APPLICATION STRATEGY 2021: Wyoming Elk - Sample

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Wyoming's 2021 elk application overview

Jump to: NEW FOR 2021 State Information Draw System Elk Breakdown Points System

The application deadline for Wyoming elk for nonresidents is Feb. 1, 2021, by 11:59 p.m. MST. The application is entirely online. Apply online here. Resident elk limited quota applications are due by June 1, 2021.


New for 2021

IMPORTANT: In 2021, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) will not publish tentative season information for elk. Elk hunters should use prior season information for the best estimate. Final season information will be published on May 1, which still gives hunters time to make modifications or withdraw applications.

Nonresident applicants have until May 10 to modify or withdraw their applications. Draw results will post the third week in May. Wyoming’s draw system still requires you to front the entire cost of license with your application by Jan. 31. Those funds will not be refunded to your card until late May if you are unsuccessful in the draw. 

Area 113 is typically open every other year. It was closed in 2020 and should be open going into 2021. 

Area 114 seems to have been dissolved and incorporated into Area 11 and 10. We will know more when the actual regulations are released in May. 

Area 123 should be closed in 2021.

Preference Point Reminder: Unsuccessful applicants will not automatically be given a preference point if unsuccessful in the draw. You must purchase a point during the point only time frame, which is July 1 to Nov. 1, 2021. 

INSIDER Feature: goHUNT displays the number of applicants at each point level below the cut-off draw line for each hunt. This gives applicants a much greater understanding of point creep for each hunt and allows them to apply with a much better understanding of their chances. Refer to the detailed Draw Odds pages for hunts you are considering to see the point breakdown.


State Information

View important information and an overview of the Wyoming rules/regulations, the draw system, preference points, SuperTag and SuperTag Trifecta, tag and license fees and an interactive boundary line map on our State Profile. You can also view the Wyoming Elk Profile to access historical and statistical data to help you find trophy areas.

Wyoming State Profile Wyoming Elk Profile goHUNT Maps Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • You can apply for elk beginning Jan. 4, 2021 at 8 a.m. MST.
  • The nonresident deadline to apply is Feb. 1, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. MST.
  • The resident deadline to apply is June 1, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. MST.
  • Apply online here. Applications are only accepted online.
  • The deadline to amend or withdraw your nonresident elk application is May 10, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. MST.
  • Nonresident draw results will be available by the third week of May. 
  • Applicants must front the entire cost of the license(s) they apply for.
  • Refunds for unsuccessful applicants will be returned to the credit card that was used.
  • The preference point only purchase period is from July 1 to Nov. 1, 2021.
  • Failure to apply or purchase preference points for two consecutive years will cause all previous points accumulated to be purged.
  • You cannot return an elk license for a refund or get preference points back.

Wyoming elk fees

Item

Cost

Nonresident application fee $15.00
Resident application fee $5.00
Nonresident regular full-priced elk $707.00
Nonresident special full-priced elk $1,283.00
Nonresident youth full-priced elk $290.00
Nonresident reduced price elk $303.00
Nonresident youth reduced price elk $115.00
Resident full-priced elk $62.00
Resident youth full-priced elk $30.00
Resident reduced price elk $48.00
Resident youth reduced price elk $25.00

*The costs above do not include a 2.5% processing fee on total transaction amount.
**Nonresident youth who apply in the special draw will pay the full special license cost.

Note: Preference points must be bought in the summer point only time frame. Cost is $52 for adults and $10 for youth.


 

Applying for a state you've never hunted before can be daunting but we are here to make it easy. In the video above, Trail goes over some of the most commonly asked questions when applying to the great state of Wyoming. 

THE WYOMING DRAW SYSTEM

Wyoming’s draw system seems more complex than it really is. Once you become familiar with it, it’s relatively simple to understand and making your hunt selection is not as tough as it may be in other states. Wyoming’s permit split is 84% for residents and 16% for nonresidents.

The maximum number of preference points for elk is 15 going into the 2021 draw.

Regular vs. special draw

Nonresidents have the option of applying in either the regular draw or the special draw. Wyoming allocates 60% of the nonresident permits to the regular draw and 40% to the special draw. The only other difference in the two draws is that you will pay an additional $576 to apply in the special draw, making the total $1,283. The benefit of applying in the special draw is that fewer people are potentially willing to pay the higher cost and, thus, the odds of drawing are often better. This is not always the case for a lot of the more highly sought after licenses. Review the Draw Odds to see if the added cost is worth it.

