If you apply for these tags now, you could be big game hunting some of the best of what the US has to offer come fall.
There's no rest in the hunting world. Deer season may have just concluded in most states - or if you live in a bonus season region, just be wrapping up in the next couple of weeks - but hunters in many western states are already starting to think about getting their applications done for some of the big, high-profile "lottery" hunting seasons available throughout the Great Plains states.
This flurry for unique licenses is an annual scene in many states, driven by hunters, both in-state and out-of-state, who want an opportunity to hunt something other than whitetail deer. And while many of us - particularly throughout the deer country of the Midwest - love whitetail hunting and absolutely wouldn't trade it, there's a certain allure to hunting a completely different type of big game animal.
The fact that not everyone gets a chance to hunt some of those lottery animals throughout the west only makes the concept that much more attractive.
It's entirely possible that your hunting plans for 2014 are already set and that they revolve entirely around the same animals you've been going after for years. Heck, you might still have a date with destiny for that buck who just narrowly escaped your clutches in November. But if you want to give yourself an entirely different hunting opportunity this season, make a note to apply for one of the in-demand big game tags.
Whether you live in a state like Montana or California where lottery hunts are prevalent, or are merely considering a cross-country road trip to take advantage of a tag won in a hunting lottery, there are plenty of big-game license opportunities to whet your appetite.
So which big-game hunts or lottery tags should you target in 2014? If you don't want to venture too far from your whitetail hunting roots, but still want to have a different type of experience, this year may be the perfect time to try out elk hunting.
Many hunters live and die for the pursuit of elk, and if you are a big game hunter who still hasn't bagged a bull, consider it a bucket list item. If you live in the west and hunt at all, you've likely gone on an elk hunt. But if you hail from the East Coast or the midwestern parts of the United States, an elk hunt may be the perfect way to mix up your big-game pursuit.
From Colorado to Arizona, Washington to Wyoming to New Mexico, there is absolutely no shortage of areas where you can plot your elk hunting adventure, so plan a vacation - perhaps for the whole family - and then apply for a non-resident elk tag in that state.
If you want to go for more exotic beasts, however - or if you've already experienced an elk hunt in the past - there are other fish to fry out west. Bighorn sheep lotteries are a big draw for hunters, with states like Montana proving to be particularly fruitful areas.
If you're flexible and don't mind investing a bit of cash upfront, search around the Web and enter into every bighorn lottery you can. If you draw just one tag anywhere, your gamble will have paid off.
Other big-game tags to keep an eye out for include moose (particularly in Idaho) and the incredibly difficult-to-draw lottery for pronghorn antelope in Arizona.
What tags are you planning to apply for this year? If you could pick a "dream lottery" to win, which one would it be?