Preference Point Purchase Decreases License Demand
The most pivotal day of a big game hunter's year, and sometimes of their outdoor lifetime — the bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goat license drawing — was held April 26.

Licenses and refund checks were mailed April 30. Draw results were posted on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Web site May 1.

As expected, Rowe said, the preference point purchase decreased the actual license demand. The chance to hunt a moose attracted 12,167 resident applicants for 1,187 licenses. Last year 13,598 residents applied. Nine-hundred and four nonresidents vied for 165 moose licenses this year.

There were 5,104 resident bighorn sheep applicants competing for the 198 licenses. For the 66 nonresident licenses, demand totaled 1,535 applicants. All hunters drawing a moose or bighorn sheep license will not be eligible to apply again for five years.

In the second year offered, buying a preference point in lieu of applying for a license increased in popularity, reports Tom Rowe, G&F license draw manager. The option enticed 4,393 residents and 8,728 nonresidents.

2001 also marks the second year that 25 percent of the bighorn sheep and moose quotas were issued by a random draw, without regard to preference points. There were 362 moose and 64 bighorn sheep licenses issued by the random drawing. That benefited 47 bighorn sheep and 318 moose applicants who drew licenses with less than the maximum number of preference points. That number included eight bighorn sheep and 123 moose hunters without a preference point. The lucky nine residents hunting mountain goats this year in the Beartooth Mountains beat out 2,049 other hunters. The third season for the area near Alpine drew 635 applicants for the three resident licenses. Demand was nearly identical to last year.

"With hunters knowing the outcome of this drawing in early May, they will have plenty of time to decide their elk, deer and antelope plans before the May 31 limited-quota deadline for those species," Rowe said.

Area 34 in the southern Bighorn Mountains was the hardest resident antlered moose to draw at 1.1 percent with preference points and .13 percent for the 25 percent of the quota drawn randomly from all applicants.

Nonresidents faced the toughest odds in the preference point drawing in area 42, the western Bighorns, at 10 percent. The northern Bighorns, area 1, was the toughest random draw at 2.0 percent. All four sheep drawings were toughest in area 10 near Dubois, commonly known as Whiskey Mountain. The percentage of the preference point drawing was 3.5 residents and 5.6 nonresidents. Random drawing percentages were .43 residents and .32 nonresidents.

Rowe reminds unsuccessful moose and bighorn sheep applicants to look at their refund check stub to make sure the number of preference points listed is correct. Hunters who opted to buy a preference point will receive a letter listing their point total. If hunters think the preference point statement is incorrect, they should call the G&F at (307) 777-4600.

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