North American Big 29 - average success rates?

WAB

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caribou is pretty cheap (but then again i live up here). You can do the 40 mile hunt as a DIY non res and your success rate will be extremely high. It can get like a shooting show up there but if you get away from the road you are safe.
You are spot on. Personally for the cost of a flight I'd do a drop hunt.
 

huntinlabs

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You are spot on. Personally for the cost of a flight I'd do a drop hunt.

I would do one as well if I could afford. Then again im not sure if I would or not There is something about being surrounded by thousands of caribou as they are migrating. Plus I have only been on one guided hunt and that was Africa. Its hard for me to spend money I am active duty enlisted so money is not something I have alot of lol. Thats why I only hunt public land and DIY. I would love to hunt private but it is just not in the cards for me.
 
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WAB

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I would do one as well if I could afford. Then again im not sure if I would or not There is something about being surrounded by thousands of caribou as they are migrating. Plus I have only been on one guided hunt and that was Africa. Its hard for me to spend money I am active duty enlisted so money is not something I have alot of lol. Thats why I only hunt public land and DIY. I would love to hunt private but it is just not in the cards for me.

I’m talking about an unguided drop hunt. They are pretty reasonable. I’ve only used guides in Africa.
 

huntinlabs

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I’m talking about an unguided drop hunt. They are pretty reasonable. I’ve only used guides in Africa.

Yea some of them are pretty fair priced if you have another guy or 2 to help split the cost.
 

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I don’t think I’m going to try and contribute to this thread. But I’ll ask a stupid question. Regardless of guided or not, this will be an expensive undertaking. Surely if you’re serious about it, you could afford a 2nd rifle and for damn sure you should have it for a backup. So why one rifle?
 

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DIY hunt in Alaska is not as simple as it may sound. I’ve hunted Alaska five times all guided hunts. You had better be prepared on many levels for a hunt like that. Maps, gps, drastic weather changes, injures, bears. From a cost standpoint yes it’s attractive but I guess I’m just a city boy.
 

WAB

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DIY hunt in Alaska is not as simple as it may sound. I’ve hunted Alaska five times all guided hunts. You had better be prepared on many levels for a hunt like that. Maps, gps, drastic weather changes, injures, bears. From a cost standpoint yes it’s attractive but I guess I’m just a city boy.
Very fair point. I take it a bit for granted having lived in Canada, Wyoming and Alaska most of my life. All of my NA hunting has been unguided and most of it pack, boat or fly in. The pile of specialized equipment for hunting off the grid in my storage closet would indicate that you are absolutely right.
 

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I'll probable never get all of the North American 29, but I've got about half of them and I hope to get a few more.

I started out as a meat hunter when I loved in Colorado and was going to college. My first year hunting I shot a spike Mule Deer and was it a trophy!! The next year I shot a. 5x5 bull Elk, and I was hooked.

My college and hunting was put on hold for a few years because of Vietnam, but after I got out of the Army I went back to Colorado and began getting a mule deer and elk every year for the next 30 or so years. My hunting expanded with a Black Bear and Pronghorn Antelope.

My job took me to northwestern Montana where I shot my first Whitetail along with my largest 6x6 bull elk that was just a few inches shy of making the Boone & Crockett record book.

When I moved to southwestern Montana my hunting opportunities really expanded. I drew a Mountain Goat tag, a couple of Shiras Moose tags, and after a few years of looking, I found where the Bighorn sheep hid in several of Montana's unlimited sheep areas.

I also went with some friends on a DIY Barren Ground Caribou hunt on the Alaska Peninsula. Then I went on my first guided hunt to the Mackenzie Mountains of Canada's Northwest Territories and shot My Dall ram, a Mountain Caribou, and a Wolverine. A few years later I returned to northern NWT and shot my Central Canadian Barren Ground Caribou and a Musk ox. I met Enysse on that trip.

For the next 10 years or so I just meat hunted deer, elk, and antelope in Montana, but I made a number of hunting trips to Africa and New Zealand. I did, however, get the opportunity to hunt American Buffalo on Ted Turner's 175 square mile Flying D ranch, not far from my home.

A few years ago I quit trying to find a Cougar on my own, and booked a hunt for one in western Colorado, and got a fine tom on the first day.

I had heard that Québec was going to stop non-resident hunting of their caribou, so last year I booked a hunt there, and along with mine being one of the last NR caribou shot in Québec, it was one of the largest bulls taken in that camp last year.

I was booked for a Sitka Blackmail hunt in Kodiak Island last week, but the earthquake closed the Anchorage airport the day before my flight, so I canceled, not wanting to be stuck somewhere between here and Alaska. The outfitter allowed me to re-schedule for next year.

