Lets say I buy moose or sheep points for 15 years and then draw a tag. Does the money for the points go toward the tag, do you loose it, or are you refunded the cash? How does it work? Is elk the same way?
ND Hunter is right, you just bought the points, not the tag. It's a lot of money to plunk down if you never draw. What else can you do if you want to hunt. Landowner tags would probably be cheaper if you plan to go just ever 4-5 years. I enjoy putting in and doing the research...and dreaming.
You still have to pony up and pay the tag fee when you draw. Given it will take 20+ years of applying for a newbie to draw a moose tag in the preference drawing in WY, the tag will be pretty expensive when (if) you finally draw.
I looked into it and ran the numbers a few years ago. You're better off to do a moose/sheep hunt up in canada.
I think there are a lot of things to consider.
1. If you are planning on using an outfitter on moose, then you should just go on an outfitted moose hunt in Canada as soon as you can. As the outfitter cost and the cost of points until you draw a tag will be much more than the cost of a moose hunt in Canada.
2. You can hunt Shiras moose in BC and Alberta, so it's not like the moose in the lower-48 are so special to rate their cost.
3. If they raise prices the Wyoming moose tags or points, they will be much more expensive than a guided moose hunt in BC or Alberta. And if it took you a long time to draw then they are already there.
4. If you are very young, and don't care about giving the state of Wyoming somewhere in the neighborhood of $3402-8500 dependant on the price of fee increases over the next 20 years. Then put your points toward the game.
5. If you are not young, or you just want to apply for the general draw submit your $1404 and give it a shot.
6. Shiras moose hunts in good areas in BC and Alberta are $6500-10,000.
7. You can hunt moose in Alaska unguided for about $3000-5000 worth of gas, tags, gear and travel. If you can get 3 to 4 buddies to share transportation you could cheapen that up by a lot.
Sheep on the other hand will be worth it. You can't hunt wild bighorns anywhere for less than $15,000 and most of the good hunts are going to be $25,000. Even worse case scenario Wyoming raises points to $200 and the tag to $5000 you won't come close to a Alberta bighorn hunt in price.
If you are planning on becoming a Wyoming resident, then it would be worth it. As your overall cost will be low enough to make it cheap enough.
You must consider that it will take a minimum of 15 years to draw (I assume you are talking about Wyoming). At $100/ point * 15points = $1500 in points. That also doesn't consider the affects of point creep or raises in the cost of points. When adding in the cost of a NR tag and guide, it gets expensive. I'm doing it, but I've spent $500 already and will have to wait probably 12+ years for the dream. But hey, a mans gotta have something to lot forward to, right? That's what I tell myself anyways.
I just thought I'd throw this out there since it might be helpful.
One of the best courses I took in engineering was called Industrial Economics. In it they discussed the present and future value of money. You learned stuff like how interest works, financing on a purchase, and earning interest on your money.
When we discuss how much a tag is gonna cost 20 years in the future, the simple thing is to just add up how much it costs to apply each year, and the cost of the tag, which is not always an accurate way to look at the real cost in today's dollars. Say it costs me $100 a year to buy a point for 20 years ($2000 total), and then $2000 for the tag. Is the cost in today's money really $4000?
Say I invest $4000 today at 2.5%, I will earn $100 in interest a year. I can use that $100 to buy my point and I still have.....$4000. I can do that again the next year and still have....$4000. When I finally draw I spend $2000 on a tag and I am out of pocket $2000 from today's $4000 investment.
Of course this is a pretty simple example, and does not account for higher interest rates, taxes, the inflation of tag fees, etc. But it does show that the guy who wants to hunt Shiras moose, it is still considerably cheaper than buying a guaranteed Shiras hunt for $10,000+ today. The assumption is that someone actually saves money and invests.
There is the issue of point creep and it is VERY real. Someday several western states are gonna have to address their draw systems, when the best tags are taking 25-30+ years to draw. I am convinced there is no guarantee that points we buy today will still be in effect in 20+ years.
I think you have some valid points, tag cost will increase, and like you said beyond what we think they will.
As far as point creep and tag availability, I doubt it will change much. Regardless of what we think, no state "owe's us a tag". I'd like to think that if I apply to Wyoming, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Washington, Montana and Colorado that eventually I'll get to kill 7 rams. And maybe if I am lucky I will draw 8 or 9 tags, based on dumb luck.
The numbers do not support that, states like Wyoming and Colorado that award most of their tags to max points might change their systems, and they might not. I am not sure what would be fair, if they did a points squared system like Montana has then that screws the guy that has been in it 15 years.
