By Shandi Martinez, License Application Service Manager, February 2015
The application season is in full swing now with a couple deadlines down and a lot more to go! The next few months hold a lot of important deadlines, so make sure you’re keeping up with the states we cover in the Huntin’ Fool magazine and getting your applications submitted on time.
Utah’s online system is one of the easiest to navigate, and they accept all credit cards. Utah requires that applicants have a valid hunting license when applying. Their license is valid for 365 days, so if you do it right, you only have to buy a license every other year. You can look on your license from last year to see the dates that it is valid. If you can’t find it, Utah’s system will automatically know if you have a valid license or not. If you don’t, you will be required to buy one. If your license is still valid, it will skip the step entirely, so if it never asks you to buy a license, you don’t have to worry about it! If you happen to draw a tag, you would be required to purchase a license at that point.
Since each species is only $10 to apply for once you’ve purchased a license and Utah has trophy potential for all species, we highly recommend every applicant apply for every species they are even remotely interested in or at least build points each year until you’re ready to try to draw.
New Mexico makes changes to their online application system often, and this year is no exception. In the past, you were allowed three unit choices for sheep and you could mix Desert sheep and Rocky Mountain sheep in those choices. This year, you will choose which type of sheep you want as your first choice, then you can choose three units for that type of sheep. After that, you can choose the other type of sheep, if you want to apply for both, and choose three units for that type of sheep. You will only choose a third choice if you want to apply for a ewe tag. For example, you can select the Desert sheep hunt code (1-204) as your first choice and choose three Desert sheep units. Then you can select the Rocky Mountain sheep hunt code (1-201) as your second choice and choose three Rocky Mountain sheep units. Essentially, you can have six unit choices for a ram tag and still just pay the tag fee for sheep one time.
New Mexico requires the purchase of a hunting license to apply, but an applicant can specify that they want it refunded if they are unsuccessful in the draw. When you check the box to add your license to your order, there’s another checkbox below it to request a refund. It’s easy to miss, so pay attention! Since New Mexico requires the full tag fees up front, a lot of people apply for New Mexico closer to the deadline. Every year this causes their website to struggle and sometimes shut down completely, so I would recommend applying at least a week before the deadline so you don’t have to worry about it.
With the new allocation of tags, the odds are still better if you contract with an outfitter ahead of time and apply in the outfitter draw. Since this only requires the outfitter and the hunter to spend a portion of 2 different days together in the unit, it’s definitely worth considering, even if you’re normally a self-guided guy. It might be worth it for the increase in odds!
Oregon’s online application system is fairly easy to use. Their paper application is fairly easy also, and tag fees aren’t required up front either way. If you choose to apply with a paper application, you can fax it in using a credit card for payment. You can also easily modify your application once submitted, you’ll just want to call them and get the details. If you apply online, you will first click on “Buy a Document” and select your hunting license, then you will continue until you get to “Controlled Hunt Apps.” From there, you will select each species you are applying for and select your unit choices.
As with all states that require you to purchase a license to apply, if you are going to apply for anything in Oregon, make sure you apply for everything you are interested in as each species is only an additional $8. Oregon offers several species that you can’t hunt in other states, such as Roosevelt elk, Rocky Mountain elk, Columbian Whitetail deer, and Blacktail deer. You can only apply for one type of deer and one type of elk, but your deer points can go toward any type of deer and your elk points can go toward any type of elk, regardless of which one you applied for in the past.
As a non-resident, Montana requires you to apply for the Special permits at the same time you apply for the General permit, and then it requires you to specify what you want to do with your General permits if you don’t draw a Special permit. 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 permit, request a refund for the General elk license and be issued a General deer license. No matter which one you choose, you can still get an 80% refund for the General license before August 1st and a 50% refund before the start of the season. Montana allows applicants to purchase a preference point for the deer and elk combination from July to September, but since they’ve had leftover tags for the past several years, we don’t recommend paying the $50 point fee.
If you can’t find time to submit your applications, consider using our License Application Service. You can sign up on our website, or we can take your information over the phone. In 5-10 minutes, we can get you set up for the whole year so you never miss another deadline!