By Mike Bodenchuk, Editor-at-Large
The listing below includes current information for big game hunts in each state. It is maintained and updated as a planning tool even though deadlines may have passed. Since The Hunting Report is “for hunters who travel,” all information is based on nonresident status. Different license fees and, in some cases, deadlines apply to residents of the states listed.
Alaska (907-465-4210; www.adfg.alaska.gov): Applications for 2018–19 hunts were accepted Nov. 1–Dec. 15, 2017. Although many nonresident opportunities do not require a draw, some of the best hunts (Dall sheep in the Chugach or Tok areas) and some of the most limited hunts (muskox and bison) are on a drawing basis. New fees were in place for the 2018 draw for the first time. A license (new price $160 for nonresidents; $630 for nonresident aliens) is required to apply. A signed guide-client agreement is required for all sheep hunts, all brown bear hunts and some goat and moose hunts. Nonresidents must be guided for brown/grizzly bear, sheep and goat hunts. Nonresident aliens must be guided for all species. Muzzleloader and archery hunts also require completion of training, including shooting proficiency, before applying. Applications are accepted online. The 2017–18 draw supplement book is available online as a resource for future planning.
Arizona (602-942-3000; www.azgfd.gov): Over-the-counter (OTC) lion permits are now available. Applications for spring javelina, turkey, bison and bear were accepted through Oct. 10, 2017. Most of the AZ bull bison tags are available for the spring season and multiple hunts are available. Applications for 2018 elk and pronghorn were accepted through Feb. 13, 2018. 2018 applications for deer, bighorn, fall bear and fall bison will be due June 12, 2018. Nonresidents are required to purchase a $160 combination hunting and fishing license to apply for draw permits.
Colorado (303-297-1192; http://cpw.state.co.us): The 2018 big game deadline is Apr. 3 for all drawing permits. Bighorn sheep and mountain goat permits are covered in one booklet; elk, deer, pronghorn and bear are covered in a separate booklet. You must pay for one $10 conservation stamp each year, but you can do so while applying for your special draw license (if applying for more than one species, you need to pay for only one conservation stamp). NEW for 2018: you no longer submit the entire license fee with your application, only an authorization to charge it when/if you draw. In 2018, one nonresident desert bighorn permit was available and no preference points are required (or awarded) for desert sheep, so all applicants are on equal footing.
Florida (850-488-4676; www.myfwc.com): In 2017, National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), quota deer and St. Vincent sambar deer applications were accepted online May 15-June 15. Statewide alligator tag applications were accepted May 12-22. The 2017 quota quail hunt application period was Dec. 1–11. Limited-entry spring turkey (including premium Osceola turkey hunt) applications were accepted Nov. 1-30 for the spring 2018 season. All applications online only. Some hunts require licenses to be purchased in advance.
Idaho (208-334-3700; https://idfg.idaho.gov): The 2018 hunting license went on sale Jan. 1, 2018. A nonresident hunting license ($154.75) is required for all applications. Many hunts, including panhandle white-tailed deer, are available OTC. Moose, bighorn sheep or goat applications will be accepted Apr. 1–30, 2018. If you apply for one of these species, you cannot apply for any other species (except depredation hunts). Deer, elk, pronghorn and fall black bear applications will be accepted May 1-June 5, 2018. Idaho also offers two drawings for the Idaho Super Hunt Tags with deadlines in June and August.
Iowa (575-725-8200; www.iowadnr.gov): The application period for nonresident deer licenses is May 5–June 3, 2018. Nonresidents can participate in archery, late muzzleloader or one of two shotgun seasons. Points are necessary to draw the archery hunts, but many shotgun hunts can be drawn on the first application.
Kansas (620-672-5911; http://ksoutdoors.com): The 2018 nonresident deer permit draw application period will be Apr. 1–30. Online or phone applications only. The nonresident deer permit fee is $346.96; if successful in the draw a nonresident hunting license ($72.50) is also required.
Maine (207-287-8000; www.maine.gov/ifw): Online applications for moose are due May 15, 2018. Paper applications are no longer accepted. Proposed permit numbers in 2018 are only slightly below 2017 permits. You can increase your odds of drawing by purchasing additional chances in the moose lottery: one chance $15; three chances $25; six chances $35; 10 chances $55. If successful in the lottery, a $585 nonresident moose license is required.
