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When The Chips Are Down…..

Each year about this time, we always get the question, “How do we come up with our color grade ratings for trophy units?”

Basically, what makes a “Blue Chip” unit? This is one of those things where the question is much simpler than the answer.

First off, I want to reiterate that the process is complicated and very, very subjective in nature. Our system is based mostly on what I started for the Wyoming MRS almost ten years ago. The color grade has now become much more than simply a measure of potential trophy quality from where it started all of those years ago.

The overall system has become a much more comprehensive process. Although trophy quality is the largest factor in the process, it’s not the only factor. We also take into account public access, terrain, season dates, hunter competition (quota) and historic hunter success rates, just to name a few.

Now that we know what the area has to offer historically, we need to put a prediction on what the area might bring for the near future. Not only are we measuring an area’s trophy track record, we are also trying to predict how good a hunt this area will produce the next fall. This is where we factor into the equation herd health, population density, winter conditions, feed and overall habitat quality.

This information all comes together to a single rating that as close as possible to reality will tell us how good the hunt will be for next fall in any given area for trophy class animals. In a single sentence, the color grade is the measure of how likely you might be to find and take a true trophy on a given year. It is a measure of the overall quality of the hunt, period.

I hope this helps to give you a bit of clarity to a very complicated process. Good hunting and best of luck in the draws.

Guy Eastman

About Guy Eastman, Editor-In-Chief

Guy Eastman, Editor-In-Chief
Following in the footsteps of his father, Guy has taken up the reins and is now at the helm of the Eastmans’ Hunting Journal and the Eastmans’ Bowhunting Journal. A fine hunter in his own right, Guy has taken several trophy animals and has become an expert in trophy hunting as well.

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10 comments

  1. Spend a little more time editing the MRS. I’m getting tired of pictures of the same bulls every year, the same generic narratives at times and I seem to find a typo of one kind or another in every issue. It makes me question the quality of all the rest of the data and info when canned explanations are used year after year, and there is always a number, description, or color coding out of place.

    • You could always do your own research and NOT rely on one of the better tools being provided for guys hunting out west. Concentrate on the info and not the typos. You’ll get much more out of it….

    • I’m not sure if Dave C is providing feedback or simply complaining. I will assume he is trying to provide feedback, but lacks the ability to articulate his message in a way that doesn’t sound like a whiny little kid. Seriously, you are complaining about typos. If you don’t trust someone then don’t purchase their product. Eastman is simply one tool and if you are putting more weight than that into their recommendations then you may want to reflect on your own level of commitment and preparation.

  2. eastmans mrs is a good place to start your hunt research,,but it is only one of the tools I use,when you find your hunt,there is still much other research to be done.

  3. I’ve got to agree with Dave a little on this one. Using Eastmans recommendations, we put in for and drew Unit 90 last year, burning our max points. The unit was an absolute joke, with no deer and even fewer bucks. I noticed it was a blue chip unit again this year, but the description was the exact same, if not word for word. Disappointing!

  4. Too bad you burned max points on unit 90. This historically hasn’t had high harvest rates, but with the new limited draw for the unit the hunter numbers are down meaning more of the bigger bucks should be surviving. MRS gives you head start, but you need to do your own research too.

  5. I hunted unit 69 a while back and got nothing but a stinky nose. Saw some hair but no horns

  6. Dave is right. Yes I use Eastmans mrs as a tool, but only a place to start. I think quality of the msr is slipping. You print the same paragraphs ever year, some word for word, without much editing.

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