I am posting the response of the outfitter I have been talking with below (actually my dad has been emailing back and forth with him). Do you think his responses are truthful/accurate? We want to do a self-guided hunt with help to pack out an animal if we are lucky enough to get one. Any suggestions?
Here are the answers to your questions.
" How does the success rate during the 2nd hunt compare to the 1st season? "
Over the past few seasons as the bull to cow ratio has increased and the herd dynamics have improved, all a result of becoming a totally limited draw area, the success in all seasons has increased. 1st season success over all, might be slightly better than 2nd, but not substantial. 2nd season is a good choice.
" What is the likelihood that you would have a cancellation for the 1st season and what is the chance that we could have that spot?"
The chances of a cancellation in 1st season this fall are very small. Everybody except for the Rice brothers have a preference point going into the draw. That means they have been planning this trip since they hunted with us in 2001. I will put you on the list though. At the present time you will be #2 on that list.
" We can' t apply for licenses until after February 27, so which unit do you suggest we apply for as our first priority?"
Certainly you should apply for the unit 67 either sex tag as your 1st choice. Your 2nd choice should be a 67 cow tag 2nd choice. And if you mark yes in the box that asks if you want an over the counter tag if unsuccessful in the draw then, if unsuccessful, you will be hunting units 68 & 551.
IF the draw goes like last year. Without preference points, you will have a 50 / 50 chance at the either sex tag in 67 and if you don' t draw that, about 1 in 5 chance at the cow tag in 67.
" I' m not certain what you meant about the " option to hunt in units 68 and 551." Should these be our second choices and are these two units less " limited" than unit 68?"
During the 2nd rifle season Elk licenses (tags) for units 68 & 551 are available over the counter and are unlimited in number. So we can assure you a hunt because if you don' t draw a tag in unit 67 you can get the over the counter tag good for 68 & 551. I would appreciate some assurance that you will hunt these areas if unsuccessful in 67, because I am committing hunts to you and your son that I might very well sell to someone with preference points or a willingness to take the hunt in 68 & 551 if unsuccessful. I need to book hunters that will hunt, because my family makes the bulk of its income during the hunting season.