How to easily find a hunt using Filtering 2.0
The power of Filtering 2.0
As an Insider, one of the most powerful tools available to you is Filtering 2.0. For me, there are two main ways that I utilize this tool: planning for the future and finding hunts for the upcoming year. When I look at my annual hunting schedule, my goal is to have a solid three months worth of hunts lined up across the West. What I’m talking about is that, in a perfect world, I’d have a hunt lined up in September, October, and November. Getting a solid three-pack each year is my primary focus. My motto is: get the hunts lined up first, then figure out how to pull it off around work. In this process, I not only look at my personal tags, but I also keep track of the opportunities for my friends and family. Between all of us and utilizing Filtering 2.0, we’ve been able to fill up quite a few three-packs.
This article is a complete look at how to use Filtering 2.0 to research your hunts. If you want to take a look at a how-to article on best practices when looking at GOHUNT's detailed draw odds pages, check out this article here.
Using Filtering 2.0 to assess future hunts
One of the ways I use Filtering 2.0 is to look at the future. This means that I look at the tags I can draw in five years and the tags I can draw in 10 years. When planning for multiple years out, it is definitely an investment, especially if you are applying in multiple states. Since it costs money and it’s taking more and more time, I shift my focus to better quality units and fewer people. In five to 10 years, when I finally draw a tag, I don’t want to waste that time and money by chasing raghorns in a sea of orange. I’m also not one to chase the famed units either (the Strip, Pauns, etc.). In my opinion, it’s a waste of time, and quality animals can be found in many other places.
And if you want to be serious about planning for the future, you need the right research tools. If you're not an Insider, there's no better time than now to join and get access to our entire set of research tools that will greatly help when planning your upcoming hunts.
I choose a state where I have an interest in hunting, and I primarily focus on deer and elk tags. Yes, I apply for all the good stuff, too (moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, etc.), but those types of tags are impossible to plan on. If antelope is your thing, you can plan for them as well.
For this example, I’ll use Oregon rifle mule deer. By using Filtering 2.0, I can filter out units by trophy potential, percentage of public land, season/weapon type, and harvest success. I’ll be honest here and say that harvest success is something I rarely ever look at, but it is an option. For starters, Filtering 2.0 will show me 47 results for a controlled rifle mule deer hunt. So, for me, I apply trophy potential, weapon type, and percentage of public land filters. I’m looking for units that hold 180”+ bucks with the most amount of public land possible. With those three selected, I am left with a list of potential units that meet my criteria (now I'm down to eight total units with a few filters applied). From there, I dissect it a little deeper. With my points added into Point Tracker, it displays my draw odds for each of these units and I can see which ones will fall within my five- to 10-year window. I also look at tag allocation to know how many people will be out in the field.
After all of the filtering, I should be left with a small handful of units. I can then dive into each Unit Profile, paired with GOHUNT Maps, and settle on one or two that meet the type of hunt I want. I like to keep one or two units on the radar because a lot can change in five to 10 years. While you wait, you can research deeper, make your phone calls, e-scout, and learn as much as possible about those units. Then I can even save some of these options in our latest Insider tool, Hunt Planner. Remember that point creep is a real thing, so be sure to keep an eye on the draw history to see which of those two hunts is going to become available within your window. And when the time comes, you’ll have the hunt you wanted, and it will be worth the wait.
Learn more about Hunt Planner here
In my opinion, it’s best to do this with every state that you can and stagger your hunts. My goal is to have a quality draw hunt every year and fill in the blanks with either over-the-counter (OTC) hunts or family/friend hunts.
Using Filtering 2.0 for hunts I can draw this year
The next way that I use Filtering 2.0 is to search for hunts that I can draw with no points for the upcoming year. This could be a hunt that takes zero points as a first choice, it could be a second choice hunt, or it could be an OTC tag. There are a couple of states that I don’t build points in, so this approach comes in handy. Instead of filtering units for quality of animals and fewer people, I simply start my search by filtering for nonresident, zero points, and 100% draw. I look at first-choice options and second-choice options.
Once I see what options I have left, I begin to pick them apart by the season type, hunt dates, percentage of public land, and how many tags. I do this with every species, and I still look for the best quality with the least amount of people. For the most part, you are going to be left with OTC hunts, but you can see all of your options. This is where I start to fill in the gaps for my upcoming fall three-pack.
Make sure that you understand the state draw systems, so you don’t accidentally burn your points (this is where you'll want to jump into our State Profiles and Application Strategy articles). Luckily, a few states allow you to retain your points even if you’re successful on your second choice (Colorado, California, Oregon, etc.). For Washington, you are required to buy a general deer or elk tag before you can even apply for the draw. If you can stomach the cost, you can go deer and elk hunting every year and use those hunts to fill in your fall season. With a little bit of time poking around in Filtering 2.0, you might be amazed by what’s available, and it might help you explore a completely new state.
Random states such as Idaho and New Mexico are my wildcard states. I still use Filtering 2.0, but strictly focus on draw odds and quality. If I get lucky and pull a tag, then I guess it’s a happy accident, and I’ll have to plan accordingly.
There are many different filter options to find exactly what you are looking for. Whether you are planning for the years to come or seeing what’s available now, Filtering 2.0 can help maximize your time in the field every year.
NOT AN INSIDER?
Insider makes it easy to find tag opportunities by state, species, probability of draw odds success, and much more! Whether you have 0 points, max points, or any number of points for certain states, Insider gives you the information you need to plan a successful hunt. In addition to our research tools, all Insiders have access to GOHUNT Maps on the web and mobile app. It's the only complete and full package set of tools to help you find the hunt you want this year or to help you plan for hunts in the future.
If you're unfamiliar with Insider, you can learn more below.