Raffle Winner Snares Visa to Go Everywhere He Wants to Be
Byline: INSIDE THE OUTDOORS By Mike Stahlberg The Register-Guard
Travis Ballard of Sutherlin should be featured in a MasterCard ad. It could go something like this ...
"Box of cartridges: $25.
"Hunting license: $22.50.
"Governor's combination deer and elk hunt ... priceless."
Ballard won the hunting equivalent of the daily double earlier this month in a drawing conducted at the Oregon Hunters Association convention in Seaside.
It wasn't exactly free. It cost $11 for a single ticket in the raffle conducted by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Access and Habitat Program.
And it's difficult to attach a value to the prize because the governor's statewide deer and elk hunt - first offered in 2002 - is arguably the best hunting experience available in Oregon. It's an experience only six hunters have ever had - winners of three previous raffles and a trio of high bidders at tag auctions.
The governor's tag provides a full three-month season (September, October and November), using any legal weapon anywhere in the state hunting is allowed. What more could an Oregon hunter ask for than an extended opportunity to pick out a really nice buck and a big bull elk?
Some hunters may assert that the bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goat hunts also raffled off by the Access and Habitat Program are more desirable. Those critters are more exotic, and opportunities to hunt them scare. But as hunts go, the challenge of bagging sheep or goat often resembles a mountain climb more than a hunting trip.
If one had to put a price on Ballard's prize, you could start with $38,000. That's how much an identical governor's statewide deer and elk tag sold for at auction at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation convention in Portland.
Or, you could argue that the governor's hunt is actually worth $55,000, considering someone paid $36,000 for a statewide deer-only hunt, while someone else bid $19,000 for statewide elk-only tag.
The combination hunt Ballard won is the equal of both those. …