Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Pretty Big Deal

I was having a bad week - everything was turning the wrong way and seemingly snowballing.  Until this morning.  I woke up and checked - for the 150th time in the last four days - to see if the Oregon hunting draw (lottery) results had been posted.

Every year I apply to hunt in about eight western states.  I apply for many species - elk, deer, Bighorn sheep, California Bighorn sheep, pronghorn (antelope), mountain goat, and moose.  The rules are different in every state, but they are consistently complex.  It takes a lot of work to analyze all the different draw methods and how to best optimize my chances every year.  I also have to couple this with the fact that I live abroad and can maximize my U.S. stay at three weeks (so I better not draw too many tags).

I've been applying in all of those states for anywhere from four to 12 years and I've never drawn a good tag.  Until today.  I opened my results and found out I drew an Oregon Bighorn Sheep tag for the North Snake River unit in the NE corner of the state.  These tags are so rare that simply drawing the tag disqualifies me from ever participating in the Oregon sheep lottery again in my lifetime.  There are only five of these tags given to non-residents of Oregon, distributed between five different units around the state.  Mine, according to last year's stats, was just barely the second-hardest to draw at 749 applicants to one tag.  Optimistically you could apply for a sheep hunt for 50 years of your lifetime, which means I would statistically be expected to draw this tag only once in 15 lifetimes.  To do it in my first ten years of applying in my first life (is this my first?) is pretty freakin' lucky.

It's a ten-day season in October.  The tag costs an astounding $1300.50.  Killing a ram shouldn't be a problem, so the goal will be to find a big one.  This is a once-in-a-15 lifetime opportunity so the work starts now to make the best of it.

One final note: to give you an idea of how desirable these tags are, there is an auction every year for a single tag that allows the holder to go sheep hunting anywhere in the state (and the once-in-a-lifetime rule does not apply to this tag).  The winner might choose to hunt around the John Day River area (the other unit that had slightly worse odds than me at 799:1), but he would otherwise choose to hunt in my unit.  Last year that auction tag sold for $120,000.


Son of Higashi said...

If someone offered you $120,000 (and you could sell it), would you take it, knowing that money would set you up for years to come?

Dave said...

I would take $5000 for it if I could.