With hunting season winding down and springtime fishing just months away, what do outdoorsmen do to prepare themselves for the year 2013.
First, buy that Arizona combination hunting and fishing license for the very reasonable fee of $54. The combination license does not require a trout stamp, so you can save a couple of dollars for fishing lures. Pick up license applications in Payson at the local Wal-Mart or the new Big 5 Sporting Goods store.
If your plans include hunting antelope or elk next fall, you need to apply for those big game permits that are selected in a lottery drawing by mid-April. The early allocation allows hunters to plan other hunts around these dates if successfully drawn. This also gives a person enough time to apply in a neighboring state if not drawn in Arizona.
Get the hunting booklet for antelope and elk with the paper application at both sporting goods stores. In filling out the brief form, make sure that every detail is complete with a signature and the correct check amount. You’ll find a sample application on page 11 of the booklet, which will help prevent a mistake — which could get your application thrown out with no chance of drawing one of those special tags.
A person can also apply online by going to the home page of the Arizona Game and Fish Department at www.azgf.gov and clicking on big-game applications. Follow the procedures with your credit card in hand.
Most hunters have a favorite unit or season. But fill in the second choice box to increase the odds of hunting antelope or elk somewhere in Arizona. In making these selections, study pages 19 and 29 of the booklet that provides success rates for hunters placing a tag on an animal in that unit as well as the chances of even being drawn for a permit.
Some hunters have waited many years to draw a September rut elk hunt or a rifle antelope tag, but it’s easily worth the wait. With the bonus point plan implemented by the Game and Fish Department, a person not drawn one year will increase their chances in the next year’s drawing. Just study the booklet to establish your priorities when it comes to the big-game season. The deadline is Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in a regional office. Good luck in the draw and this weekend, enjoy the Arizona outdoors, God’s creation.