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Hunting permit apps due; wildfire impact unknown

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As the deadline to apply for fall hunting permits approaches, Arizona's Game and Fish Department said it's too soon to know the extent to which the three wildfires burning in the state will affect the season.

Applications to hunt deer, fall turkey, fall javelina, bighorn sheep, fall buffalo and pheasant must be made by Tuesday.

"It is far too early to know the short-term or long-term impacts the fire will have to habitat, wildlife, waters, access, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation until the fires are put out and crews can go in and make an assessment,"  Game and Fish said in a press release. 

Game and Fish cited the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire, saying that conditions may not be known until the fires are extinguished. After that fire, there was "no significant reduction in the availability of big game animals in the fall hunts."

"For those that are still planning to apply for a fall hunt, you may want to take these variables into consideration when applying," the agency said.

No refunds will be given to hunters who have purchased permits in Game Management Units 1 and 27, where the Wallow Fire is currently raging, or in the units where the other two fires continue to burn. 

"There are no provisions in state law... or Commission rule for Game and Fish to issue any refunds, reinstate bonus points or offer a rain-check," the press release said. 

The fall drawing cycle allocates the hunt permit-tags for deer, fall turkey, fall javelina, bighorn sheep, fall buffalo and pheasant.

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Applications for the fall permits must be received by Game and Fish by 7 p.m. Tuesday. For more information on how to apply for the permits, visit the AGFD website.

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