Welcome to another upstate new yorker.
All depends on what you are looking to hunt? Most states only have lotterys for certin big game animals, like moose in VT and ME. Deer and bear hunting is an over the counter buy your out of state licence.
CO has over-the-counter bull elk tags. One reason it's so popular. Only OTC elk tag that I know of that's "gauranteed". A lot of states probably have some type of leftover tags you can buy. Not sure about caribou in Quebec or other provinces. You may need a guide for that, not sure. Moose is going to be lottery or guided hunt most everywhere. Whitetail should be OTC about everywhere. A lot of western states have draws for deer, most eastern states don't. Too many deer, not enough hunters.
2nd and 3rd rifle season oin CO. for elk. You can utilize landowner permits in NM. MT. has outfitter sponsored guaranteed license you can apply for and British Columbia and Alberta have over the counter license but you'll need a guide. about the only place you can do a hunt on your own and get guaranteed license is the 2nd and 3rd rifle in CO. and if you can find a landower permit without an outfitter in NM. I am not sure about Idaho or WY. but I am sure they are draw also and you can forget baout AZ, even the locals have trouble drawing there.
I forgot to mention 1st and 4th season in CO was a draw. I've been hunting 3rd for all but one of the last 7 years. Drawing isn't tough for some tags in CO. I've drawn a cow tag for Unit 13 every year I've applied. That might not be a sure thing next year. Elk numbers seem to be coming in line with targets. A lot depends on this years harvest, I think. From what I've heard, it's not hard to get a tag for Idaho. My cousins have hunted there a couple times.
Idaho has OTC deer and elk licenses. Some are limited number and sell out early (the go on sale in Dec, I think) check out the web site and they will send you a copy of the hunting orders.
Food for thought, if you are positive you are coming you can purchase a hunting license early and you will be eligible for some controlled hunt drawings, in May, then if you didn't draw you can still by a OTC tag.
Check it out
Every year many hunters and outdoorsman and women come out west from the midwest and east coast to hunt the prized mulies and elk. One topic that comes up often is altitude sickness. My advice for flatlanders is to get into the best possible shape. Start months before your hunt, usually really ramping up my cardio around March or April.
I run 5-10 miles 3 times a week, and also go for walks carrying my pack with about 50lbs to simulate what could be on my back. Another useful tip is to drink A...