The elk and antelope regulations for 2008 have been posted online at www.azgfd.gov/draw and hunters can start applying anytime.
Once again, this will be a paper application process - no online application process is available.
Also, over-the-counter elk nonpermit-tags available (from Game and Fish offices only) for 2008 for the Jacob Lake area on the North Kaibab Ranger District, where, according to Shelly Shepherd of the AGFD, there is a small herd.
"They will be in the pines but may drop to lower elevations if the plateau gets really bad weather and pushes them down," she said.
Arizona Game and Fish Department officials said the printed regulations for elk and antelope should be available at license dealers across the state starting around Jan. 7. The deadline to apply is Feb. 12.
There are 26,549 elk tags available for 2008, which is a 2,355-tag increase from last year. The record number of elk tags was just under 30,000 in 2001.
There are 1,006 pronghorn-antelope tags available, which is a 37-permit increase from last year.
This is the second year of having the elk and antelope drawing separated from the other big game species so that hunters can find out if they are drawn for elk and antelope prior to applying for deer, buffalo, bighorn sheep, turkey and fall javelina.
Applicants for the draw who apply early can take advantage of the correction period - those who submit an application by Jan. 25 will receive up to three calls from the department in a 24-hour period if an error is found on the application. If the applicant is reached by phone, the department will help fix the error to ensure a completed application.
All applications for the elk and antelope draw are due by 7 p.m. (MST) Feb. 14.
"These areas were identified through public process as places where elk did not occur historically and their continued occupation could negatively impact other wildlife or land uses," said Big Game Supervisor Brian Wakeling.
Wakeling pointed out that as the regulations state, elk numbers in these hunt areas are very low, therefore, hunt success is expected to be very low. Despite those qualifications in the regulations, there are lots of hunters already buying those over-the-counter nonpermit-tags since the regulations were posted online Monday.
"Hunters should not have expectations of high numbers of elk in these areas, but especially the Alamo Lake area and 12A and 12B on the Kaibab. The elk densities are extremely low. Hunt success is going to be correspondingly low," Wakeling said.
Wakeling added that hunters are going to have to be attentive to the hunt area boundaries as listed in the elk and antelope regulations for 2008 (the "elk notes" starting on page 24) because they are much different in most cases than are the unit boundaries.
"Although these may not be the most desirable hunts for many people, others have already told us that these hunts will allow them to hunt with friends, which hasn't been possible because of the difficulty in getting drawn for draw hunts," Wakeling said.
Another issue, at least in 4A and 4B and the Verde Valley, is private property. "We caution in the regulations that these areas also have significant amounts of private property. Hunters who do obtain these tags really need to make contact with the private property owners and get permission," Wakeling said.