SITKA Gear

Non-resident Hunting and the North American Model

BWALKER77

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Jan 25, 2018
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For resident hunters I have to call BS on this. I have a hard time believing a resident of a Rocky Mountain state, for the price of a tag, a tank of gas, and a cooler of food, can't put together a very affordable deer or elk hunt.

I had under $100 in my mule deer hunt last year.
Smart phone bills cost more monthly than the cost of several weekend hunts for many residents. That's a fact.
 

Kearnsie14

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Mar 17, 2018
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Ohio
It's hard to add anything substantive to the great comments already made but I'll add one more voice from an eastern NR perspective. I'm 49 years old and like many on this forum, I grew up solely hunting midwest whitetails and small game in my own state and did that exclusively for about 35 years. Western hunting was only a dream - the draw systems, regulations, and trip logistics (and the homework needed to successfully navigate those items) were too complicated to bother with, particularly when juggling work and raising a family. For reasons that I'll get into below, I also was under the mistaken impression that you needed to have private land access to participate in it. Public land advocacy wasn't even on my radar. In fact, I didn't even know it was "a thing."

My home state of Ohio is over 97% private land and the less than 3% that's publicly available hunting ground is so overrun with hunters that it's almost a joke among most OH hunters to even mention it as a viable option. What western hunters refer to as "crowded" public hunting conditions, Ohioans would view as our own little slice of heaven compared to the public land crowding that we experience. Practically speaking, unless you have access to private land here (which I'm extremely fortunate to have), you're out of luck. In fact, so ingrained is this experience in the minds of most Ohio hunters, the very idea of millions of acres of public land hunting availability out west is a foreign concept to most of us. After watching the Fresh Tracks videos about 5 years ago and finding out that millions of acres exist out west that are open for public hunting, it was truly an epiphany for me. I immediately wanted to do two things 1) participate in out of state western hunting trips, and 2) advocate for public lands (wherever they may be) with my time, talent, and treasure. Absent being exposed to western hunting, I would never have arrived at this place and I think this may be true for many eastern NR hunters that hunt out west.

Regarding NR tag fee increases (or even resident tag fee increases for that matter, including in my own home state), I have zero problem with that. I understand that wildlife management and public land management costs money and whether it's through tag fee increases or charitable donations, I would have given the money anyway. I'm mindful that many disagree with the tag fee increases and it is truly a shame that many are "priced out" of being able to participate as things get to a certain point. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm doing ok financially so I'm less affected by the tag fee increases to date. However, I do feel badly that some are more affected and wish that wasn't the case. I can't at present see another way to generate the necessary wildlife management funding, absent large tag fee increases also borne by resident hunters (which has its own set of understandable objections).

Regarding opportunity, my view is nuanced in this regard. Personally, I'm thrilled when I even draw any tag...cow tag, bull tag, general tag, LE tag...it doesn't matter to me. I'm a meat hunter and I have a blast regardless of the tag that I draw. I don't need "trophy tags." Having said that, I definitely understand the position of the hunters that have invested points for years chasing "trophy units", only to be disappointed as the rules change. Even though there are no guarantees made about drawing tags, I think some hunters (right or wrong) perceive that a sort of unspoken "contract" is made between themselves and the various fish and game agencies (i.e. I pay for a point today in exchange for a better chance of drawing "X" tag tomorrow and I assume that the rules will remain constant). Obviously, the fish and game agencies are free to adjust as desired. However, I observe that what drives much of the frustration for some is the perception that trust is broken (in a sense) when rules change along the way. This gives rise to the larger fear (which is significant) among NRs that NR opportunity will eventually be reduced to zero (or practically zero, in one form or another). I think many NRs perceive resident hunters as either overtly or covertly desiring this and this is erupting into fighting and distrust between residents and NRs. The in-fighting is catastrophic to the conservation cause.

Having said all of this, if the objective is to recruit as many hunters to the conservation cause as possible, I think the biggest encouragement that I have for the group would be to advocate to find a level of acceptable NR opportunity in each state and then not seek to limit it any further. I think opportunity is the key to educating more hunters about conservation and public lands advocacy. Those hunters will hopefully in turn become public land and wildlife conservation advocates. As many others have more eloquently said in prior posts, "out of sight, out of mind." If it ever gets to the point where NRs perceive no realistic opportunities, human nature is such that they'll simply stop caring, stop advocating, and find something else to do.

