Which state has the best opportunities and draw odds for Resident Hunters

JimP

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Mar 28, 2016
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Gypsum, Co
Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and perhaps New Mexico but I don't have any experience with New Mexico. At least for western states.

But if you really want to know the best state would be Alaska.
 

ScottR

Eastmans' Staff / Moderator
Staff member
Feb 3, 2014
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It really comes down to what your favorite animal to hunt is in my mind. If you are an elk nut then any state that offer OTC opportunity at bulls would be where I would look.
 
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archeranthony

Active Member
Dec 10, 2018
448
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Texas
Me personally I would move to Colorado. And it’s pretty centralized for hunting as a NR in the other states. You can make most states that offer great big game hunting in a days drive.
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
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Dolores, Colorado
When I relocated from California after I retired 20 years ago, hunting opportunities was a major consideration. I relocated to Colorado. My first choice was Wyoming, but my wife had other ideas. In 20 years I have been able to hunt elk, deer, antelope and waterfowl and do pretty well. It took a little time to really get to know the state (I am still learning), but am pretty happy with our choice.

We just got back from a month in Alaska and it was really an eye opener. Had not considered Alaska in our possible choices and it sure deserves to be a top choice. If I had it to do over, I might very well have retired there. It would be a tough choice. The only real negative for me is the cost of living....pretty high from what I am used to here in Colorado. Like Hawaii, almost everything has to be shipped from the lower 48 and is more expensive.
 
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alaska2go

Active Member
Oct 20, 2012
272
128
Canon City, CO
Alaska is a great to relocate to.. BUT it costs a LOT of money to hunt here even as a resident.

Example, If you are lucky enough to draw a Kodiak brown bear tag it is going to cost you about $3500 to hunt that tag. Yes a far cry from the $20K for non resident.

To hunt blacktail deer is about the same unless you got $85K to spend on a boat. And then the islands don't have near the deer they used to have because a lot people have those boats

sheep hunt that hasn't been ran down people $3000

Kodiak goat hunt $4000

local goat hunt $2500

Caribou hunt that isn't over crowded $3500

A good moose hunt $4500

This of course is provided that you don't buy a $90K super cub and pay for the annuals and hanger fees

It is nothing like hunting the lower 48 where you can just drive your pickup to a trail head and start hunting !!!!

We all own rangers, 6 wheelers and the like thinking if we drive 60 miles in we will get away from people, NOT true because every one else owns them also.

There is only 1 place I have been that we don't run into other hunters , because it sucks so bad to get there. 35 miles takes 2 10 hour days and most people turn back at the big river crossing because they are tired and beat down ... And that is about mile 28
 

mallardsx2

Veteran member
Jul 8, 2015
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Alaska is a great to relocate to.. BUT it costs a LOT of money to hunt here even as a resident.

Example, If you are lucky enough to draw a Kodiak brown bear tag it is going to cost you about $3500 to hunt that tag. Yes a far cry from the $20K for non resident.

To hunt blacktail deer is about the same unless you got $85K to spend on a boat. And then the islands don't have near the deer they used to have because a lot people have those boats

sheep hunt that hasn't been ran down people $3000

Kodiak goat hunt $4000

local goat hunt $2500

Caribou hunt that isn't over crowded $3500

A good moose hunt $4500

This of course is provided that you don't buy a $90K super cub and pay for the annuals and hanger fees

It is nothing like hunting the lower 48 where you can just drive your pickup to a trail head and start hunting !!!!

We all own rangers, 6 wheelers and the like thinking if we drive 60 miles in we will get away from people, NOT true because every one else owns them also.

There is only 1 place I have been that we don't run into other hunters , because it sucks so bad to get there. 35 miles takes 2 10 hour days and most people turn back at the big river crossing because they are tired and beat down ... And that is about mile 28

Tru'er words have never been spoken about hunting Alaska.

I worked there for a summer and would never consider living there permanently. You dont walk out the back door and hunt. You go on a couple hunts a year. The rest of the year, you sit around and drink your life away like everyone else....lol
 

Winchester

Veteran member
Mar 27, 2014
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Woodland Park, Colorado
Tru'er words have never been spoken about hunting Alaska.

I worked there for a summer and would never consider living there permanently. You dont walk out the back door and hunt. You go on a couple hunts a year. The rest of the year, you sit around and drink your life away like everyone else....lol
Naw
I lived there for 4 years and would go back in a flash … I still might when I'm done working.
You can walk out the back door and do a ton of stuff; hike, bike, x-country ski, hunt, fish, 4-wheel, snow-machine, etc etc.
No time for sitting around … there's way too much fun stuff to do.
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
6,054
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Gypsum, Co
Alaska is a great to relocate to.. BUT it costs a LOT of money to hunt here even as a resident.

Example, If you are lucky enough to draw a Kodiak brown bear tag it is going to cost you about $3500 to hunt that tag. Yes a far cry from the $20K for non resident.

To hunt blacktail deer is about the same unless you got $85K to spend on a boat. And then the islands don't have near the deer they used to have because a lot people have those boats

sheep hunt that hasn't been ran down people $3000

Kodiak goat hunt $4000

local goat hunt $2500

Caribou hunt that isn't over crowded $3500

A good moose hunt $4500

This of course is provided that you don't buy a $90K super cub and pay for the annuals and hanger fees

It is nothing like hunting the lower 48 where you can just drive your pickup to a trail head and start hunting !!!!

We all own rangers, 6 wheelers and the like thinking if we drive 60 miles in we will get away from people, NOT true because every one else owns them also.

