Sunday, July 8, 2012

What's Next

One of the wiser things I've done in my life was time my five years in Japan with my hunting draws in the U.S.  When I came to Japan I had 3-8 bonus/preference points in most states for most species that had application processes to hunt.  Those points give me extra chances in the 'hat' every year.  I apply for hunts in specific units with specific dates and the more advantageous the dates and bigger the animals, the harder it is to draw the unit.  But after five additional years of application, I now have 8-13 points for most species in most states.  This process costs me somewhere around $1200/year.  That's the nonrefundable part.  But I usually outlay about $14,000, which the states hold onto for two months until they hold their drawings.  Then when I am unsuccessful I get a refund.  But having some liquidity is necessary every spring.

Well this year the stars aligned for me.  I did a lot of stats research and tried to put my name in the most advantageous hats so I could get some tags (as opposed to the last five years when I would only put my name in the best hats because drawing multiple tags would spell trouble for my job).  The drawings kicked off in March and I was surprised not to get as single tag (of seven applications) in New Mexico.  Next up was Idaho where I had applied for the mountain goat unit with the best odds in the state (last year was 1:4).  I drew it.  I think the odds were 1:6.  That tag is once-in-a-lifetime and in an incredibly remote area.  Remember where I killed my Idaho elk last year?  Same area.  Problem is that goats inhabit the ugliest parts of the roughest mountains.  And my unit is huge.  I want to find the biggest billy in the unit, but that could take me weeks of hiking to visit all the goat habitat and check out all the goats.  I could shortcut some of the time needed by flying the unit, which I may do, but that will cost a minimum of $600, so there's that.  I won't get a record-book goat out of this unit (feed isn't good enough), but I hope to get a really nice hairy coat to tan and put on my bed. For that I will have to kill my goat later in the season.  My official season goes from August 30-November 8th, but I will shoot (ha!) for sometime in early October to get an early stage winter coat.  November would obviously be better, but it's very likely the mountains will be covered in snow by then and unless I have my goat patterned and pinpointed, I don't want to risk having to find a white goat against a snowy backdrop.

Next was Nevada.  Nevada has big animals.  It's one of the most popular states to apply for because they manage their game populations very well.  Unfortunately it's a $242 nonrefundable fee to enter the draws every year.  But this year, for the first time, I drew.  An August antelope tag with decent potential to kill a record book animal and a late October mule deer tag, which is a backpacking hunt.

Last was Washington.  I was holding out hope of getting an elk tag, but there were about 1100 people applying for the 45 tags in that unit (though with my 8 bonus points I had 64 entries in the hat) so the odds were still way against me.  Well, I not only drew that elk tag, but I got a huge surprise by drawing the sheep tag I'd put in for against 1:3700 odds.  The world record California Bighorn was killed out of this unit two years ago and there's rumored to be another big one in the unit this year that could challenge that record.  This is a huge deal.  That hunt begins September 15th and lasts three weeks, though hopefully we'll have the ram pinpointed by opening day and it won't take too long to get him down.

Here's the tentative schedule:

August 4: arrive back in the U.S.
August 6-8: go sheep scouting
August 11-13: bring the Zamami-son homestay students - who are staying in WA this summer - back to my house for the weekend
August 15: go to NV early to scout then hunt antlope
Antelope Hunt Ends; go to WA immediately to begin sheep scouting
Sept. 15: sheep season opens
Sheep Hunt Ends: go to ID for mountain goat scouting and elk hunting
October 20th: go back to WA for the elk hunt
October 27th: WA elk hunt opens
Elk Hunt Ends: go back to ID for deer hunt
November 1-18: late season ID deer

Nevada deer has been removed from the list because it overlaps with the WA elk hunt so I will return the tag to get my points back.  I will hope to draw the NV deer tag next year when I probably won't have five other awesome tags to my name.

There's some pretty interesting ideas for December, too, but I will hold off on announcing those until they solidify further.


erin said...

i really hope you're being mysterious about December because you're planning to become a priest, but you're not sure if you can do it before Chirstmas.

Dave said...

I was being mysterious in hopes that somebody would come along with an awesome plan. Check! I think I will look into online priest certification ON Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave! I was in Naha for a month in Feb, and I had the privilege to be able to go out to Zamami for a weekend. One of the coolest places Ive ever been for sure! Your site was super useful and I really enjoy watching the pics in your blog.

I work from home and Ive been thinking about whether it would be possible for me to stay in Zamami for a year. As long as I have internet I can live pretty much anywhere, but it seems basically everything on the island is family owned and Im not sure if the prospects for finding somewhere to stay for a longer period are that good. If you have any info it would be greatly appreciated!

Dave said...

There is nowhere to stay here. In fact the next English teacher, who is coming in three weeks, has to live on Geruma because there is no available housing for him anywhere on Zamami. It's very hard to find an opening if you already live here, damn near impossible if you are coming from outside. Sorry I don't have better news.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply!

Yeah, thats basically what the people I spoke to said too. Seems like pretty much all out-of-island people get someplace to stay through getting a job there. Too bad =) Ill have to look for options on some of the other islands.

Anonymous said...

贈る言葉 (Okuru Kotoba)

暮(く)れなずむ町(まち)の 光(ひかり)と影(かげ)の中(なか)
去(さ)りゆくあなたへ 贈(おく)る言葉(ことば)
悲(か)なしみこらえて 微笑(ほほえ)むよりも
涙(なみだ)かれるまで 泣(な)くほうがいい
人(ひと)は悲(かな)しみが 多(おお)いほど
人(ひと)には優(やさ)しく できるのだから
さよならだけでは さびしすぎるから
愛(あい)するあなたへ 贈(おく)る言葉(ことば)

夕暮(ゆうぐ)れの風(かぜ)に 途切(とぎ)れたけれど
終(お)わりまで聞(き)いて 贈(おく)る言葉(ことば)
信(しん)じられぬと 嘆(なげ)くよりも
人(ひと)を信(しん)じて 傷(きず)つくほうがいい
求(もと)めないで 優(やさ)しさなんか
臆病者(おくびょうもの)の 言(い)いわけだから
はじめて愛(あい)した あなたのために
飾(かざ)りもつけずに 贈(おく)る言葉(ことば)

これから始(は)じまる 暮(くら)しの中(なか)で
誰(だれ)かがあなたを 愛(あい)するでしょう
だけど私(わたし)ほど あなたのことを
深(ふか)く愛(あい)した ヤツはいない
遠(とお)ざかる影(かげ)が 人混(ひとご)みに消(き)えた
もう届(とど)かない 贈(おく)る言葉(ことば)

もう届(とど)かない 贈(おく)る言葉(ことば)

Dave! Daaave!! Come back to Japan!!!