New Montana Legislation Passed
General Topic
Contributors to this thread:
JL 15-May-21
0hndycp 15-May-21
orionsbrother 15-May-21
Jaquomo 15-May-21
Drnaln 15-May-21
JohnMC 15-May-21
Drnaln 15-May-21
Tilzbow 15-May-21
tkjwonta 15-May-21
Drnaln 15-May-21
WI Shedhead 15-May-21
0hndycp 15-May-21
Brijake 15-May-21
JL 15-May-21
Pop-r 15-May-21
Drnaln 15-May-21
RK 15-May-21
Drnaln 15-May-21
RK 15-May-21
hdaman 15-May-21
JL 15-May-21
RK 15-May-21
Pop-r 16-May-21
Glunt@work 16-May-21
Zim 16-May-21
MichaelArnette 16-May-21
kentuckbowhnter 16-May-21
Predeter 16-May-21
JL 16-May-21
grizzly63 16-May-21
RK 16-May-21
Trad PA 16-May-21
0hndycp 16-May-21
RK 16-May-21
grizzly63 16-May-21
JL 16-May-21
RK 16-May-21
Predeter 16-May-21
Brijake 17-May-21
Scoot 17-May-21
JL 17-May-21
jingalls 17-May-21
hunt'n addict 17-May-21
hoyt-6190 17-May-21
Scoot 17-May-21
jdbbowhunter 17-May-21
Birdman 17-May-21
Pop-r 17-May-21
jingalls 17-May-21
Scoot 17-May-21
RK 17-May-21
Predeter 17-May-21
Zim 18-May-21
Scoot 18-May-21
jingalls 18-May-21
Scoot 18-May-21
IdyllwildArcher 18-May-21
Drnaln 18-May-21
Scoot 18-May-21
RK 18-May-21
0hndycp 18-May-21
hunt'n addict 18-May-21
Missouribreaks 19-May-21
SmokedTrout 19-May-21
Missouribreaks 19-May-21
0hndycp 19-May-21
jingalls 19-May-21
JL 19-May-21
jingalls 19-May-21
WVFarrier 24-May-21
JL 24-May-21
Brijake 09-Jun-21
JL 09-Jun-21
Daff 13-Jun-21
Scoot 14-Jun-21
JL 14-Jun-21
Brijake 24-Jun-21
RK 24-Jun-21
SmokedTrout 28-Jun-21
Scoot 28-Jun-21
trophyhill 28-Jun-21
Zim 28-Jun-21
Scoot 29-Jun-21
JL 29-Jun-21
Scoot 29-Jun-21
JL 29-Jun-21
SmokedTrout 29-Jun-21
From: JL
15-May-21

JL's embedded Photo
JL's embedded Photo
This has been discussed a while back. Here is a new article laying out what happened and who/what benefited. A last minute amendment put in benefited the outfitters big time. It hurt DIY NR's.

One-time outfitter hunting licenses, changes to preference points, signed into law

Tom Kuglin 10 hrs ago

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has signed a wide ranging Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks bill that was amended late in the session to provide provisions for outfitters.

House Bill 637 from Joliet Republican Seth Berglee changes multiple areas of fish and wildlife law. Many of the changes are “cleanup” language clarifying statutes and making minor legal updates. Other changes drew considerable debate including spending $1 million on pheasant releases on wildlife management areas, and eliminating waiting requirements for purchasing black bear and mountain lion licenses.

The day before the session adjourned, Berglee made a significant amendment to the bill.

The amendment, which came during a free conference committee, allows a one-time allowance for outfitted nonresidents who did not draw a lottery license to purchases hunting licenses over-the-counter.

The bill also makes changes to the nonresident preference point system favoring outfitted nonresidents over do-it-yourself nonresident hunters. Outfitted nonresidents may purchase an additional preference point to gain an advantage in a future lottery license. Proceeds for the changes, which includes a bump in preference point fees, go to multiple access and habitat programs.

Berglee said he brought the amendment due to a 30% surge in nonresident applications. Nearly 32,000 hunters applied for 17,000 nonresident big game licenses. The uptick has harmed outfitters by creating uncertainty with how many outfitted nonresidents may draw licenses in a particular year. Industry groups said client success in the drawing was down about 40% over prior years.

The amendment and process that brought it late in the session and without public comment drew significant criticism from some hunter advocacy groups. The bill favored nonresidents who could afford to hire an outfitter and went against the spirit of a 2010 ballot initiative that did away with guaranteed outfitter licenses.

In announcing Gianforte had signed the bill, the governor’s office released a companion letter in response to “misinformation spread about HB 637.” The letter clarifies the changes do not directly affect resident hunters in terms of licenses or bonus points.

A spokesperson for the governor’s office said the bonus/preference point misconception is one they have heard from Montanans, but did not name any organizations it believed was making the claims.

