Dec 2015 Application Tips by Shandi

By Shandi Martinez, License Application Service Manager, December 2015 

Wow, I don’t feel quite ready to be talking about 2016 yet, but since it’s already December, it’s definitely time to gear up for next year, even though it feels like we just barely finished the 2015 season. Now is the best time for all of our License Application clients to get renewed for 2016. This is also the best time to get signed up for our License Application Service if you haven’t used it before as deadlines will be passing before you know it. Oftentimes, people get busy and sign up late or start their own application process late and then miss one or two important application deadlines. Arizona, for example, gives you a loyalty point if you apply consistently for 5 years, and every year we have a few guys who miss out on getting their elk points, and thus lose out on the loyalty point, because they waited until mid-February to figure out their strategy for the year. We don’t want that to happen to you, which is why this issue is all about helping you get prepared now and getting a good plan in place. Take a look at the state-by-state overview to get started. It will give you an idea of what each state has to offer and their strengths and weaknesses. The idea is to help you formulate your plan, and you can dig in deeper to each state when we cover them in the upcoming issues, after the states have released their new information for the year.

Along with the state-by-state overview, this issue contains each of our Professional Hunt Advisor’s application strategies. Our PHAs have different goals and are at different stages of their longterm plans. Some are starting to cash in on the points they’ve been building for years, and others are just starting to build points in some states. I recommend reading through all of their application strategies and finding the one that is closest to your situation and goals, which will hopefully help you formulate your own strategy. Robert also included his application strategy for his 10 year old son, so check that out as well if you have kids who you want to build points for. As your kids get older, more and more states will be available for them to start applying in.

Every year, we recommend a couple things that you can take care of now to make sure you don’t miss any deadlines and make the application process go a little smoother. These recommendations don’t really change from year to year as we find that it continues to be helpful for anyone planning to apply to hunt big game. The first thing is making sure you have a good credit card to use for your applications. I recommend having a credit card that you only use for hunting as it makes it a lot easier to keep track of charges and refunds. Every state accepts Visa and MasterCard, so those are your best options as several states don’t accept American Express or Discover. If you’re applying for a lot of states, I’d recommend a credit limit of at least $10,000, in case you draw a great tag. The last thing you want is to draw a oncein- a-lifetime tag and have it taken away because your card didn’t go through. If you can get one of those cards with 0% interest, you’ll save yourself some money and then you can cancel it after all of the states have drawn. Also, make sure you know your billing address as using the wrong one can cause your card to decline.

The other big thing that we recommend, as it can cause some stress, is getting or finding your Hunter Education card. Unless you’re in your late 60’s, you will most likely need to have this handy in order to apply. Some states require a copy, while others will just require your Hunter Education number. If you’ve taken the course and can’t find your card, contact the state you got it in. Most of them will have it on file and can send you a duplicate. If you haven’t taken one, look at the Fish and Game website for your state and see if you can find a course close to you. If not, I have seen some courses that are offered completely online, rather than having to take the whole class or at least the shooting portion in person. These could be a great option to get a course done quickly.

One of the main purposes of the Huntin’ Fool magazine and several of the services we offer is to help you be able to apply on your own. However, we know that a lot of our members don’t have time to deal with all the deadlines and research of choosing which units to apply for or are overwhelmed with all of the different application processes and state websites. Some members also like the idea of having someone else take care of it for the first year or two until they get the hang of it and are comfortable enough to do it on their own. These members are the reason we offer a License Application Service. We offer the best value in the industry, and we spread out the fees as much as possible to make it a little easier on your bank account. We also apply children under 18 for free in the same states you’re applying in and offer discounts for your other family members. As a License Application client, you can be as involved in your application strategy as you would like. Some of our clients like to discuss each state with the PHAs to decide which units they want to apply in, while others just tell us what they want to apply for and where and what kind of animals they’re after and we take care of it from there.

We are here to help you in any way we can, whether it be through using our License Application Service, getting advice from our PHAs, or simply reading through the magazine each month. I’ll have “Application Tips” in each of the state issues to give you specific tips and advice on each state covered in that issue to help you avoid running into problems when you’re applying. Good luck in the draws, and let us know how we can help!