Read more about the regular and special draw here

Point system

There is no point system for residents. The draw is completely random for resident applicants. 

The nonresident elk draw works on a modified preference point system where 75% of the licenses are allocated to applicants with the most preference points who apply for any given hunt and the other 25% are randomly allocated. After the preference point licenses are allocated, all unsuccessful applicants have a chance in the random draw. In the random draw, everyone is on an equal playing field since there is no weight given to preference points in the random draw. 

Note: There must be at least four licenses for any given hunt to offer one in the random draw. When reviewing the odds, if you have less than maximum points for the hunt you are considering, make sure there are odds displayed all the way to the zero point level, which means there was, and likely will be, at least one random license available. 

Group applications

Wyoming will allow up to six people to apply on a party application for elk. Residents and nonresidents may not apply together in a party application. Party applications have their preference points averaged out to the fourth decimal point. For example, a party application of three hunters with five, three and two preference points will go into the draw with 3.3333 points. The party is treated as a single application and, if it’s drawn, all members of the party will receive a license. Wyoming will allocate permits over the hunt quota to cover a party application, so there is no decrease in odds for group applicants.

Hunt choices

Applicants have three choices when they apply: first, second and third. Every applicant's first choice is considered before moving to any applicant's second or third choice. In essence, to draw a hunt as a second or third choice, there must be licenses remaining after every applicant's first choice has been considered. Your preference points will only be purged if you draw your first choice. You can check the second choice draw odds within your INSIDER account by manipulating “select your draw choice.” 

Full price and reduced price licenses

The full price and reduced price are separate draws. The full price draw works on the preference point system. The reduced price draw is completely random. Reduced price licenses are Types 6, 7 and 8, which are all antlerless (cow/calf) licenses. Full price licences are Type 1, 2, 9, 4, 5 and 0. Preference points will not be impacted if you apply for and draw a reduced price license.

Learn more about Wyoming license types here

Hunt types

Type 1 license

Valid for the season and weapon as indicated within the Wyoming regulations, a Type 1 is a rifle license. In addition, most Type 1 licenses will also allow hunters to purchase an over-the-counter (OTC) archery stamp and bowhunt during the entire month or a portion of September.

Type 2 license

Most often, a Type 2 license will vary by season or boundary. For example, some areas may contain both a Type 1 and a Type 2 license where the only difference is the start and ending season dates. Others may have a Type 1 and Type 2 license where the differences are noted by where each permit is valid for within the area. Type 2 is a rifle hunt. Hunters may also be able to purchase an OTC archery stamp and hunt all or a portion of the archery season. See regulations for details. 

Type 9 license

These are archery hunts that are only valid in the hunt area and during the archery dates indicated. 

General licenses

Allow hunters to rifle hunt in any general hunt area. Successfully drawn general applicants can also buy an OTC archery stamp that will allow them to hunt with a bow and return to hunt during the rifle season if they have not yet filled their license.

Type 4 and 5

These are full priced cow/calf licenses. One thing to be aware of is that if you apply for one of these licenses as your first choice and draw it, you will lose any preference points you have accrued.

Type 6 and 7

Type 6 and Type 7 are reduced price licenses and will not use your points. You can apply for those on a separate application within the state draw system. The drawing for reduced price licenses is random with no respect to points.


Archery season dates

2020 archery season dates

Herd hunt area(s) Type Season dates Limitations
1, 7-10, 12, 13, 15, 16, 1921-25, 27, 28, 30-34, 47-49, 55, 56, 58, 59, 61-64, 83, 87-94-96, 99, 100, 102-111, 116-118, 120, 122, 124-128, 130 All Sept. 1 to 30 Valid in entire area(s)
3 All Sept. 1 to 14 Valid in entire area
6 General Sept. 1 to 30 Valid in the National Forest
6 Type 1 Sept. 1 to 30 Valid in entire area
11, 36, 37, 67-69 All Sept. 15 to 30 Valid in entire area(s)
35 Type 1 Sept. 15 to 30 Valid in entire area
41, 45 Type 1 Sept. 15 to 30 Valid in entire area(s)
60, 70, 71, 73, 97, 98 All Sept. 1 to 19 Valid in entire area(s)
78, 80-82, 84-86 All Sept. 1 to 25 Valid in entire area(s)

Leftover draw

Any remaining licenses after the resident and nonresident draws will be available in a leftover draw. Residents and nonresidents can both apply. There is no application fee and no point system. You must front the cost of the license when you apply. Unsuccessful applicants will be refunded back to the card used to apply. The leftover draw time frame is June 21 to 25 and results should be available July 8. 

