We’ve been looking at draw and harvest information pretty intently for about 2 years here at Toprut. In that time, we have made several changes to the site since launch and continue to look for opportunities to improve upon the information we provide. In our time working with this stuff, one theme constantly reoccurs: There is always something interesting to be considered by looking a little closer at the details.
Wyoming is no exception.
Back in May of 2017 we changed the way we were processing Wyoming draw information. For this year’s release we have produced the hunt odds for all species using that same methodology. In addition, we have gone back to 2014 and reprocessed all of our historic data so that we have a clean and consistent set of numbers when comparing year to year.
To best illustrate how some of the numbers turn out the way they do, let’s look at a real example from the 2017 draw.
The 2017 WY Non-Resident Elk, NR Reg Random Draw report indicates that for Unit 39, Hunt Type 1 there were 89 eligible 1st Choice applicants and a total quota of 4 tags available. (Note: the total 89 excludes 1st Choice applicants who drew tags in the preference point round) From those numbers alone you can calculate a simple draw probability (4 / 89 = ~4.5%). This is a pretty standard method to calculate random draw odds in Wyoming and can in fact be a useful measure when comparing one hunt to another.
The 89 total applicants are a count of the total number of individuals who are eligible to draw the 4 available tags. But when we consider group applications, we learn that there were actually 17 group and 42 individual applications, for a total number of 59 eligible applications for those 4 tags. At this point we could calculate another simple draw probability that looks a bit different (4 / 59 = ~6.8%).
Now we have two different numbers and depending upon how you look at it, each is technically “correct” – although each are a measure of slightly different things. Which brings us to the question: in a world where the true accuracy of draw odds is something some people are willing to pay for, which of these numbers is accurate for this hunt?
The answer, of course, is neither.
In reality those group applications can really impact the outcome of the draw when they are successful. Especially for hunts that have a low quota total. In our example, 3 of those group applications had 4 or more party members. So if right out of the gate, one of those big group applications is successful, the entire tag quota of 4 will be instantly allocated. In 2017, greater than 40% of all individuals who applied for elk were members of a group application. Groups get drawn all the time. Groups are tag hungry and aren’t polite about taking one at a time.
In order to truly zero in on a more accurate number of what your chances actually were, the total number, size and ratio of groups to individual applicants must be considered along with quota (assuming there are group apps). And for that reason we began producing our draw odds in Wyoming via a computer simulation in May of last year. The data we feed the simulation is the actual applicant pool, complete with the real groups and all of the party members accounted for.
And in our example, the answer to the question about more "accurate” turns out to be 5.1%, which predictably, is somewhere between the 2 simple odds calculations we began with. In this particular instance it happens to be closer to the 1st number we calculated, but that is not always the case. The fluctuation between simple odds 1 and simple odds 2 truly depends on the group totals for each available hunt.
Admittedly there is not a huge difference in these numbers, but nonetheless we hope that there are some among you that find it interesting.