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The era of the paper application process to apply for the lottery drawing to hunt big game in Arizona has come to an end.

May 14th was the last day to apply for big game hunts for the fall of 2019 with a paper application. The actual deadline for the drawing is June 11th provided one applies online.

All big game hunts for 2020 will be accepted only online. This is obviously a much-needed change, which may be a bit uncomfortable for some longtime hunting veterans.

I vividly recall sitting at the kitchen table with the paper envelope and the corresponding Arizona Game and Fish Department hunting regulation booklet deciding which unit to choose.

This was usually done with my longtime friend and hunting partner, Bob Ortlund, where we always double-checked each other’s application forms making sure there were no errors.

Then, we sealed the envelope placed the stamp, and made a run to the post office so the application had no chance of getting lost.

Well, those days are over.

I have done online applications numerous times in recent years with some frustration, but that is no doubt my fault. This entire process is definitely teaching an old dog new tricks.

After having applied a few times online, I can certainly see the value of the process. If I made a mistake the program would not allow me to go any further in the application process until I corrected the error.

By implementing the application process totally online there has to be tremendous cost saving for the AZGFD in paper, printing and publishing the hunting regulations in magazine form. I hope the money saved goes directly to big game improvement within the state of Arizona.

The processing fee is $13 for each permit applied for which would include the popular firearms deer hunts, fall turkey, and the precious sheep tags which is everyone’s dream hunt to draw.

If the computer randomly draws your application then, the remaining cost of the tag will be charged to your credit card. A word of warning, do not switch cards during the application and drawing process because the old credit card number will be the one charged. The computer will show error in the application process and negate your permit.

There is always the chance of human error in typing the wrong number for a permit and this happens every year in Arizona to some unlucky hunter.

Drawing the wrong unit or the wrong species can be very disheartening, but by purchasing Point Guard for $5 one can keep their ever-precious bonus points and be eligible for the next year’s drawing.

In reality, all permit applications online had to happen in a world of instantaneous information with computers. The process will certainly reduce human error and it is much quicker eventually, even to a self-professed Luddite who still struggles with a battered flip phone.

Don’t forget, the deadline for the application process for fall big game hunts is June 11th.

I guess Bob and I will gather around my computer where he can walk me through the process.

Good luck drawing your big game hunt of a lifetime.

The Arizona high country is God’s creation and a great place to hunt.

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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