With just about everything from hunts to gear getting harder and harder to get these days, it is important to plan early. I have noticed over the past two years that tags that used to not sell out for months are literally selling out within hours. I have also been seeing draw percentages going down for just about every tag out there. This is a good thing in that the hunting industry is growing, but it can be very disappointing when you are trying to draw a hunt or find a hunt to go on self-guided.
I highly recommend planning a hunt way ahead of time and doing your research before applying or calling an outfitter. If you do your research on a hunt you are thinking about doing, you will know if you have a chance or not of drawing. If you think you might draw and you are going to go outfitted, contact that outfitter right then. Don’t wait until you find out if you drew or not because then you might not be going with your outfitter of choice. I am seeing some outfitters in the hardest to draw areas book up within hours of results being released. Some of them might be booked before draw results come out because hunters who think they have a legit shot at drawing go ahead and reserve their spot to make sure they get exactly what they want if they are drawn.
Hunters who need to plan earlier are the lower point hunters or the hunters who want to book an OTC outfitter. These outfitters are booking up very fast. Some guys are booking one or two years out. Think about it, if the outfitters in the high point units are booking up extremely fast with the very few hunters they can market to, imagine how fast these outfitters who can market to a much bigger audience book up. This isn’t just a private ranch problem anymore. We are seeing public land OTC outfitters booking two years in advance.
Another big thing to think about is gear. With Covid affecting everything around the world over the last year, it has made products hard to get. Products like rifles, bows, and glassing equipment are on back order for months. Just like wanting to book with an outfitter, don’t wait until the last minute or you probably won’t get what you truly want.
If I can stress anything to all the hunters out there, it is to plan very early and have all your ducks in a row way before it’s time. This will make the process much more enjoyable for you with way less stress.