If you’ve paid any attention to the world of Western Big Game Hunting lately, then you’ve surely heard of goHUNT. This is the subscription service that gives you access to buckets of information for any state you could want to hunt in the West, whether your hunt plans involve grizzly bears or monster bucks…draw odds, trophy potential, success rates…how they pull all these stats together is the greatest blend of hardcore hunting and number-crunching nerdery I’ve ever seen! I’ve watched from afar for a couple years, but never justified the added expense in my mind. Sure, these things would be nice to know, but do I really need to have the assurance that I’m getting drawn this year? Or should I just keep waiting for my card to get hit on draw-day like a kid at Christmas? (A kid who more often than not gets disappointed by socks and church-slacks). So, if you’re the average hunter who knows some stuff, but would certainly like to know more about hunting opportunities that are out there…is GoHunt worth it?
Well, goHUNT is currently offering a 30-Day free trial! It’s not a limited use thing – you get access to ALL the information – you just have to put in your credit card info and remember when your 30 days is up or you’ll get automatically signed up for their yearly subscription (if I had a nickel for every time I accidentally got charged for a free trial, I’d definitely have a few nickels). But, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to determine once and for all if the GoHunt subscription (currently $149/yearly) is worth the money. So, I’ve been playing around with “The Insider” for a couple weeks now, and here is my take on the situation…
If Hunting Multiple States…of Course!
If you’re a guy who is already hunting multiple states across the West, you’re probably already using goHUNT…you’ve also probably stopped reading by now. But, if you aren’t using goHUNT and you are (or want to be) hunting multiple states, I don’t know how you’d do it without this tool! You can filter an entire state so specifically tailored to what you’re looking for, it eliminates so much of what would otherwise be searching for a needle in a giant, far-away haystack. You can tell the software exactly what you’re looking for (or what you care about most) in terms of trophy potential, amount of public land in the unit, and harvest success. You can also select specific seasons/weapons, or – what I have found extremely eye-opening – leave that set to ANY, and then you can see the different draw-odds available if you’re willing to be flexible on seasons and weapons.
Having all this information at your fingertips, you can now better plan-out your Fall from year to year. If you’re coming up on 100% draw odds for two conflicting hunts, you can know to just put in for another point in one of those (so you don’t draw two overlapping tags and find yourself forced to choose…possibly losing all those points you had built up). More than the planning side, I think goHUNT is an amazing tool for seeing what opportunities are out there. I found myself getting lost looking at moose statistics in CO or ID, and comparing out of state Elk odds to the Over the Counter opportunities that already exist. I could see how if time and money were no object, I could easily end up with more tags than I could possibly hunt in a year just pouring through the options that are out there (and there is A LOT of opportunity out there).
Okay, that’s great for the ambitious types that somehow have time and money to spend their whole Fall traveling all over the West hunting, but what if you just want to hunt a few species in your home state as often as possible…should you really pay $149 every year for all this info?
If Hunting One State…Still Really Helpful!
Short answer: goHUNT offers a ton of value for the single-state hunter! I’ve spent hours every year pouring over the regulations, draw tables, and anything else I could get from Game and Fish for my home state of AZ. Ten minutes into exploring the goHUNT Insider, and I was already finding hunts or stats I had never noticed before. For instance: I realized that if I ever want to hunt antelope in my lifetime (despite currently sitting on 11 points), I’m going to need to look to archery. For about a decade now I have waited to draw a speed-goat tag, and never even come close…but in about 3 years or so, I should be all but guaranteed an archery antelope tag in a couple units. If I keep putting in for the same old spot with the same old rifle tag, my odds don’t leave the low-single digits for another decade (and I’m just not lucky enough to keep rolling those dice).
I also found a couple ideas I never would have really considered if I wasn’t poking around all the species and hunt information. For instance, I typically draw a rifle deer tag in a nearby unit every other year (and I focus on OTC archery when I don’t draw). However, the particular area that had previously brought us so much success has had some predation issues, and it’s not much of a productive hunt anymore. As I’ve debated what to do about this in my long-term planning, goHUNT helped me realize that if I shift my focus, I’m guaranteed an archery tag in the Kaibab within 2 years! I’ve always been intrigued with the legendary monster bucks that come out of that unit, but never really looked into the odds…I just figured it was out of my reach. After seeing the numbers for myself, I can guarantee my application strategy for deer is changing next Spring!
The bottom line is this: if you’re the type of hunter that likes your spot in your unit and the hunt is really more about the camaraderie and the experience in your favorite place, then you don’t need goHUNT. Just put in your applications for the same hunt you and your buddies want to go on, and when you draw - you draw, and you’ll have a great year! If, however, you want to go hunting as much as humanly possible, and/or you really enjoy exploring new units and turning up animals in unfamiliar terrain, then goHUNT can SERIOUSLY help you with that pursuit (even if you never plan to leave your state).
Now, goHUNT will probably never make my list of absolute necessities when it comes to hunting expenses. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved my time with it! I just mean if someone has a really tight hunting budget, there are probably other pieces of gear, gas, food, or tags that they need to prioritize. However, if you’re on the fence and could scrape together the money, here is one more reason I think it’s worth the cost…
They Serve the Hunting Community = Worth Supporting!
I love when a company goes out of their way to serve their customers. Yes, every company wants to make money (and they need to…it’s how they keep the lights on and feed their families), but when I see a company provide what seems like an exorbitant amount of free content to the community they serve (whether they purchase from them or not), it gets my attention. goHUNT has one of the most robust content marketing operations of anyone I’ve seen in the outdoor space. Their blog is packed full of helpful articles that will make you a more effective hunter. They produce some of the finest hunting films I’ve seen in recent years (seriously, they started dropping some VERY high production-value stuff in the last couple years…you should check them out here, and your wife and kids will see you in a couple hours).
And here’s the deal: I produce written and video content for this site all the time, and I can tell you it is time-consuming and not cheap. The guys at goHUNT don’t NEED to produce all this content, and even if they did, they could easily justify making it exclusively available to those that have already paid for their service. But they don’t. They just keep putting out helpful and entertaining content for the masses, and not expecting a thing in return for it. Yes, some will begin to know and trust the brand, and ultimately choose to part with $149 for the services they offer. But, at that point, the company has already given them so much, that it only seems fair. When I see a company that adds value to those who have never (and may never) give them a dime, it makes me a whole lot more inclined to give them my business. If you’ve been considering becoming a goHUNT Insider for a while, spend some time perusing all the content they provide, and I bet you’ll feel like you’re getting quite the value for your hard-earned cash.
The Inside(er) Scoop (See what I did there?)
Here’s the truth: goHUNT didn’t ask me to write this…they don’t even know who I am or that this is going live on the interwebs. But, I am committed to helping you guys make the best possible decisions for your hunting efforts, and I’ve talked with several guys who (like me) were unsure about if paying for the goHUNT Insider was worth it. You’ve heard my arguments, and you can now make a slightly more informed decision. I think for anyone wanting to hunt out West who cares more about finding opportunities to hunt than they do sticking close to what is familiar, it’s absolutely worth the cost! They’ve made a believer out of me, for sure! That 30-Day Trial is still going on…head on over, create an account, and start looking at some hunts. I’m positive you’ll see some opportunities you’ve never considered before, and will probably have a busier hunt-calendar next Fall as a result!