Hunting Draw Strategies for the Single Applicant

The hunting draw deadline nears…are you being strategic about your applications? Let’s break it down and take in some tips before you submit your draw applications.

Let’s talk about you

The best resource is you! Take a look at your calendar that includes all your commitments—including work, personal and hunting related. Check your calendar against the province’s website, This is where you eliminate what’s not possible…because there’s little sense drawing a tag you won’t have time to use, especially if it’s taken years to get the necessary priority points.

The draw language

The Alberta Relm website has a section called “Draw Summaries.” This is where you go before deciding what tags to apply for and where. It lists:

  • the previous year’s draw results by WMU for every species, sex and season,
  • the available licence quota for each WMU,
  • and the number of applicants drawn, listed by priority points.

At a glance you can tell what percentage of each priority level was selected last year. For example, if on a particular draw all priority 10, nine and eight applicants were successful, but only 20% of the priority seven applicants were, you can surmise you’ll probably need at least eight priority points to be drawn this year. Don’t forget there may be some applicants lurking in the weeds who’ve built priority points through a succession of “999” applications.

You will also see the total number of applicants for each draw by WMU on the website. It reveals how stiff your competition is.

Be choosy

Balancing your draws with available hunting time means being selective about when to pull the trigger on a draw—even when you have enough priority points. If the Alberta Relm site suggests you’re likely to be successful in more than one draw, consider using the 999 draw code to gain another priority point for a tag you’re willing to postpone until next year.

Play “would you rather…”

Think about the priority points required to be drawn. Are you willing to wait 10 years to hunt a specific WMU, or would you rather hunt twice in another WMU?

Look too at the season dates listed for the WMU you’re considering. Is a November hunt the only one you’ll consider, or should you think about a season that opens in September? Are you going to submit only one choice for WMU, or are there alternative WMUs you’d consider? Would a calf moose draw be as attractive to you as a cow draw? Check all options before making your decision and remember it’s about what you want.

Priority is priority points

It’s all about the priority points. You can build priority by applying for a specific species, sex and WMU, or by using the 999 draw code—this ensures you’ll gain priority points but won’t be drawn. Just remember though that priority points aren’t transferrable between individual draw codes.

Find more tips in our articles on draws here.