How GOHUNT tools help you find success in your home state

Photo credit: Sean Powell

Benefits of research for a single state hunter

When it comes to figuring out what states/species to apply for and putting out your best plan of attack for each hunting season, a GOHUNT membership is pivotal. It truly opens the doors to putting more tags in your pocket and helps you find success. After all, as the old saying goes, if you're an elk hunter, there are only so many Septembers we all have in our life, so having the best research will put you at an advantage.

For those who apply in multiple states a year, a GOHUNT membership is gold as we break down all the hunting opportunities for every unit and every species and allow you to make the perfect right now, 3-year, and 5-year multi-state strategy plan.

One area that I believe is sometimes overlooked is how a GOHUNT membership can help you if you only hunt one particular state a year or you’re a resident and only hunt your home state. There is lots of power for hunters using GOHUNT's research tools if you're a single-state hunter. The information we provide will allow you to hunt different areas, spend more time in the field, and punch your tag each year. If you're currently not a member, check out the link below to learn more about our memberships.

Learn more about our GOHUNT Memberships here

First, let me break down some categories of states. You basically have "tier one opportunity states," and then there are "tier two more difficult states."

Note: keep in mind that some states could show up on both lists and other states could even slip in and fit some of these depending on the species.

Tier one - Opportunity states

For the mention of opportunity states, what I'm referring to are states that have easy-to-get tags for a resident. A list of some of these states are:

Since residents can easily get a tag, how would a GOHUNT membership benefit them?

While yes, if you are a resident of any of those above states, most likely you know how to get a tag already, and you can even purchase those tags over-the-counter (OTC). To take it a step further, by using our GOHUNT suite of research tools, we can help you to find a better place to hunt in your home state.

A personal example. I used to be a resident of Montana, and I lived there for 10 years. During that time, I lived in various areas of the state and sort of always hunted right out my back door because that is just what we did. My friends near me also hunted out their back door since they grew up there, and so I got stuck in the trap of blindly doing what others were doing. We were all relying too much on the past and not thinking there could potentially be better hunting spots a few hour drive away. Yes, driving several hours away to hunt on the weekend might seem like a lot, and it does burn more gas money, but if it meant hunting what would be a better area for my style of hunting, that extra drive time would have been worth it for more chances to be successful and potentially even bigger animals which was what I was always looking for.

If I ever say I have a regret in life, it was always just hunting out my back door for the most part when I lived in Montana and not looking outside the box. Back then, there wasn't a resource like GOHUNT around, so I really didn't know any better. We hunted near home a lot and just had mediocre success. Now... I understand I would have been better off hunting in completely different areas by utilizing our Filtering 2.0 and Unit Profile research tools.

The above example showcases a great situation; as a single-state resident hunter, even when there are true OTC opportunities or low point draw hunts, GOHUNT can help you find other areas of the state to hunt that could be way better than your back-door hunting spot. Plus... as most know, some of these OTC/general opportunities for residents produce some giant animals each year. This is why having more research tools available to you can help cut the learning curve and give you the confidence to explore other places in your state. While success means different things to different people, you might find that are some other great opportunities in your state.

Insider research benefits

  • Filtering 2.0 to find OTC/general hunts
  • Harvest success data
  • Trophy potential across every species and unit
  • Ability to see male:female ratios and sort by them
  • Draw odds for a hunt that meets your criteria
  • Maps for e-scouting and in the field
  • Unit Profiles to see details about each unit

Features on GOHUNT to help expand your research in your home state

Filtering 2.0

Hand down one of my favorite tools to find more hunting opportunities in a state is Filtering 2.0. We currently cover 15 western states on Insider. 

Filtering 2.0 puts you in total control. With customizable filters, you can cut through millions of data points in an instant—to find trophy units, draw hunts, and opportunity hunts that fit exactly what you’re looking for in your state. It’s one of the most exciting benefits of being a GOHUNT member. Again, maybe you've been hunting the same elk unit year after year. You could use Filtering 2.0 to find other units that have a higher success rate, fewer surveyed hunters, more terrain types that you enjoy hunting, and... potentially bigger bulls.

The detailed information found on Filtering 2.0 and on our individual Unit Profiles will help you make an informed decision about whether or not this is the right hunt for your preferences. Then it’s off to GOHUNT Maps for a more detailed look at the terrain, roads/trails, and public land before reaching out to a state biologist to get his/her take.

See more examples of using Filtering 2.0

Application Strategy Articles

During the application season from December to June, our Application Strategy Articles are a great resource to check out to gain more intel on units, trends, herd populations, and much more. These articles are typically 25-plus pages of information, graphics, and tables to help you find a hidden gem unit to either apply for, and we even cover some general season opportunities. These application strategies will greatly help you uncover new units in your home state.

Check out a sample of our Application Strategy Articles here

Draw odds

A lot of people know the "trophy dream units in their state," but some might not understand what it truly takes to draw those coveted tags based on how the draw system works and how long it might take them to draw someday. That is where our Draw Odds section comes into play. It will allow you to find hunting opportunities that you can go on more often, rather than just applying where you have your entire life and hoping you someday draw. It might take a switch in your thinking of what makes a truly great hunt, as it's not always the top-tier units across each state that always produce trophy animals each year. There are hidden gem hunts you could go on more often rather than waiting 10-plus years to draw.

I personally talk to lots of residents each year that say they never draw tags in their home state, and then I find out they are only applying for "dream hunts" and don't realize there are lots of other options they could draw, that could still fulfill what they are looking for in a quality hunt. 

GOHUNT's detailed Draw Odds section will help you understand your true odds of pulling a tag and help you grasp what other options are within reach that you could still have the hunt of a lifetime on. Our detailed Draw Odds section has filters for first or second-choice tags, the ability to enter in your points, a select season function (archery, muzzleloader, rifle hunts), and my favorite... a draw odds slider that can quickly filter out hunts that you could draw easily with your points.

Tier two - more difficult states for residents

These are going to be the states where it might be a little more difficult for residents to acquire tags, but you can use GOHUNT to find hunts that you can go on each year or within a few years with a certain strategy. Basically, you can use GOHUNT to maximize your chance to get in the field each year! 

This is where having extra intel gained through GOHUNT will put you at an advantage over nonresidents. We will allow you to stay on top of current trends (wildfires, drought, number of hunters in each unit, etc). And one of the biggest sources of intel is being able to stay on top of individual season/unit changes that can happen each year when new regulations come out, and we cover all those changes in our yearly Application Strategy Articles. Sometimes the deciding factor in acquiring a tag in these states is looking at different seasons or weapon choices.

A list of some of these states are:

Similar to the tier one opportunity states, once again, you will want to lean in on Filtering 2.0, Application Strategy Articles, and pay close attention to Draw Odds. Then to dive to a deeper level, you should pay attention to how each draw system works and look at trends on who is applying at what point level and where those tags are being drawn out at. In addition to that, knowing how your choices of hunts impact your application in states like Nevada and New Mexico can also play a huge part in drawing tags.

In conclusion

Being a resident of a western state does open up the doors for some great hunting opportunities! But remember that there might be some better opportunities even in your home state, and that is where more research can open doors for you. Also, if you only want to hunt in one state, there are ways to find other areas to hunt besides the places your friends have told you about. Remember, what you might know about a unit growing up, might not be the same as today, which is why seeing trends in data can help you to find success and put more tags in your pocket. At the end of the day, GOHUNT's research tools will help you find consistent success year after year in areas you might not have checked out before.

Check out what a GOHUNT membership can do for you


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