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Big game hunters are about to see a big change to the timing of the draw for two of the most popular hunting seasons in Arizona. This will be the first year that the Arizona Game and Fish Department holds a winter draw for elk and antelope tags.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission conducted a special meeting on Oct. 27 to set the application schedule for the new winter draw. The idea of the switch is to let hunters know early enough whether they have been drawn for these two popular big game animals, prior to their applying for fall deer, turkey, javelina, bear and buffalo hunts during the traditional application process in the spring.
The application deadline for elk and antelope is Feb. 13. Hunt permit-tags and refund warrants will be mailed out by April 27.
“The commission will actually set the permit numbers for the elk and antelope hunting seasons during its meeting on Dec. 9 in Phoenix, but we wanted to have the application schedule set now so potential applicants can better plan ahead,” said Assistant Director Richard Rico, special services division.
The department will begin accepting applications for elk and antelope as soon as the regulations are posted on the department’s Web site at azgfd.gov. That posting should occur by the end of December. The printed regulations should be available at hunting license dealers by Jan. 12.
The grace period for the winter draw will end at 5 p.m. on Jan. 19. During the grace period, if a paper hunt-permit tag application that is manually submitted contains an error, then the department will make three attempts within a 24-hour period to notify the applicant by telephone (if a phone number is provided).