I love to hunt and love the outdoors. As a man, I think most us have it in us to want to be outdoors and to have the thrill of killing our own meat for food. Many women absolutely love hunting for the same reason, and even different reasons. Whether you prefer to hunt with a bow and arrow or a gun, we can all appreciate the beauty of the wilderness and the time away from everyday life. When people find out I enjoy hunting, many of them want to hunt also but don’t know where to start. I definitely do not know everything when it comes to big game hunting, but I have had experiences in almost all types of hunting in the Western United States.
If you want to hunt big game, there are three ways you can go about getting a license to be able to hunt.
1. Apply for a public draw. What exactly is a public draw? It is a lottery system that states have that allow each applicant a fair shot of obtaining one of the limited licenses in prime wilderness habitat. With a public draw, all states require you to pay the license fee (and sometimes the tag fee) up front when you put in for the draw. Most states’ deadline for putting in for the draw is usually by the beginning of spring (check each state’s parks and wildlife website for exact dates and deadlines). Most states have converted to an electronic system so you will be able to find out much sooner if you are successful or unsuccessful in the draw. If you are successful, you get to start preparing for your big game hunt! If you are unsuccessful, most states will refund your money (again, be sure and know their policies before you submit your application in the first place). If you are going to try for a public draw, you will definitely need to plan for it about a year in advance. Definitely talk to an experience hunter in this process so they can direct you which units to put in for and what you will need on your hunt.
2. Over the counter (OTC) license. These over the counter licenses are only offered by a couple of states but give you a guaranteed option to hunt that year. These licenses typically come available during the summertime after the limited licenses have been drawn. There are units (or land divisions) in these states that are designated for OTC licenses, so be sure and know where these areas are before you purchase an OTC license. These licenses are usually a hunter’s plan B, so there is a high possibility you will run into other hunters on your hunt.
3. Cabela’s T.A.G.S. service. A lot of people get lost in the “mumbo jumbo” of state’s wildlife department websites and don’t want to deal with the draw process but want the benefits that go along with it. So Cabela’s created a service that for a small fee, their group of hunting experts will take care of the guesswork and put you in for a draw that best fits your needs. They will float the tag fee (not charge you) until you get drawn. This is also helpful if you want to hunt multiple game in different states.
Hopefully this can help clarify the process of obtaining hunting licenses and gets you on your way to hunting big game next season! Please comment below with what type of license you have used in the past or if this post helped you at all. Thank you so much for reading!
Author Bio: My name is Brandon, and I am happiest when I am out hunting in remote wilderness before or during the rut. I write for Smith Security, the leader of home security in Plano which allows me to hunt with my two boys.