View Full Version : Drawing process for elk, antelope and sheep in CA

05-15-2012, 12:13 AM
I've been annoyed by the drawing process in CA for elk, antelope and sheep in CA for a while so I decided to finally write a letter to the DFG. Probably wont do any good but it will at least feel good to get it out there. I haven't sent it yet but what do you guys think

To whom it may concern,
I am writing this letter as a California sportsman and lifetime hunting and fishing license holder in regard to the inequities of our current big game tag drawing system and allotments especially when it comes to elk, bighorn sheep, and antelope. I have been putting in for these species for quite a few years without any success I am not surprised by this as there are few tags to go around for many California hunters.
My issue comes from the fact that when I further analyzed some of the statistics on hunts which I applied for even with the modified preference point system there is no reward to hunters who have consistently been applying for these hunts unless they have been applying every year since the points system began. I am not in any of the max point pools and without being in these pools for elk, antelope, and bighorn sheep I am eliminated from being eligible to draw the vast majority of the allotted tags. For example, in 2012 I am eligible to draw one of 90 out of 330 elk tags, one of 53 out of 214 antelope tags, and one of 9 out of 24 bighorn sheep tags. So essentially, I am only eligible for 26.7% of the available tags in California. In addition to this fact, because of the limited amount of tags allotted in California and relatively high number of max points holders there are many hunts where I can never realistically expect to be in the max points pool even if I apply every year for the rest of my life and live to 100 years old (I am 28 now and currently have 6 points for elk and antelope and 4 for sheep). For example, if I were to apply for the Northeastern California elk hunt at current quotas it would take a approximately 76 years to clear the max point holders at current quota levels and my odds of drawing in the random pool would be 1/952. Even though I have been loyally applying I get no reward for this since I am not in the max points pool. An example for antelope would be if I applied for the Lassen period 1 it would take approximately 17 years to clear the first round of max point holders and my real odds of drawing would be approximately 1/273. And lastly, an example for sheep would be if I applied for the San Gorgonio Mountains it would take approximately 157 years to clear the first round of max points holders my real odds of drawing this unit would be approximately 1/584.
It is my firm belief that this system is in need of some drastic changes as there are just not enough tags to make the system work the way it is currently implemented. It is inherently flawed in function the way it is currently operating. There is no reward for applying and building points unless you are in the max points pool which I have demonstrated above is many times nearly impossible to attain unless you have been applying every year since points have been given. There are many simple changes that could be made to this system that would improve it vastly. For example, for these species you could square each hunters points and then draw from that pool much like Nevada so that hunters are still rewarded for loyalty and not just max points and yet still could draw in any year. Another change that could be made is to give an additional point if for example a hunter put in for a given species for 5 consecutive years. A rule could also be made so that you could only apply for one of the three species each year to increase hunter odds. Once in a lifetime rules or significant waiting periods could also be implemented to promote further equality. It is my firm belief that these changes would benefit all California hunters applying for these hunts in addition to new hunters in California who at this juncture can never expect to get into any max point pools for a very long time at best and begin their hunting careers at a disadvantage.


05-15-2012, 09:22 AM
Good luck getting DFG to listen, they don't like to be told they are doing something wrong. And I am sure they have heard this for this situation for many years.

I can understand your issue and the biggest problem I have with the current system is for the young hunters that have started hunting since the implementation of the modified points system. Even though as juniors they have some opportunities for some outstanding hunts with better odds than general pool hunts, once they get into the general pools without max points they have very little chance of ever drawing a Elk, Sheep or Antelope tag. But seems to me that many of the high demand tags in many states you don't have much of a chance of drawing them unless you are in the max pool. Some states are better than others but it does get complicated. States other than California have better opportunities for sheep, elk and antelope. More tags, more zones, better opportunities for non-max point holders. With the over welming number of applicants versus the number of tags there wil always be an issues with some group of hunters regadless of how they draw. I believe that someday soon (next 5 years or so) California DFG will modify their modified point system, mainly because the squeaky wheel gets greased the quickest and the non-max pool will continue to grow where as the max pool group can only get smaller. If the agrument is from new hunters moving to the state, I don't think any state's hunters would want to change their system to better accommodate new people moving to their state. There will be one less person in the max pool draw for sheep this year, I've been applying for so many years without drawing and now I figure I am just not in physical enough shape to chase sheep up and down those steep desert mountains any more so I'll give it up to someone than can. Maybe something else you need to figure into your statistics, people fall out of the max pools by more means than just finally drawing a tag. But lets take the sheep draw, there are 24 tags available 2746 max pool applicants, that gives the max pool applicants a 1 in 115 chance. Even with the current system and only looking at max pool hunters you would have to live (and be able to hunt) to be 127 (start at the age of 12). So is this just a money making thing, increase the pool size, therefore lower the odds even more or rewarding the applicants that have been in the draw the longest?

All that being said, I think the system is unfair if you are not in the max pool, especially for the new hunters.

Regardless I would be interested in hearing what DFG has to say. I brought up to them that the results of some of their high demand special goose hunts were a little strange last year. That for hunts with 10 - 20 applicants drawn and 900 to 1500 entries per hunt I thought it funny that 13 people drew multiple hunts (only twenty some total hunts) and a couple hunters drew three times. They responded with some double talk then started pulling the results off their websites so you couldn't see the previous winners. I figure since I sent the letters there goes my chance at the state run waterfowl refuge drawing next year, we'll see. I'm not saying their corrupt but I don't think they like being told their wrong.

05-15-2012, 09:23 PM
Send it dustyboots...........That's a pretty darn good letter you have there. I whole heartedly agree with everything you stated in your letter and have real issues with how the young hunters are getting screwed.

I know this has been said before...........Nevadas system is hard to beat.

Muleys 24/7
05-16-2012, 01:35 PM
Good letter, I feel the same way not having many points as well

05-16-2012, 10:19 PM
My feeling with the way the Ca point system is set up is for elk and antelope, you will probably draw about once every 15 -20 years if you put in every year and are a little lucky. Maybe longer if you skip the cow elk tags and go just for bulls. So that means in your adult hunting life, your looking at drawing one time or maybe twice if your healthy enough in you older years. I understand the intent of the points system and I don't know what would make it better when there are so few tags available.

I have max points for elk and 4 points for antelope. I still will put in for the hunts but I try to hunt out of state as much as my bank account wil let me.