For most of us, state hunting regs just came out and it is that time again—time to start planning hunts for 2016! As exciting as it is, it can also be overwhelming when you look at all of the various elements of choosing where to hunt. Dozens of units, multiple hunts per unit, and with each option comes different draw odds, success percentages, and a myriad of other metrics to keep track of. If you give careful thought to your hunts each year, choosing where to hunt can be a daunting task.
I became a goHUNT INSIDER last year and have used the research tools at length for planning hunts and I have come to absolutely love the information it provides. INSIDER allows you to research state profiles (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona), unit profiles for each state, and species profiles (elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, coues deer, antelope, big horn sheep, ibex, and the list goes on). You can read more about the specifics of each of these different profiles here.
Recently, goHUNT improved their filtering system for INSIDER and Filtering 2.0 was born.
Filtering 2.0 allows for you to start with a state and then, by choosing criteria in a series of filters, you can instantly narrow down your unit choices to only the ones that will meet your specific criteria.
Filtering options allow you to narrow down your choices considerably
I recently spent a few hours with Filtering 2.0 and was able to digest an insane amount of information relatively quickly thanks to this innovative new tool that goHUNT has created.
To see exactly how it works, I’ll walk through a step in my process of researching my elk hunts for New Mexico for this year (you can easily replicate the same steps necessary for your hunts in your state).
Filter by Trophy Potential
I want to put in for bull elk hunts in units that offer good potential for a bull that would score over 300. To narrow down the list, I simply select 300 as my minimum trophy potential desired on the sidebar.
Filter by Harvest Success Percentage
In addition to this, I would like to hunt a unit that with some work can offer a reasonably good chance at filling my tag; this would require a decent success percentage. I selected 45% as my minimum success percentage score.
Filter by Season
Now that the list has been narrowed down significantly, I finally select the season I would like to hunt. Due to work commitments, I cannot hunt during September this year—this means that archery hunts are out. I selected rifle and muzzleloader as potential season I would hunt. This narrowed down the units to a manageable number so that I could know without a doubt that the units that were showing would give me what I was looking for in a hunt this year.
Let’s say that I choose to research unit 36 as an option (a very popular elk unit in New Mexico). I can see without clicking on anything what the trophy potential and the success percentage of different hunts in this unit are (see picture above). If I like what I see, I can click on the unit and it will take me to the unit profile page for unit 36.
This is when INSIDER really becomes valuable. The amount of information available on each hunting unit in each state is incredible, as well as very insightful. At the top of the page you can see a unit map, species that are hunted in that unit, trophy potential for those species, and some quick summaries of the unit itself.
Below that (not pictured) is information about land usage (public vs. private), square miles, moon phases, average temps each month, and more.
One valuable piece of info is the historical precipitation graph. This graph shows the amount of precipitation year to date and compares it against precipitation numbers from the previous four years (As you can see, precipitation was much higher in 2015 than previous years which means that the herds should be in good shape in this unit with plenty of food and water during the past year).
The next bit of info is very important. It lists the available hunts for each species as well as permit allocation and success percentage for each year over the past 5 years. I have singled out the muzzleloader season as an example, but all hunts available in this unit will be listed in the same section (as is also the case with any other unit in any other state).
It is easy to see how comparing success percentage with tag allocation, precipitation levels, land usage percentage, and all of the other factors on this page can help you get a very good idea as to whether or not you will be considering this unit or not.
And you can do this with every unit in every state that goHUNT services (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona)
As a special point of interest, goHUNT will also be adding draw odds to INSIDER, making it an even more valuable tool for determining which hunts you will choose.
All of the tools available through goHUNT’s INSIDER allow you to have all of the information needed to make well-informed decisions about where to put in for your hunts. Sometimes it can feel like throwing paint at a wall when you’re trying to dissect all of the different options for hunts. goHUNT’s INSIDER distills all of the information down to an easy-to-digest format that is easy to use.
As I said before, I have been using INSIDER for a year now and I am so glad that I paid the money for it. I will be renewing my INSIDER membership this year and will continue to do so every year because it has proven to be worth it. If you hunt out west (especially if you hunt in multiple states) then you need to give serious consideration to signing up for INSIDER.
Sign up for Insider
When you sign up for INSIDER, not only do you get access to all of this information for all of the Western states, you also get access to specialized content that is only available to INSIDERs. Additionally, you are automatically entered into goHUNT’s monthly giveaways.
If that weren’t already enough, when you use promo code “HUNTINGFIT” at sign-up, you get a $50 Sportsman’s Warehouse gift card!
Powerful research tools, helpful content, a $50 gift card, and the chance to win incredible prizes, all for $149/yr. Believe me when I say that INSIDER is more than worth it. $149/yr is just over $12/month. You probably spend more than that each month on junk food and/or coffee. Put that money toward something useful and set yourself up for success this year.
Become an INSIDER!