If, on the other hand, NR hunter involvement is unnecessary and can be "replaced" with being allied with non-consumptive public lands users, this whole discussion is moot and different tactics are required to further the conservation cause.

Sorry for the length. I thought about this for a couple of days. Back to work now...
 

1_pointer

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Indiana
When I keep seeing people commenting that their advocacy for wild animals and wild places comes with selfish strings attached, it kind of bothers me. I did not grow up hunting, but I am a lifelong Westerner and can't remember a time that my family did not recreate on public lands. If I ended up in a wheelchair and would never, ever set foot on public land again I would still advocate strongly for it because it's such an incredible thing. I can't even describe the feelings I've had at times while camping, hiking, fishing, photographing, hunting on public land. Maybe it's just the fact of growing up surrounded by it. I can't comprehend how someone can see the value of it only if they can hunt on it, and if they personally can't hunt on it then they don't care what happens to it. I guess I have my doubts that those people ever really advocated for public lands to begin with. I realize that is probably a distorted view based on my experiences, but there it is.

I guess that's probably my view of wildlife resources, access to them, and conservation as well. It just seems like everyone is so selfish. I don't see how the NAM exists into the future if we keep doing down this path of "as long as I get mine, screw everyone else".
You made those connections to federal public land due to your activities that generated the memories. IME, those types of things are directly proportional to one's proximity to those public lands. Folks from where I live are not going to gain that same connection as they aren't going to travel that far to camp, hike, fish, photograph. If they do travel that far for those things they are going to National Parks. Hunting is one activity that I have been able convince others to spend the time/money to travel to gain the experience and connection.

The lens through which we view these issues are colored by our experiences. Haviing lived/worked on public lands and not in a state with relatively few opportunities compared to many Western states colors my lenses. For many here that advocacy isn't a thing as that is not something they are directly impacted by.
 

kylemcintyre67

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El Paso, TX
I admit I can't fully wrap my head around this subject in any type of coherent way. So I just have random thoughts.

I think a limited resource, that is becoming more rare all the time, is inherently going to increase in value. If quality and/or access were better across the West, or even across the country, we might not be facing this conundrum. But I keep seeing people move to these states, buying up their 20 or 30 acres of winter range or calving ground to build their dream home, yet demanding their access to the resource as residents remain unhindered because dammit, that's why they moved here. That is unsustainable, but NR are absolutely going to bear the brunt of that increased scarcity (at least in the beginning) because those new residents aren't going to vote to reduce the opportunity they came here for. I suppose it's little consolation to NR's, but I think you can rest assured that residents are going to get theirs, eventually.

When I keep seeing people commenting that their advocacy for wild animals and wild places comes with selfish strings attached, it kind of bothers me. I did not grow up hunting, but I am a lifelong Westerner and can't remember a time that my family did not recreate on public lands. If I ended up in a wheelchair and would never, ever set foot on public land again I would still advocate strongly for it because it's such an incredible thing. I can't even describe the feelings I've had at times while camping, hiking, fishing, photographing, hunting on public land. Maybe it's just the fact of growing up surrounded by it. I can't comprehend how someone can see the value of it only if they can hunt on it, and if they personally can't hunt on it then they don't care what happens to it. I guess I have my doubts that those people ever really advocated for public lands to begin with. I realize that is probably a distorted view based on my experiences, but there it is.

I guess that's probably my view of wildlife resources, access to them, and conservation as well. It just seems like everyone is so selfish. I don't see how the NAM exists into the future if we keep doing down this path of "as long as I get mine, screw everyone else".
I tried to point out in the Wyoming thread that at least for me, hunting is what introduced me to public land and wildlife issues. I can tell you with some pretty good certainty that most folks who didn't grow up in and around hunting or western public lands have something close to zero knowledge about these things. The little knowledge we do have is usually misinformation about how things work. Even when I did utilize public lands participating in ultra marathons and other trail runs before I started hunting, I had no idea about the rules of who could use it and how. I spent five years pretty involved in that community and there was zero discussion about public land advocacy. I don't get the impression most folks are bitter and will take their ball and go home. I think they are trying to point out that without these avenues of introduction to the issues there won't be advocates in the future.

