Resident Hunters Should Have Significant Priority For Hunting Tag Allocation

By Mountain Pursuit

Mountain Pursuit is a western states hunting advocacy group and strongly believes big game license allocation should be significantly prioritized for the residents of Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana

The growth in backcountry hunting in recent years, driven by ... 

Hunting and clothing and gear manufacturers and sophisticated marketing campaigns
Hunting Films and Film Festivals
Sponsored hunters and social media
Television hunting series and streaming hunting shows 
Online hunting tag application services and resources such as

 .... has significantly increased non-resident tag applications in western states, and increased pressure on state management agencies to increase non-resident tag allocation. 

This has resulted in proposed decreased hunting tag allocation and diminished hunting quality and experience for western state residents hunters.  

Mountain Pursuit is troubled by these trends, and believes resident hunters should have significant priority for hunting tag allocation. 


Here are our specific positions: 

- Maximum nonresident allocation of 10% of available controlled unit hunts for all species including elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, antelope, bighorn sheep, moose, mountain goat, bison and grizzly bear.

- No nonresident tags offered for controlled unit hunts with 10 or fewer available tags, regardless of species.

- Maximum non-resident allocation of 10% of available or forecast "general season" licenses for elk, whitetail deer, mule deer and antelope for general season hunt units. Allowances can be made above this 10% level for leftover doe/fawn, cow/calf limited draw tags, and as needed for excess herd management where resident hunters can't cull the number of animals required.

- No over-the-counter (OTC) for non-resident hunters, regardless of species, unless for leftover tags.

- Resident preference for all leftover tags. We especially favor New Mexico's system, where leftover tags are offered over the counter to residents only for 24 hours, then the tags are made available for purchase by nonresidents. 

Mountain Pursuit understands also understand that most state management agencies generate the bulk of their funding from tag sales, especially non-resident tag sales, but we feel there are many options to make up any loss revenue due to decreased nonresident tag sales and preference point purchases. 

Ungulate herds in several states have declined significantly over the past 30 years, meaning less resident hunter opportunity especially for once-in-a lifetime hunts such as bighorn sheep, mountain goat, moose and bison. For example, the number of tags offered in Wyoming decline 76% between 1998 and 2018 due to population declines.

The current regulations for most states is too permissive in tag allocation for non-residents, at the expense of hunting opportunities, quality and experience, for residents hunters.


Showing 2 reactions

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  • Rob Shaul
    commented 2019-07-03 11:22:07 -0600
    Hardly a “Sweeping” change to get Wyoming in line with the nonresident tag allocations in other western states.

    Nonresidents have multiple groups arguing for their tags – outfitters and guides assn, recreation industry (motels/restaurants) and the G&F departments themselves over funding. But somehow, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colo, etc. all manage to fund their departments without giving 25% of their bighorn sheep tags to non residents.

    In terms of funding gaps there are solutions: Lisc fee increases for nonresident tags is the obvious one … at Auction a limited draw Elk Tag goes for $18,000-$25,000 – so there’s room to increase current NR tag fees with the huge demand. Other income sources include charging companies such as, onx and others who use state harvest and hunt area data for commercial purposes.
  • Schuyler Watt
    commented 2019-07-02 14:26:49 -0600
    Though I don’t agree with this post, I’m commenting to let you know it feels incomplete.

    Such a sweeping change to tag allocations necessarily requires a detailed plan for funding state wildlife agencies and conservation activities. Implementing this regulatory framework would be straightforward, but making up for the funding losses an entirely bigger issue. Truly, it is the funding aspect that will require a compelling solution if your advocacy is to ever have any legs to it.

    I look forward to a more complete elucidation of your proposal.