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.