breeding will be harmed.  Even if you let a year go by without spike hunting, they will just be taken out the next season.  I do not see any reason to believe going to draw only can also mean hunting frequently.

As far as recruitment and opportunity?  who's going to buy full cost licenses and permit apps every  year... to not hunt?  The revenue has to be neutral. They already keep moving the needle on licenses because we keep losing hunters.  Otherwise you are going to have to charge $700 for the license on the year you do finally draw.

My fatherly experience is that if my son was not able to come to be in camp, cary a rifle, feel the anticipation and hunt.... that he'd have not continued to show up to just wait and see if 2 out of 10 guys with a tag show back up bloody tonight.  My son didn't need to kill deer when he started... he needed to hunt them, with his dad.  There's no legit way to set aside a big pool of the bulls just for youth "to recruit them".  Hunters have been paying and investing for 20  years without hunting bulls and they aren't going to sit back and see 30% of the tags handed over to new hunters.  AND, if you do.... the years to draw just went to 6 for an adult.  My kids miss a lot of school time for sports, no way their mom would send them to miss school for a camp where they aren't getting to hunt anyway.

There's not enough habitat.  Not enough wintering ground. Too many hunters in relative comparison. WHILE adding wolves to the mix.  It's a pipe dream to think hunters can hunt bulls every three years, any bull, and keep 16,500 hunters paying for licenses and keep dads taking sons and daughters to a camp, during the school year... just to camp.

The only way this plan works, is that it in fact drives down hunter numbers.  Fewer kids come in, many camps call it a day, many hunters say they won't pay $200 a year to not hunt elk.  Then you can get down to every 3 years.  There's just no way to keep the same hunter numbers 16K+, or even increase hunters, and hunt frequently.  I do not believe you can maintain hunters, let alone recruit them, with every 3 to 4 years hunting.  Right now about 13,000 hunters are willing to pay for the lotto ticket of a spike.  What do you think that drops down to if they can't even buy lotto tickets?

This back of the napkin math is just too reasonable not to be understood.
In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the center of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself. 

Confucius

Offline grundy53

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For me, I say leave it the way it is. Every elk I've killed in Washington was on a special permit.  If the consensus is opportunity for all, tribal and rest, I say put it back to any bull.  When I moved here and started elk hunting in the Naches drainage, I thought it was crazy busy elk season, people all over, but people were killing bulls.  Granted, I would go to the feed lots in the winter and see only a couple of mature bulls and find maybe a couple sheds in the spring.  Still, I think there were more people elk hunting in Washington then now.  Having grown up in Montana and then moving to Washington in my late twenties, comparing the elk hunting in the two states, it is kind of similar hunting conditions.  Montana has a longer season, but most elk are killed in the first days.  Washington the same, except shorter season.  Ask any Montana resident what their biggest concern is and they'll likely say private land.  All the elk run to private holdings where hunting by the public is not allowed.

The reason they went to a spike only management is because their is biological studies that show that bull to cow ratios that low and diminished age class reduces breeding effectiveness which in the long run has diminishing returns on opportunity and sustainability. And the problem about you killing elk on special permits is that their availability will continue to decrease to where many people will support this management with tag and application sales but never get rewarded for those applications. People put in for special permits because it represents something special and exciting. Why not increase that special and exciting experience rather than offer up ideas like more crowded woods and less elk. Nevada and Arizona have some of the most envied elk hunting in the western states and not only for antler size but for success rates as well. They do this with smaller elk herds and draw only systems. We are lucky enough to have ~30-40,000 roosevelts to pull from let along a fairly strong rocky mountain herd but no one bats an eye at Washington. The public prospective will have to change, everyone is used to hunting being a right but if we were less competitive about our piece of the pie then we would likely have better experiences out in the woods.
Actually, the reason it's spike only is because they are the most likely to die from causes other than hunting. So by killing them you are actually less likely  to effect the herd since a lot of the spikes killed by hunters were going to die anyway.

