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Blacktail Deer Butt
Washington State Blacktail Deer Tips
If you can contribute information click here Submit information (tips, area suggestions, etc)
information is provided as advice only. It is the duty of the hunter
to ensure that he or she is complying with all current laws and regulations.
For this species there are a few basics you need to
understand in order to hunt them legally with the proper licenses and tags.
The WDFW regulations have a number of exceptions to the information provided
below, these are general statements meant to help point the beginning
hunter in hunting this particular species. It is also the duty of the
hunter to ensure that he or she is complying with all rules and regulations
put in place for that season, species, and area they are hunting.
Blacktail deer reside on the western side of Washington
State delineated by the Pacific Crest Trail. Blacktail deer hunting
generally has good liberal seasons and allows for general late season rut
hunting. A hunter purchases a deer license (transport tag) and must choose
a weapon (Modern Firearm, Archery, or Muzzleloader) The deer license allows
you to hunt any open area statewide and for all three managed species. You
do not have to hunt just this species. The WDFW has allotted seasons and
areas for each of the weapon types. You cannot hunt any other area or
season outside of your weapon choice. The general season limit is one animal
success requires significant planning and preparation. Very few
hunters can be successful without properly scouting an area or preparing
well before the season starts. The most serious (and successful)
hunters "hunt" year-round. That is to say, they are continually
improving their woodmanship, marksmanship, and knowledge of their quarry.
The most successful hunters are in the field every month of the year.
They know their quarry and their hunting areas very well. Hunting is
an activity that is directly affected by the amount of front-end work a
person puts into it.
There is no
single "right" way to hunt blacktails... being flexible and paying attention
to your surroundings will increase your success.
Pay strict attention to your smell. Deer will spook easily. Cover up scents (like raccoon) work well and put deer at ease. HWS staff Scent tips
When using scents and gear pay attention to what you are using. Many chain stores and online supply companies will try to sell you scents and gear that have no applicability to any hunting situation in Washington. HWS staff
Wear warm and rain proof clothing. You are bound to encounter either rain or soaked underbrush in Blacktail country. HWS staff
More and more timber company lands are being gated. Buy a nice mountain bike and pedal into the area. You’ll be amazed at how much area you can cover. If you are handy or go to the local bike shop, you can have the freewheel noise disabled for a really silent bike. HWS staff
Stow the rifle and put slugs in your shotgun in modern firearm seasons. Lots of Washington State Blacktail deer are taken with shotguns. You won’t have a scope to fog up and you can pack bird shot for the random rabbit or grouse. HWS staff
You can buy a used external backpack from a thrift store to make an
inexpensive pack board for hauling out those hind quarters. Simply
remove the fabric portions of the pack. Don’t forget to include rope
with the pack board to lash the meat on.
New LED flashlights are very
cheap and last a long time. Buy them in the bulk packs from Home
Depot or Lowes. Stash the extra flashlights in coat pockets,
backpacks, camper, you name it. Having all these extra lights
around helps when you may have forgotten yours at home or back at camp.
Gather some vegetation from the area you plan to hunt. Store all of your hunting clothes in garbage bags with the vegetation. Even your underwear, pack, etc. This is the best scent mask I have found. (tip: courtesy Jeff D)
I would recommend a 25-06 or larger, also dress head to toe in camo
these deer are smart wear it even if you are going to put orange over
it, and wear a lot of clothes, you can always take it off, but you cant
put it on if you do not have it!!! (courtesy Craig N.)
