the Wyoming big game draw process

Wyoming’s big game draw process is a blended random draw and preference point system.  Similar to other states, Wyoming is trying to still give hope to us peasants out here in a world of preference points creep.  Wyoming’s system allows for each applicant to maintain the possibility of drawing any hunt.  While also rewarding habitual applicants for their loyalty. Non-Resident and resident hunts can purchase a preference point only or accumulate a preference point in each unsuccessful draw.

basics (get big game draw deadlines HERE)

75% of hunts are allocated to the preference point drawing (all applicants are considered in this draw)

25% of hunts are allocated to a true random drawing

The Wyoming big game draw process and strategy is unique.  As with others you can select a 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice hunt for each species.  Wyoming will run through every applicant’s first choice for a given species before it reviews any second choice.  This is critical when creating your strategy for what hunts you should select for your choice positions.Wyoming Antelope sign

big game draw – strategy

Wyoming publishes, in a very straightforward manner, their draw odds by year and specie.  This allows you to see what your odds are likely to be next year (yes they do change).  Wyoming will break this information up between resident and Non Resident as well as the random draw (25%) and preference point (75%) tranches.  This will give you both the odds of you drawing in the random draw as well as the exact number of preferences points you will need to draw in the preference point draw.  Using this information, you can form a very solid annual draw strategy.

If you have your eye on a specific high quality hunt or two you may want to simply purchase a preference point annually.  You can do this until you reach the level of points needed to draw based on the past preference point ‘draw-out’ number. Unlike some states, where there is no chance of drawing without the needed preference points, this is not a good strategy in Wyoming.  If you only purchase preference points you will be taking yourself out of drawing in the random draw.

Since you will only lose your preference points if your 1st choice is selected you can hunt each year (in theory) while you build points!  As long as you DON’T put any easy draw hunt in your first choice!  I say again, DON’T put any easy draw hunt in your first choice.  Non-residents can no longer purchase preference points anyway for elk, antelope and deer (as of 2019).

big game draw – best practices

The Wyoming big game draw process does have a best practice.  The common best practice for Wyoming is to put your highly sought-after hunt in your 1st Choice.  Then use your second and third choices for hunts that have good odds of drawing.  For example: if you want to draw a quality antelope hunt once every 6 years your number one choice will be one that needs 6 preference points to draw.  You can then but in for an antelope hunt that has a random draw percentage that you’re happy with.  You could have a second choice that you feel relatively confident you have a 50% chance of drawing.  This strategy would lead to an antelope hunt ever other year with a good hunt every 6th year.

other things to watch out for when applying for big game in Wyoming:

  • Moose and big horn sheep hunters must wait 5 years before applying again or purchasing a preference point after a successful draw
  • If you forget to apply for or purchase preference points two years in a row you will lose all your preference points!
  • You can purchase preference points after the draw deadline (different window for purchase only than the draw deadline)
  • Wyoming has a bunch of different draw deadlines depending on the species.  Make sure you don’t miss one.  Check out our draw deadline PDF HERE.
  • No matter what choice position you put a non-resident full-price elk license (or type 4 and type 5 full price antlerless license) in your draw preference it WILL use your preference points!  If you don’t want to use preference points for elk make sure you apply for REDUCED PRICE cow/calf elk license.

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