Big game application deadlines for ’04

An African safari might be the ultimate big game hunt, but most
hunters won’t go that far because of the hassles and the cost of
such a trip.

Hunters who consider themselves big-game chasers don’t have to
go to Africa, however, to enjoy an ultimate big game hunt. The
answer can be found by looking west and north right here in North
America.

Going on a western trip is not a spur-of-the-moment decision.
Nonresident license application deadlines are approaching, and
nonresident requirements can be stringent so you have to do some
planning.

The following is a list of great hunting locations in the United
States and Canada.

Alaska

Alaska has 12 species of big game animals spread over 365
million acres, making it a daunting challenge for even the most
adventurous of hunters. Nonresidents may hunt black bear, grizzly
bear, bison, caribou, Dall sheep, deer, elk, moose, mountain goat,
musk ox, wolf, and wolverine. Tag fees are relatively inexpensive,
varying from $30 for wolf on up to $1,100 for musk ox.

The bad news is that there isn’t always a nonresident hunt,
because preference is given to residents. The good news is that
with federal hunts and a host of other special hunts, there are
numerous opportunities available if you’re willing to be
flexible.

Contact: P.O. Box 25526, Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526; (907)
465-4100; www.adfg.state.ak.us

Arizona

Arizona is a good multi-species state with large numbers of
antelope, bear, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, javelina, buffalo, and
mountain lion. The premier species is elk.

License fees for Arizona vary from $113 for a deer tag to $371
for an elk tag on up to $920 for a bighorn sheep license. The
ultimate Arizona species is a buffalo bull, which is a
once-in-a-lifetime hunt and will cost $3,755 just for the
license.

In Arizona, all hunters go through the same process; they must
apply by June 10 any time after April 1.

Contact: Game and Fish Department; 2221 West Greenway Road,
Phoenix, AZ 85023-4399; (602) 942-3000; http://www.azgfd.com

Colorado

Colorado has the highest elk population in North America, and
the Division of Wildlife needs hunters’ assistance to continue
thinning the herd. Besides elk, Colorado has huntable populations
of deer, bear, antelope, moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain
goat.

Since Colorado spiked its license fees several years ago, the
number of hunters severely dropped for several years. That
reduction in pressure has not only increased the size of the herd,
but also the potential for a trophy. There’s an April 1 application
deadline; brochures will be available at the end of February.

Contact: Division of Wildlife, 660 Broadway, Denver, CO 80216;
(303) 297-1192; http://wildlife.state.co.us

Idaho

Idaho is another popular elk-hunting location, but is also good
for deer, bighorn sheep, mountain lion, antelope, and bear. More
than two-thirds of the state is public land and open to
hunting.

There’s lots of info for nonresidents in a special section of
the state’s web page. Idaho now has a nonresident tag enabling
hunters to take a black bear or mountain lion, instead of a deer,
where all are open.

The application process began Dec. 1 for nonresidents and is on
a quota system.

Contact: Department of Fish and Game, 600 S. Walnut St. P.O. Box
25, Boise, ID 83707; (208) 334-3700 or 1-800-554-8685;
www2.state.id.us/fishgame

Montana

The Big Sky State is on the boundary between mountain and
prairie, making it a good state for a variety of opportunities.
Montana has mule deer, whitetails, elk, moose, bighorn sheep,
antelope, bear, mountain lion, and mountain goat.

Deer and elk license information will be mailed out in January,
with a March 15 deadline. Hunters can call or e-mail to get on the
mailing list. All other species have an application deadline of May
1, and regulations will be mailed out at the end of March to
citizens on the mailing list.

Contact: Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks License Section,
1420 East Sixth Ave.; (406) 444-2950; www.fwp.state.mt.us

New Mexico

New Mexico has a wide variety of species, many of which you
can’t find any place else. Antelope, bear, deer, elk, and cougar
are common fare, but New Mexico also has Barbary sheep, ibex, and
oryx. These unique species are accompanied by high license
fees.

Proclamations for all species will be released in January, and
hunters may call to get on the mailing list. The application
deadline for all species is in late April.

Contact: Department of Game and Fish, #1 Wildlife Way, Santa Fe,
NM 87505; (505) 827-7911 or 1-800-862-9310;
www.gmfsh.state.nm.us

North Dakota

Mule deer at an affordable license fee is probably the best
reason to head to North Dakota for a big game hunt. North Dakota
also has a bighorn sheep season, though licenses are difficult to
obtain and depend on a special drawing.

A special drawing also is planned for moose and elk. Contact the
Game and Fish Department for more information on this drawing. The
2004 hunting regs will be posted on the internet in January.

Contact: Game and Fish Department, 100 North Bismarck
Expressway, Bismarck, ND 58501-5095; (701) 328-6300;
www.state.nd.us/gnf

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