Packing along a small trail axe may add to the weight
of your pack, but, will make field dressing your animals and clearing
brush much easier. (Robert L, Sedro Wooley)
Make the investment of buying different types of
boots for different terrain and weather. It makes no sense to try to
use a perfect lightweight early season boot during the colder winter
months. Likewise, you don’t want to use an insulated boot when it is
warm out which may cause excessive sweating and smell. (John L, Redmond)
Keep your scoped rifle in the trunk or bed of the
truck when in the field (when moving between hunting areas during the
day). Two reasons for this is 1) safety 2) your
scope will already be acclimated to the temperature and humidity of the
outside air. You don’t want your scope to be foggy and wait for it to
become acclimated. (John L, Redmond)
Anonymous tip regarding the above tip. This would only happen if the
outside was warmer than inside your vehicle and it was humid outside.
creating a cold glass entering a humid environment causing
the beginning of the day's hunt)
I keep my gun in the cab where it is warm and dry and It does not fog up
on me when I get out in the cold air because the glass is already warmer
than the outside temp. not the kind of conditions we deal with in the
North West. (added clarification to
the above tip about moving from hunting site to hunting site throughout
the day. (anon, and HWS Staff)
Also... never ever leave your weapon loaded (either in the chamber or
magazine) in a vehicle, it is against the law and it is just plain
dangerous. You can be sited by game officials for simply resting a
loaded weapon on or against your vehicle. Empty the weapon well before
you get to your vehicle. (HWS Staff)
Organize all of your pack gear into ziploc baggies. Washington
State is a wet state. Keeping everything in ziplocs keeps
everything dry and odor free. (HWS Staff)
Non-rut Blacktail deer are typically solitary or in groups of no more than 3 deer. HWS staff
Mule Deer in Washington State reside only in the Eastern side of the State. Their close cousins, the Blacktail deer, reside only on the West side. There are some “cross” deer in the areas around White Salmon and along the Cascade Crest. Pay attention to the hunting regulations to know if the deer in your hunting unit are considered Blacktails or Mulies “officially”
WDFW definition -Black-tailed Deer: Any member of blacktailed/mule deer
(species Odocoileus hemionus) found west of a line drawn from the Canadian
border south on the Pacific Crest Trail and along the Yakama Indian
Reservation boundary in Yakima County to the Klickitat River; south down
KlickitatRiver to the Columbia River. HWS staff
Pre rut (November) Bucks will be mostly nocturnal and solitary. Best hunting for bucks will be in the first hour of shooting light and the last hour of shooting light.
Rut bucks will be around does, look for the doe.
Look for alder stands for rut Blacktail bucks. The bucks seem to prefer the alder tree to rub their antlers on.
Camouflage your hands and face when bow hunting. Your face will stick out in the surrounding cover and underbrush. You spend a lot of money buying camo clothes. spend a few bucks more and get some paint for your skin. HWS staff
It is rare to jump a buck in the old timber. He knows you are there. HWS staff
Blacktail deer in the lowlands rarely venture outside a 1-2 square mile radius. HWS staff
Blacktail deer can be migratory if they spend the summer and fall months at high elevations. With significant snow fall, these deer will move up and down with the snowline. They will move out if there is more than 20 inches of snow on the ground for a few days. HWS staff
Pay little attention to Blacktail deer browse or potential feeding areas. Blacktail deer have no problem finding browse anywhere.
However, some blacktails will regularly come in to special crops such as
apples, Garden Vegetables, roses, and other non native plants around
yards and farms. HWS staff
Blacktail deer generally shed
their antlers anywhere between late December and late February.
Unless there are significant drought conditions, water sources are too numerous to worry about during your Blacktail deer hunt. HWS staff
Facts about poop: Moist
pellets will mean that the animal was there within the last 12 hours.
Dry pellets mean the animal was there days, weeks, or months ago.
Soft and clumpy poop means the animal has been feeding on fruit of wet
leafy greens. Poop size is usually associated with the size of the
animal. The larger the poop, the bigger the animal. Poop
pellets spread out mean that the animal was walking when it pooped.
Poop in a pile means the animal was stationary. HWS staff
blood after the shot: Pay
attention to where you shot the animal. Bright pink, frothy
blood means that the shot hit the lungs. The animal will expire
very quickly. Regular Red blood will mean a heart shot or some
other muscle group has been shot. Wait 30 minutes minimum
before going after the animal. Dark red/Brown blood typically
means a paunch shot animal. Do not go after this animal for at
least a couple of hours. If this animal is not pressured, the
animal will bed down and slowly expire. If you push the animal, it
could conceivably travel many miles before dying.
