SANTA FE, NM --(Ammoland.com)- Hunters who applied for bighorn sheep, oryx or ibex licenses for the 2014-15 seasons and are unsuccessful in the drawings will be eligible for full refunds of application fees and license fees, the Department of Game and Fish announced Wednesday.
Application fees normally are nonrefundable whether a license applicant is successful or not. This year’s departure from that practice is in response to Monday’s ruling in U.S. District Court that vacated a 1977 injunction that prohibited the Department from applying preferential quotas that benefitted state residents in drawings for bighorn sheep, oryx and ibex licenses. The injunction allowed nonresidents to enjoy the same odds as residents when applying for those species.
Because of Monday’s ruling, the Department will begin applying the same quotas this year to bighorn sheep, oryx and ibex applications as it applies to deer, elk, pronghorn antelope and Barbary sheep. According to those quotas, 84 percent of licenses are allocated to New Mexico residents, 6 percent are allocated to nonresidents, and 10 percent are allocated to applicants – residents and nonresidents – who use New Mexico outfitters.
Applicants for bighorn sheep, oryx and ibex who choose not to participate in the new quota system must delete their applications by April 18. Applications can be deleted through online accounts or by telephone toll-free, (888) 268-6866.
“The Department determined that it will be most equitable to refund the normally nonrefundable application fees to applicants who are unsuccessful or who choose to withdraw their application due to changes resulting from the recent court decision, and to comply immediately with state law,” Department General Counsel Allison Marks said.
Because the option to apply with outfitters was not offered on this year’s application forms, hunters who would like to designate a valid outfitter will be able to do so and join the 10 percent license allocation pool. To add a New Mexico outfitter to an application, the applicant will be required to call the Department and provide the application number, customer identification number and the outfitter number no later than April 18 2014.
The court ruling prompted the Department to delay this year’s drawing by approximately one week. Drawing results will be available no later than April 30.
For more information about the drawing, refunds and the application process, please call the Department toll-free, (888) 268-6866.