USFS Designated Wilderness Areas (DWA)

A nonresident cannot legally hunt a DWA on their own; they must be accompanied by a licensed Wyoming outfitter or licensed Wyoming resident. A DMA is a United States Forest Service (USFS) designation. 

A Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is a BLM designation and a nonresident can hunt those areas without a guide. 

Before applying, be aware that there are large tracts of USFS DWAs in many hunt areas. Use the goHUNT map platform to upload hunt areas, land ownership and wilderness layers to review areas with DWAs. Please do some research and apply accordingly.

Grizzly country

Since 2000, the grizzly population has continued to grow and expand well beyond the Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone. The most recent population estimate was approximately 700 grizzly bears.

Wyoming grizzly bear range in 1990 and 2018

Wyoming grizzly bear range in 1990 and 2018. Source: Wyoming Game and Fish Department 

Hunting in grizzly country can be intimidating and is a real cause for concern. If hunting in occupied grizzly bear areas is something you do not want to do, please do some research and apply for areas where that is not an issue. 


Wyoming's 2021 elk breakdown

Wyoming is most definitely one of the best elk states and a goHUNT favorite. If you are not applying for elk — or at least building preference points in Wyoming — you should be. Wyoming’s elk populations are strong with almost every area either meeting or exceeding population objectives. In many areas of the state, populations are far exceeding objectives. 

Wyoming also offers a phenomenal opportunity to hunt with most Type 1, 2, 4, 5 and the general season licenses offering hunters the chance to hunt with a rifle and the archery season (with the purchase of the OTC archery stamp) until they have filled their license. Wyoming also offers reduced price Type 6, 7 cow/calf licenses with great draw odds for those who want to hunt elk and fill the freezer. 

Wyoming’s seasons are long with the archery season often running the full month of September and the rifle hunts typically running two weeks to over a month. General season elk hunting has perhaps never been better in Wyoming. With the 50+ general hunt areas—and most offering healthy populations of elk with decent trophy potential—it’s a great time to hunt on a general season license. If you are willing to book a guided hunt or have a Wyoming resident to act as your resident guide and can venture into wilderness areas, there is phenomenal hunting within general season or easy to draw areas.

Trophy potential is good in Wyoming, but it is not on par with some other states like Nevada, Arizona or Utah. The premier bulls often come from large private ranches, wilderness areas or from areas that will require maximum preference points and a lot of luck to draw. Generally speaking, within the general season areas, the maximum trophy potential is 300” up to perhaps 320” at the top end. Limited quota hunts can offer a realistic chance at bulls in the 330” range and a few every year that will go over 350” and, some, even up to 370” to 380”. 

Point creep

It would not be a good application strategy article for Wyoming elk if we did not discuss point creep and how to use your INSIDER account to help you with hunt selections. The elk preference point draw system is now 15 years old and the number of permits offered for almost every hunt is less than the number of nonresident applicants that apply for them. What that means is that every year the number of points required to guarantee you draw, requires one additional point...so the point creeps every year.

This is the reason goHUNT displays the number of applicants at each point level below the cut off draw line for each hunt. This gives applicants a much greater understanding of point creep for each hunt and allows them to apply with a much better understanding of their chances.

Here is an example: Let’s say I have 11 preference points and as I look through the standalone Draw Odds page in my INSIDER account. I see Area 45 Type 9 had 100% odds at 11 points in the regular draw.

To further evaluate my chances of drawing, I can click on the area to see the “detailed Draw Odds page.” 

That page will show me five years of draw odds data with the number of applicants at each point level. I can see that, last year, there was one license allocated with 14 points, two with less than 14 points, one with 12 points, five at 11 points and two with less than 11 points. Below that, no applicants drew in the preference point draw. That means there were 11 licenses available in the preference point regular draw.

So, using the graph, I can see there were two applicants with 10 points who could be moving into the draw with 11 points now. I can also see in the “applications” table that there were 10 applicants with more than 10 points in 2018, five applicants with more than 10 points in 2019 and 11 applicants with more than 10 points who have applied for that hunt. 

