Applying for special big game hunting permits and licenses is an annual spring ritual in Montana, but increasing numbers of hunters no longer labor over a paper application and mail it in. In 2005, more than 18 percent of 279,000 resident and nonresident hunters applied for their special permits and licenses over the Internet.
This year's drawing applications and SuperTag lottery chances are available online. The deadlines to apply for FWP's spring drawings are May 1 for moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat; and June 1 for elk, deer and antelope. The deadline for entering chances to win a moose, sheep and goat SuperTag is July 6, for deer and elk August 3.
"Folks seem to appreciate the fact that they can apply on the Internet and get instant confirmation that their application is accepted and accurate," said Ron Aasheim, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks' Communication and Education Division administrator. "They are encouraged to immediately print a receipt for their records."
Aasheim said hunters benefit because FWP's Internet application won't be accepted until the applicant correctly enters all of the information. This feature protects hunters from being excluded from a special drawing because their application was incomplete or contained errors. The only application error that can't be detected over the Internet is if the hunter accidentally enters a valid hunting district but not the one intended. To avoid this error, applicants are encouraged to carefully choose and verify the hunting district numbers before entering them on the application. Once the application has been submitted, it cannot be changed.
For those who don't own a computer, Internet access is available at Montana's 80 public libraries and 30 branch public libraries, Aasheim said.
FWP's special drawing applications for all big game species will be available online in late-March on the FWP web page, by clicking Online Applications under Online Services. Applicants will need a MasterCard or Visa credit card. A convenience fee of $1.25, plus two percent of the total purchase, will be added to the purchase price.
Online licensing is the result of an alliance between state government and the private sector. The system was cooperatively developed and is supported by FWP, the Department of Administration's Information Technology Services Division, and Montana Interactive, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of eGovernment provider NIC (Nasdaq:EGOV).
For more information on the online licensing service, visit mt.gov, the official Montana state website, or the FWP web site at fwp.mt.gov. Also, additional information about the SuperTag lottery and how you can purchase chances is on FWP's SuperTag web page.