The letter also notes a “one-time emergency allocation of 3,000 nonresident tags,” or about 1% of total licenses sold to residents and nonresidents. A spokesperson for the governor’s office said the figure is based on the best estimate from the governor’s office and FWP about how many additional outfitted nonresidents could be eligible to purchase a license this year.

Industry representatives have said an additional 3,000 licenses would need to be sold to make up for this year’s drop in drawing success, but outfitters had not calculated an exact number that could be eligible under the one-time allowance.

In order to be eligible, a nonresident would need to have booked with or made a deposit with an outfitter for this year before April 1. The additional licenses must be purchased by Aug. 30.

The letter concludes by noting that the concept of allocating one-time licenses was floated by the Bullock Administration during the pandemic – such a proposal was never brought forward.

From: 0hndycp
15-May-21
This bill is just the latest in the long line of outfitter welfare bills! It will have a great ripple effect to residents, as well, providing the outfitters more consistent revenue to lease up more private land, blocking more access to public, and taking previously huntable (via block management) out of the access pool to any hunters in MT!

I also feel for the non resident DIY guys that will draw fewer permits in MT than was already the case.

Congratulations wealthy landowners and outfitters you stole your guaranteed permits back, that MT residents voted away from you years ago to keep this very thing from happening.

15-May-21
Well... this brightens my day.

More money. Lower odds. Greater point creep. Great.

How much are Preference Points going to go up?

From: Jaquomo
15-May-21
Outfitter Welfare is becoming a scourge in almost all western states. Here in CO they took a bunch of deer licenses out of the general drawing pool to give to outfitters who sell most of them to NRs for guided hunts. Everybody wins, except resident hunters, of course.

From: Drnaln
15-May-21
Another state catering to the Outfitters. I didn't know Colorado had tags allotted to the Outfitters. Oregon & New Mexico are playing that game.

From: JohnMC
15-May-21
Drnlaln they call them landowner tags

From: Drnaln
15-May-21
Thanks....Guess those tags wouldn't be just for Outfitters then?

From: Tilzbow
15-May-21
Read the detail. It’s a one time deal. Has zero impact on this year’s draw since that’s over and done with so there was impact on DIY hunters draw success this year. That said there will be up to 3,000 more outfitted hunters afield so that could impact DIY success and overall experience.

Flame away!

From: tkjwonta
15-May-21
What about the "outfitted hunters can buy an additional preference point" Tilzbow? It didn't sound like that was a one-time deal, and that change seems like BS to me.

From: Drnaln
15-May-21
Also looks like preference points might increase in price?

From: WI Shedhead
15-May-21
If thier were 34k applications they will raise the price to whatever the market will withstand. And that could be a lot more

From: 0hndycp
15-May-21
Tilzbow, we the residents of MT voted and passed resoundingly, to permanently stop the outfitter welfare of guaranteeing the set aside permits for them! The reason for this was to curb the ever increasing trend of outfitters leasing up enormous chunks of previously accessible private lands or private lands that block the DIY or resident (non babysat hunter) from accessing public lands.

There were already 17000 eligible nonresidents and thousands more residents for them to guide! This is a terrible bill, and directly goes against what we the voters passed resoundingly!

From: Brijake
15-May-21
I know a guy who put in with an outfitter for the general elk combo tag and didn’t draw. He got a call from the outfitter telling him he now will have a tag this year. I didn’t know putting in with an outfitter was even an option, but must be.

From: JL
15-May-21
What I can see as a possible outcome if folks are not careful.....DIY NR hunters will be squeezed out of the tag drawing process and NR hunters could either (1) wait a lot longer to draw a tag or (2) pay an outfitter fee plus the already high NR license costs or (3) cross Montana off the hunt destination list.

From: Pop-r
15-May-21
The guys that dream this shit up need shot!

From: Drnaln
15-May-21
I crossed Montana off my application list this year except for sheep. I have max points for sheep but they might go by the wayside next year? Leave better odds for everyone else!

From: RK
15-May-21
Drnaln

Why would you stop putting in for sheep?

From: Drnaln
15-May-21
RK, Just getting a bit burned out on some of the draw systems & guess I'm just getting older. Maybe I'll feel different by the time next year rolls around?

From: RK
15-May-21
Thanks. Just curious All valid reasons

From: hdaman
15-May-21
My reasoning may be wrong, but it seems like this will cost the state and small businesses a lot of money. The DIY hunters spend a lot of money at gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, sporting goods stores,etc. On my guided hunts, most of this doesn't happen. You prepare and purchase what you need at home, fly in, hunt and head home. I hope the residents speak up. And yes, I'm a NR with a daughter in Montana and this legislation is disheartening.

From: JL
15-May-21
It seems the goal is to push (force?) more NR's to the outfitters.

I was also thinking along the lines of what hda says above...if they stay at the outfitter's camp or lodge, I'm thinking that often means they won't need to buy food or need a motel in the area they're hunting. That will stiff the locals who depend on that portion of the NR dollars being spent in MT.

