By Shandi Martinez, License Application Service Manager, January 2015
Here we are once again, starting another application season. Like every other year, I find myself in disbelief that it’s here already. Regardless, it’s time for me to help you in any way that I can to successfully submit all of the applications you want to submit. My goal is to help you easily navigate each state’s application process and give you a heads up on common problems and mistakes that I’ve seen in hopes that our members are not the ones making those mistakes.
Even though Arizona’s online system seems to have problems every year, we still highly recommend applying online as opposed to applying with a paper application. If you apply with a paper application, you must send in the entire tag fees in the form of a check with the application and you must send them the license fee with each application submitted, if you don’t have a license already. You must send each application in a separate envelope with a separate check. If you apply online, you only have to submit the $15 application fee per species and purchase one license.
Besides being cheaper, it’s just too easy to make a mistake when applying on paper. When applying online, there’s no way you can send the wrong fees in, and the only mistake you can make is applying for the wrong unit, which brings me to my next point. Every year, without fail, I get one or two calls from guys who accidentally applied for a cow hunt, drew the tag, and lost all their points. I hate having to give them the bad news that there’s no way to get their points back! This mistake occurs because of how the hunts are listed in the regulations. The antlerless elk is listed among bull elk, so it’s really easy when you’re looking up the hunt code to find your unit and use the code for antlerless elk instead of bull elk. Make sure you’re paying close attention to this. When you apply online, after entering the code, it will drop down to show the unit that corresponds to that hunt code. Make sure that it either says Bull Elk or Any Elk in that description.
If you do apply online, make sure you give them a good credit card that can handle the full tag fee if you draw. If you get a new card before they draw, go on their website and update your card information. You don’t want to miss out on your tag because your credit card declined.
Last year, Arizona changed their license to be valid for 365 days rather than the calendar year. However, they don’t currently have a good system in place to tell you if you already have a valid license or not. If you purchased a license last year, you’ll need to check the dates that it is valid for. If they automatically insert your license number, you don’t have to worry about it, but if it’s not there and your license is still valid, you’ll have to enter your license number. If you apply for species in both application periods, you’ll end up buying a new license every year anyway. However, if you only apply for species in one application period (i.e. elk and antelope or deer, sheep, and/or Bison), you could time it so that you only have to buy a license every other year. That’s $160 more that you can spend on hunting gear in our new store at huntinfoolstore.com!
As of last year, Wyoming only allows applicants to apply online. When applying for the draw, applicants must pay the entire tag fees at the time of application using a Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express. If you just want a point this year, you only have to pay the point fees up front, which are different for every species.
Wyoming breaks up their species into three different deadlines, plus a different deadline to apply for points only. The first deadline is for elk, and it is the end of January, so don’t miss out. Sheep, moose, and goat are due at the end of February. This year, they have moved the deadline for deer and antelope back 2 1/2 months to May 31st. Although these species will be available to apply for in January, we recommend waiting to apply until we’ve published the information in our May issue in case of winter die-offs, etc. Besides, they’re going to hold your money until after the draw, so you might as well be earning interest on that money instead of Wyoming! It’s a lot of deadlines to remember, but if you happen to miss one, you can always purchase a point later since the points only application period is only available from July to September.
The question I get asked the most about Wyoming is about the different priced licenses for deer, elk, and antelope. The only difference between the Special license and the Regular license is that they have different drawing odds. The Special licenses cost more to apply for, and in most cases, the Special license has better odds than the Regular license. Once the tag is issued, the licenses are for the same area and offer the same privileges, regardless of which one you applied for. We list the odds for both in this issue, so compare the odds for the unit you want and decide if the increase in odds is worth the extra money to you. It might make the difference in guaranteeing you a tag or not. Wyoming also uses “types” to signify limitations on a unit. It can be for the gender, the season dates, the type of weapon permitted, or the portion of a unit the license is valid for. Type 4 or 5 can often mean “antlerless,” so be careful! You can review the different options on their website.
Wyoming is one of the few states that allows applicants to modify or withdraw an application after it has been submitted. You can easily modify which unit you applied for online once you log in. If you withdraw your application, you will get your money back after the draw, minus a minimal application fee, and you can still purchase a point later on. The only change that is not quite as easy to fix is changing your application choice from a Special license to a Regular license. You must withdraw your application and forfeit the minimal application fee, plus a little extra, and then reapply for the license you want.
Good luck in the draws! Feel free to call me if you have questions or if you want me to handle your applications for you.