Considering that, I might surmise that it’s highly likely that there may be between five to 11 applicants who jump into this hunt along with the two possibly in the 10 point pool from last year. This means that with my 11 points and 11 licenses likely, my odds could be 84% (11 likely applicants + 2 applicants = 13/11licenses = 84%). Odds could be worse, depending on how people apply, but they could also be better. The draw odds graph does show that point level is creeping about ½ point every year.

The long story short here is to be aware that we do not predict odds. In order to really evaluate your chances, you should use all the resources available to you in your account. We offer odds based on the last draw with known data and applicants can use those to help them make the best choice for themselves going into 2021. With 11 points, 45 Type 9 is a good option, but if I really want to draw this year, I should probably look at hunts that had 100% odds at perhaps nine and 10 point levels.

Population trends by herds

Herd hunt areas Population objective Population estimate Bull:cow ratio
2 150 261 38:100
7, 19 5,000 13,980 27:100
23 1,000 1,307 47:100
42, 45 2,200 2,625 30:100
62, 63, 64 2,000 2,989 28:100
55, 56, 58, 59, 60, 61, 66 4,400 5,152 52:100
51, 53, 54 3,300 2,704 20:100
30, 31, 32 1,000 599 30:100
13, 15, 21, 108, 130 5,000 NA NA
100 1,200 1,800 52:100
102, 103, 104, 105 3,100 4,821 26:100
70, 71, 72, 75, 77, 78, 80, 81, 82, 83 11,000 10,985 31:100
84, 85 4,400 4,665 19:100
88, 89, 90, 91 2,200 1,636 17:100
67, 68, 69, 127 5,500 6,375 18:100
25, 27, 28, 99 2,600 3,455 22:100
24, 128 500 488 50:100
22, 111 350 550 NA
118 75 NA NA
6 1,800 3,300 72:100
8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 110, 114, 125 6,000 10,200 29:100
16 800 1,727 27:100
3 NA NA NA
86, 87 1,100 1,428 18:100
92, 94 2,400 2,557 40:100
93, 95, 96 2,500 2,845 34:100
97, 98 1,900 2,011 26:100
35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40 4,350 5,575 28:100
33, 34, 47, 48, 49, 120 3,300 3,527 23:100

 

Areas managed for hunter satisfaction rates

Herd hunt areas Hunter satisfaction objective Hunter satisfaction 2019
1, 116, 117 60% 59%
106, 107 60% 61%
124 60% 66%
73 60% 75%
3 60% 77%
123 60% 96%

Wyoming elk licenses sold - 2021

13 year Wyoming elk harvest numbers - 2021

GENERAL SEASON HUNT

Point creep is a real issue, given the fact that Wyoming is 15 years deep into their preference point system for nonresident elk, so it’s not surprising that the general season elk license has become one of the best options for relatively new applicants. 51 of the state’s elk areas offer a general season hunt and a license holder can hunt any of them. Seasons are long and hunters can hunt both the archery and rifle hunt until they are successful. Nonresidents have to draw, but the number of points required to obtain a license is still much less than almost every other option.

Once again, moving into the 2021 draw, we anticipate the general season hunt to become harder to draw. With 1.5 points in the special draw odds applicants should draw.

General elk

Nonresident elk (regular)

Nonresident elk (special)

Resident

2020 preference point odds 64% with <3pt 52% with <2pt OTC
2020 random odds 14% 24% OTC
Predicted preference points needed to draw 2021 3 to 3.5pt 2 to 2.5 pt OTC

As more hunters begin to understand how poor the odds of drawing the high quality hunts are, the general season hunt point creep could jump even higher.

goHUNT hit list for general season elk areas

Area Trophy potential Harvest success Branch-antlered bull success Public land % Wilderness % Grizzly bear area
56 360” 30% 87% 87% 54% Yes
59 350” 29% 100% 91% 75% Yes
60 340” 61% 98% 100% 100% Yes
37 330” 18% 71% 55% 13% No
36 320” 22% 76% 63% 10% No
12 320” 26% 56% 57% 0% No
13 320” 27% 66% 74% 11% No
15 320” 21% 55% 62% 0% No
86 320” 27% 56% 96% 0% Possible
87 320” 29% 55% 87% 8% Yes
94 320” 24% 55% 75% 0% No
67 310” 39% 97% 82% 36% Yes
69 310” 39% 87% 94% 89% Yes
21 310” 35% 54% 73% 0% No
73 310” 34% 100% 96% 55% Yes
91 310” 33% 65% 61% 0% No
89 310” 31% 75% 100% 0% No
82 310” 29% 93% 99% 89% Yes
83 310” 29% 100% 100% 0% Yes
85 310” 29% 72% 93% 0% Yes
70 300” 41% 98% 100% 86% Yes

