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Narrow window now open for more hunting in Arizona

Feeling lucky? If so, the state of Arizona is offering you the chance to draw an additional permit tag for elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer just in time for Christmas. Note the term additional.

The permit tags are for new limited-entry hunts that the Arizona Game and Fish Department says should not be confused with the annual draws. Those take place in the months of February, June and October. Applications for these limited-entry hunts must be submitted right now. The deadline is Friday night. As in tomorrow.

If you think that is coming up quick, consider this. Successful applicants will be contacted by AZGFD the week of Dec. 6. That begins Monday.

A total of six limited-entry permit tags are up for grabs. Two each for elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. The season for elk and mule deer gets underway Dec. 20 and runs through Feb. 15. For white-tailed deer the dates are Jan. 1 through Feb. 28.

Successful applicants will each have their own set of game management units to hunt because each tag is for a specific list of units. There is no overlap. So, if you choose to put your name in the hat, be sure you know where you might be going if you draw a tag. Winter weather could be an issue.

Participating in the limited-entry draw will not affect your ability to participate in the draws for any other hunts during the year, nor will it impact your bonus points. Moreover, animals harvested during these limited-entry hunts do not count in annual bag limits.

“The issuance of a specific number of limited-entry permit tags will not adversely affect management objectives for a species or area,” the AZGFD said in a news release. “These hunts will not impact the number of permit tags made available for the annual draws. The related harvest will have an insignificant impact on wildlife populations.”

Arizona is hoping the limited-entry permit tags will draw enough interest to generate revenue sufficient “to maintain current operations and limit or eliminate the need to increase license and hunt permit-tag fees.”

So, how much will it cost to test your luck?

Non-resident application fees are $15 per hunt number selected. Arizona residents will pay $13. You won’t need a valid Arizona hunting license to participate in the draw, but you obviously will need one if you are successful in drawing one of the permit tags.

Payment for the permit tag will be required before it can be mailed to successful applicants.

While drawing one of the six tags could take some luck, keep in mind that you can’t draw if you don’t apply. This is an individual affair as group applications will not be accepted.

Christmas Expo

If you are looking to put an outdoor spin on your holiday shopping, you may want to stop by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Hunter Outdoor Christmas Expo. The annual event is taking place in the South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center in conjunction with The Cowboy Channel Cowboy Christmas. Admission is free and open to the public.

For those who might want a sneak preview, a list of vendors can be found online at www.rmef.org/events/hunter-outdoor-christmas/. The events will run through the 10 days of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, ending on Dec. 11. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

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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