Montoya resopnse from another board


New member
May 7, 2002
Peoria AZ
Just thought some of you might find Mr.Montoya's response to an e-mail I sent to USO interesting.The following was in response to my questioning his need to file a lawsuit all in the name of the almighty dollar.
This is Lawrence Montoya, or "Griz." I was lead plaintiff in the recent
suit against Arizona on the discrimination against nonresidents in getting
permits for bull elk and antlered deer north of the Grand Canyon. I've
been reading a lot of angry messages from a whole lot of people who don't
know the facts. I wanted to put out there the real facts so everyone
knows how we got the point where a federal court struck down Arizona's
nonresident caps as being unconstitutional.

In a word, Arizona gave us and the Courts no choice.

For years, we and nonresidents had tried asking the Commission just to let
some more permits go to non-residents. They told us to get lost. We got
a lawyer who knows the Constitution and asked him to talk to Arizona.

Way back in the summer of 1997, there was a meeting with the Director of
the Arizona Game and Fish Department and lawyers from the Arizona Attorney
General's Office. Our lawyer before the meeting had given them
constitutional cases showing that their discrimination against
nonresidents was illegal. There is in fact a document called the United
States Constitution. He reminded Arizona of what it said and meant. We
didn't want to sue. We just wanted more fair treatment of nonresidents.
Heck, nonresidents already pay over 5 times as much for a license.
Nonresidents subsidize the Arizona Game Department more than residents,
just like in most other Rocky Mountain States.

Arizona was letting nonresidents have only about 6-8% of the permits. The
law said nonresidents could draw "up to" 10%, but the way their system
worked nonresidents were only getting 6 to 8%. The funny thing is that
almost all residents thought that nonresidents were already getting 10%.
Right next door here in New Mexico, nonresidents can draw up to 22%. You
can stand on one side of the border, hunting the same elk herd in the same
forest, but the law is different three feet to the west where nonresidents
were getting almost completely shut out. Not exactly fair.

So what did we ask for? We asked for only a 10% set-aside share in a
separate pool for nonresidents. The funny thing is that almost all
Arizona residents thought that nonresidents were already getting 10%.
Even at 10%, that's less than New Mexico, less than Wyoming, less than

What were we told: "Take your best shot". We told them that if we had to
sue, the Court would have no option but to throw the caps out completely
and that they wouldn't like the result. Arizona's response: "Do what you
gotta do." These are almost exact quotes.

Then things got nasty, the very next season after we filed the case
against Arizona, the Game and Fish Department with US Fish and Wildlife
ran a sting operation on USO and other guides who were using aircraft to
scout with, which was and still is legal in Arizona. No charges were
filed on USO, but some other outfitters and guides were immediately
charged and most pled to minimal charges. Four years passed, then one
month after we won in the 9th Circuit Court, USO was charged with illegal
flying. Press releases were sent by the agencies to a tremendous amount
of newspapers, magazines, and companies we dealt with. Only the Rocky
Mountain Elk Foundation magazine printed information directly from the
press release without even calling USO to get the other side of the story.
Others magazines, once they had the facts, refused to print.

Once the case was in front of a judge, he threw the case out of court
saying that "even if they could prove the charges, it was not illegal to
scout using aircraft". We believe these charges were drummed up to just
drag USO through the mud in order to shake us off from our effort to
change the discrimination in Arizona.

For the past seven years, we kept telling Arizona they were going to lose.
We kept offering to compromise and work with them. We got the same
response. And what we told them would happen, happened.

By the way, this is what Arizona was fighting about: They re-ran their
draws going back to 1998 as though there were no caps (the way they did it
before 1991). The sky would not have fallen. Without the caps
non-residents would have drawn only something like 3.95% above the caps
for elk and 2.85% above the caps for antlered deer. That's all the
difference our suit will make. Anyone can get Arizona's briefs from this
year can read it themselves. By the Department's own numbers, only a few
hundred--out of over ten thousand--would go to nonresidents. Arizona
hunters need to calm down. It's not the end of the world. They are still
going to get 85-90% of the permits, like they were getting before the caps
were put in 1991.

So why are nonresidents getting like 750 additional permits this year?
That has nothing to do with us. We never asked for more permits, just a
more fair share for nonresidents. It was the Game Commission that chose
to simply give permits this year to every nonresident who got kicked out
because of the caps. We wanted them just to re-run the draw and do it
without increasing permit numbers. They just handed out more permits.

So, that's the story, as true and correct as I know how to tell it.
We never asked for more permits, just a
more fair share for nonresidents.

Doesn't a "more fair share" mean "more permits?" What did I miss here?

It was the Game Commission that chose
to simply give permits this year to every nonresident who got kicked out
because of the caps.

Does that mean I got my draw, since "every" non-resident would include me? Was my name left off the list in error? :rolleyes:

Sounds like damage control to me. Scouting by aircraft? That's as bad as game farms, in my opinion.
Contrary to Mr. Montoya's claim the scouting by plane is legal, there are several laws in several states, Arizona included, that forbid flying and hunting or scouting from aircraft and being in touch with hunters on the ground. Oh.. Did Griz forget to mention that part?? I'm sorry..

If the intent was just to get a fair share of the tags, why were only Elk and deer north of the Grand Canyon specified in the law suit? I didn't see any mention of the Coues hunts in southern Arizona in October when it's hot enough to fry eggs on your truck.. It sounds like a bad script written for some TV lawyer show.. A bunch of people have disassociated themselves from Taulman and the USO bunch over this lawsuit and I don't believe it's over. I believe that there will be additional legal action that will correct some injustices and accommodations that need correcting. I also find it interesting that the same day this ruling was handed down, several land owners made a move on AZGF to see about "more equitable treatment" for the use of "thier land" by game animals.. i.e. landowner tags.. It's beginning to sound like conspiracy..

Danr, just a question...

When AZ gets landowner tags, you going to peddle those too, or buy one????

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