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.