Areas 60, 59, 56 and 70 all offer excellent guided hunts. Areas 36, 12, 13, 15, 21, 89 and 91 are all fantastic DIY areas with no grizzly bears and ample amounts of public land with smaller amounts or no DWAs. For the DIY hunters who are willing to risk a grizzly bear encounter for the possibility of a bigger bull, check out Areas 67, 86, 87, 73 and 83

Limited quota hunts

Trophy bulls in Wyoming generally come from areas that have limited access or they are managed by WGFD for trophy caliber experiences. Private land and wilderness are the two biggest factors that limit access and can harbour bulls, allowing them to obtain an older age class. Areas that WGFD manages for a trophy caliber hunt and also have ample amounts of non-wilderness public land offer phenomenal hunts, but are very tough to draw. Those areas will require maximum preference points (15) and luck to draw. There are and will always be decent trophy potential in other areas; however, for the most part, the biggest bulls will come from those types of areas, i.e. limited access or extremely limited quota.

When applicants are trying to decide what area to apply for there are factors that they will need to consider. The first is their objectives for their hunt. The second is how many preference points they have. If your objective is to have an opportunity at a trophy caliber bull, then you’ll need to apply for hunts in areas that can offer that type of bull. Understandably, those hunts have long odds and are incredibly tough to draw or they are mostly private land or DWAs. Plan on waiting a very long time to draw or do some research, review the odds, hire a guide and go hunting. Those are really your best options to kill a big bull. 

If you just want to go hunting, there are a few ideas worth thinking about. Applicants can apply for and draw the general license with two to four points, depending on whether they apply in the special or regular draw and the chance to harvest a branch-antlered bull is quite good. The general license is likely the best hunt currently for applicants with six and fewer points.

goHUNT hit list for areas with no random permits available

Area Trophy potential Regular preference point odds Special preference point odds Regular and special random odds
22 340” 15% w/ 14pts 17% w/ 14pts 0%
16-2 340” 50% w/ 14pts 17% w/ 13pts 0%
31 340” 7.5% w/ 14pts 19% w/ 14pts 0%
32 330” 19% w/ 14pts 100% w/ 14pts 0%
54-1 360” 25% w/ 14pts 50% w/ 14pts 0%
56-1 360” 5.6% w/ 14pts 33% w/ 14pts 0%
58-1 350” 100% w/ 14pts 100% w/ 14pts 0%
59-1 350” 14% w/ 14pts 14% w/ 14pts 0%
61-2 340" 50% w/ 12pts 67% w/ 13pts 0%
63-2 350” 100% w/ 12pts 100% w/ 10pts 0%
124 350” 5.6% w/ 14pts 22% w/ 14pts 0%

 

goHUNT hit list for hunts that also have random licence(s) available 

Area Trophy potential Regular preference point odds Regular random odds Special preference point odds Special random odds
30 330” 24% w/ 14pts .75% 18% w/ 14pts 1.4%
100 340” 23% w/ 14pts .62% 51% w/ 14pts 1.2%
16-1 340” 100% w/ 13pts .68% 100% w/ <14pts .98%
24 330” 31% w/ 13pts 1.6% 38% w/ 12pts 2.6%
62 340” 75% w/ 13pts 1.1% 68% w/ 12pts 2.5%
63/64-1 350” 100% w/ <13pts 1.8% 70% w/ 13pts 1.7%
64-2 350” 100% w/ <13pts 1.4% 35% w/ 12pts 2.0%
7 350” 100% w/ <11pts 2.5% 83% w/ 10pts 3.8%
61-1 340” 17% w/ 10pts 3.5% 42% w/ 9pts 4%

How to uncover hidden gem Wyoming elk areas

If you take a peek at the table listed above, you’ll quickly notice that the top tier trophy hunts can be tough to draw and some of them occur in areas that are hard to access due to private land or wilderness. Point creep is also an issue pushing the best hunts one point ahead every year. There are many more hunts available with fewer points; however, you will need to be willing to dig into details and research to find them.

