While summer might just now be here, hunters like me are already laying out the battle plans for fall's hunts.
For some lucky hunters, controlled hunts are successful. Controlled hunts are done in areas that are either low in game population so fewer tags are issued or they are in areas that are known for producing trophy animals. Each year, Idaho hunters sign up for a random drawing that determines "good" hunting grounds.
I shoot for the moon on controlled hunts. I go for great game units—and that means I am probably going to fail. The 2011 draw odds for the two units I signed up for had dismally low success rates. According to Idaho Fish and Game, I had about a 4.7 percent chance on the deer hunt I wanted and 5.7 percent for the bull elk hunt I coveted. More than 4,000 people applied for the deer tag that I put in for. I figure that I am donating money to Idaho Fish and Game—a good cause—when I apply.
I have not drawn the deer tag I am after since 1996, which is when I bagged the biggest buck of my life. I have never drawn the elk tag. But that’s the chance a hunter takes. It’s a random drawing—no money or favors get a hunter ahead in the drawing. That keeps it egalitarian; anyone can get the best tag in Idaho, he or she just has to be lucky.
So now I will get ready for my general season hunting. My plan as I see it now is me, my rifle, my bow, my backpack, a few friends and a week in the sticks. I have already put in for the vacation days.