Public hunt drawing system goes paperless.
By Steve Lightfoot
Effective with this summer’s applications, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s popular public hunt drawings will be online only.
The Public Hunt Drawing System offers affordable hunting experiences in more than two dozen different hunt categories, including eight specifically for youth. Hunts are offered on TPWD-managed lands as well as specially leased private properties.
The old process involved mailing an application booklet to hunters, who would thumb through the catalog and select which hunts to apply for and then clip out a paper application form, fill it out and mail it back with the application fees to TPWD. Department staff would have to sort through the application forms, enter the information manually into a computer database and account for the funds, and, once the drawings took place, mail out a notification letter to selected hunters, who would then have to mail back the permit fee for the drawn hunt and wait for TPWD to process it and mail back the permit.
“It was like we were conducting business with a rotary phone and a manual typewriter — not very efficient or cost-effective,” says Linda Campbell, TPWD public hunting program director.
Beginning this summer, applications will be accepted online only; no “Applications for Drawings on Public Hunting Lands” booklets or application forms were printed and mailed out.
With the new paperless system, hunters can browse the drawn hunt catalog by category and location using interactive maps, then complete the application and pay online. Selected applicants will be notified by email and can accept permits and pay any fees online.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's new online process for public hunt drawings will give hunters more time and more choices than the old system.
Permits will be issued by email and can be printed at home or stored on a mobile device.
Those applicants who are not selected may still be eligible through a secondary drawing if any permits are unclaimed by the payment deadline. There may still be opportunities for traditional standby hunts at some locations.
In addition to now allowing people to apply for multiple hunt areas within the same hunt category, the online system will give hunters more time to apply. Application deadlines start in August and wrap up in January. Applicants will have until midnight on the day of the deadline to apply.
Applicants can choose a preferred hunt date and location from hunt areas stretching across the state. Hunts encompass a wide range of game, from white-tailed deer to feral hogs to a prized desert bighorn sheep. There’s even a provision for hunting buddies to apply as a group — in some cases up to four hunters can apply together on one application.
Nonrefundable application fees for drawn special permit hunts are $3-10 for each adult applicant 17 years of age or older. Selected adult hunters pay an additional permit fee of $80 for regular hunts and $130 for extended hunts. There are no application fees or drawn hunt permit fees for youths age 8 to 16. There are no application fees for the e-postcard hunt or the U.S. Forest Service antlerless deer permits.
Applicants will also retain and continue to accrue preference points, now called loyalty points, as in the past. Points will stay with the category and be applied to each application equally.
The new online-only system began accepting electronic applications in July for 2014-15 drawn hunts, including special permit hunts, e-postcard hunts and U.S. Forest Service antlerless deer permits.
For more information about TPWD's new online drawing system, visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/drawnhunts.
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