Western big game hunting can be intimidating and complicated at times, especially if you are venturing into a new state for the first time. I feel I was pretty fortunate to grow up in a hunting family and learn the ropes, so to speak, when I was a kid. I knew what the major rules and regulations were and learned the ins and outs of obtaining tags. Growing up in Utah, I watched the general deer tags go from driving down to our local sporting goods store the week before the hunt and purchasing one, to waiting in line when they started to limit them, to now having to build a couple of preference points to draw a permit. I’m not even going to get into when I started applying in other states! It’s crazy how much and how often these states change their rules, processes, unit boundaries, permit numbers and the list goes on. It can be hard to stay on top of it if you don’t have something there to help. The Insider membership is just that.
Whether you are a seasoned veteran with points scattered across various states or brand new to western hunting, Insider is for you. It allows you to take advantage of years of knowledge, all in one place. One thing that I have figured out over the years, is that everyone wants something just a little different when it comes to hunting. What one person feels is the greatest thing ever, the next person might not. So, when it comes to a toolset that helps you make a plan, Insider allows you to make it yours. Below I’m going to showcase a few of the Insider features that do that and why everyone, new or old, should be using them to start planning their upcoming hunting season.
One of my favorite parts of the Insider membership are the various articles that are only for members. Many of these are what we refer to as Application Strategy Articles, those of you who have read these know just how valuable they are when it comes to putting a plan together. These articles not only walk you through how to apply, but also get your research started off on a good path. Another article that I feel is crucial is the annual Dates & Deadlines article. That is probably the number one hardest thing to stay on top of with how busy life becomes. Pretty much every western state has an application time frame with a deadline that you don’t want to miss. Some states have multiple!
There are many other articles that we won’t dive into. They all allow you to stay up to date with the ever-changing hunting landscape. Take advantage of them!
State and Species Profiles are those pages that allow you to find answers to those common questions that we all seem to forget year in and year out. It also houses the rules and regs section. Questions answered in these sections are; Do I have to wear hunter orange? How do party or group applications work in this state? How much does it cost for an elk permit? These pages are also great for someone that is looking into a state for the first time. They give you a great basic understanding of how the state is operated and some of the nuances that you might find there.
Draw odds, filtering 2.0 and unit profiles
The above image is a screenshot of what you'll expect on our Draw Odds page.
The , and parts of the Insider membership are where the magic happens. I can’t tell you the number of years of knowledge that have gone into building and refining these incredible tools and data sets. I talk with members weekly that I am shocked are still employed or married because of the sheer amount of time they spend poring over these sections. People new to hunting get consumed when they find all the opportunities waiting for them. High point holders spend hours trying to find that one hunt that has exactly what they want to cash all those hard-earned points on.
Inside Unit Profiles, you'll find a lot of data and information on that particular unit.
Filtering 2.0 and Unit Profiles are where you can tailor your research to fit your needs and wants, and really let you solidify your plan and put it into motion.
Last year, we launched a new feature for all members—. Now you can easily save all the points you have built up across the West, and all points you enter will automatically transfer over to Filtering 2.0 and Draw Odds to make your research even easier!
Most people think maps are maps, right? To be honest, not all are created equal. Our , because that’s who we are and have always been. All the years of experience and knowledge that I mentioned went into building Draw Odds and Filtering 2.0 also went into building our mapping platform. From the very specific layers that we offer, to the rich features, they are all hunting-specific. We have every layer you need on hunts (public/private, roads/trails, unit boundaries, wildfires, migration, water and so much more). You used to have to source all this data, format it, and hopefully load it correctly to various platforms, one of which you hoped was Google Earth so you could see it in 3D. That’s all now on one platform, in 3D, right at your fingertips. As a huge bonus, you can take it with you on your phone for both and and still have real 3D! Maps are where your plan gets put into action.
We are starting into the second-best season of the year for Western hunters, application season! Now is the time to start planning for the fall if you want to be out hunting. If you are new to hunting, don’t be intimidated— will help walk you through everything. If you’ve got points scattered across the West, let Insider help you create a rock-solid plan to get the most out of them.
Good luck in the coming draws!