​Crimping Your Ticket

The boy was hot. “You can’t do that!”

I had just made a donation to some charitable cause through the purchase of raffle tickets. Those fifty-fifty drawings at sporting events, that kind of thing.

Normally you can buy a single ticket for a dollar, ten tickets for five, or an entire arms’ length for ten. For guys with long arms that ten-dollar purchase must fan their egos and sense of strategic advantage. I see lots of retired basketball players pulling out their wallets just so they can show the crowd their wing span and challenge the next guy in the stands to show them theirs.

Instead, I had crimped my ticket, that little fold that makes yours stand out in the tub and asks to be drawn. Kind of like a little kid holding out its arms. You can’t help but reach for the one that is asking to be chosen from among its peers.

The kid hosting the raffle said that it was cheating. I asked for the rules, or offered to take my tickets out and get my money back but the kid wasn’t having it. I’d never heard of such a thing and took to the internet and discovered that he was right. Do advantages only go to guys with long arms?

In several states, making your raffle ticket stand out from among the others in any way is a violation of the rules. But when it comes to big game drawings for coveted licenses, I scour the rules for as many advantages as possible. I want to know the odds and get them in my favor.

Last week a friend sent a note letting me know that his wife had drawn one of only two licenses for mountain goat offered in the state for this fall. The odds are greater than 1-in-5000 if you have just entered the pool. Many South Dakotans apply for decades. The state encourages hunters to keep applying by separating those with the most years of preference and giving them the largest share of the licenses. It seems only fair that the person who has paid the most in time and cash should have the greatest odds. But they also leave out a small percentage to go to hunters with few or no preference points.

I know families that just love to hunt and don’t care who draws as long as all of them get to help and experience the hunt. While Dad might be doing the paper work and writing the check, a wife or a child drawing the license is as good as if they had drawn themselves. Nowhere in the United States are they yet trying to check the size of your family, so feel free to fill the entry draw with member of your personally created hunting team.

Apply in other states. The young lady with the South Dakota goat tag faced huge odds, but in neighboring Wyoming, there are units where her odds were a hundred times better as a non-resident. That’s right the same hunt just across the border has units with odds of 1 in 50. Nonresidents pay more for the privilege, but average out the years of your life. If you want to hunt moose or buffalo, Wyoming has pools with odds as low as 1 in 50 -100 for those species too.

Some states also supplement their outfitters by making special licenses that cost more but come with a greater chance of being drawn. Pay up front or wait years. No one says you have to hire the guide if you draw and a few decades ago I drew licenses to hunt elk that were just two miles from my front door doing exactly that. While some of my Wyoming family members only drew that unit once every twenty years, I drew twice in five.

The ultimate hunting crimp is to save your money and buy the farm or better yet skip the saving and marry the farmer’s daughter or son. I know several local families with landowner preference in big game draws with eligible sons and daughters and am willing to make introductions for small donations to the local debate team.

Good luck with the draw.

Columnist: Bob Speirs

Bob Speirs – owner and operator of Crow Creek Wildlife Management Service in Spearfish, South Dakota has been writing award winning articles, stories and poems that entertain and educate hunters for over 15 years. Known for his outstanding whitetail management and hundreds of satisfied customers, Bob’s unique perspectives and insights help to educate and entertain hunters everywhere!

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