What's a controlled hunt?

Controlled Hunts

Animals and roads just don't mix, so when population levels start to soar so do other unfortunate occurrences like car accidents.
Animals and roads just don't mix, so when population levels start to soar so do other unfortunate occurrences like car accidents.
Gerry Johansson/Photonica/Getty Images

Controlled hunts can go by ­other names; quota hunts is one example. But whatever the term used, they all basically boil down to the same thing. As opposed to open season, controlled hunts are more limited in the number of hunters allowed to participate and in the amount of game those participants can kill. Hunters might enjoy themselves while hunting, and their families and friends might thank them for days of hearty meals, but these hunts serve a distinct purpose.

Controlled hunts manifest in different ways depending on local and state regulations. In some places, they're held on managed lands that generally aren't open to hunting; in others, they're held in locations where unrestricted hunting could lead to problems such as overharvesting and safety issues. Wildlife departments report that controlled hunts help ease overpopulation burdens in a smart, measured manner.

The competition for controlled hunts can be fierce; hunters might try for years to land a slot, and there are a variety of reasons for that persistence. Controlled hunts often last longer than regular open seasons, the locations tend to be more high-profile and the chance of success rises.

The number of people awarded permits is based on a variety of factors, ranging from the acreage of the land to the population statistics of the wildlife inhabiting it. Controlled hunts are commonly divided up into a bunch of different categories depending on several factors. These might include the species, age and sex of the game being hunted or the gender and age of the hunter. The habitat is another consideration, as is the type of weapon being used for the kill. Different dates may be included in different categories, and some categories are frequently offered for group or partner hunts.

Hunters must apply to participate in controlled hunts, and the winners are generally selected through a lottery system. If there are open slots after the lottery, hunters are often allowed to buy leftover permits. For more information about hunting and ways to survive in the wilderness, continue onto the next page.

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