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Offline HUNT JR

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Something needs to be done, the diminishing opportunity for quality and bull tags is depressing. But hooray, we get to go battle the masses for a spike where the overall success rate is dismal. I buy my tags every year and apply, but when it comes to actually hunting I go to other states. Yes, you wouldn't have a tag yourself every year. But, the odds would be much better that someone in your family/group would draw. You could still get the experience of the hunt even if you aren't the one who pulls the trigger.

Offline Threewolves

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Something needs to be done, the diminishing opportunity for quality and bull tags is depressing. But hooray, we get to go battle the masses for a spike where the overall success rate is dismal. I buy my tags every year and apply, but when it comes to actually hunting I go to other states. Yes, you wouldn't have a tag yourself every year. But, the odds would be much better that someone in your family/group would draw. You could still get the experience of the hunt even if you aren't the one who pulls the trigger.

I hear ya, but I don't  want to depend on someone else drawing to (help) hunt either. I don't have family/group to hunt with, never really have, used to always work shift and the few folks that I have hunted with either don't anymore, to lazy, or have other things going on. I like being able to buy a tag every year.
There are only so many sunsets left.                         
He wanted a Hawken rifle 50 caliber or better. He settled for a 30, but dam it was a genuine 300 WIN MAG you couldn't go no better.

Offline HUNT JR

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If we were to mainly change eastside elk to draw only, people who wanted a tag every year could still buy a westside elk tag. It is just excruciating to have such poor draw odds in order to have a decent hunt.

Offline Miles

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100% draw statewide.  No points, just one name in the hat each year per person.

Offline jstone

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Offline grundy53

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If we were to mainly change eastside elk to draw only, people who wanted a tag every year could still buy a westside elk tag. It is just excruciating to have such poor draw odds in order to have a decent hunt.
That would be a good way to destroy elk hunting on the westside...

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Offline BNAElkhntr

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It wont matter as  the Yakima And Muckleshoot's hunt unrestricted than all we do is shoot ourselves

Offline royalhntr

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I have 20 good years left of hunting the colockum and will never have a shot at a branch bull there unless something changes.

What if there was a branched antler quota, branch antlered season is done when the quota is filled. We all have a shot at those bulls every year. 15 or 20 years ago we didnt have the technology to get that information out there, now we do. The Bulls could be checked at stations or reported online. The department makes harvest numbers available as close to real time possible and gives 24 hrs notice if and when it's closing. If you don't get a branch bull you could still finish out the season hunting spikes.


Offline grundy53

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I have 20 good years left of hunting the colockum and will never have a shot at a branch bull there unless something changes.

What if there was a branched antler quota, branch antlered season is done when the quota is filled. We all have a shot at those bulls every year. 15 or 20 years ago we didnt have the technology to get that information out there, now we do. The Bulls could be checked at stations or reported online. The department makes harvest numbers available as close to real time possible and gives 24 hrs notice if and when it's closing. If you don't get a branch bull you could still finish out the season hunting spikes.
There would be a lot of dead bulls opening day...

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Offline BULLBLASTER

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I have 20 good years left of hunting the colockum and will never have a shot at a branch bull there unless something changes.

What if there was a branched antler quota, branch antlered season is done when the quota is filled. We all have a shot at those bulls every year. 15 or 20 years ago we didnt have the technology to get that information out there, now we do. The Bulls could be checked at stations or reported online. The department makes harvest numbers available as close to real time possible and gives 24 hrs notice if and when it's closing. If you don't get a branch bull you could still finish out the season hunting spikes.

You have a shot at drawing that tag every year.

Offline huntnphool

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I have 20 good years left of hunting the colockum and will never have a shot at a branch bull there unless something changes.

What if there was a branched antler quota, branch antlered season is done when the quota is filled. We all have a shot at those bulls every year. 15 or 20 years ago we didnt have the technology to get that information out there, now we do. The Bulls could be checked at stations or reported online. The department makes harvest numbers available as close to real time possible and gives 24 hrs notice if and when it's closing. If you don't get a branch bull you could still finish out the season hunting spikes.

