Episode 154: Civics for Hunters - SB 143 with Mac Minard

Big Fin

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I reached out to @Eric Albus and @Big Shooter to see if a MOGA representative wanted to be on my podcast to talk about SB 143. They were able to connect with Mac Minard, the ED of MOGA and we found a window of time to share a mic this morning. I asked my editor to turn this around as a high priority.

Some advance notes to keep in mind as you listen. I sent Mac a list of talking points. I do not view my podcast as a place to blindside people. This is not a discussion intended to be a trap for MOGA. I promised Mac he would have the first 20 minutes to explain the rationale for MOGA bringing forth this bill as it was originally proposed and the rationale for the amendment down to 39%. And that he would have the chance to provide commentary or rebuttal to any of my points.

I'm confident in my positions and reasons for opposing this bill. I am sure Mac is confident that he is doing the work his association expects of him. Neither of us likely changed the other's mind on any of the issues.

I gave Mac the benefit of all courtesies to explain his rationale, having full confidence that our audience fully understands the issues and can sort out the facts from sales pitch, how this bill will impact them, and what is at stake in the bigger picture when an effort is made to override a citizen's vote on this same issue. The math is the math and that math shows this is a big hit to the self-guided non-resident.

Part of what we learn from this is where MOGA feels is their strongest defense and by ignoring some topics they show what they feel are their weakest positions. Hopefully this will generate some discussion and expand advocacy and awareness.

As much as I disagree with all principles this bill represents, thanks to Eric and Rod for arranging this and Mac for taking the time.

Listen directly at this link -----> https://www.stitcher.com/show/hunt-...nting-politics-primer-montana-sb-143-81631896

Download directly at this link -----> https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/hunttalk/21021320-20HT20Podcast20-20MT20Guide20Bill.mp3

Or, use your podcast app and search for Hunt Talk Radio and download the most recent episode #154.

I will continue to follow this bill through the entire legislative process, doing a YouTube video to compliment this podcast and possibly doing another podcast as the bill progresses. That podcast will be more of an explanation of how to be an advocate within the legislative process. And hopefully encourage people to get even more involved in protecting the hunting they have and the access necessary for such.
 
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bigsky2

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Minard acts like he doesn't even know how the NR preference point system works. If that's a reflection of the outfitting community, it's no wonder they are struggling to book clients.

"The folks I represent are trying to pay their bills, they're trying to pay for the shoeing, the hay, the forward funding of a truck or tires, or whatever it takes to provide a service and still not know if they're going to get a client because of this "draw odds business""
 
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Big Fin

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Minard acts like he doesn't even know how the NR preference point system works.

Oh, Mac knows how the preference point system works. Eric and Rod and most outfitters know how the system works. By knowing how the system works one can look at it and realize how to change the system in a way that works to one's benefit. That's the goal of this legislation. And use a marketing campaign that calls it a random lottery. Make it seem like it is some mystery math.

So, rather than defend or explain the system and the stability and predictability it provides, make the pitch that it is complicated, fuzzy, random, and try to convince folks that the principles of math that allow CO and WY outfitters to prosper under the same system don't apply in Montana. Make it seem cloudy and hard to understand.

We know that if we sat down with 3rd graders and gave them this basic math problem around Montana's preference point system, there would be a 98% pass rate. Using this system properly gives complete predictability and therefor stability, if one can count to two, with two points being the threshold for 100% draw rates.

The supporters of this bill know exactly how this system works. It is just that the system doesn't provide their desired outcome. It is that simple.
 

wllm1313

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Pretty frustrating listen. I appreciate both you and Mac taking the time.

Clarification about bonus points if you can.

So NR who apply with an outfitter have to specify an outfitter to use the 39% quota, and that outfitter is confined to a compartment correct? So I can’t list an outfitter in SW Montana then apply for the combo using the 39% quota and then apply for a breaks tag as the outfitter I applied with would be required to guide me and they don’t have the permit to hunt the breaks? If I apply DIY, likely I will only be able to apply every 2 to 3 years? Accurate

The argument posed by MOAG is that MT elk are a commodity, and MT is getting more value from them.

Mac said $1 DIY to $5 Guided.

Do you think it’s fair to argue that DIY hunters have 10% success rates versus 50% success rates with guides? Essentially that the ratio, if accurate, really evens out on a $1 per harvest elk ratio?
 

sneakypete

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Well I listened and was more informed by Randy than Mac. I’ve emailed all twice. If this passes non resident hunting in Montana I believe will be very difficult. Yes, I’m a nonresident hunter and property owner, in the past three years I’ve not drawn the big game combo twice. it’s very troubling that legislators changing a vote by the people of Montana!
 

