Congrats on the draw. I got drawn there three years ago and then got drawn again this year. The year I went everything was really green and there was not much action.
Here is the hunt in a nutshell...
They have pop up blinds that are numbered and each blind is set up with a corn feeder. Prior to the first hunt everyone draws a number and hunts the corresponding blind. You have to hunt that spot the first evening and first morning. After that, I think they let those who wish to redraw to do so if there are open spots. Due to the blind locations, there are distinct shooting lanes marked with flagging and you cannot shoot outside those boundaries. The blinds are sometimes located in camping areas. Mine last time was in an RV campground adjacent to the river. Beautiful setting, just not much animal activity that year. From what I have been able to ascertain, when you do see one, things happen fast because most of the time they are just passing through rather than coming to the feeder to eat. Most suggested keeping your rifle rested on your shooting sticks so you have the draw on the deer.
The park staff drive you to and from the blind. Usually 3 or 4 hunters riding in the back of the truck. Kind of feels like the mafia heading out to settle a score.
You can stay all day if you wish, but the truck comes by around 10am and 3pm. Hunters have to have bolts open 15 minutes prior to the truck times so no one is shooting while the truck is making its rounds. They do not want you tracking any wounded game during the hunt times. If you shoot something and it is DRT, then you can shoot another if the opportunity presents itself. If you cannot see it laying dead, then you cannot shoot another and have to wait until park staff arrives to help track.
I suggest bringing shooting sticks and a camp chair to sit in. My blind had a metal folding chair which would have made for a long sit. Most of us last time brought alfalfa or chaffhaye and put it out as well. However, like I stated, it was so green that there were just piles of hay everywhere. On my hunt one axis was killed and another was wounded. Others saw some, but couldn't get a shot. I did see lots of turkey.
The number of axis at GSP is definitely not what it used to be. When I was there the park ranger said the herd had been reduced from over 600 to around 200. This is in part to a program the state has implemented to reduce the axis population (meet the yearly quota) by hiring an outside company to kill then certify the meat for resale. This is conducted after the drawn hunts are completed. I still think its a good hunt because where I hunt there is 0% chance to kill an exotic and at GSP at least there is a fair chance.
I heard lots of mixed reviews about the GSP hunt prior to going. The hunt is what you make it. Yes, it is different from lots of other hunts and safety is a main focus. I found the staff to be very cordial and definitely willing to help in any manner possible. They want the axis killed. I camped in the park and met lots of nice folks. Since the park was closed to anyone except hunters, I didn't have to make a reservation. I'll probably call ahead this year just to confirm this. There are some places just outside the park where you can rent a cabin (http://frio4jrivercamp.com/cabins.html
), but I enjoy camping on these SP hunts.