Special Draw Tags: Blessing or Curse?

Jess Kinamon // January 31

I don’t think there’s a hunter out there that would turn down a special draw tag, no matter what the tag is for or where the tag is. We all have dreams every draw period about special tags and what they could be and what we expect out of them. However, with certain high expectations for special draw tags, are they really a blessing or a curse? 

Special Draw Tags: Feeling the pressure 

With the anticipation of waiting to see results on special draw tags, there can be lots of build-up, especially if you’re due for one. It can be easy to get worked up and get your hopes high. Once you’ve found out you’re unsuccessful, you go about what you would do in any ordinary hunting season. However, as soon as you see you’ve been successful, the pressure is on. It doesn’t seem like much at first just because of sheer excitement. From my experience, over the last few years as soon as the season starts, that tag is like an extra 1,000-pound weight on your shoulders. 

Special Draw Tags

Special Draw Tags: Season kick-Off 

It’s so easy to go out on the first day with such high hopes. You have the tag in your pocket that only a tiny percentage of the population has. Now all you need is an animal. Everybody has their goal as to what their target animal looks like. Is it a 380” bull elk? Or maybe a 200” mule deer? Or a 165” whitetail? We all have these big dreams, whether you consider yourself a meat hunter or a trophy hunter. However, as the season goes on, there can be so much inner conflict if the area isn’t producing. You’ve waited years for this special draw tag, and now you aren’t even seeing the animals you thought you would. 

Special Draw Tags: The Mental and Physical Battle

Special draw tags can lead to a lot of things. They could be a breeze and be the best hunt you’ve ever had. But what does the alternative look like? When things don’t pan out the way you’d hoped, it feels like a time crunch. There’s not a minute of shooting light to waste. Conditions aren’t always conducive and if they aren’t, it can wreak havoc on your season. All of a sudden your season went from the best season yet to pure stress. Miles and miles of walking every single day with not a shred of hope. Nightmares at night along with night sweats. This tag that you wanted so badly has all of a sudden turned into this burden on your shoulders that gets heavier every single day. 

Moral of the Story

Every special draw tag every single year is different. A special tag is always a gift. You should always feel good about drawing a special tag! I know I do! However, take every single special tag that you draw with a grain of salt.

Appreciate every single day of hunting for exactly what it is – hunting. Remember, a special tag can be a blessing, but can quickly turn into a curse.

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About the Author

Jess Kinamon

Jess grew up along the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana hunting elk, mule deer, whitetails, wolves, bears, and coyotes. She and her dad have been hunting together since day one and they have grown both physically and mentally. Jess knew at a young age that the outdoors were her passion and something she always wanted to pursue as a career. Mule deer and elk hunting are two things that she cannot live without, but she enjoys other things such as riding horses/packing mules, and painting with acrylics.