Gerald Martin

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I think that Randy articulated a very accurate perspective of the frustration growing among DIY hunters as we consider all the bad bills coming through this legislative session, that is something MOGA and outfitters would be wise to consider as they push for their own interests at the expense of others.

I have never had an anti-outfitter attitude.... my experiences with some bad ones, the lack of industry accountability towards game violators in the guide community, and continuing self-serving legislation that flips the middle finger to everyone except outfitters is starting to change that perspective.

Mac spoke of the danger of fragmenting the hunting community. Yet he seems completely willing to ignore what his (MOGA’s) bill is actually doing. It’s evidently risk vs reward in the outfitting communities minds.
 
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TN_Rifle_Junkie

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As a future non-resident MT elk/deer hunter, I appreciate you having this discussion with MOGA. It was a "frank and honest" discussion where both sides stated a lot of facts/numbers about the tags, preference points system, outfitters' plight, and the the "perceived intelligence" of non-resident hunters.

In reality, I have done both outfitted and DIY hunts in the past. I enjoyed both types of hunts, and both were "drawn" hunts. When I went outfitted, I went straight to the outfitters and did not spend any extra money in the community. With my DIY hunt, I dined at local restaurants, went to local shops, and stayed at a local hotel. Overall, I spent more money on the outfitted hunt, but ALL that money went to the outfitter. On my DIY trip, all the money spent went to local businesses. Using the premise that Outfitters bring money into the local economy is a fallacy as most outfitted hunters are "rushed" to fill tags to allow for more hunters and thereby more money for the guide/outfitter.

While I agree that the western states' point schemes are an interesting way to resolve over-hunting and control a state resource, I do not agree that non-resident hunters are too stupid to figure out how to acquire and build points to eventually hunt. This selling point is being used to push an agenda to the legislative body, thereby allowing people to jump the requirements to hunt in Montana. Making the wealthy guy wait two years to draw a tag "hurts" the outfitters business model, because the hunter may find a better deal or more recommended outfitter during the non-hunting time. This bill will allow outfitters to re-book immediately after a hunt for the next year. After one to two seasons of this bill being in effect, the full 39% of tags will be utilized and the outfitting business in MT will be a booming trade. Being a debbie-downer, I see this 39% as just a stepping stone to a much higher number in the future.

The way I see it, there could be an interesting workaround of the 39% of tags. An outfitting company could provide the upgraded (jump the line) benefits to DIY hunters for a small service fee on top of all the other service fees the law would impose.

Personally, I see this as a means for "well to do" hunters to jump the line to get a tag every year by paying to play, and everyone else can stand in line to get the piece that is leftover. Personally, I see this bill as a means for the "elite" to steal Montana's state resources with no consequences.
 

LoveBirdDogs

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Randy I have seen some of the hate the western guide services have for you. If it were up to them they would have you tossed from RMEF and band from ever hunting.

I am glad you did this interview. But lets call this bill what it real is, it's protectionism for guides. Will it force non residents to use a guide? I would say no. I just won't waste my time buying points in a state that stacks the odds against me.

I think the guides would have better luck getting a list of point holders from the state. Then courting those people. But the guides don't want to do that work they just want hunters handed to them on a platter.

Hunters take back your power don't give Montana or the guides your money.

Would rather see Montana spend their time and resources producing more Elk than coming up with more ways to fight over less Elk.
 

JT88

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Mac kept stressing the "businesses and communities supported by outfitters" and how covid has a lot of communities reeling... But come on, even if this did help in the short run for those communities (which I don't believe it will), it's not fair to use those arguments as an excuse to push this legislation. There are a lot of things we could legislate that would help those communities, but it doesn't make them right. This is a terribly weak point to argue IMO.
 

Ben Lamb

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Oh, Mac knows how the preference point system works. Eric and Rod and most outfitters know how the system works. By knowing how the system works one can look at it and realize how to change the system in a way that works to one's benefit. That's the goal of this legislation. And use a marketing campaign that calls it a random lottery. Make it seem like it is some mystery math.

So, rather than defend or explain the system and the stability and predictability it provides, make the pitch that it is complicated, fuzzy, random, and try to convince folks that the principles of math that allow CO and WY outfitters to prosper under the same system don't apply in Montana. Make it seem cloudy and hard to understand.

We know that if we sat down with 3rd graders and gave them this basic math problem around Montana's preference point system, there would be a 98% pass rate. Using this system properly gives complete predictability and therefor stability, if one can count to two, with two points being the threshold for 100% draw rates.