Montana (406-444-2950; http://fwp.mt.gov): All applicants must purchase the $10 conservation license in addition to tag and application fees. The 2018 spring black bear applications bought after Apr. 14 may not be used for 24 hours. Applications for 2018 deer and elk combo packages or deer or elk permits were due Mar. 15; deer B tags, elk B tags and all antelope applications are due June 1. Sheep, goat, moose and bison applications will be due May 1, 2018. Elk combination licenses are $826, deer combination licenses $580. The elk or deer combination license is required to apply for special permit drawings (if unsuccessful in the permit drawing, you may still use the combination license in the general elk or deer season). Moose, sheep and goat tags cost $755 each; a bison tag is $750. The Super Tag Raffle permit deadline was June 29. The 2018 purchase deadline for general fall bear will be Aug. 31. Tags bought after that time include a waiting period.
Nevada (775-688-1500; www.ndow.org): The 2018 deadline for the mule deer guide draw was Mar. 9. Application period for all other draw hunts (bighorn sheep, pronghorn, deer and elk) is Mar. 19-Apr. 16, 2018. A $142 nonresident general license is necessary to apply for any tags. Tag fees are: deer $240; pronghorn $300; bighorn $1,200; bull elk $1,200. Additional application, predator control and convenience fees apply. Results were posted in late May. Applications for the Nevada Silver State Tag (similar to a governor’s tag but available through the drawing) are due April 16, and the Dream Tag raffle deadline should be June 30. A $10 resource enhancement stamp and $5 per chance is required.
New Hampshire (603-271-2461; www.wildlife.state.nh.us): Applications for 2018 moose permits are due May 25. Online applications are encouraged. An application fee of $25 is due at the time of application. If drawn, you must submit a moose license fee of $500. Results are mailed to successful applicants in early July.
New Mexico (505-476-8000; www.wildlife.state.nm.us): Applications for ibex, oryx, Barbary sheep, deer, elk, pronghorn, javelina and bighorn sheep were due Mar. 21, 2018. Nonresident quotas now apply to all drawing permits. All hunters must create an account within the drawing system to apply. A drawing tutorial is available online. A $65 nonresident license is required to apply for any tag, and the fees must be paid at the time of application.
Access validation ($4) is required of all hunters and a habitat stamp ($5) is required for hunts on Bureau of Land Management or US Forest Service property. Full license and application fees are due upon application: standard elk $555; high-demand elk $780; standard deer $290; high-demand deer $375; pronghorn $290; javelina $185; bighorn (Rocky Mountain or desert) $3,180; oryx $1,630; ibex $1,630; Barbary sheep $380. Additional fees for desert bighorn or oryx on White Sands Missile Range.
Oregon (503-947-6100; www.myodfw.com): The spring 2018 black bear deadline was Feb. 9. Some OTC spring bear licenses are available. Applications for controlled deer, elk, mountain goat, bighorn sheep and pronghorn are due May 15, 2018. All hunters must purchase a $160.50 hunting license before applying. The application fee is $8 per species. Tag fees (due only if successful in the drawing): deer (mule deer or black-tailed) $414; elk (Rocky Mountain or Roosevelt) $549; bighorn sheep (California or Rocky Mountain) $1,413; mountain goat $1,413; pronghorn $369. Fall bear available OTC through the license division (not from vendors).
OTC general elk, bear and deer licenses are sold through the license division by mail or fax. Many people wait until after the controlled hunts are posted to purchase general licenses, so expect OTC licenses with nonresident quotas (such as fall general bear) to fill quickly.
South Dakota (605-223-7660; www.gfp.sd.gov): 2018 private land “special buck” deer tag applications are accepted March 15-Apr. 13 (both East River and West River). Blackhills and West River Deer accepted June 21-Jul. 19; East River deer applications are accepted Jun. 21-Aug. 31. Firearms pronghorn applications period is Jul. 19-Aug. 17 and muzzleloader and NWR deer applications are from Jun. 21-Aug. 31. In 2017, Custer State Park trophy and non-trophy bison application period is Aug. 16-Sept. 5. Applications for Prairie unit spring turkey tags were available in January with a deadline of February 10, 2018.