Land ownership, access and nontraditional elk habitat is truly where the hidden gems lie in Wyoming. Here is an example to consider that can give you an idea of what is possible: Area 118 had 100% odds at seven points in the regular draw and 67% odds with 11 points in the special draw. The areas' trophy potential is 320” and it borders Areas 100, 124, 22 and 24 — all of which have great trophy potential. Approximately 66% of the area is public land and harvest success was 64% with 19 of the 20 bulls harvested being branch-antlered bulls. Elk densities are lower in Area 118 and the terrain is mostly open rolling high desert, which allows elk to move greater distances. The season dates are a bit later, running to Nov. 12 last year. All of this information is available in the INSIDER Unit Profile and in the map portion of your account.

There are others like this; work within those parameters and you’ll find the hidden gems. Using our Maps and Filtering 2.0 tool, INSIDERs can select trophy potential, season, public land percentage and harvest success to explore the possibilities. You’ll begin to see a pattern. Easier to draw hunts are typically one of the following: Type 9 (archery only), mostly private land or DWAs, tough access or lower trophy potential.

Wyoming Resident Harvest Method - 2021

Wyoming Nonresident Elk Harvest Method 2021

Wyoming elk harvest success - 2021


THE POINTS SYSTEM

Wyoming works on a preference point system, not a bonus point system. You obtain a preference point when you buy one from July 1 to Nov. 1. An elk point will cost a nonresident $52. The maximum number of points for elk is 15 going into 2021. Keep in mind that the youth preference point fee for elk is $10. This is a great state to start building points for a young hunter.

Preference points Total nonresident applicants going into the 2021 draw Total points at each level
15 1,213 18,195
14 1,278 17,892
13 1,447 18,811
12 1,700 20,400
11 2,184 24,024
10 2,903 29,030
9 3,291 29,619
8 3,795 30,360
7 4,520 31,640
6 5,915 35,490
5 7,664 38,320
4 10,377 41,508
3 15,380 46,140
2 24,655 49,310
1 37,711 37,711
Totals 124,033 468,450

Comparing the 2020 point totals with the totals going into the 2021 draw, there was a 17% increase, increasing from 103,528 total points to 124,033. 

Residents: The Wyoming residents' draw process is 100% random for deer, elk and antelope. There are no preference points for residents.

Wyoming Elk preference point totals 2021 draw

Total Wyoming Elk preference point totals at each level going into the 2021 draw


Managing points and expectations

Before diving into what you might expect depending on the number of points you have, we have a few key pieces of advice worth considering. 

  • Regular or special? The best hunts have odds that are very nearly the same. Examine the Draw Odds to determine if going into the special draw is worth the extra cost of the license. In most cases, the extra cash can help you draw a year sooner.
  • Wyoming allows up to six applicants to apply on one elk application. Preference points are averaged for the group and Wyoming will over-allocate tags to accommodate a party. If they are willing, consider applying as a party with other applicants who have more points to boost your total. 
  • We often get asked if the general season license is available OTC. It is for a resident, but nonresidents must apply for a general season license and draw it. Also, the general season license will not be drawn as a second choice in the regular or special draw.

Find your draw odds

I have 0 points. What can I expect?

If you are more of a meat hunter, you have a few options. You can review the odds for antlerless elk; the full priced Type 4 and 5 licenses have much better odds of drawing. You can also review the odds for the Type 6 and 7 antlerless elk and apply for those in the reduced price license drawing. In that scenario, you could apply in the full priced drawing for a good limited quota license and also apply for antlerless elk licenses in the reduced price drawing. Remember that those are separate drawings. Also worth considering: several Type 4 and 5 licenses can be drawn as a second choice and you won’t lose your points if you draw a license as a second choice.

If you want a chance at a true trophy bull, you’ll want to apply for a hunt area where that caliber of bull exists. If this is your objective, review the goHUNT hit list above with areas that still provide a random chance in the draw. Likely, the best options in this category are Areas 7, 16-1, 63/64-1, 24, 6230 and 100

Another option is to apply for the special archery Type 9 hunts in areas like 56 or 59, but before you take that route, make sure you have a guide booked. Those areas are largely wilderness and will require a guide.