So this I the list of my animals of the North American 29.
  • Whitetail Deer
  • Mule Deer
  • Rocky Mountain Elk
  • Shiras Moose
  • Barren Ground Caribou
  • Central Canadian Barren Ground Caribou
  • Mountain Caribou
  • Quebec Labrador Caribou
  • Black Bear
  • Cougar
  • Muskox
  • Bison
  • American Mountain Goat
  • Pronghorn
  • Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep
  • Dall Sheep
I definitely want to add to this list, but cost wise, I don't think I'll complete it.

My take on a few other comments on this thread:

I used a variety of guns in my hunting, but I wouldn't hesitate in hunting all 29 with my .300 Weatherby.

On a couple of my hunts in Africa I took two rifles, a 7 mm Rem mag and a .375 RUM, but normally I only take one rifle.

All of my Colorado and Montana hunts (except Buffalo) were DIY hunts, and most of them were solo hunts.

Guides are required by law for non-residents for most Canadian hunts and for many Alaskan hunts.
 

buffybr

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Some posts have mentioned the number of animals that are available in some states with the thought that if you lived there you could hunt all of those species. Maybe that was true 50 years ago, but not now.

The demand for tags is so great now that even for residents, most tags (especially in the western states) are only available through some type of a drawing. In some of these states you may need 20 or more years of preference points to draw a tag. Montana has a bonus point system where you get 1 bonus point for each year that you apply but don't draw a tag. Then the next year your number of bonus points are squared and your name is put into the drawing that number of times.

I drew my last Mountain goat tag in 1978. I have applied every year since then, I have the maximum number of bonus points, and I have not drawn a goat tag in 40 years. The odds of drawing a bighorn ram tag in one of Montana's best sheep units is less than 1/2 of one percent.
 

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I have applied for sheep tags for 39 years and have yet to be drawn!
 

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There is no doubt that those of us that live in the west have more opportunity for DIY hunts. Having lived in Or. and Id. all my life I have been able to take blacktail, whitetail, mule deer, Roosevelt elk, Rocky mountain elk, black bear, pronghorn, cougar and shiras moose all in my home state with my trusty recurve. Went to Wash. for mountain goat , to Alaska for caribou, Az for a havelina and Ca. for wild hogs. If I would of had to hire a outfitter there is no way I could afforded to do it.
 

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BuggieSmall.......................New Mexico is a great hunting state......and you mention that one can hunt mule deer, elk, pronghorn, cougar, desert bighorn, and black bear there. I think it would be a good place to go. But of yoiur 29 animals, we hunt muleys, whitetails, black bear, shiras moose, bison, RM bighorn, RM goats, cougar, pronghorn, and elk here in Idaho. Some of us never harvest any of them....but we do hunt them....................good luck in your survey..................FWB
 

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Any way you look at it, achieving the NA 29 is a very expensive undertaking.

The thought of moving to a certain state to be able to hunt more of the 29 animals is not as realistic today as it was 50 years ago. FWB listed 10 animals that can be hunted in Idaho. We have those same 10 animals in Montana, but unless you are VERY lucky in the drawings, you can't hunt them every year.

Without drawing a special tag, the most anyone could hunt in one year would be 7, and of those, the buffalo would have to be on a ranch, and the bighorn would have to be in one of the Unlimited tag units, which even guided, have a VERY low success rate. And now if you buy one of those tags you have to wait 7 years before you can buy or apply for another one.

Yes, we can hunt deer, elk, and black bears every year, but only one of each species count toward your NA 29.

As to the OPs original question of average success rates, I've been lucky on my guided hunts with a 100% success rate. My DIY hunts have varied from 0% (grizzly back when Montana sold tags for them) to 100% for deer, elk, black bear, and even pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, shiras moose, and mountain goats in the years that I drew tags.
 

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Utah is another state that would top New Mexico for available species. But like the rest none of us will live long enough to get a tag for them all or be rich enough to buy the tags they auction off. It’s a nice dream though-
 

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Drew a bighorn tag in 72 and the a hole I was working for gave me the last day of the season to hunt then layed me off 10 days later,at that time a ram had to be three quarters curl to be legal and the one I followed around a mountain for 7 hrs was so close that I wasn't sure enough to shoot him,all sheep must be checked in with F&G if it wasn't legal I would lose it and be fined 500 dollars,have been trying to draw a tag ever since then with no luck,yes we have a lot of game but a hell of a bunch of people wanting to hunt them,there are a few auction tags available if you have those resources otherwise its the luck of the draw.
 