Gated areas are becoming hot spots with untouched areas available for hunting. HWS staff
It is rare to see Blacktail deer in driving rain and significant wind. However, immediately before or following a storm is the perfect time to find a deer. They get out of their bedding areas and shake off in openings in the timber. The residual rain drops coming off the trees makes them nervous. A quiet opening or clear-cut is a safe place to look for Blacktails. Call in sick to work the morning after a significant rain storm and get out in the woods. This is nature's lottery ticket for you. Most hunters will not want to hunt in the rain and most will stay home. HWS staff
It is relatively impossible to pattern Blacktail deer like you would a whitetail. Blacktail deer are smart and have many escape routes and daily routines. HWS staff
Washington Blacktail Does tend to travel in pairs. If you see one, there’s a fair chance you will see another. HWS staff
Blacktails in the rut will sometimes herd together. There could be scenarios where you could encounter up to a dozen Blacktail deer milling about. HWS staff
Most blacktail deer will spend a lifetime in a one to two square mile area. When scouting new areas do not overlook any spot or nook or cranny. If you miss that big 3 point one year and he is not a migratory buck, chances are he'll be in the same vicinity next year. (tip: courtesy Bob L)
Deer usually only use a trail going one direction only. If you are 100% sure of the location of a feeding area, the trails which have deer tracks pointing away from the food source will be morning trails. With deer tracks pointing to the feed source, the trails will more than likely be used by deer in the evening. (courtesy Parker L.)
Blacktail deer are very aware of the scent they leave behind and are continuously watching their backtrail. Blacktail deer almost always bed downwind from their backtrail by looping back on their trail. Try to not hunt the trail but hunt 50 to 70 yards downwind of a known trail. (courtesy Mike D.) Here is a diagram of how they bed.
When tracking a deer, pay attention to its tracks in the dirt or snow. A meandering path signals a deer which is feeding or is looking for a place to bed. A straight path signals that a deer is on the move and is moving from one point or other. A path which is straight but shows the deer stopped and turned around is a sign that a deer knows it is being stalked.(courtesy Mike D)
When observing browse or feeding areas, remember that the lighter the color of the nipped shrub or twig, the fresher the sign. Older browse browns with age. (courtesy Mike D)
Deer are usually considered "browsers" not grazers like cows, sheep and elk. Think like a browsing animal when looking for deer. (courtesy Bill P)
Easiest piece of advice
regarding whether there are any bucks in an area.. If there are
fawns... There are bucks (at least during rutting season) (courtesy R.
While the actual time can
vary... The Blactail rut usually begins full swing in mid November and
goes through the first couple of days of December. You will see
Blacktails in rutting behavior Sept through December, but most of the
actual breeding happens around Thanksgiving. (courtesy R. Johnson)
Best places to set up tree
stands or ground blinds are in travel zones. Always set up
downwind of the trail. Stream bottoms/gullies, a gap in a fence, a
stream crossing where it narrows, or in really thick underbrush are the
usual areas deer will move through while allowing you to have a closer
shot. (courtesy Petey7)
A big mistake we used to make was scout our
deer in mid summer and wonder why the deer weren't there in the fall.
Speaking to game biologists later on we were told that is not uncommon
that bucks move between a designated summer range and a distinctly
different fall range. (Joel, Wenatchee)
packing out your animal during Modern firearm season, tie orange
surveyors tape around antlers...Even though you are wearing orange, if
all other hunters see is the antlers of your animal, they may wanna take
a shot...safety first.. (courtesy S Glenn)
A few years ago I was in an alder bottom (approximately 15 acres)
during the end of October, the 29th to be exact. I was hunting
around (never been there before), and came across many deer tracks. I
hunted it for three more days and ended up harvesting a nice 3 pt.
