Bucket-list hunting trips for deer, pronghorn, or something more exotic

Tony PetersonEach year I meet hunters who are quick to tell me of their dream hunts. Others simply mention a species they are interested in, often in passing. They’ll say, “I’d sure like to hunt elk in the mountains some day,” or “I’d love to give antelope a try.” To many of them, those hunts will never happen.

A common theme that threads its way through so many of the conversations is that someday those hunts will happen. If this sounds like your own thoughts on traveling to hunt, let me make the case that sooner is always better than later. For starters, just in the short time I’ve been planning my 2014 hunting schedule I’ve noticed one of my mainstay states is raising its nonresident deer tags by 17.5 percent. This is not uncommon, and if you think that somehow states are going to lower their license fees in the future, think again. It’s not going to happen. In other words, at least on the license price front, it’s never going to be cheaper to go hunting than now.

Your bucket list hunt might be something as simple as a spot-and-stalk pronghorn antelope hunt or it might be something more exotic. Either way, hunts are not likely to get any cheaper or easier to come by, so it might be time to commit.The same could be said for fuel or grocery prices, or a litany of other satellite expenditures associated with an over-the-road hunt. If you’ve got your heart set on many of the critters like elk and mule deer that a lot of us covet, I’m here to say once again, that it’s not likely to get any easier to get a tag.

Opportunities to hunt these animals (and many others), are becoming more restrictive and harder to obtain. It’s just not likely that we’ll see a population explosion of these in-demand animals to the point where new opportunities, especially for nonresidents, will crop up. Right now is the best time to try to hunt for some of these animals.

It may be tough to stomach the cost of a dream trip (even a DIY trip), but the experience will be worth it and although regret for not hunting a certain place or a certain animal is much cheaper, it’s far less rewarding. If you’ve got the inkling to scratch any kind of hunt off your bucket list, start seriously planning it now. You never know what the future will hold.

Categories: Tony Peterson

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