Imagine drawing even one Super Tag, a special tag that enables the holder to hunt for a big-game species in any unit, general or controlled, where that species is found in a particular state. Now imagine drawing four of them in 13 years and you’ll have some idea how Dustin Stevenson of Idaho feels.
Stevenson has been the recipient of four of Idaho’s pronghorn Super Tags since the program began in 2004. Hunters, both residents and nonresidents, can enter the drawing each year, with unlimited chances to enter at $6 a pop ($20 each for an even rarer Super Tag combo, allowing the same hunting opportunities for deer, elk, moose, and pronghorn).
One might think that Stevenson has simply spent gobs of money on said entries, but he told the Idaho Department of Fish and Game that he estimates his expenses at only $150 each year—total. That money is spread across Super Tags for all four big-game species and the special Combo tags.
Breaking that $150 down a bit further, Stevenson said he has never entered more than five times for a pronghorn tag per year, and he won one tag on a single entry.
“The amazing thing is I’ve put in for antelope controlled hunts for 31 years and only drawn one,” he said.
So when Stevenson did finally draw a tag, he put it to good use. His first Super Tag, drawn in 2008, led to him taking a trophy buck on opening day. He spent ten days prior to that scouting in order to “do the tag justice.”
Two years later he took another trophy buck, then another in 2012. His latest came in 2013, at which point Stevenson said, “All my hunting buddies hated me.”
Stevenson said there is no secret to winning the drawings. You just have to be willing to enter and give it a shot.
“I’ve always had my name in the hat,” he said. “You can’t win if you don’t play, just like the saying goes.”