Edit: What the last several posts said in a smarter way than me.
 
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hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
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SW NM
Interesting. Long time supporter of NAM & have seen changes. Lot's of changes.
I'm 66 & retired to a place I can hunt reasonably and had lots of pubic lands to access.Saw the golden age and all. Read about before & now.
Was a Park Ranger for 20 years and there are way more folks utilizing the outdoors than ever before.

I paid $180 for a lic., elk,deer & WF tags last year. Stupid cheap. IMHO.
I only hunt my state now,not 6.
I think 10% of tags should go to NR's.
I think all users of the public places should pay in the kitty too.
I have seen the downfall of G&F dept's when they hooked up to the public funding trough.
I think there are too any people.LOL
I think elk herds in NM are still growing,but deer declining and something should be done.
 

rwc101

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There's some real underappreciated public land across the country. In my home state there's my favorite national forest anywhere, the Pisgah. Beautiful place to fish for wild trout, pick baskets of blueberries, and enjoy a challenging hunt for whitetail, black bear, and turkey. Too often discounted as being too tough to hunt. There's the Nantahala, Uwharrie, and Croatan forests as well. Even some wilderness areas. A smattering of Wildlife Refuges. Millions of people camp and fish on national seashores in North Carolina as well. If it takes a hunt out west to fire up the base that's fine. Just don't ignore what's on your doorstep.
 

Wildabeast

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Maybe NAM needs a good infusion of capitalism to it?
Complaining about underfunded game departments while 90% of tags are given out at subsidized welfare pricing, all the while there is a multi year waiting list to sell the remaining 10% at market value which is in some cases is 20 to100 times as much seems oxymoronic . Seems to be system that only benefits the hunting residents while remaining residents getting a bill.
Um, one of the main reasons we have the NAM is because runaway unregulated “capitalism” nearly wiped out every single big game animal in the country. Injecting more “capitalism” into is the antithesis of its purpose. If that were done in its purist sense, all tags would be auctioned to the highest bidder, and thus make it a rich man’s only game. So I’m curious as to whether you think that’s the best end result?
 

Trial153

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Um, one of the main reasons we have the NAM is because runaway unregulated “capitalism” nearly wiped out every single big game animal in the country. Injecting more “capitalism” into is the antithesis of its purpose. If that were done in its purist sense, all tags would be auctioned to the highest bidder, and thus make it a rich man’s only game. So I’m curious as to whether you think that’s the best end result?

I am well aware of why NAM came into existence. Two points I think you missed or are missing. Firstly the post was made partly or mostly tongue in cheek, however I will get to the partly part in bit.
Secondly the economics of wildlife are totally different at this point. For example lets say tomorrow I decided a good business to be in was selling bear products. After all that was preferred to meat to eat in the 1700s . I load up my pack of hounds and proceed to kill every bear in NY that I can tree. I get my truck load and take them to market. Except there is no market for them. I would promptly be broke. However where there is a market is selling bear hunts for 4k a week. I can sell them all spring long, as many as I can handle. All I need is bears and hunters to come back every year. Bears alive and reproducing are a money maker. Replace bears with Elk, Deer, ect ect. Markets changed and economies have changed. There is way more economic upside in conservation than there is extermination at this point and if we leave that fact out of the picture then we are looking at false narrative.

Now back to the first point and why I said only partly in regards to tongue in cheek. NAM was conceived to benefit wildlife for the citizens ( ALL of them) of the country to have, use and enjoy in their existence. Not for just for small groups of stake holder. What we have done is built a triving industy of stakeholder groups. Orgs, NR, Residents, LO ect ect all fight for their peice of the pie ( Put down the fork Buzz] And all of it comes at the expense of other groups in one way or another.
However Like it or not money is some ways a great equalizer.

