Avid Wyoming Hunter sets up raffle in exchange for deer tags

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Zachary Key and Family Hunting – Photo Courtesy of Zachary Key

Emma Marsing, [email protected]

WYOMING — The state of Wyoming saw one of the harshest winters this past season. Due to the negative temperatures and vast snow storms, the wildlife population declined especially within the deer population. Therefore, Wyoming native and active hunter Zachary Key, came up with an idea with an overall goal of letting more deer live and reproduce this upcoming season.

What Sparked the Idea for the Raffle?

The idea stemmed from the intense winter the state of Wyoming experienced this year. The antelope population, elk population, and the deer population saw a turn for the worst this season, as very little vegetation was to be found and snow height made it nearly impossible to move through. “I’m in Oil and Gas, I drive these roads on daily basis and it’s just death, death, death, death, everywhere. All the ones that were alive are I mean, literally looked like walking death essentially.”

Key mentioned to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department at the Commission Meeting in Casper, asking if the board would be doing any unique cuts or doing things differently within certain regions. With that being said, Key proposed to the board seeing if they would be interested in doing a raffle to take the pressure off the deer. The commission seemed to be welcoming of the idea but felt it wasn’t appropriate for them to ask the public to buy a tag that will inevitablly contribute to a raffle. Therefore, Key took the idea under his wing and watched it flourish across the state.

 

“I couldn’t believe the momentum out of the gate. Within a week I had probably $80,000 worth of prizes, in two weeks it was $100,000 worth of prizes and right now I am sitting at $111,000 worth of prizes.”

Key’s Background in Wildlife Conservation

Key is a La Barge, Wyoming resident and Wyoming native of 38 years. After graduating high school, Key’s main passion and goal was to go into Wildlife Biology at the University of Wyoming but ended up in the oilfield and never looked back. Regardless of that, Key keeps that passion as a motivation to help with Wildlife Conservation in any aspect he can. Key has raised over $839,000 for Muley Fanatics, which he has been apart of since 2015. He is also a current member of the Elk Feed Ground Task Force which was put together by Governor Gordon and Director of the Game and Fish Department Brian Nesvik, and he has also contributed money to any project imagined revolving around Wildlife Conservation.

Key is the area manager for SOS Well Services and uses it as the platform to go do fencing projects and habitats around the area. This SOS Well Services region area is also one of the two or three companies in Wyoming that has Wildlife Conservation License Plates on 30 of their company vehicles.

“I am passionate as heck about the wildlife, and then I’m like we have got to do something, just doing nothing seem’s inappropriate. I realize that not killing a few bucks is not going to save the world, I get it, but they also said we went from 30,000 Mule Deer in the Wyoming Range to 10,000-12,000. Wyoming Range Mule Deer herd used to be 60,000 and now we’re talking that we’re down to 10,000. Why not take a few hunters out of the hills and reduce the pressure off the deer?”

As of yesterday, June 13, 2023, Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik stated in an interview with Cowboy State Daily, that 80% of the adult deer and this year’s crop of fawns has been wiped out. That now leads to around 6,000 of the Mule Deer in the range.

#LetaDeerWalk Raffle

Wyoming Game and Fish begins their drawing for elk, deer, and antelope this Thursday, June 15, 2023, where all hunters await the results to see if they got a tag in a specified area. Once a hunter has been notified of the tag they have received, they are to put their name and phone number on the Caracas Coupon and mail it directly to Key at P.O. Box 147, La Barge, WY, 83123. Key will then take the coupon and fill out a raffle ticket which will directly go into the raffle.

In terms of the drawing, Key is planning on doing it old school by placing all the raffle tickets into a tumbler and pulling them out that way. Key will then call and video the drawing where the winner will get the opportunity to choose the prize they want out of the ones that are left.

Licenses are due by August 5, 2023. Drawing will take place August 15, 2023.

Raffle Prizes

  • 1. 2024 Commissioner License
  • 2. A Whole Beef – Cut – Wrapped – Frozen
  • 3. Custom Truck Build
  • 4. Custom Rifle, chambered in a 6.5 PRC
  • 5. Sportsman 450 Four-Wheeler
  • 6. Deer Hunters Optics Package
  • 7. $5,000 – Nielsen Furniture and Appliance Gift Card
  • 8. $3,000 – Rocky Mountain Discount Sports Gift Card
  • 9. 2023/2024 WY Guided Mountain Lion Hunt – One guide, one hunter

  • 10. 2023/2023 WY Fall YOUTH Black Bear Hunt – One hunter, one non-hunter
  • 11. 2024/2025 WY Spring or Fall Black Bear Hunt – One hunter, one guide
  • 12. Eight Day Wolf Hunt – Alberta Canada – One hunter, one guide
  • 13. $2,000 in Kuiu Gift Cards
  • 14. Mule Deer Shoulder Mount
  • 15. $1,000 Gift Cards towards Taxidermy Work of Person’s Choice
  • 16. $500 Gift Card towards Taxidermy of Work of Person’s Choice
  • 17. Redneck Survival Kit
  • 18. Deer Hunters Camp Package

A more in depth look into these prizes can be found on Zachary Key’s Facebook Page, where he does in-depth videos on each prize.

No Shaming

Key urges the community to not shame anyone that still decides to go deer hunting this season. He stated, “I am an avid hunter, an avid outdoorsman. I’ve had my kids hunting since they could walk, so get everybody get outdoors, go fishing, go shoot a bear, go wolf hunting, go elk hunting, go whitetail hunting. Having some buck harvest is still appropriate, it’s not going to hurt anything to go out there and kill some bucks. Please do not shame anybody that does. My program has got zero ill intent.”

Key ended very profoundly by stating, “We are excited about the program and you if you want to support the program, do, and if you want to go deer hunting, then do that too. I want people to hunt, I want people outdoors, I want people camping, I want people spending time with their family. Everything I did, I thought about so deeply.”