What is the number one factor regarding successful western big game hunting? Whether we like it or not it is often the results of our tag applications. Now, I’m not saying that being up to snuff on fieldcraft, understanding big game behavior, scouting, gear, marksmanship and even physical fitness are not important, all of these are crucial to hunting success, but the simple truth is if you don’t have a tag in your pocket you aren’t even going to get the chance to put any of the above into practice.
That begs another question, how does one maximize the chances of drawing tags across the various western States? The answer to that is simple, one does research and establishes a plan. As Mike Eastman in his book library refers to it, having “a five year plan” for drawing tags virtually every year across multiple states to keep you in the game autumn after autumn is key to success in western big game hunting. If you’d like to know more about the Eastmans’ Five Year Plan follow the link here.
The single best resource for building your plan is hands down the Eastmans’ MRS Book and Members Research Section (MRS) sections in the back of every issue of subscriber magazines. The information contained in the MRS is the result of over 2,000 man hours each year from the Eastmans’ staff writers and the Eastmans’ themselves, rolling up their sleeves and ferreting out everything from draw odds and point requirements to biologist and game agency intel. The MRS in both its forms magazine and book, arms hunters with the information needed for consistent success in the draws.
The MRS examines not only various states’ tag allocations, draw odds and percentages, it examines data over a three year period, giving you the hunter, insight into trends in the states and units where you are applying. For example, you’ve been interested in a pronghorn hunt in Wyoming but you’ve never set foot in the state and need to know a few things before filling out your application. By consulting the Eastmans’ MRS you will have up to date information on public access availability, difficulty of terrain, buck to doe ratios, hunter success rates, and perhaps most importantly, draw odds and point requirements. By arming yourself with this information and basing your application strategy on what you’ve learned instead of going in blind you are setting yourself up for a much more enjoyable and fruitful hunt. In short, the Eastmans’ MRS is your resource for a plethora of inside information to make your hunt of a lifetime one to remember instead of one to regret.
To make sure you get the MRS information as it drops throughout the year subscribe to both the Eastmans’ Hunting and Bowhunting Journals. However, if you’re the type who likes all your intel in one place and want access to expanded content the MRS Annual Book is the tool for you. With Christmas right around the corner don’t forget the hunters on your list, the MRS Annual Book makes a great gift.