You have a shot at drawing that tag every year.

 I have been telling myself that for decades. :chuckle:
The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first!

Offline BULLBLASTER

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I have 20 good years left of hunting the colockum and will never have a shot at a branch bull there unless something changes.

What if there was a branched antler quota, branch antlered season is done when the quota is filled. We all have a shot at those bulls every year. 15 or 20 years ago we didnt have the technology to get that information out there, now we do. The Bulls could be checked at stations or reported online. The department makes harvest numbers available as close to real time possible and gives 24 hrs notice if and when it's closing. If you don't get a branch bull you could still finish out the season hunting spikes.

You have a shot at drawing that tag every year.

 I have been telling myself that for decades. :chuckle:
:chuckle:

Offline villajac29

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Numbers for District 8, all the productive name brand units on the cascacde eastside.

 year    Permit   Spike    Hunters            Statewide Elk Hunters
2013     226   665        19,752      68,572
2014    289   622        21,730
2015    280   800        22,582
2016    295   722        20,803
2017    276   382        19,187
2018    188   462        17,844   
2019    115   535        16,445      54,474

Permit is bulls killed on permit, Spike is spikes and the other non special permit branch bulls killed general seasons(this is almost all spikes). 

Permit hunters score someplace around 30% success rate.  One has to believe that spikes aren't harder to hunt, so overall success on bulls would remain comparable.    The low water point, about 650 combined bulls taken.  High water 1080.  Let's call 900 the average bulls available to harvest (declining with wolves?).

at a 4 to one ratio 25% success,  you can let 3600 hunters go after them.  Even on the lowest tag year ever, that's 4.5 years to hunt bulls.    The math does not support the likelihood that you'll be hunting elk ever other year or every 3.  If Branch bulls take the brunt as everyone looks at their one opportunity to get a "real" bull, then breeding will be harmed.  Even if you let a year go by without spike hunting, they will just be taken out the next season.  I do not see any reason to believe going to draw only can also mean hunting frequently.

As far as recruitment and opportunity?  who's going to buy full cost licenses and permit apps every  year... to not hunt?  The revenue has to be neutral. They already keep moving the needle on licenses because we keep losing hunters.  Otherwise you are going to have to charge $700 for the license on the year you do finally draw.

My fatherly experience is that if my son was not able to come to be in camp, cary a rifle, feel the anticipation and hunt.... that he'd have not continued to show up to just wait and see if 2 out of 10 guys with a tag show back up bloody tonight.  My son didn't need to kill deer when he started... he needed to hunt them, with his dad.  There's no legit way to set aside a big pool of the bulls just for youth "to recruit them".  Hunters have been paying and investing for 20  years without hunting bulls and they aren't going to sit back and see 30% of the tags handed over to new hunters.  AND, if you do.... the years to draw just went to 6 for an adult.  My kids miss a lot of school time for sports, no way their mom would send them to miss school for a camp where they aren't getting to hunt anyway.

There's not enough habitat.  Not enough wintering ground. Too many hunters in relative comparison. WHILE adding wolves to the mix.  It's a pipe dream to think hunters can hunt bulls every three years, any bull, and keep 16,500 hunters paying for licenses and keep dads taking sons and daughters to a camp, during the school year... just to camp.

The only way this plan works, is that it in fact drives down hunter numbers.  Fewer kids come in, many camps call it a day, many hunters say they won't pay $200 a year to not hunt elk.  Then you can get down to every 3 years.  There's just no way to keep the same hunter numbers 16K+, or even increase hunters, and hunt frequently.  I do not believe you can maintain hunters, let alone recruit them, with every 3 to 4 years hunting.  Right now about 13,000 hunters are willing to pay for the lotto ticket of a spike.  What do you think that drops down to if they can't even buy lotto tickets?

Gonna probably be more napkin math on this response but I'll give it a go.