The supporters of this bill know exactly how this system works. It is just that the system doesn't provide their desired outcome. It is that simple.

They should know how preference points work, it was their bill that brought us points:


• HB 372 – Rep. Ted Washburn (R-Bozeman). This is MOGA’s preference bill and highest priority. It mirrored the Flynn preference bill (HB 387) with the exception of the $300 “early bird” drawing fee and split sale date in HB 387. Essentially, HB 372 creates a true preference point system for nonresidents, applicable to B-10 and B-11 licenses only. The original bill contained language that would include other licenses and a requirement to issue 10% of special permits to nonresidents, but those provisions were amended out in order to save the bill, which became law without the governor’s signature.
 

ElkFever2

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Painful listen. Mac was generous to come on as a guest and share his perspective. That being said, MOGA deserves WAY better than Mac Minard. He is at least 60% clueless on everything he spoke on. And if you want to give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he was a little less clueless, but intentionally misleading. Randy lobbed him some softballs, but Mac responded with obfuscation nearly every time. SB 163 never should have existed. If Mac knew his stuff he could have asked for a far more sensible bill. If he truly is more knowledgeable than he comes off, then he’s terribly lazy, thinking few persons would notice all the glaring problems with his reasoning, math, data, and assumptions. Either way, time for MOGA to find a new ED. I’d like to see the MT guide industry flourish, and I don’t see how that can possibly happen with Mac representing them.
 

Hilljackoutlaw

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Awful polite of you @Big Fin especially to a guy who helped lead a charge to ban you from participating on a certain board some years back.
Idk whatever happened with that. I just remember reading about it a long time ago.

Is Mac a lawyer also because he sure sounds like one. Felt like he was dumbing everything down for the listeners. In process sounding foolish.
 

OverlordBear

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Mac was purposely talking like a politicians, it made me want to puke, hearing him saying this is about the Montana families who are struggling to make a living. Give me a break...MOGA is participating in a cash grab and this will only help the rich, hunt whenever they want. All of these types of bills make me want to vote Democrat just to spite these greedy republicans. At least democrats form of socialism help lower classes. Republicans form of socialism just help the rich. I wish there was someone who supported the middle class or in this case the DIY hunter.
 

OntarioHunter

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TN_riifle hit the nail on the head. I was formerly a NPS ranger in a small Montana community and part of my job was to represent the Park Service at the regional tourism board meetings. Always amazed me how the local businesses bought into the arguement that outfitters make small businesses richer. Block management does MUCH more for the local businesses. Almost as lame as the arguement that nonresident hunters abuse block management property. Over the years I have seen plenty of abuse and it has almost always been local hunters. The nonresident hunters like myself are more inclined to be watchdogs. I have the local game warden's cell on my phone and won't hesitate to call if I see something.

Is it still the law that East Side ranchers who want to run an outfitting business don't even have to buy an outfitter license?
 

JLS

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Is it still the law that East Side ranchers who want to run an outfitting business don't even have to buy an outfitter license?
There never was a law like this. It's always been the case if you were outfitting solely on land that was deeded to you, you didn't need an outfitter's license. As soon as you offer services on any public land (inholdings or not) or land deeded to someone else, you are required to have an outfitters license. Whether you're east, west, south, or north has no bearing on it.
 

OntarioHunter

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There never was a law like this. It's always been the case if you were outfitting solely on land that was deeded to you, you didn't need an outfitter's license. As soon as you offer services on any public land (inholdings or not) or land deeded to someone else, you are required to have an outfitters license. Whether you're east, west, south, or north has no bearing on it.
True. But the regulation clearly applied to East Side for the most part. With very few exceptions West Side outfitters don't own enough land with enough game to make it go. I always thought there was something wrong with the poor guys who outfitted on USFS land having to buy a thousand dollar outfitter license every year AND purchase the use permit AND guide their clients on public land where everyone is competing for the same animals. But the East Side rancher can lock up the land so there's no competition for game. And he doesn't even have to buy an outfitter license to make money off the animals that belong to the public. Is the state ensuring these outfitters are properly insured and have adequate safety training? How could they if the outfitters are not licensed? A couple of years ago I ran into a fella and his kid who were "guided" by a local rancher. The rancher only allowed them to shoot one buck on his property, then drove them around to area block management properties and turned them loose. The kid shot a massive buck in the coulee a few yards right below me and my buddy. It was a very unusual situation where neither party could see each other. Temp was fifteen below and blowing and they didn't know what they were doing so I offered to gut the buck rather than watch that kid freeze his fingers. Showed them a shortcut to load it up. They were not using that outfitter again!
 

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