blacktail by rattling horns together and using doe estrus. The 16th
of November I took a friend of mine back to the same spot and he
harvested a nice 2 pt. Two days later, curious of what else was in
there, I went back in there scouting around and came across another 2
pt. and 3 pt. The following year I harvested another 2 pt.
approximately 60 yards from my 3 pt the year before. That would be my
last year hunting that area with a rifle. The next couple of years I
would go back in there archery hunting (September) and would not see a
single track anywhere. I take my wife in there rifle hunting and it is
just tore up with deer tracks. So, if you can find an area that is
heavily used during the rut, it seems like they will use that area
year after year only as their rutting grounds. I like to look for and
alder flat and the base of an evergreen ridge. Good luck out there
and God Bless. (courtesy Raymond B)
During the full moon phase during the rut, I find that the bucks rest in
the morning and evening and are most active during the night and during
the mid day. (Mike F)
Oldtimers in our area used to cut a branch from a tree and walk with it
held out in front of them when stalking an animal. Super easy camo.
First rule! Know what you are shooting at !!! There is no excuse for accidentally shooting something you did not intend to. HWS staff
Wait along the fringes of clear-cuts, just inside the timber. HWS staff
Hire a guide for one season. Chances are that guide will teach you more during your hunt than you would learn from years of "trying to figure it out on your own." Guides are willing to teach and are getting paid to give you all their attention. Most guides will be flattered if you continually pick their brains for information.
Well placed Tree stands are very effective for Blacktail deer.
See the pictures below. The one on the left is taken from ground
level. The one on the right is taken from 15 ft up. Tree
stands allow for a much broader view of your surrounding terrain.
Tree stand tips: Put
your harness on before you enter your hunting area to avoid spooking
animals trying to get the harness out of your pack and putting it on.
Practice placing your climbing stand at home to make sure you are
comfortable and efficient in using it. Sitting in a tree stand can
be a very cold activity bring lots of warm and waterproof clothes with
you. Bring rubberized hooks (Home Depot/Cabelas/etc) to hang your
gear from. Bring lots of rope with you. Use the rope to
raise and lower your unloaded weapon and gear in the stand. Always
place your stand with consideration on how the wind will act.
always be downwind from where you think the animals will be coming from.
Spot deer in low points and benches inside 5 to 10 year old clear-cuts. You should be able to utilize the terrain to your advantage. Pay attention to the wind in your stalk. HWS staff
Get out of your vehicle and walk away from the road. Blacktail deer are smart, they recognize vehicle sounds and vary their routine accordingly. You will find deer by driving logging roads, but, you will see many more quality animals by simply walking along a clear-cut or up a closed logging road. HWS staff
Use a crowded hunting day to your advantage. Find a bench or a saddle in the area you are hunting, get there before first light and wait for other hunters to kick the deer in your direction.
Saddles are the most heaviest used escape routes for bucks, especially on
opening morning. HWS staff
Be very careful after shooting a Blacktail. Tracking the blood trail of a deer in rain and soaked underbrush can be an enormous challenge. If not near impossible. HWS staff
A mortally hit Blacktail will almost always run downhill or sidehill. If you can get into position after shooting your deer, pay close attention to where it runs. HWS staff
Follow up your arrow shots. What may have appeared as a miss, could have been a good hit. These darkly colored deer can be difficult to see blood on.