1. I didn't ever say that hunters would be guaranteed a hunt every 3 years although even with a waiting period there would likely be tags that archery hunters could apply for that they would have a decent chance of drawing their first year back after a waiting period. It would honestly depend on tag allocations and how effective other proposals would be in clearing out the application pools. Something to be considered if not a no point system would be a 25% preference to give the guys with max points 1/4th of the tags and the other 75% be random. Just another idea thrown out there.

2. I talked to a yakima biologist today who cited up to date data showing that not much centered around harvest or bull to cow ratios or even age distribution effects breeding. Apparently this is most highly correlated to feed quality and abundance so focusing on older bulls will most likely not effect breeding negatively. And since you would be protecting spikes from the previous season they would if not another bull breed the cows in some circumstances. I'm not saying we should go to system where age class is weighted to the front end but it doesn't "effect breeding" based on up to date studies and data compared to the reports in the 90s that led to the change in the first place.

3.This system would likely have to have a change with how Washington residents buy tags. Just about every other western state has you purchase a hunting license and tags separately. For Example say a license is $40, Elk tag is $35, deer tag $25 and bear and lion tags are 10 and 8. Just theoretical. You then mitigate an major losses for income from resident hunters and incentivize non resident to start applying as well. The state could set the non resident tag limit to 10% non guaranteed. So say there is 10 tags in a unit, that means a resident can only draw 1 max and if no nonresident draws it doesn't mean one is guaranteed to them. If the non-resident license is $150 more non residents will be apt to apply and that could potentially make up the difference. If you wanted to go a step further like Idaho you could allocate 10% non guaranteed of the OILs to non residents as well and make them pay the price of the license and tag upfront to prevent any old joe from applying and they would incentivize even more non residents in buying a license. The fact is there realistically has to be a system where revenue at the very least stays the same. There are work around's and conversations with other state could help us develop that model.

4. I understand your concerns about recruitment of youth hunters, its a very difficult topic to discuss. All I was doing was throwing out ideas. However this "Hunters have been paying and investing for 20  years without hunting bulls and they aren't going to sit back and see 30% of the tags handed over to new hunters. " is one of the reasons hunters shoot themselves in the foot is because they aren't willing to give their full support to recruiting new hunters. Obviously I have talked before about giving those guys a tag and how the fact those people (people applying for 20+ years and not drawing) exist is one of the reasons I started this whole discussion. But more importantly is keeping hunting a common and active part of society otherwise it has more and more likely hood of going away forever. Hunters back in the early 1900s didn't keep on hunting because it was their right and they weren't gonna give it up. They got together and rebuilt this countries deer and elk herds from near destruction in perpetuity for unborn generations. The politicians that created public land didn't say what can the land give us at this very moment and extract all of its resources. They set aside what could've very well been there's for the taking and protected them for generations after. We are those generations. Ok, off that soapbox. My point is that there is a way to keep getting kids out in the woods. Deer hunting is still very much OTC and whether or not muley's continue to be that way whitetail and blacktail opportunity are likely disappearing any time soon. Bear hunting is one of the best ways to get new hunters out in the woods and the best season is long before most school sports take place. That paired with turkeys, small game, and a youth tag every 3-4 years would be plenty to expose a youth. I say expose because retention is a real issue with hunting more than exposure is.

5. There is enough habitat and enough winter ground (for elk at least) because as far as the biologists and my experience goes elk were thriving prior to 2016. We were harvesting huge percentages of the herd and it was stable. Unfortunately that was a fragile system that was thrown off by environmental factors on top of predators, native and non-native harvest. Truth of the matter is complaints were few and far between 6 years ago compared to now. And you're right there is no way to keep allowing 16500 people hunt EVERY YEAR for 12000 elk a tiny fraction of which are legal harvest. Its over capacity... but as hunter numbers go up success rates go down so the fix in my mind is decrease the amount of people that can access these herds every year and there will be reward in the future. It won't be immediate but it will better than what we're doing now. Long term mindset has got to be what we start with from now on.

 


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