So with that in mind lets use your auction example.
You have 100 elk tags being sold in the currently widely excepted manner.
90 get sold to for 50$ each to residents and 10 get sold to Nonresidents at 1000$
You just grossed 14500 for wildlife management. So about 70 percent came from the sale of 10% of the tags. those percentages look kind of familiar I know, shocker.

However lets look at your auction idea, and instead of subsidizing one group and gouging the other we looked for some form a of a happy medium.
I take those 100 tags and market them for 1000 each. low and behold i sell them all and have a waiting list for next year! I now have 100000 to use for wildlife management. Last time I checked i can do a hell of lot more managing with $100,000 that I can with 14,500. And the upside would be more money for wildlife, and more wildlife for all the citizens to enjoy....
we created a system of artificial scarcity because were subsidizing a small subset of users at the expense of everyone else. If we want to expand wildlife population and fund its management then we need to be selling all licenses closer to the true market value. NAM needs a shot of capitalism.
 
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Wildabeast

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I am well aware of why NAM came into existence. Two points I think you missed or are missing. Firstly the post was made partly or mostly tongue in cheek, however I will get to the partly part in bit.
Secondly the economics of wildlife are totally different at this point. For example lets say tomorrow I decided a good business to be in was selling bear products. After all that was preferred to meat to eat in the 1700s . I load up my pack of hounds and proceed to kill every bear in NY that I can tree. I get my truck load and take them to market. Except there is no market for them. I would promptly be broke. However where there is a market is selling bear hunts for 4k a week. I can sell them all spring long, as many as I can handle. All I need is bears and hunters to come back every year. Bears alive and reproducing are a money maker. Replace bears with Elk, Deer, ect ect. Markets changed and economies have changed. There is way more economic upside in conservation than there is extermination at this point and if we leave that fact out of the picture then we are looking at false narrative.

Now back to the first point and why I said only partly in regards to tongue in cheek. NAM was conceived to benefit wildlife for the citizens ( ALL of them) of the country to have, use and enjoy in their existence. Not for just for small groups of stake holder. What we have done is built a triving industy of stakeholder groups. Orgs, NR, Residents, LO ect ect all fight for their peice of the pie ( Put down the fork Buzz] And all of it comes at the expense of other groups in one way or another.
However Like it or not money is some ways a great equalizer.

So with that in mind lets use your auction example.
You have 100 elk tags being sold in the currently widely excepted manner.
90 get sold to for 50$ each to residents and 10 get sold to Nonresidents at 1000$
You just grossed 14500 for wildlife management. So about 70 percent came from the sale of 10% of the tags. those percentages look kind of familiar I know, shocker.

However lets look at your auction idea, and instead of subsidizing one group and gouging the other we looked for some form a of a happy medium.
I take those 100 tags and market them for 1000 each. low and behold i sell them all and have a waiting list for next year! I now have 100000 to use for wildlife management. Last time I checked i can do a hell of lot more managing with $100,000 that I can with 14,500. And the upside would be more money for wildlife, and more wildlife for all the citizens to enjoy....
NAM needs a shot of capitalism.
So essentially you’re saying that you don’t care about the guy who can’t afford a $1,000 tag. Gotcha. We’ll agree to disagree on whether that’s right and whether that’s the antithesis of the NAM.
 

JLS

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Where the Wild Things Are
NAM needs a shot of capitalism.
Many industries nationwide benefit a great deal from natural resources and landscapes, yet pay nothing for them. @mottlet already touched on the percentage of sale tax. This approach requires hunters and agency’s give up the motion of self funding though.

I’m not sure capitalism and public trust quite jive together.
 

Trial153

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So essentially you’re saying that you don’t care about the guy who can’t afford a $1,000 tag. Gotcha. We’ll agree to disagree on whether that’s right and whether that’s the antithesis of the NAM.
Are we talking about NAM or a social a welfare program? Isn't NAM first priority to growing and sustaining wildlife populations?
 

Trial153

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Many industries nationwide benefit a great deal from natural resources and landscapes, yet pay nothing for them. @mottlet already touched on the percentage of sale tax. This approach requires hunters and agency’s give up the motion of self funding though.