When you get up on a deer
watch it closely to find out what your next move is. Deer with
ears turned toward you and tail up means you've been busted and the deer
is just about to bolt. Deer with ears toward you or the ears are
constantly moving and stomping a front foot means they've busted
you, but not really sure what you are yet. The stomp is intended
to get you to make a move. Deer with ears constantly moving and
the head is bobbing up and down usually means they think something might
be there, but, they are not too alarmed. If you don't move, these
deer will settle down and provide a shot. HWS staff
When scouting an area with binoculars or a spotting scope. Don't look for a "deer" look for an odd shaped color or misshapen branches (ears or antlers) Watch for movement rather than seeing a whole deer. Set up behind a stump, a fallen log, or any place where you can be comfortable. Chances are quite good that you will see a deer in that clearcut. If you don't believe it. Next time you go out, watch another hunter who bumbles through the middle of a clearcut, watch the deer beeline it for the protection of the surrounding timber stands. HWS staff
When exiting your vehicle, be quiet. Close your door gently, talk to hunting partners quietly. It is not uncommon to have deer within 50 yards of where you park your vehicle. Typical Blacktail county is thick with vegetation. HWS staff
Be patient! If you have found a well used game trail, have seen fresh deer poop, can see fresh deer rubs on nearby saplings, the deer will come. It may take a few days, but they are there. HWS staff
(see graphic below as good
Lightly pressured Blacktails will almost always stand in position if they think you may walk by or haven’t seen them. You can sometimes continue walking at your previous pace and duck behind a tree or a bush. Some of these deer will be curious and may even try to follow you. HWS staff
Pressured Blacktails will almost always turn to look at you before they enter thick underbrush. This is a good time to set up a good shot. HWS staff
When moving to and from hunting spots, keep looking behind you. Many times a Blacktail will hold still and let you walk by and exit behind you. Also many times a spooked deer will circle back, and sneak out the back door. Spook a deer get some cover and turn around and watch a spell !! (courtesy Mike M.)
Get in the habit of erasing deer tracks you come upon in areas that you will hunt more than 1 day. By erasing those prints, you will be able to tell with great precision when new tracks were made.
Deer are diurnal, meaning that they are most active at dusk and dawn. Cloudy days increase the time that a deer will spend in the open as the lower light levels will be more spread out. (courtesy Mike D)
When deer approach a waterhole or a water crossing, they will slow down and scan the area considerably. Use these areas to ambush a deer. (courtesy Mike D)
When looking over terrain for bucks. Watch for things other than deer. Bucks will rub on saplings which make the tree move. Also, deer moving through tall brush will move the brush as they walk. Look for these signs and you will find a chance at seeing deer. (courtesy Mike D)
I have experienced very good success using two methods. 1.) Hunt the clear
cuts dawn and dusk. Pick a spot where you can see the most open area and the
wind can't be blowing your scent toward the primary area you are watching.
2.) Hunt the gated dirt roads during the rut, you can hear them in the thick
stuff and they will often come out on the road to frolic. Be ready for a
close and quick shot as it tends to happen fast. (courtesy MH)
Lightly pressured November rut
bucks will work their scrapes all day and night. Set up near an active
scrape and hunt it all day long. (courtesy MH)
Get in the habit of breaking up
your walking gait. A sure sign that a human is walking is the steady
pace of his footprints. Break up your walking pace like a deer or elk
would and walk 10 paces, stop, walk 2, stop ...mix it up! (courtesy Ron
If hunting alone or in a small
group, place trail cams on those trails you aren't hunting that day.
Come back and retrieve the trail cam after you are done hunting for the day
and check to see if a buck has been using the particular area. At
least you won't be thinking in the back of your mind.. "I wonder how the
other area is doing" as you'll have an electronic eye watching for you.
(Courtesy Jeff L, Seattle)
Many hunters think that a bright
full moon all night will affect the next day's hunt. What it will do
is is make the animals get up and move in the middle of the day rather than
in the early morning or late evening. Animals won't bed down all day
long and still need to eat, drink, and stretch their legs. (courtesy
Avoid using the same entrance and
exit paths to hunting areas other hunters use. It's a sure bet that
the deer have been well educated and steer well clear of those areas.
