Wyoming’s utilizes a hybrid point system that is primarily a preference point system for some species, while other species and residency license types are allocated by simple lottery system. Preference points can be purchased for resident and nonresident moose, resident and nonresident full-price bighorn sheep, nonresident elk, nonresident deer, and nonresident antelope.
The preference point system works by allocating 75% of available licenses in each hunt area and license type to the preference point drawing. Wyoming uses preference points to rank applicant pools, which means that hunters with more preference points have a better chance of receiving a permit. The remaining 25% of available licenses are allocated through a random drawing, which provides everyone who applies with a chance of drawing a license, regardless of their preference point total.
To complicate things a little bit more, 40% of the available licenses for non-resident elk, non-resident deer, and non-resident antelope are reserved for the “special draw.” This is a higher cost application that in most cases increases odds of drawing a permit.
Hunters should be aware that there is a preference point purchase period after the spring application to help hunters gain a point before the next season, or pick up a point after the application if needed. Remember that failing to purchase a preference point during the preference point only application period, or failing to submit a limited quota application with the option to be awarded a preference point for two consecutive years, can result in the loss of all accumulated points for that species. Nonresident applicants no longer have the option to apply for preference points when submitting their initial limited quota applications for elk, deer, and antelope, so the points need to be purchased during the later dates.
Youth can also apply for preference points, provided they are at least 11 years old at the time of submitting a preference point only application, and are at least 12 years old by December 31 of that year.
Overall, the preference point system in Wyoming offers hunters a way to improve their odds of eventually drawing a license in a hard-to-draw hunt area. It strives to provide a fair and equitable distribution of hunting permits, with hunters who have accumulated more preference points having a better chance of receiving a permit.