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Hunting most Western states and Alaska on a budget
Hunt area information and map packets for unguided hunters

If you have the skill and experience and resources to hunt Western game on your own, consider a hunt area information and map packet. We won't line up more than two packets per year for any particular game management unit. We get a local expert to prepare the packet. For example, a guide and oil field worker with 27 years of experience does the work in a particular game unit in New Mexico.

Hunts.Net consultant Rich LaRocco with a bull he killed during bow season in an area where you can buy a hunt area information and map packet. Tags are sold over the counter in this area.

Your packet will include maps of the unit or a portion of the unit, showing you where the local expert thinks you should hunt, and he'll include a letter detailing how to hunt the area. He will usually have a couple of backup areas in case the primary area isn't as good as normal due to weather, game movements or other factors.

Often your map will show water holes, elk wallows, new or closed roads and other important features that you won't find on any other map. The fee is per hunting party. Most of the fee goes to the local hunter. You must sign a contract agreeing not to resell the packet or divulge its contents with anybody outside your hunting party. The hunter who provides the package will talk with you once before the season. You can call him once or twice during the season so long as he is available at that time. Some areas involve permit drawings. You will not be told where to apply for a tag until after you've paid a $200 deposit for a hunt area information packet.

  The odds of drawing a tag vary. Those areas with reputations for producing high hunter success on trophy-size game are difficult to draw. In some areas, such as some parts of New Mexico, Kansas and Utah, you can buy a landowner permit in case you don't draw a permit, or if you don't want to go through the drawing procedure.

Hunt area information
and map packet

 Packet includes  Price
 Road and topo maps showing where the package provider saw game or sign and a letter describing where and how to hunt the area. Where available, it also includes a list of landowners with transferable landowner permits.  $800 a hunting party (split the cost among your hunting partners) plus license fees and landowner permits (where needed or where available, such as many units in Utah and New Mexico)
 States Covered  Game Species Covered
Any Western state along with Nebraska, Alaska, Kansas and South Dakota.  Elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, caribou, moose, black bear, pronghorn antelope
 Success  Notes
 Many factors affect hunting success on unguided hunts, mainly the quality of the hunting unit, weather and the hunter's skill, experience, resourcefulness and attitude. An area that offers excellent hunting one year might decline by the following year due to drought, severe winter or other factors. Some limited-permit game units offer high success because the hunting pressure is low.  Recommended for hunters who have extensive Western hunting experience and skill and who have the equipment. Some areas might require horses or backpacking, others are accessible only by 4WD vehicle or ATV. In some areas you should be in excellent physical condition. We can suggest hunts suitable to your resources and level of experience.

If you draw a good tag and then want a packet, we often can find a local expert willing to tell all he knows about the area.

Another consideration if you want a relatively inexpensive hunt is a semi-guided hunt. In New Mexico customers of outfitters have a separate allocation of tags in each unit; consequently your drawing odds are greatly enhanced if you book a guided or semi-guided hunt. On some hunts your chances of drawing a tag are 100 percent even though free-lancers face difficult drawing odds. We have outfitters who will supply the minimum required guide-to-hunter ratio and other services in order to keep the cost of the hunt as low as possible. Unless you're extremely well-versed and well-equipped, we suggest a semi-guided or guided hunt over a self-guided trip. It doesn't make any sense to take a self-guided trip if you are planning to fly to the state where you'll hunt, then rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle.