One of the changes that the Wyoming Game & Fish Department has made is to have hunters apply online for permits.
“Due to the recent budget cuts, printing and distribution costs and temporary staff for processing paper applications was cut,” said Jennifer Doering, license section manager, in a press release. “We had planned to go paperless with our application process in 2015, the cuts moved our timeline up one year.”
While applying online for permits saves the Game & Fish Department money, there are advantages for hunters, as well. Online applications can be made at the last minute so an applicant doesn’t have to worry about his/her application arriving on time via the U.S. Postal Service. Also, an applicant can plan and coordinate with hunting buddies to be on the same page.
“We anticipate some of our customers will need help with the process, so we have very knowledgeable and professional staff members in all of our offices across the state and in our call center who are ready to help,” Doering said. “In addition to our staff, each office will have a computer station available for walk-ins to apply right on the spot. We are trying to make it as easy as possible.”
While the online applications may be new to some, the majority of applicants (95 percent) already are using Wyoming’s electronic licensing system. You can access the ELS by logging onto to the Game & Fish website, wgfd.wyo.gov.
Along with the requirement to purchase hunting licenses online comes a reminder that the deadline for applying for resident and nonresident moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and bison is Feb. 28 at 5 p.m.
“Drawing odds vary depending on species and hunt area,” according to WGFD. “Preference points have been available for both moose and bighorn sheep for 18 years and 75 percent of the quotas for each species are issued in the preference point drawing. The remaining 25 percent is issued in a random drawing without regard for preference point totals. Preference points are not available for mountain goat licenses, but goat licenses are limited to one in a lifetime.”
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Finally, the Game and Fish has instituted a super tag and trifecta raffle.
The raffles enable a hunter to get extra chances to draw a license for big-game species like elk, deer, antelope, moose, bighorn sheep, black bear, gray wolf, mountain goat, mountain lion and bison.
There will be 10 super tags drawn and one trifecta. The raffle tickets are $10 and the trifecta tickets cost $30. People can apply online for the tickets. Essentially, a person goes online and purchases tickets for the species he/she wishes to hunt. Ticket sales cease on May 1. There is no limit on the number of tickets a person can buy.
The advantage of this raffle is that the applicants can apply for the specific species.
“Winners can hunt any open hunt areas for the species they win except moose and bighorn sheep, for which minimal limitations will be imposed to protect herds in specific hunt area with low quotas,” WGFD said. “The winner of the moose super tags will be able to select any moose area as long as there are more than l0 licenses. For bighorn sheep, the hunter may select areas where more than eight licenses are available.”
The raffles are open to anyone — resident or nonresident. The winners don’t lose their preference points, nor do they have to undergo mandatory waiting periods.
“Winners of the raffle, after purchasing the appropriate license, will be able to hunt in any open hunt area for the species they win. Hunters must still follow all dates, regulations and applicable laws for each hunt area and species they are hunting.”