May
06

All About Buying Dreams

So. What is a dream worth? And how long should it last, once you pay for it? These are the questions hunters across Paradise, Washington, and the U.S. are asking themselves about now.

I don’t really know about those other places, but here in Paradise a dream can be purchased for either $7.10 or $13.70, depending on just how big a dream you want to dream.

What I’m addressing here, of course, are the special permit hunt applications which we must purchase in order to throw our names in the hat to be drawn for a license to hunt in one of the high-demand units for the upcoming seasons. These special permits limit the numbers of hunters – and the pressure on the land and wildlife resources – during hunting seasons. The dream of actually taking a legal armed walk through one of those units, for a bighorn sheep, a mountain goat, a moose, a big bull elk or buck deer can be purchased for little money. The dream will be savored until it either ends when we discover online or by postcard that we were not drawn, or that somehow the permit gods smiled upon us and we will actually be living that dream this year. The wake-up call will happen in late June.

Applications (those dreams) may be purchased at license vendors, by phone at 866-246-9453, or online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov.

Then, using the applications purchased as part of a dream package, the dreamer hits the phone (877-945-3492) or web (wdfw.wa.gov/hunting). There, before midnight of 18 May, the dreamer will select the special hunts of which he or she dreams of partaking. Instructions are on page 12 and 13 of the “2016 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Regulations” pamphlet. One must not mess up a good dream.

Most of us well-seasoned hunters cut our teeth on mail-in applications for special hunting licenses or permits. This computerized stuff is easy, quick and accurate, but it lacks the romance of the days of old, when we put our dreams in the mail and waited by our mailboxes for success or rejection. Maybe, after the draw, we’d pick up a leftover license. (In Colorado and Wyoming there are still permits left over in units too few want to hunt, but those are issued by computer now.)

Not long ago (40 years?), however, I could go pick up a permit leftover from the drawing. I still miss those raucous, long, overnights in the leftover license lineups we had in Colorado.

If we failed to draw a dream tag, we could take our chances on the leftovers, which were issued on a “first come-first served” basis. It was a great adventure, really. People would begin lining up at the Division of Wildlife gate in Denver the night before. Coffee and small charcoal fires kept us warm, and story after story entertained us until the gates opened at 7 a.m. Then a mad crush would carry us to the waiting license agents. We’d look over the list of licenses available, and set our priorities. When we finally got to one of the license agents, we’d find out what dream was still available, make a selection, and leave with a license to hunt some place we’d never hunted or scouted before.

One year I got an antelope tag for a unit east of Colorado Springs. Leftover, in that case, because the land was all private, and NOT friendly to hunters (several gate signs said, “Don’t Even Ask!”). It took a lot of smiling and handshaking, but I ended a memorable hunt in some new ground with my family’s antelope meat for that winter.

Another time, I snagged a permit for a unit northwest of Fort Collins. Again, all private. Son Tim was about 10. We were putt-putting all over the unit, knocking on doors and scouting in my little two-cycle, two cylinder, Suzuki Brute 4×4 (one of the first ever imported into the U.S.). After scouting, we drove to a high lake in the Red Feather Lakes area, and had one of our best fishing/camping trips ever. Eventually, we found a rancher in Wyoming who welcomed me to hunt his 2,500 acres on the Colorado side of the border.

In addition to the special hunting season permits, DFW is selling raffle dreams, too. For six bucks or $11.50 (depending on the size of the dream) we get a ticket to dream about an extra deer, elk, goat, sheep or moose tag (dreams involving multiple-tag draws will cost a few bucks more). All those instructions are on page 10 and 11 of your big game pamphlet. Buy the dream raffle tickets by 15 July. We will be notified of the status of our dreams in mid-August.

Does it really matter? Any application or raffle ticket I buy gets me weeks and weeks of dreamtime – and at least one or two will surely be drawn, allowing me to actually pursue my dream. It’s a bargain, you know.

And, there is the very remote possibility that my name will not be drawn. After decades of dealing with ritual applications, in a dozen states, I now understand that not being drawn always means that next year’s odds will be even better. Each interrupted dream gets me one additional preference point – another chance to draw. This makes NEXT year a sure thing.

(One must always purchase dreams with a full and expectant heart.)

Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized

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