Texas (512-389-4505; http://tpwd.texas.gov): The 2017-18 Public draw hunt information is posted online. 2018-19 hunts will be posted in June. Hunters need to create an account and research opportunities online. Deadlines in 2017 included; Alligator- Aug. 1, Exotics- Aug 15, Feral hog- October 15, Antlerless/Spike deer- Aug 15, Gun deer, Either sex and Management hunts- Sept 15, Javelina- Aug 15, Gun mule deer- Oct 15, Spring turkey- Oct 15, Archery deer and archery mule deer- Aug 15, Archery exotic Oct 15, Guided gemsbok, Guided scimitar-horned oryx and Guided waterbuck- Oct 15, Private land deer- Sept 1, Pronghorn- Aug 1, NWR deer- Sept. 15, NWR Exotic- Oct 15. Nine youth-only categories also exist, with similar dates. Application fees vary between $3 and $10 per adult hunter per category.
Utah (801-538-4700; https://wildlife.utah.gov): Bear applications for spring and fall 2018 were due Feb. 5. The application deadline for 2017–18 limited-entry mountain lion drawings was Oct. 10, 2017. The application period for 2018 big game permits was January 25-Mar. 1, 2018.
The 2017 antlerless application period was May 25–June 15, expect a similar period in 2018. Applicants must purchase a $65 nonresident hunting license to apply for any hunt. Online applications include credit card authorization to charge permit fee if successful in the draw. Permit fees: general deer $268; limited-entry deer $468; premium deer $568; general elk $393; limited-entry elk $800; pronghorn $293; once-in-a-lifetime species (moose, desert bighorn, Rocky Mountain bighorn, mountain goat or bison) $1,518; Antelope Island bison $2,615.
Vermont (802-828-1000; www.vtfishandwildlife.com): Moose applications were accepted on line through July 3, 2017. The nonresident application fee is $25 per lottery. There are two separate lotteries: one for archery permits and another for general season.
Washington (360-902-2464; http://wdfw.wa.gov): Spring bear applications were due February 28. Multi-hunt applications (allows hunters to hunt all three seasons for deer or elk) were due Mar. 31, 2018. The 2017 application deadline for mountain goat, bighorn sheep, moose, or draw tags for bear, turkey, deer and elk was May 24, expect similar dates in 2018. The per-permit application fee for “quality elk,” “quality deer,” any moose, bighorn ram or mountain goat is $110. A deer-only permit is $434.30, elk $497, moose, goat or bighorn $1,652. General deer, elk, cougar and bear tags available OTC, and combination licenses for these species are available.
Wyoming (307-777-4600; https://wgfd.wyo.gov): The application period for 2018 elk was Jan. 1–31, 2018. Sheep, goat, bison and moose applications were due Feb. 28 and pronghorn and deer applications will be due May 31, 2018. The application booklet is now available online. All applications now online only. Permit and application fees are due at the time of application. New nonresident permit fees for 2018: elk $707; deer $389; pronghorn $341; moose $1,997; mountain goat $2,177; bighorn sheep $2,335. Additional costs for special elk, deer or pronghorn licenses apply (a separate pool with higher fees). Wyoming Super Tag Raffle ($10 per ticket) and Super Tag Trifecta (three species at $30 per ticket) are available through Jul. 2, 2018.
Wyoming will hold a second drawing in 2018 for leftover elk, deer and pronghorn tags. The very short application period is June 25-29. Wyoming now has a wolf season in the trophy Game Management Area in northwestern Wyoming. Season dates for 2018 not set at press time. In 2017 the hunt dates were Oct. 1- December 31, 2017. Licenses available online, but the license will be mailed. Expect 10 days or more for the license to arrive via USPS. A quota exists, and the season will close early if the quota is reached.
The application period to purchase preference points only will be Jul. 2–Oct. 31, 2018.
Lower Brule Tribe (605-473-5312; www.lowerbrulewildlife.com): Applications for 2018 spring turkey are were due Mar. 15 for the spring season. Applications for 2018 bison and elk were due Mar. 15; deer applications are accepted through Aug. 1. All applications online with a new Big Game Lottery System put in place March 16.
Mescalero Apache Tribe (800-545-9011; https://innofthemountaingods.com/outdoor/big-game-hunts): All guided trophy hunts are booked through the Inn of the Mountain Gods. Applications for non-guided hunts for spring turkey, fall black bear and cow elk were due Mar. 15.
White Mountain Apache Tribe (928-338-4385; www.wmatoutdoors.org): All guided hunts, including trophy elk, black bear and mountain lion, are available only through the tribe. Applications for non-guided archery and general elk (cow, calf or spike) and general and youth raghorn bull (max 4×4 antlers) were due in early Aug. Cow, calf, and spike tags are $325 for archery and $375 for general licenses, youth licenses (10–17 years old) are $400 and general raghorn is $500.