Beginning June 1, applicants for WMA Deer Hunt Permits must provide a $5 nonrefundable processing fee at the time of their application. If successful, they will receive their permit without the need for any additional fees.

Under the old WMA draw system, hunters would apply, and if successful, would have a set number of days to pay for their permit. All unclaimed permits would go back into another draw for those hunters who were unsuccessful. These permit winners also would have a set number of days to claim and pay for their permit. All permits left after that were available in an online sale on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We always had people call in asking why there could be a leftover permit when they had applied and didn’t draw,” said Brad Carner, AGFC chief of wildlife management. “In some cases, up to 35 percent of hunters who drew a permit didn’t pay during the first round.”

Carner says the only way an unclaimed permit sale will be necessary under the new system will be if there were more permits available for a hunt than hunters who apply.

Another aspect of the permit system that is different this year is how party hunts are handled. Under the previous system, up to four people could apply together, with one person entering in all the data for the entire party. However, because payments must now be made up front, the system had to change to accommodate each person paying their own application fee if need be.

Applications are available online through July 1. Each hunter may submit one application for each type of permit hunt: youth hunt, archery, muzzleloader and modern gun. Hunters who are not able to apply online may visit any AGFC regional office to apply in person.

Youth hunters must be at least six years old, but no older than 15, the day the hunt begins.

Permits will be drawn in mid-July, and an online sale for unclaimed permits will be in early September, if necessary.