Wyoming Non Resident Hunters Need to Consider Preference Points

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Should I apply for only a preference point? Do I apply for just a license or should I apply for both? These are questions nonresident hunters will need to answer as the new deer, elk, and antelope application periods draw near.

The coming of the new year will mark the second year that preference points are available for nonresidents who wish to apply for elk, deer and antelope licenses. The preference points system was implemented in 2006 following numerous requests from hunters to develop a system that would reward perseverance in applying for hard-to-draw areas.

The preference point system is optional. Nonresidents who apply for a license with the preference point purchase option will be awarded a point if unsuccessful for drawing a license on their first choice. Hunters who apply for a license and preference point purchase and are successful in drawing a license on their second or later choice will still be awarded a point. This gives hunters the option of applying for a hard-to-draw area on their first choice, listing an easy-to-draw area on their second and still build preference points for future years.

Cost of the preference point is $50 for elk, $40 for deer, $30 for antelope and $10 for each species for youth under 18. Hunters who wish to apply for a preference point only without the possibility of drawing a license will need to wait until July 1, at which time preference point purchase only applications will be available in hard copy and on the Game and Fish website.

According to license section manager Jean Cole, there will be a statistical advantage in building up points as 75 percent of licenses will be issued to those with highest point totals. "The remaining 25 percent will be issued in a random drawing which at least will give all applicants a mathematical possibility of drawing a license regardless of preference point totals," Cole said.

The elk, deer and antelope license preference point system is only for nonresident licenses. Both residents and nonresidents have had a similar system in place for moose and bighorn sheep for a number of years. Hunters with questions can call the Game and Fish at 307-777-4600.