IdaRam

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Utah is another state that would top New Mexico for available species. But like the rest none of us will live long enough to get a tag for them all or be rich enough to buy the tags they auction off. It’s a nice dream though-
Ain’t that the truth! I have a grand total of 96 bonus points for Utah. Still years away from drawing any of the tags I really want.
Bonus point systems, generally speaking, are nothing more than a revenue generator. Point creep makes them worthless for the purpose they were originally intended.
 

iamyourhuckleberry

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Taking a bit of a break from finding the average prices (9 to go), here are a few statistics I have found so far:
  • The average North American sheep hunt costs around $52,000 when all said and done - the cheapest on average is about $29,000 for a Dall Sheep withe the most expensive being $73,000 for a Desert Bighorn
  • Canada and the United States both contain hunts for only 19 of the 29 different species needed - in the US, only 12 are hunted in the lower 48 states
  • If you had to pick one place to live to accomplish the slam, British Columbia would be your best bet - 10 species are hunted here (Mule Deer, Rocky Mountain and Roosevelt Elk, Canada and Shiras Moose, Mountain Caribou, Grizzly and Black Bear, Mountain Goat, and Stone Sheep)
  • The runner-up to the last one would be living in Alaska, where you can hunt Sitka Blacktails, Yukon Moose, Barren Ground Caribou, Brown, Grizzly, and Black Bears, Mountain Goats, and Dall Sheep
  • The best of the lower 48 states is New Mexico - where you can hunt Mule Deer, Elk, Black Bear, Mountain Lion, Pronghorn, and Desert Bighorn Sheep
  • Sonora, Mexico has great hunting for 4 species of the slam - Mule and Coues Deer, Mountain Lion, and Desert Bighorns
  • All three subspecies of Moose can be taken in Canada
  • Four of the five caribou subspecies needed for the slam are taken in Canada (the fifth is taken in Alaska)
  • For sheep hunters, living in Canada means you can take three of your four species close to home - a Rocky Mountain Bighorn in Alberta, a Dall in Northwest/Yukon Territories, and Stone in British Columbia or the Yukon Territories
  • Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah are all good states for taking a variety of species - all offer 4-5 species in each (this list also includes Sonora, Mexico and Alberta, Canada)
  • In terms of the slam, none of the 29 species are found in great sizes/numbers in any of the Mid-Atlantic or Southeastern States - and the only one in the Northeast is the Black Bear
  • The Western States don't have a ton either - but they do offer some good Rocky Mountain Elk hunting and the only available Tule Elk hunting
  • The Midwest isn't too much better either - they offer Whitetail and Mule Deer, along with the only Bison
  • The Northwest has more species available than all the past four regions combined - including Elk, Columbia Blacktail, Whitetail, and Mule Deer, Pronghorn, Black Bear, and Mountain Lions
  • By far the best region of the United States to be in for big game hunting is the Southwest - where you can hunt Whitetail, Mule, and Coues Deer, Elk and Shiras Moose, Black Bear and Mountain Lion, Pronghorn, and Desert Bighorns (the only guided sheep hunts in the lower 48)
These were a few little snippets I found that I thought might be fun to share. Once I've got all the hunt costs finished, I will work more on getting the success rates, then I can share everything that I've found on here. Some of those 9 won't be bad, but I'm not looking much forward to the elk, black bear, and mule deer hunts!

Drew

Drew, you have stated New Mexico as the best of the lower 48. It is my opinion, you have overlooked Colorado where 10 of the 29 reside. In Colorado, and in addition to Mule Deer, Elk, Black Bear, Mountain Lion, Pronghorn, and Desert Bighorn Sheep, a person can hunt White-tailed-deer, Shiras moose, Mountain goat, and Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep.

You have also stated, "in the US, only 12 are hunted in the lower 48 states". This factually incorrect. besides the ten animals which can be hunted in Colorado alone, a person can hunt Coues deer, Colombia blacktail deer, Roosevelt elk, Tules elk, and bison. That brings the total to 15 in the lower 48.
 

iamyourhuckleberry

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This is a goal I set for myself back in 1992 when it was announced Chuck Adams had completed the feat with archery gear. I am currently 20 animals into it. I just recently shot all five North American deer species with my bow in a single season. Each deer averaged around $1000 to hunt via DIY/unguided opportunities out there. I am facing the expensive pieces now...the big bears and sheep. I did get a Rocky Mtn Bighorn in Colorado (home state). I have been applying for both Desert Bighorn and Shiras moose in Colorado since 1990. I have had all toes and fingers crossed for years. If I successfully draw these tags, I will hunt without a guide. As secondary goals, I am trying to complete SCI's World Hunting Award Program (with archery gear), and I would like to harvest a "good representative of the species" deer in all fifty states. I am 108 different species into accomplishing SCI's program and 24 deer from 26 states (I will need to return to Maryland and Louisana).
 
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Nevada Mike

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Now, figure in the TIME it will take to draw all the tags with limited preference point, and factor in inflation.

The percentages posted apply to ANY legal animal, but not necessarily one you would want to collect.

There are not many people who have been able to collect ALL legal species of North American game. It's a challenge.

Just sayin'
 

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