2024 Washington State Pre application Strategy
By Brian Clintworth
With the calendar flipping to 2024 it’s time to start thinking about your draw strategy here in Washington state. Actual permits and numbers will not be available until mid April and 2024 is the first year of a three year season setting. In the past things have remained pretty consistent but as has been documented here recently, the commission that sets hunting rules and regulations has been overtaken by a majority of anti-hunters who have not been shy about their intention to reduce hunting opportunities, especially those of predators. I suspect that the OIL species are not too far behind.
Moose hunts continue to get more difficult each year, with the impact of predators, ticks, and changing habitat being the primary drivers. Your strategy in 2024 should be to apply in those units that give you the best chance of drawing. Look at the number of tags offered and number of applicants will give you some sense of the degree of difficulty. Consider applying in some of the more southern moose units but be aware that there are more private land issues.
Odds are long everywhere but it seems that every year someone draws a sheep tag in Washington with minimal points which is frustrating to those with high points. To increase your odds of drawing you might want to consider applying in units other than Swakane and Chelan Butte which are the top two units in the state right now.
In order to maximize your chances of drawing, be sure to put down all four choices and like moose look at the number of tags that are offered compared to the number of applicants to see if certain units might give you a very slight increase in odds, who knows that might be the difference between seeing unselected or selected when results come out.
Although Washington has world class rocky mountain bulls roaming the state the draw odds are essentially like an OIL tag. To improve your odds you might consider utilizing those points on a Roosevelt’s elk hunt as Washington is one of the few states that offers this species to hunters.
With the potential explosion of predators on the horizon, drawing sooner is a very good thing. Most Washington hunters focus on drawing late mule deer tags in this state. Truth be told, most hunters on these late tags are shooting deer similar in size to what I see taken in eastern Montana on a regular basis. To increase draw odds, look at the units that offer whitetail tags that are in the peak of the rut, November 20-24th. Or look at crossing a good blacktail off the bucket list and drawing a tag in early November during the peak of that rut. I just don’t think waiting 15-20 years to draw a late mule deer tag is worth it in Washington.
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