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Author Topic: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)  (Read 4694 times)

Offline ljsommer

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Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« on: January 18, 2022, 02:07:37 PM »
I couldn't find the thread but there was recently a topic where folks were discussing how the advent of the modern western hunter (IE: Well informed, well equipped, well funded and willing to travel) has changed the hunting landscape. I was making anecdotal observations and it's interesting to see hard data on it.

Note that this info impacts lottery draws as well as OTC, and it impacts residential hunting experience as well as out of state, as the total hunt populations in the field (relative to huntable land) has skyrocketed. I was musing that the sport of hunting feels like a different animal, in the face of these changes to the landscape. From the article:

"Between 2016 and 2021, the number of buck antelope tags in Wyoming that could be drawn with zero preference points in the regular drawing has been nearly cut in half. And of those zero-point hunts that do remain, most are in units that consist of mostly private land or that have very difficult public land access.

All across the West, demand for tags and hunting opportunities has seen unprecedented growth. In Montana, for instance, the overall nonresident Big Game Combo tag has gone from a 100% draw rate in 2016 to about 54% in the most recent draw. In 2021, there were more than 11,000 nonresident applicants who were unsuccessful in the Combo tag draws.

Colorado, the undisputed king of hunting opportunity in the West, has seen overall applicant numbers and participation skyrocket. Nonresident limited-entry deer and elk applicants have grown by nearly 50% since 2016, and residents have seen an increase of about 14,000 applicants in that same period.

And as the last remaining stronghold for true nonresident, over-the-counter (OTC) bull elk hunt opportunities in the West, Coloradoís public lands are getting crowded. According to Colorado Wildlife & Parks, in 2021 the total number of over the counter elk tags sold across all seasons was greater than 92,000. If you factor in the former OTC archery units that transitioned to draw in 2020, tag sales in OTC areas are at an all-time high. Unfortunately, itís getting increasingly common to hear stories about some of Coloradoís most popular hunt areas feeling more like an amusement park than an isolated backcountry experience."


https://www.onxmaps.com/hunt/blog/hunting-draw-odds-overcoming-increasing-demand
https://www.onxmaps.com/hunt/blog/how-to-draw-hunting-tags

Offline Platensek-po

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2022, 02:35:35 PM »
Will be interesting to see if anything changes for the next few years as the gov checks are no longer available and people have to work and keep kids in school again. Itís also not just hunting but the outdoors in general. Sooo much harder to draw whitewater permits as well the last couple years and so far this year has not looked much different
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Offline buckfvr

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2022, 02:58:42 PM »
Ever expanding population dilutes opportunity and its onward and upward for the population.

Offline Parasite

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2022, 04:07:39 PM »
I've pretty much decided to give up on hunting in 2022 due to declining opportunities and less enjoyment. I only plan on going after whitetail deer in Illinois and that's it. I'd rather spend my time fishing. I hate the point schemes (they are not systems), declining numbers of places to hunt, units, limited seasons, too many rules, and excessive fees. I'll go buy beef in the store.

Offline Stein

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2022, 04:12:00 PM »
Sad thing is that grim picture is so much better than what is going on here.

It's certainly a trend, but they cherry picked the WY antelope data to include real bad winter kill years which is not expected to be the new norm.

Hopefully articles like that dampen people, I think it will at least plateau once the people that have never hunting in the west show up, drive some roads and realize it isn't like on TV.  I bet a bunch are done after one or two years.

Offline millerwheeler

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2022, 04:33:23 PM »
I've pretty much decided to give up on hunting in 2022 due to declining opportunities and less enjoyment. I only plan on going after whitetail deer in Illinois and that's it. I'd rather spend my time fishing. I hate the point schemes (they are not systems), declining numbers of places to hunt, units, limited seasons, too many rules, and excessive fees. I'll go buy beef in the store.

While I see your perspective, donít you feel the heritage, challenge , time spent out and about  are better than just quitting ? Iím right there with the frustration but canít imagine my life or my families life without hunting and all the joy it brings even without a successful harvest every time
As sportsman we all need each other

Offline Parasite

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2022, 04:42:53 PM »
Since I'm just reallocating the time to fishing, then the answer is no,  I  am not worried about giving up on hunting.


I've pretty much decided to give up on hunting in 2022 due to declining opportunities and less enjoyment. I only plan on going after whitetail deer in Illinois and that's it. I'd rather spend my time fishing. I hate the point schemes (they are not systems), declining numbers of places to hunt, units, limited seasons, too many rules, and excessive fees. I'll go buy beef in the store.

While I see your perspective, donít you feel the heritage, challenge , time spent out and about  are better than just quitting ? Iím right there with the frustration but canít imagine my life or my families life without hunting and all the joy it brings even without a successful harvest every time
As sportsman we all need each other

Offline ljsommer

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2022, 04:53:31 PM »
To add a little more perspective to my original post - I am not frustrated or burned out on hunting, and as it's one of my primary focuses for the foreseeable future (in terms of recreation) I am willing to invest the money necessary to actually go have a good hunt.
That said, I think the trend is concerning, and the idea that you've got thousands of hunters who are applying for everything in every state possible really does feel like the spirit of hunting has changed. The points systems don't help, but they're such a cash cow that they're not going away.