(courtesy MIke D)
When pre season scouting, I go through the area I intend
to hunt as quickly as I can and cover as much area as I can. You will spook
the animals, but note where they were and what they were doing. It makes no
sense to still hunt in pre season as you won’t cover nearly enough ground
for a proper scouting trip. (Tripp K, Everett)
When packing out an animal’s head, cover it with a
brightly colored cloth so that you aren’t mistaken for a live animal. (Tripp
Keeping your head down or crawling when you approach or
are stalking an animal. You are less likely to spook an animal. Think like
a 4 legged animal. In nature, something up on two legs is generally
considered aggressive posturing and will automatically put animals at
alarm. (Tripp K, Everett)
When glassing an area, get into a position where you will
be relaxed and comfortable. You will need to glass an area for quite a
while and don’t want to be cramped up to chase after that spotted animal.
(Tripp K, Everett)
Don’t still hunt for rut bucks. These guys are moving
around to breed as many does as they can find. Hunt the scrapes and the
travel corridors and resist the urge to try to still hunt a constantly
moving animal. (Dan T, Seattle)
Grunt tubes and doe bleats can effectively stop or slow
down a deer moving away from you. Make one of these noises to get the deer
to stop and present a shot.
When scouting areas… do not overlook areas that you think
wouldn’t hold any animals. Sometimes, these areas are precisely where the
animals go. (Mitchell K, Clarkston)
It rarely snows in the foothills of Western Washington. When it snows and
the season is open… This is the time to go hunting! Snow is rare and makes
deer easier to see and stalk. Deer are also thrown off of their routine by
this snow and can be easier to hunt because they will make more mistakes in
this “new environment.” (Percy H, Tumwater)
When tracking or hunting on a game trail,
resist the urge to continually look down and watch the animal’s tracks.
Stop and watch where the tracks go to and go to that next point keeping your
head up the whole time. You don’t want to be caught looking at your feet
when the animal may be just yards in front of you. (Dean T, Walla Walla)
Barking squirrels are not all bad. Listen carefully…they bark at humans
longer and with more intensity, but I have watched them bark at deer and elk
too. Listen carefully as I have found deer more than 100 yards away by
listening to the squirrels and paying attention to the wind. You can
literally triangulate their location using only two of your senses.
Listen alot. Deer are not silent in the woods. As they pass through the
thick underbrush you may only hear a faint swoosh, but thats all you need to
turn and pay close attention. The thicker the brush the more noise will
play into your hunt.
(B Goodrow, Tacoma WA)
We bow-hunt suburban deer on private land that butts up next to homes and a
golf course. We found that these deer get spooked all year long by
humans and dogs. If we bust one out, we simply wait it out. He
will eventually come back. (Tim, Spanaway)
never hunt on the weekends. I only hunt Monday-Friday. Far fewer
hunters in the woods (courtesy Mike D)
Never pass up on the first day
what you would shoot on the last day of your hunt. (courtesy Smith J)
Get in shape! You need to be in shape to trudge through Washington State Blacktail country. It can take enormous effort climbing through downed timber, Salal & blackberry bushes and vine maples.
Most Blactail habitat is steep, tall and unforgiving. When
Washingtonians talk about mountains... we really mean mountains.
It is not uncommon to climb thousands of feet of vertical during a
typical day's hunt. Not to mention if you bag something, you are
going to have to haul the animal out. Your hunt will go
significantly smoother if you are physically prepared. Run, jog,
lift weights, bicycle, whatever it takes! HWS staff
Any Blacktail buck with more than two points is considered a trophy in Washington State. We have some big 4 pointers and huge non-typicals. But they are few and far between. Unless you hunt private land, or more than 2 weeks a year, or are just plain lucky, big bucks are difficult to come by. HWS staff
Don’t smoke. Tobacco smoke is not a natural scent to Blacktails and makes them nervous. Scent tips HWS staff
Don’t drink alcohol while you are hunting. It is illegal. Do yourself, the deer, and the other hunters a favor leave it in camp or back at the hotel room for later. HWS staff
Wrap a small piece of plastic to the muzzle of your rifle, shotgun or muzzleloader to keep debris and moisture out of your barrel. HWS staff
When scouting look at areas where you see tall horse fences around gardens, orchards, and the like. More than likely, that homeowner has a deer or elk problem. You may have a pretty good shot at getting on their land to hunt their nuisance deer.