There is only 1 place I have been that we don't run into other hunters , because it sucks so bad to get there. 35 miles takes 2 10 hour days and most people turn back at the big river crossing because they are tired and beat down ... And that is about mile 28
I know of a number of people living in Alaska that might argue with you on those items.
 

mallardsx2

Veteran member
Jul 8, 2015
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You are probably right.

I can only attest to Nome, Kotzebue, Anchorage, or Barrow. I flew around in choppers for 14 hours a day 7 days a week in those places and I can tell you those places didn't have much game per square mile....Very little actually.

Although, I did see 6 bull moose in the middle of the tundra 20 miles west of Cougar Rock Airstrip standing around the ONE AND ONLY out of place bush that clearly had something tasty on it. 2 of them were 65+ inches wide...

Either way, transportation to where there are good and plentiful amounts of animals is very expensive and from my experience is very far from where the average man can get to.

I was kidding about sitting around drinking your life away...kinda.

The Alaska royalty check would be nice to receive though...
 
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Montana

Veteran member
Nov 3, 2011
1,085
361
Bitterroot Valley, MT.
All joking aside (I hope everyone knows I was joking and not being arrogant), I feel extremely blessed to live in Montana. Growing up in California I never imagined I would ever be lucky enough to harvest such animals. The state has quite a bit to offer. And yes, I’m aware a couple of those hunts was like hitting the lottery.
 

tim

Veteran member
Jun 4, 2011
2,143
678
north idaho
there are 3 mountain states that border each other. any one of them would be good. all three are similar and different.

alaska, the number one pick up line is: nice tooth!

women move to alaska because the odds are good they would find a man, but the goods are odd.
i lived there for awhile, great state.
 

alaska2go

Active Member
Oct 20, 2012
272
128
Canon City, CO
I know of a number of people living in Alaska that might argue with you on those items.
Don't get me wrong I like it here and hunt when ever possible, but the most successful hunters have planes or a buddy that has a plane . Alaska has the lowest density of animals per square mile of just about every state in the US
 

alaska2go

Active Member
Oct 20, 2012
272
128
Canon City, CO
You are probably right.

I can only attest to Nome, Kotzebue, Anchorage, or Barrow. I flew around in choppers for 14 hours a day 7 days a week in those places and I can tell you those places didn't have much game per square mile....Very little actually.

Although, I did see 6 bull moose in the middle of the tundra 20 miles west of Cougar Rock Airstrip standing around the ONE AND ONLY out of place bush that clearly had something tasty on it. 2 of them were 65+ inches wide...

Either way, transportation to where there are good and plentiful amounts of animals is very expensive and from my experience is very far from where the average man can get to.

I was kidding about sitting around drinking your life away...kinda.

The Alaska royalty check would be nice to receive though...
Not a royalty check !!!! It a dividend check that is paid base on performance of investments ...... Plus the state government has taken 1/2 the last 3 years because they can't balance the budget, spent way too much money when oil prices were high. When the investments were crap 2008-2012 check was $850 now it is suppose to be $2800 or so but the state government takes half ...

There is a lot of drunks here .. But I suppose that is every where you go

A little fact I walked 113 miles ( according to GPS) and river rafted 29 miles to kill a sheep in the brooks range lost 15 pounds on that trip and I'm not fat !!!
 

HighPlainsHunter

Active Member
Mar 1, 2018
419
3
Laramie
Look at what tags you can get every year and the decision is quite simple.

Some states that have huge elk, have low elk numbers, and millions of residents so you will rarely ever draw a tag.

Some states have elk and deer seasons that are only a few days long for residents, while others have months to hunt on a general tag.

Do you want to compete with a whole bunch of other outdoor enthusiast as some places there are more non hunters using public land than hunters, other places rarely ever see people on public land aside from deer season. This varies widely.

Some states have tag systems that are geared toward resident hunters opportunity, and others are more about generating income.

Some states also allow tags to be take out of the resident pool and sold to NR hunters which is also a negative for resident opportunity.

Colorado for example has a lot of elk, great deer, and a few lopes.
But they also give away a higher % of tag's to NR's, which hurts resident opportunity
They also take more tags from the resident draw for the landowner tag program, again resident hunters lose.
Then you are also dealing with 6 million residents, many hunters, and many other outdoor folks who will be out in the areas you hunt.
On top of all that most of the state is OTC for elk which pretty much ruins the opportunity for residents.
And if you do manage to get a mediocre tag every year it's only good for a week. So the opportunity is very limited.
Colorado is a great state to hunt as a NR, not so much as a R.


A Montana general tag with the opportunity for a limited entry unit is about as good as it gets IMO. Season runs from Sept through Thanksgiving. Compare that to a Colorado OTC unit and it's not even close who has the better opportunity every year.
 

Winchester

Veteran member
Mar 27, 2014
2,068
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Woodland Park, Colorado
All joking aside (I hope everyone knows I was joking and not being arrogant), I feel extremely blessed to live in Montana. Growing up in California I never imagined I would ever be lucky enough to harvest such animals. The state has quite a bit to offer. And yes, I’m aware a couple of those hunts was like hitting the lottery.
Nothing wrong with all those great hunt photos!!
I just went on a spring black bear hunt near my sister's in Plains Montana and had a blast.
Montana looks like a great place to settle down based on hunt opportunities, etc.
Personally I chose Colorado for the great deer and elk hunting plus as a retired military guy the Colorado Springs area is a good fit for me.
 
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