On that topic, I meant to ask: What are all these fish and wildlife state agencies doing with this newfound windfall of wheelbarrow loads of cash?

Offline idaho guy

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2022, 05:07:11 PM »
Sad thing is that grim picture is so much better than what is going on here.

It's certainly a trend, but they cherry picked the WY antelope data to include real bad winter kill years which is not expected to be the new norm.

Hopefully articles like that dampen people, I think it will at least plateau once the people that have never hunting in the west show up, drive some roads and realize it isn't like on TV.  I bet a bunch are done after one or two years.

I hope you are right and I do tend to agree with you. (probably wishful thinking on my part  :chuckle:)I don't think its hunting that is blowing up just WESTERN hunting and that is where I agree with Matt Rinella on the negative of sm. Hopefully people have a reality check on the hype created over western hunting when they actually experience it. I have actually been thinking about some deer hunts in midwest and southern states lol. Probably hardly any competition since they are all heading west! The prices and available tags are way better than most western states. 

Online jrebel

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2022, 05:15:29 PM »
This has been a cyclic problem that is quite often driven by a thriving economy.  I remember when Montana use to be an every other year guaranteed draw for their combo (deer / elk) tag.  Basically if you didn't get drawn one year, you were guaranteed to draw the next.  The economy went to crap and for about 6 years you could almost guarantee going yearly.  The last 5-6 years we have had a booming economy so we are back to a 50% chance.  Give it another year or two and the democrats will drive this economy so far into the dirt the average person won't be able to afford gas to drive to work.....let alone Montana....and odds will improve. 

Same is true for guided hunts.  Right now you may have to book a few years out and guides are thriving.  It will get to where prices drop and they are begging for hunters as the economy doesn't support paying guide prices.  Just ask a guide that's been in the business for a couple decades. 

Very cyclic.....

Offline Jingles

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2022, 05:38:38 PM »
"Between 2016 and 2021, the number of buck antelope tags in Wyoming that could be drawn with zero preference points in the regular drawing has been nearly cut in half. And of those zero-point hunts that do remain, most are in units that consist of mostly private land or that have very difficult public land access.

Totally believable all one has to do is see the number of shows on the outdoors shows and see the number of the "East Coasters" that are coming west for their hunts.
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Offline Bareback

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2022, 05:39:05 PM »
 :yeah:

Applies to fishing too. When fuel exceeds 100 bones for the day, participation dropsÖÖ. $5/gallon is just around the corner.

Offline metlhead

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2022, 07:43:04 PM »
Invest in dirt and hunt your own critters. The south figured that out years ago with the lack of quality public land. It just takes a focused goal and a budget.

Offline HooknoseHunter

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2022, 08:05:33 PM »
Invest in dirt and hunt your own critters. The south figured that out years ago with the lack of quality public land. It just takes a focused goal and a budget.

While I agree that buying property is always a good thing I PRAY we in the NW ever have to move to the leased land system like they do in the South. Iíve lived in the south (Arkansas/Alabama/Texas) for 11 out of the last 18 years and I can tell you personally that leases and hunting clubs SUCK. You have to follow the clubsĒrulesĒ and then designate which stand or area you plan to hunt blah blah blah. Itís not real hunting. Like others posted above, I could care less to harvest an animal, I just enjoy family, friends, guns and beer. Not necessarily in that order. As Iíve gotten older I mainly hunt on my property or families property but the option to hunt on vast swathes of public land is a unique thing to the west and we should fight to keep it! I will say the only thing that annoys me out here is people with OnX who make it their lives work to access land locked public ground. Let the land owners enjoy their fruits.

Offline andrew_in_idaho

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Re: Decline of hunting opportunities (onx articles)
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2022, 07:32:58 PM »
Invest in dirt and hunt your own critters. The south figured that out years ago with the lack of quality public land. It just takes a focused goal and a budget.

While I agree that buying property is always a good thing I PRAY we in the NW ever have to move to the leased land system like they do in the South. Iíve lived in the south (Arkansas/Alabama/Texas) for 11 out of the last 18 years and I can tell you personally that leases and hunting clubs SUCK. You have to follow the clubsĒrulesĒ and then designate which stand or area you plan to hunt blah blah blah. Itís not real hunting. Like others posted above, I could care less to harvest an animal, I just enjoy family, friends, guns and beer. Not necessarily in that order. As Iíve gotten older I mainly hunt on my property or families property but the option to hunt on vast swathes of public land is a unique thing to the west and we should fight to keep it! I will say the only thing that annoys me out here is people with OnX who make it their lives work to access land locked public ground. Let the land owners enjoy their fruits.
You had me until your last sentence, the ability to buy some dirt should not entitle you or anyone else to dirt that is owned by the public trust any more than the rest of us. Allowing the landowners to enjoy ďtheir fruitsĒ as you say is a long ways from what you seem to be implying in that elitist statement.


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