Jan 9, 2018
Finally, let's take a close look at how all of these variables come together and manifest themselves each year. At the right are the drawing odds for the resident limited entry elk Central Mountains, Manti early any weapon hunt (my favorite unit to pick on) for 2015. The first thing I like to identify is the lowest point group in which at least one applicant drew a bonus tag. In this example is it 14 bonus points, and 67 bonus tags were awarded to applicants with 14 or more bonus points. There were eight 14 point applicants who drew in the 14 point pool and the remaining 52 applicants were entered into the random drawing. The second thing I like to identify is how many applicants with 14 points also drew random tags, in this example that number is 2. That tells me that in total ten 14 point applicants drew a tag leaving 50 applicants who were unsuccessful and received their 15th bonus point.
So if the Utah big game drawing occurred in a vacuum, we would expect there to be 50 applicants with 15 points, 91 applicants with 14 points, 95 applicants with 13 points, 85 applicants with 13 points, and so forth for the Central Mountains, Manti early any weapon elk hunt for 2016.
But below, you will see the 2015 drawing results side-by-side with the 2016 drawing results. The first thing that you’ll notice is that even though all the applicants from 2015 with 15 points or more drew tags, there are a number of applicants (20 to be exact) who could not have applied for this unit in 2015 but did so in 2016. Additionally, after 2015 there were 50 unsuccessful applicants with 14 points who gained a 15th point, yet in 2016 we see 57 total applicants with 15 points. So not only did we gain 20 applicants above the bonus point level from last year, we also gained 7 additional applicants in the 15 bonus point pool. So where did these applicants come from? Where were they the year before?
The honest answer to that question is… we don’t know. We can’t determine exactly “where” these applicants came from, it’s impossible at this point to determine whether these applicants were Point Buyers who finally decided to cash in their point stash, Unit Jumpers who came over from higher tier units, or if they were Inactive Applicants who had not applied years prior and decided to apply in 2016. But suffice it to say that there were 27 applicants in 2016 who contributed to point creep in this unit in 2016.
There was a fourth variable though of tag allocation, and we can see in this example (green box) that the number of tags remained unchanged between 2015 and 2016 so tag allocation was not an impactful variable in 2016.
Now let's take a look at the 2016 data compared to the 2017 data below. Notice that tag allocation becomes an impactful variable because tags numbers were reduced from 134 in 2016 to 125 in 2017.
In 2016, there were 48 successful applicants in the 15 bonus point pool and 9 applicants who were unsuccessful and received their 16th bonus point. From the 2017 drawing report we can identify 40 applicants who did not apply for this unit in 2016… again whether they cashed in purchased points, jumped from another unit, or jumped back into the drawing after some time away we cannot tell… however, all four point creep variables were evident in the 2017 application cycle for the resident Central Mountains, Manti early any weapon elk hunt.
So what does this mean for the 2018 application cycle for this Manti hunt? In the 15 bonus point pool from 2017 there were 59 unsuccessful applicants who theoretically we would assume will apply again in 2018 with 16 bonus points. I would expect to see a good number of applicants with 17 points or more… I’d say somewhere between 25 and 40. I’m going to be optimistic and assume a stable number of tags being offered at 125. I’d assume that all applicants with 17 points or more will be successful, and that leaves enough tags for 1/3 to ½ of the 16 bonus point pool to draw the bonus tags. So the number of bonus points needed to draw a Central Mountains, Manti early rifle elk tag (resident) has crept up from 14 in 2015 to my assumption of 16 in 2018.