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Hunters need to prepare for tag draw application process

With the holiday season now a thing of the past, the time has come to look forward to a hunting season somewhere.

While that statement may seem a bit premature, especially since the New Year has only just begun, there are tag draws about to get underway in Nevada, Utah and Arizona. If you snooze you may lose out on an opportunity you don’t want to miss.

Some might consider the tag application process as just another administrative hoop to jump through in a world filled with stacks of paperwork. But in the years since its inception, the draw has become an extension of the hunt.

Just as there are campfire stories shared about eventful days in the field, there are now stories shared about the draw and its outcome. In either case, there is an anticipation of what the result might be.

Nevada’s big-game tag draw won’t get underway until about mid-March, which means you have time to gather information and do on-the-ground research before committing to the draw.

Though the application deadline was extended to early May in 2020, I recommend that you plan to submit your application no later than mid-April. That will give you some wiggle room in case some unforeseen issue arises.

In the meantime, the curtain is about to go up on the draw for Nevada’s spring wild turkey season. Except for certain turkey hunts that require the signature of a landowner, your application for a wild turkey tag has to be submitted online www.ndowlicensing.com. The application deadline is Feb. 2, with results scheduled for release by March 5.

For resident adult hunters there are 14 limited-entry hunt choices scattered around the state that include a total of 83 tags between them. For resident junior hunters, ages 12 to 17, there are eight hunt choices, with a total of 16 tags available. Five hunt units are open for nonresident applicants, with a single tag in each.

Paradise Valley of Humboldt County has an open quota, but hunters must first obtain a signed application form from the participating landowners. The application must then be submitted through the mail. For more information about this hunt opportunity call 775-688-1500.

Utah’s big game draw opens Jan. 28 at https://wildlife.utah.gov, with an application deadline of 11 p.m. March 4. Keep in mind that is Mountain Standard Time. You will need a current hunting license to apply or you can purchase one as part of the draw process. Results of Utah’s draw will be made available on or before May 31.

“When you submit your application, you’ll be charged an application fee for each species … you applied for. The application fee is $10 for residents and $15 for nonresidents. If you haven’t bought your license yet, you’ll also be charged a license fee. You will not be charged a permit fee unless you draw a permit,” according to the Utah Application Guidebook.

Non-residents can apply for certain limited-entry units for buck deer, elk, pronghorn and specified once-in-a lifetime hunts. They also can apply for an archery, any legal weapon, or muzzleloader buck deer permit, but an applicant “may not obtain more than one buck deer or one bull elk permit each year.”

Arizona’s permit-tag draw should open any day for pronghorn and elk at www.azgfd.gov. Just click on “Apply for a Draw.” All applications must be submitted online no later 11:59 p.m. Arizona time on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Successful applicants should receive their permit-tags in the mail in early April.

“When applying for a hunt, you must have a license valid through deadline day of that draw. If drawn for a hunt permit-tag, you must also have a valid license at the time of the hunt,” notes the Arizona Game Fish Department. Licenses can be purchased online or through a license vendor. AZGFD has an office in Kingman, about an hour south of Hoover Dam.

The initial application fee is $13 per application for Arizona residents and $15 for nonresidents, in addition to a license fee if you do not already have one when you submit your application. You will only be charged for the hunt permit-tag if drawn for that species.

Something to consider if you have a youth hunter is that Arizona offers a youth-only hunt for elk at a cost of just $65. The youth combination hunting and fishing license is $5 for both residents and nonresidents.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. Find him on Facebook at @dougwritesoutdoors. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com

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