Probably the best option for brand new applicants is the general season license. Random odds were 14% in the regular draw and 24% in the special draw. The general season license offers hunters the ability to bowhunt and rifle hunt in almost every one of the 50+ general season areas. There are also many other limited quota hunts that have random odds of drawing a permit. Of those, hunters may consider the hunts in the BigHorn Mountains in north-central Wyoming. Those areas have ample amounts of public land, limited wilderness, no wolves, no grizzly bears and elk herds that are over objective. Those areas are 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 and 45. Those hunt areas generally have better random odds of drawing as well. 

What can I do with 3 to 8 points?

With three to five points, we would highly suggest that hunters consider the general season license. That range of points should allow you to draw in the regular draw. As you can see in the point total graph above, there are a lot of applicants in the system and more every year. If you want a chance to hunt more often, it’s worth using those points and getting back into the system to hopefully draw again and hunt within about a four- to eight-year period.

There are some good options for the Type 9 archery hunters in this point range. Type 9 hunts in Areas 35, 36, 37 and 40, 41 are all good hunts in the Bighorn Mountains. Type 9 in Areas 51, 53, 55, 67/68/69 are all good hunts with a better opportunity for a bigger bull. Be aware that those areas do have large portions of wilderness and grizzly encounters are a real possibility.

Limited quota rifle hunts in Areas 33, 34, 35, 38, 39, 40, 41, 48, 53-2, 54-2, 93, 95, 118 and 122 are worth considering. Of those, 33, 34, 48 and 122 have complex mixes of private/public land and can be challenging to hunt. Areas 35, 38, 3940 and 41 all have good amounts of accessible public land, but the rifle hunts can be somewhat hit or miss. Those areas are prone to early snowstorms and migrations into privately owned lands. Success is possible, but it may require more days in the field and warmer weather conditions will actually help your cause in those cases. Pre-season scouting would be very beneficial. Areas 53 and 54 have big bull potential, but may require a guide or pre-season scouting. You’ll also likely need packstock. Areas 93 and 95 both have good potions of wilderness. 

For other options, you can use Filtering 2.0 and the standalone Draw Odds pages to find hunts available in that point range. If you are within this range and holding out for the top hunts in the state, it’s unlikely that you will catch up. Be sure to check out the detailed Draw Odds pages of each hunt you are considering to see how many applicants are ahead of you.

What can I expect with 9 to 12 points?

If you have waited this long, you might be considering one of the premier hunts in the state. Before you decide on applying, though, take a look at the odds for those hunts and note that you could be waiting another decade to actually get a license. 

If you are sick of waiting, there are some good options within this range. Archery Type 9 hunters might consider Areas 11, 38, 39, 45 and 54. Area 54 has the best potential for a big bull, but the area can be challenging to navigate with the mix of private and public land. Area 11 also has a more complex mix of land; however, like Area 54, it is feasible to hunt it on your own if you are willing to do some research and preseason scouting. Areas 38, 39 and 45 are all fun hunts with ample amounts of public land and no grizzly bears within those areas. 

Rifle/archery hunters should consider Areas 1, 2, 6, 7, 11, 19-1, 19-2, 23, 25/27, 45, 49, 51-1, 55, 61-1, 63-2, 108 and 120. Of these areas, the best trophy exists in 7, 51, 61 and 63. The hunts in 61-1 and 63-2 occur entirely in wilderness areas so hunters will need a guide. Area 51 has a mix of wilderness and USFS. Area 7 is a mix of public and private with the biggest bulls typically coming from private land. Area 7 offers a great guided hunt. 

Areas 2, 6, 19, 23, 108 and 120 are all a mix of public and private lands and would require some research and GPS work to hunt on your own. 

Areas 25/27 and 45 offer good hunts for DIY hunters; however, the trophy potential may not be on par with others within this category for that same reason. 

What can I expect with 13 to 15 points?

At the bottom end of this spectrum, the best options are 16-1, 24, 61-2, 62, 63-2, 63/64-1 and 64-2. Those are all very good hunts and, if you find yourself with 13 or 14 points, consider the following information: Areas 16-2, 22, 30, 31, 32, 54-1, 56-1, 59, 100-1 and 124 all were not guaranteed even with maximum points in 2020 and are not likely to be going into 2021. Other top tier Areas 58 and 111 had 100% odds with maximum points.

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