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Location: Southeast Washington State
Joined: 09/28/2004
Posts: 117
Another season bust

Well, we hunted hard again for all of the 9 days we had to hunt our elk. We managed to spook up a couple branched antlers and a handful of cows, but no spikes. The weather was actually not too bad, and the food was, as usual, lotsa and good. Even so, I managed to lose about 10 lbs over the long week. The first part of the week is always a killer, but by mid week I had my old sea legs back.

Sure was some beautiful views. It was nice just sitting around the campfire at night staring at the flames and talking to my buddies (nature's tv is a good campfire, I can stare at it for hours and not lose interest). Standing amidst the trees without moving around and talking, waiting for the elk to show up, or humping over hill and dale through deadfalls, clearcuts, doghair and rockslides looking to intercept one on the move, it was all good, and the best therapy my spirit could have. No one got an animal again this year, but in the end it really doesn't matter that much, not that I wouldn't enjoy a good elk steak or two tonight, but I do have some venison jerky I brought for a snack today, so it ain't too much a loss, you know.

bitmasher's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2973
Re: Another season bust
benjammin wrote:
the best therapy my spirit could have.

I guess it wasn't a bust then?

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Location: Powderhorn, Colorado
Joined: 04/07/2003
Posts: 167
Another season bust

keep hunting every year and learn the area. Sooner or later you will score that elk. good luck!!

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Location: Southeast Washington State
Joined: 09/28/2004
Posts: 117
Another season bust

You know, there's just too many hunters drawing permits out of that general area. I think the number of permit hunters vs. regular tag hunters up there musta been about 3 or 4 to 1 in favor of the permit hunters.

Sounds like the state is turning the area and all the surrounding GMUs into permit hunts. I heard some folks up north of us had the same experience. Kinda tough when 200 hunters are drawing branched antler permits and most of them are still only shooting spikes a week before we get up there. Kinda kills it for us unlucky gen season folks. It sure is one way for the state to make a buck or two, though.

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Another season bust

Just curious. What's the difference between a permit and a regular tag?

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Location: Southeast Washington State
Joined: 09/28/2004
Posts: 117
Another season bust

The Washington state dept. of Fish and Wildlife has broken the state up into Game Management Units (GMUs). For each GMU, the state holds a drawing for a certain number of permit applicants (applications cost $25 each). Usually there are way more applicants than there are permits issued. There is no guarantee that an applicant will be drawn, so you pay your money and you take your chances. The advantages of getting the permit are that you get additional hunting time, the hunting pressure is less then, and you can hunt animals that are not allowed during regular season (such as branch antlered bulls in an otherwise spike only area).

Those who are not fortunate enough to be drawn for a permit hunt (you only get to apply for 4 GMUs a year), have to hunt during the one week allowed for General season. Everyone who hunts for elk has to buy an elk tag, whether you get a permit hunt or not. The permit only allows you to hunt outside of the general season and for restricted animals.

The problem is that in certain areas the state has increased the number of permits being drawn for restricted animals to the point where the hunting pressure makes the general season worthless. A branched antler permit holder can take a spike if he so chooses during permit only season(basically the permit says "Any Bull"). Cow permit holders cannot take spikes during that time, but any permit holder who doesn't fill his tag outside of general season can continue hunting during general season as well, and there are a lot of them that do. There aren't enough animals to go around, and the ones that are there get pushed into the worst terrain they can find, which doesn't help matters any.

By the time I got out to hunt this year during general season, half the usable campsites were already occupied by permit holders who had not been able to bag an animal the week before. Of the few camps I saw with meat already hanging, some were only spikes, which confirmed my suspicions.

I dunno, maybe it's time to bite the bullet and plan on a non-resident Idaho hunt next year.

Location: Utah
Joined: 02/24/2003
Posts: 596
Another season bust

It sounds basically like the same system Utah has but there are some differences that I think make it work a little better.

First the application fee is only $5. That is a lot easier to swallow than $25 if you don't draw.

Second the limited entry hunters get first crack at early in the season through most of the rut. So they get plenty of time. But thier season ends completely and there is almost a month long break before the general spike only hunt starts. So the general hunters aren't on the hill at the same time as the limited entry hunters AND the elk have some time to settle down a little bit.

Third the state is very good at not issuing to many limited entry permits. They are essentially trophy tags and to keep that integrity year after year they issue very few tags compared to how many animals there are out there. Which means out of the limited entry guys they are definitely not shooting spikes.

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Location: Southeast Washington State
Joined: 09/28/2004
Posts: 117
Another season bust

Yep, that's what we get when we have too many non-hunting liberals setting policy in this state. Now we are stuck with another one for governor that will likely take her vengeance out on us for not electing her by a landslide. We could have one of the best hunting regions in the country, but for the know-it-all environmentalists in Olympia trying to paint the world to fit their image of it.

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