Washington State Dept of Fish
and Wildlife Game Wardens are using elk and deer decoys (aka robo deer)
to nab poachers and rule violators. Don't shoot from the road,
your vehicle, in closed seasons/hours or any other situation which is
not 100% legal. Youtube is filled with videos taken by game
wardens where lazy hunters think they have an easy shot at an animal
only to find that they are shooting at a decoy with wardens close by
videotaping them. No buck or bull is worth the fines and sanctions
implemented when you are convicted of a game violation.
When packing out quarters and
you have to leave portions in the field overnight, hang your meat in
bags from a tree. Coyotes and ravens will easily find your gut
pile and your remaining meat. A small pack of coyotes will easily
make off with your quarters. (Todd G, Kenmore)
Know your gun and your abilities! Know that most any wound from a
firearm will eventually prove fatal to a deer when winter sets in. Be
familiar with your firearm, and be sure to sight in your rifle every
year to assure it is shooting accurately. Know your rifles and your own
shooting limitations and do not take high risk shots. Be a responsible
Be prepared! Know that a mature buck will weigh 250 to 300 pounds alive.
Removing the entrails will only reduce it by about 40 pounds. If/when
you kill a buck that is the start of a whole new adventure of getting it
to your rig. Some unprepared hunters cheat by driving where they
shouldn’t to retrieve their game; some pay with their lives because they
are not in good enough physical condition to drag their game out. Be
prepared, have a partner and a plan to assure you won’t waste or ruin
your winter’s meat. (anon)
Meth manufacturers and marijuana growers frequently use public land.
If you see or stumble into a site, clear out of the area as fast as you
can and notify authorities. These folks are ten times more
dangerous than any grizzly you may encounter.
Special Seasons have been developed to hunt some species. Special Permits are always required. There are no general seasons. The Permits "grow in value" the more years you apply for them. This is excerpted from the WDFW FAQ regarding special permits.
Q: How do the hunt choices work?
A: When the drawing occurs, it is as if all of the applications for a species are placed in a barrel. The computer spins the barrel by issuing random numbers to each application. The lowest random number that is issued to each application is the number used to order the applications from the lowest random number to the highest. It is the same as drawing cards from a barrel one by one. The application with the lowest random number is drawn first from the barrel and the hunt choices are checked. As each application comes up for consideration, the first hunt choice is checked to see if there is a permit left to be awarded. If there is none left, the second hunt choice is checked. If there is a permit available for that hunt choice, the application is selected for that hunt. If not, the process continues until all of the hunt choices on the application have been checked. If all of the hunt choices marked on the card have run out of permits, no permits are awarded to that application.
Q: How do I build up points?
A: Each person who applies for a special hunt permit for a species receives a point for applying. If that person is not awarded a special hunt permit during that drawing the point is retained. If the person is awarded the permit, that person's point total drops to zero. If the person who was not awarded a permit for that species applies the next year, they then have two points. A single point is built up each year the person applies for a species until the person is awarded a permit.
Q: What is the value of building up points?
A: Building up points is very much like putting more application cards into the barrel. Those that have more cards in the barrel have an advantage over those that have less. The more points a person has built up for a species over time, the greater are the chances that his/hers will be selected.
Q: I heard that the points have multipliers on them. What is that for?
A: Some permit drawing systems are designed so that one random number is issued for each point built up for the species by the applicant. It is the same as having one card in the barrel for each point (one point - one card, two points - two cards, etc.).
Washington's system places a multiplier on the points. The number of points is squared and it is this number of random numbers that are issued to the application (or number of cards in the barrel). If a person applies for an elk permit for the first time, they have one card in the barrel. If a person has built up two points, they have four cards in the barrel. If a person has three points built up, nine cards are in the barrel and so on.
Placing a multiplier on the points more noticeably increases the chances of being selected over someone who is a new applicant or was recently awarded a permit as points are built up.
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