Well, the ADFG drawing was held yesterday and a great many people managed to pull the tag of a lifetime. Still yet, many more were bitterly disappointed.
I've received a couple inquiries about how the draw works.
In short- unlike a lot of the West, Alaska's drawing system doesn't accumulate points. Every year, everyone has exactly the same chances of drawing. Some people think that isn't fair...well, maybe. But with few exceptions- every animal available on draw is available over the counter. Maybe not in the areas, or seasons but a sheep hunter can still hunt sheep and a moose hunter can hunt moose. Bison are too limited to have an OTC tag and muskox are subject to a complicated system of registration and subsistence tags.
But then- how does a guy actually draw some tags? Easy- apply for a lot.
My family has pulled a half dozen draw tags over the years, the latest a very nice "Any Bull" moose tag. We typically put in for anywhere from a dozen to twenty per year. Every year. I did draw a coveted DCUA Sheep tag with very long odds, but I may not ever draw another. I've never drawn a bison tag and may not. But I have drawn a couple of good caribou tags and a couple moose tags. None of those tags had long odds at all.
When I hear people complain of "never drawing a tag" or "the system is rigged"...the facts are they usually put in for very few tags and the ones with the longest odds to boot. If you only apply for DCUA sheep and Bison you can expect a long dang wait to pull one.
How bad are the odds- well the ADFG publishes that in the draw supplement.
Several Bear tags on famed Kodiak Island are nearly 100% draw, sure it will cost a small fortune to get you in there to hunt that tag...but you will draw it.
Almost ALL of the trophy area sheep tags like DCUA and Tok Management are less than 1%. These are simply a hard tag to draw...few permits and a huge number of applicants.
Everything else is in the middle.
So here are some rules of thumb...
1) The easier the tag is to draw....the harder the hunt area will be to get to.
2) The more desirable the species as a trophy (ie. Dall Sheep) is...the harder the tag will be to draw.
3) Bison are the equivalent to winning the "Alaska Meat Lottery".
4) DO YOUR RESEARCH...figuring out how you'll hunt a tag after you draw it, isn't a very good plan.
5) Apply for a lot of tags. My circle of friends pulls some sweet tags every single year. Collectively we apply for (without exaggeration) hundreds of tags so the odds are in our favor.