I’m not sure capitalism and public trust quite jive together.

what happens when the public trust is no longer being used to benefit the most of public?
 

wllm1313

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Manetheren
Any idea what the budget and funding sources of MT/WY/CO/NM/UT fish and game in 1960-90.
 

neffa3

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Wenatchee
Are we talking about NAM or a social a welfare program? Isn't NAM first priority to growing and sustaining wildlife populations?
That is an interesting view. That the fundamental basis of NAM is that users pay to protect/perpetuate/grow our wildlife, when that amounts to $, you proposal makes the most sense. But what about when it's not about dollars and cents and more about sway, more about advocacy? If industry wants to put subdivisions in your best habitat, does it really matter if you charge $50 a tag or $2500 a tag? The way to protect that species in that place is advocacy. I my mind you get that by encouraging more people to hunt to patriciate and interact with nature and it's most fundamental level.

However, I could still be swayed to your point, if let's say, the same # of tags were sold as currently. So there's theoretically the same # of hunters, they're just paying significantly more. I can see that benefits there. Unfortunately I would be fishing and not hunting.
 
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Trial153

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That is an interesting view. That the fundamental basis of NAM is that users map to protect/perpetuate/grow our wildlife, when that amounts to $, you proposal makes the most sense. But what about when it's not about dollars and cents and more about sway, more about advocacy? If industry wants to put subdivisions in your best habitat, does it really matter if you charge $50 a tag or $2500 a tag? The way to protect that species in that place is advocacy. I my mind you get that by encouraging more people to hunt to patriciate and interact with nature and it's most fundamental level.

However, I could still be swayed to your point, if let's say, the same # of tags were sold as currently. So there's theoretically the same # of hunters, they're just paying significantly more. I can see that benefits there. Unfortunately I would be fishing and not hunting.

I think one thing we, myself included, often miss is that with a truer market value of licenses prices there will be new winners and losers on both sides of the new baseline price. Meaning that in some cases the market value is less than the current NR price, why would that be? Because we arent creating an Artificially scarce product.
so yes there will be some people who now not be able to afford it because it's no longer subsidized. however there will now be some people that can now afford it because they aren't paying the inflated price that comes with artificial scarcity.
 

LopeHunter

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MO-->CA-->NW-->AZ&NW
Sadly, any time the subject comes up, there is a lot of wailing and crying about how it prices out the little guy.

But it ignores the fact that the little guy can't really afford to hunt right now. I'd keep doe tags dirt cheap to answer that line of attack. That is a pure meat hunt for those making the case that they need game meat to feed their family.

Agreed that out-of-state hunting as a non-resident is simply not an affordable manner for putting protein on the dinner table. Door to door for food, fuel, food and lodging is expensive unless driving just over the state line and you brought your food from home. Tags, licenses and permits add up fast. Ammunition and gear adds up though need some of that even if hunt only as a resident off the back porch.

In-state hunting by a resident can be more affordable and if a very good hunter that fills most tags then maybe could put protein on the table for less than the cost of chicken at the store. I really doubt you can consistently do that anymore if account for all the real costs including wear and tear on gear.

If hunting is not a bargain way to obtain food then either a lot of resident hunters are bad at math or are actually valuing the entertainment component of a hunt.

Entertainment is discretionary. Some can afford to go to the Super Bowl, some can't. We don't spend much time saying football tickets should be affordable for the $10 an hour guy.

I want to see the recruitment of new hunters as they and their families vote. Cost of the tags and licenses is a factor but access to those tags and land to hunt to try and fill those tags is a bigger hurdle. They say you run out of time before you run out of money. I say you run out of access before you run out of tags.
 

bobbydean

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Apr 5, 2001
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New Mexico
Wildlife is changing.

I live on 5 acres a half a mile from the city limits. I used to have coveys of quail, jackrabbits, cottontails, an occasional coyote and 1 mountain lion, a few skunks and a few raccoons. I also had an antelope herd and a few mule deer, and, luckily, they still visit.

I now have swarms of dove, a few pigeons, and lots of crackles.

I do not think I have seen a rabbit in the wild this year. Probably disease.

Back to the subject; 10% NR and 90% resident is fair for all states.

I support raising resident fees and hold the line on the NR.

My opinion.
 
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