Don’t forget to buy your preference points

If you didn’t apply for hunting licenses that are awarded based on preference points this year, don’t forget to buy your points. The deadline is Nov. 2.

Most of the hunters I know apply for all the licenses they are allowed to put in for every year. That includes moose and bighorn sheep. And if you’re a resident, and you apply for moose or sheep, you either get a license or you get most of your money back. In exchange for the money the Game and Fish keeps, you get a preference point.

Nonresidents get preference points for unsuccessful draws on moose and bighorns, too, but they also get points if they don’t draw deer, elk or antelope.

You can only get one preference point for each species in a year. If you put in for a license but didn’t get one, you at least get that point. It might take a few years, but eventually, your total accumulated preference points will make it more likely that you’ll draw a license.

But you don’t have to put in for a license to get a preference point. That’s handy, because some people don’t put in for all the species every year. A lot of hunters choose to try for a moose tag or a sheep license, knowing it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get away twice in the same year for these once-in-a-lifetime types of hunts. Others might not have any time to spare, so they don’t put in for anything. But they still want the chance to go eventually, so the Game and Fish allows you to buy one preference point for each species each year.

Don’t forget to buy those points, if you didn’t get one already. The deadline is Nov. 2. If you fail to get a point in two consecutive years, either by buying one or getting one in the license draw, you lose all the points you’ve accumulated up to that point, and have to start over. So go to the Game and Fish website’s Hunting section and get that preference point now, while you’re thinking about it.