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January 2023
Author: Robert Hanneman

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year and got to spend some quality time with friends and family. This time of year, the Huntin’ Fool office is bursting with excitement as we are busy diving into the 2023 application season. This is our busiest time of year as we are spending a ton of time researching and writing the state sections. This is one of our favorite times of year as we get to help members with the one-on-one planning of their hunting season. It’s also great as we start getting all of the successful hunters’ pictures and stories. Everyone in the office loves seeing the successful pictures from the Huntin’ Fool community.

Hopefully this year has started off well for those Huntin’ Fool members who were trying to pick up a non-resident Idaho general deer and elk tag or an Arizona over-the-counter archery deer tag. Arizona’s tags sale went smoothly, and it took a couple days for those tags to sell out. From talking to members, everyone who wanted an archery tag was able to get one before they sold out.

The Idaho December 1st non-resident general deer and elk tag sale was a complete disaster. The volume of people trying to buy tags online, over the phone, and at vendors overwhelmed Idaho’s system and they had to temporarily shut it down for repairs. This was terrible for all the people trying to buy tags online as some of the vendors were still operational and nearly all the better deer and elk tags were sold out by the time Idaho reopened the online sales. I was talking to guys all over Idaho who had driven there to buy a tag in person and most vendors had 30+ people waiting in line. There were several guys camped out at the Idaho Fish and Game offices in hopes of buying tags. I was one of the unfortunate ones trying to buy a tag online. I had a lower number in the queue at 2,553, but I had friends who were over 40,000. When my turn in the queue arrived, all the elk tags I wanted were sold out and I settled on my third choice for a deer tag. The way Idaho is selling these tags is a joke. I don’t know what the answer is for them to fix their system, but they must do something as it is broken.

Part of the job of the Hunt Advisors is to keep the membership up to speed on changes happening. 2023 is going to bring a lot of changes to the application game we all play across the West for big game. Some of the bigger changes taking place this year are:

·      Wyoming is going to a 90%/10% split for resident/non-resident tags for bighorn sheep, moose, goat, and bison. Thankfully, the elk non-resident split was not changed and non-residents will still receive 16% of the elk tags.

·      Utah is pushing their draw back later this year. The application dates will be March 23-April 27. You will also see a lot of changes to the elk units when you go to apply as the Wildlife Board approved several changes for the 2023- 2024 season.

·      New Mexico will no longer allow scopes on muzzleloaders during any of the designated muzzleloader seasons.

If you have any questions about the draws, your points, booking a hunt, gear, etc., don’t hesitate to give us a call. A lot of exciting things are happening at Huntin’ Fool, including our new store “Gear Fool” and our booking agency “Huntin’ Fool Adventures.” Here’s to 2023 being a great year and the draws going your way!