There is a huge belief out there in the hunting world that point creep is killing the draws. Well, no one ever said that a state had to award everyone that played the game a tag. I have read fairly in depth to the 7 sheep programs I am either already in, or am considering working towards and I can't see any guarantee on any of them.
You might apply 20 or 30 years and never draw a tag. If you can deal with that, then you should apply. If you can't then put your money toward a hunt in Canada or Asia.
I think I spent $1000 on points and licenses last year. This year I am on the fence, I quit buying points in Wyoming when they went to $100 per point, as money was tight and I didn't want to give Wyoming $200 not to hunt. I think I had 2 or 3 points in 2003 when I quit buying them. Now I have 1 point in Wyoming, Arizona, Utah and Nevada. Points that may never equal a tag, no matter how long I play.
Money isn't as tight as it once was, but I can think of a lot of things I would rather spend $1000 on in 2013 than points for sheep I might never hunt.
Lots of goat/moose or goat/elk combination hunts in British Columbia for under $10,000. I can do another plains game hunt in Namibia, Botswana or South Africa for $10,000 door to door. And those African plains game hunts are for 6-10 animals that rival any bighorn in beauty and exotic charm. I can hunt ibex in Mongolia, Kazakestan, Kygizstan and Spain for under $10,000 round trip as well.
I don't know what the right answer is, points don't equal a tag. If you have 10 points on sheep, moose or goat then they probably do equal a tag. If you don't point creep MIGHT keep you from ever having a tag.
My father has 10 points for sheep in Wyoming and is 72. He took a cow moose tag in 2012 with his 12 points because he told me he had waited long enough. Then again he has taken 6 moose before in his life. So the moose tag didn't mean as much to him as it would have to someone else.
With Dad's 10 points and age, he may never draw a bighorn sheep tag in Wyoming. He is also a Wyoming resident and has less than $100 in those 10 points.
I on the other hand am not a Wyoming resident, and as of TODAY am unsure where we are going to move to next year when I move back to the United States. I don't feel I am so financially vested as to feel obligated to keep applying for tags. In all actuality the real reason I bought sheep and goat points in places like Arizona, Utah and Nevada was because I already had my money in the game for antelope and elk, so what's another $50-100. The antelope tags in those states are golden, and even if it takes 5-10 years to draw a tag the odds are good I'll take a nice buck.
Still any New Mexico or Texas pronghorn tag can be bought from a land owner for around $1500.
Points stop making sense if you don't already have a lot of them.
In closing, think hard about these 3 concepts before sending a check out for sheep, goat or moose points:
1. The state doesn't owe you a tag no matter how many points you have, or how long you play, and they can change the points system anytime they want.
2. In no scenario I can work out can you beat the cost of a Canada/Foreign hunt on point cost as a non-resident. Especially if you are playing in many state programs.
3. You are better off applying for tags that are available to first time applicants than starting from scratch playing the points game. Especially in states like New Mexico where tag cost is exhorbitant, and Idaho where they limit you to selecting one choice and have no points program.
Here is something that should give you a feel of the point creep problem. Wyoming issues by FAR the most non-resident sheep tags of the western states. Guys with max points now have 18 points. Here is the point standing for non-residents with 10 or more points for sheep:
10 points: 501
11 points: 502
12 points: 466
13 points: 454 (LARGE JUMP IN APPLICANTS)
14 points: 151
15 points: 133
16 points: 98
17 points: 85
18 points: 22
So keep this in mind...guys who have max points have been at it 18 years have STILL not drawn out. Not one single point level has completely drawn out in 18 years! You are probably looking at 25 points before those with the top three point levels draw out.
Then there is another issue. Notice the large jump in the number of applicants with 14 and 15 points? There is a "WALL" there that is going to take likely 10 years just to draw through those with 13 points (currently) to 12 points (currently). That same "WALL" exists in the Wyoming moose preference points. What happened was 13 years ago the cost to buy a point went from $7 to $100 per year. A lot of guys who had been buying points for $7 got sticker shock and bailed out and wouldn't pay the $100. It seems that the guys who were just starting out and paying $100 knew what they were getting into and have stuck with it.
There are about 50 sheep tags being drawn with points by non-residents each year. There are 2412 applicants with 10 or more points. It will only take 48 years for those with 10 or more points to draw out if they all stick with it. Of course that is longer than most guys hunting lifetime so there will be attrition. If the point system remains in place, most sheep and moose tags that are drawn on points will be drawn by guys who are 65+ years old who have been applying for a lifetime.