By Shandi Martinez, License Application Service Manager, March 2016
We’ve made it through some important deadlines, but we’re not even close to being done. The License Application Department is very busy this time of year with so many deadlines so close together, but we’re always happy to help you through it. We are extremely knowledgeable about all of the application processes across the West, not to mention we’re a lot easier to get ahold of than most of the state game and fish departments. Hopefully these tips can give some guidance so you don’t get hung up while working through so many complex application processes.
While I definitely recommend applying and building points in Colorado, they have one of the worst application processes out of all the states. For starters, they require the entire tag fees to be paid up front, even if you’re applying for Points Only. Also, non-residents are required to apply for sheep, moose, and goat on a paper application with a check or money order. You can’t just print an application either, you have to have an original paper application, which is inside the regulations. If you’ve applied in the past, they should automatically mail the regulations to you, but if not, you’ll want to get them ordered so you can get your application in on time. For the past several years, they have offered printable applications on their website a few days before the deadline, but I wouldn’t recommend waiting until then as there are no guarantees that they will offer them again.
Be very careful when filling out and sending in your paper applications as it is very easy to make a mistake and they are not reluctant to reject your application. The application forms are species specific and must be mailed in a separate envelope with a separate check and mailed to a separate address. You have to send the exact amount of money, and make sure you buy a habitat stamp. If you apply for deer, elk, or antelope online, you’ll buy your habitat stamp then and you won’t have to include it with your paper applications.
Colorado also has the harshest hunter education requirement of all the states as it is required for anyone born on or after January 1, 1949. They are making some good changes in the future by implementing a new test-out option for hunters age 50 or older and U.S. military personnel and a one-time apprentice license for youth who have not taken a hunter education course, but neither one will be implemented until the day after the deadline this year.
The last thing I want to warn you about with Colorado, because I get calls from members every year panicking about it, is that if you apply for Points Only for elk, it will show up as “Antlerless Elk.” This is nothing to worry about as elk points count toward either sex, and they’re actually saving you money up front by only requiring the antlerless fee.
Idaho has an online and a paper application. You are required to buy a license and pay the tag fees up front for sheep, moose, and goat, and you can only apply for one of those three species. If you apply online, they charge a 3% transaction fee, which ends up costing you about $65 extra. This is the one state that gives a real advantage to applying on paper, although that means you have to pay with a check rather than a credit card.
If you apply on paper, you can buy the license and apply for the tag at the same time with one envelope and one check. Paper applications have to be postmarked by April 30th, but if it gets there too late, the postmark won’t guarantee that you’ll be in the draw. Last year we had a member who postmarked his application in time, but it got there after they had started the process, so his application was rejected. Try to get them in before the deadline, just in case. When applying online, you have to purchase your license first and you will only get one chance to print it out. You will then go to “Controlled Hunt Applications,” choose your units, enter your license number, and check out.
Kentucky has an extremely easy and self-explanatory application system. Non-residents can apply for up to four hunts, including two antlered permits and two antlerless permits, one rifle and one archery for each. The cost is only $10 for each one you apply for, and you don’t even have to choose any units.
As a non-resident, Montana requires you to apply for the Special tag at the same time you apply for the General tag and then you can specify what you want to do with your General tag if you don’t draw a Special tag. You can choose to turn back your General tag for an 80% refund immediately, keep the General tag, or, if unsuccessful for the Special elk tag, request a refund for the General elk license and keep the General deer license. If you don’t want the General tag and don’t draw a Special tag, you end up paying about $200 to get points for both species. It’s costly, and it’s the only way to gain points for limited-entry permits. You can choose to pay $20 for a bonus point, but one is not required.
Feel free to call us here at the office with any additional questions you might have about the state application processes. Our License Application team is ready to help you in any way we can.