You can purchase your license/tag early in the new year. The permit applications can be purchased prior to the permit deadline. You may not be able to purchase your deer/elk permit applications early in the spring and you won't be able apply with out the permit application.
For me, I will be purchasing my big game combo package and spring bear permit application in January. Then around February I will apply for a spring bear hunt.
Around May I will purchase my big game (moose/elk/deer) permit apps and in June I will apply for those permits.
Over the years I have seen several elk and deer hides left in the woods by hunters and I have to wonder why they do this? I fully understand and agree about getting the hide off the animal as soon as possible to cool the meat, but why not pack out the hide with you and use it? As far as I know there are no state laws that require you to take the hide home, but to me why waste such a beautiful part of the animal? Some might think they have no use for the hide or it costs too much to tan....