I was also thinking if many of the Cali folks moving to Montana (or WY) are anti-hunting....that will not bode well for the res's and NR's who hunt there.

From: RK
15-May-21
You guys are thinking to much without gathering the facts. That's always fun when you are lobbying for your side.

Smarter to gather the correct info with your biases interfering

FYI if you are a serious DIY hunter you will most likely know nothing about outfitted hunts and visa versa if you are a outfitter type guy you know nothing about DIY hunts

That's why facts are important

From: Pop-r
16-May-21
The two statements above yours are sure enough facts. I'm not sure how one could be smart enough not to realize that is important.

From: Glunt@work
16-May-21
Two really large stakeholders, aside from resident hunters, are outfitters and nonresident DIY hunters. One pays the bills for MT wildlife and one does not. I have no issue with outfitters (I used to be one) but they need to make their money on things they own or services they provide. Its was a big mistake when States started to use wildlife and the tags to access the wildlife as subsidies. I get why they do it but its damaging to the amazing conservation system hunters built in North America.

From: Zim
16-May-21
Corrupt politicians have had an incredibly bad impact on the NAMWC and it gets worse every year. Yes technology & information have increased demand of a limited resource, but outfitter welfare sure ain’t the answer.

Seth Berglee = Just another special interest group bought & paid for clown.

16-May-21
Not going to hurt me as a non resident much but it’s sure going to keep outfitters leasing up more properties that residents could have gotten permission on or leased themselves

To illustrate:

Going rate for leasing land is say $3000 for 1000acres, an outfitter can lease it or a group of residents can lease it but the outfitter marks up to 6k for a “guided” rate which the resident now can’t really afford. With the inability to draw a tag every year nonresidents are not too interested in leasing land so they are not in the fight on their own but use the outfitter as a service every few years.

...in comes outfitter welfare bill. Now high paying nonresidents flock to Montana for a guaranteed tag and end up paying 6k to hunt what a resident could pay 3k for...and they do it in droves because there are fewer states that allow tags guaranteed these days. The outfitter can now lease up a few more parcels he/she couldn’t lease before and might be able to pay 4K or 5k and even charge more to nonresidents who now have added value to a Montana option.

Now do you see how it’s bad for the DIU hunters of Montana?

16-May-21
Obviously this new system doesn’t pertain to sheep and goats? Does it?

16-May-21
be interesting to see how the resident hunters vote in the next election. if these guys get re elected then i guess the residents are ok with it.

From: Predeter
16-May-21
Deer and elk only, Altitude.

I'm wondering how the "extra point" will work? If you apply with an outfitter one year and buy the 2nd pref point but don't draw, are you required to apply with an outfitter the next year? Could you gain the extra point and then use it to draw a tag without an outfitter in a different year?

From: JL
16-May-21
^....that's a great question.

From: grizzly63
16-May-21
I wonder if some of the outfitters who had 40% reduction in business managed to latch on to some of that free flowing covid money? How did they really come out?

From: RK
16-May-21
Grizzly I suspect the outfitters that were qualified for the COVID money got it and those that did not qualify or apply did not get it.

There were lots of outfitters that were down way more than 40%. Just like other businesses outfitters situations vary a lot from state to state

We took no money.

From: Trad PA
16-May-21
Do changes like this actually result in more outfitted hunts being sold to NRs? I know I usually go on some sort of DIY western hunt most years, it’s “fairly” economical and I know my way around now but if I’m forced to pay 5k or 6k to hunt elk or 3k+ to have a guide walk me down a logging road for bear then I’m certainly out.

From: 0hndycp
16-May-21
It most definitely increases the amount of outfitted hunts, and that why the guides and outfitters lobbied so hard for it! It will absolutely result in more, previously accessible private and public land, being leased up by the outfitters! This will the residents and nonresidents alike.....bad deal and why the MT residents passed with legislation about 15 years ago to completely do away with the outfitter welfare allocation of permits!!!

From: RK
16-May-21
Outfitters = Satan

There I said it !!

From: grizzly63
16-May-21
There are people who need outfitters due to limited time schedules, inability to hunt effectively on their own, or those fortunate enough to buy their way into tags every year. Their reward for economic success. It does have a negative effects on the regular Joe who likes to hunt. There needs to be a balance.

From: JL
16-May-21
Kinda surprised Randy hasn't dropped in to off his current thoughts. He may have other info to share.

From: RK
16-May-21
The regular Joe. Who the hell is that. Never met one. Kind of like Bigfoot?? Explain that to me

From: Predeter
16-May-21
My name is Joe and I'm pretty regular :-)

From: Brijake
17-May-21
Ok RK, I’ll bite. Do tell us how this is a good thing for the DIY hunter. You snuck in stating to gather the facts, but low and behold it appears from your own words you are an outfitter, although from Texas as your handle states, you seem to come across quite knowledgeable about Montana. I’m game, let’s here your side of how great this is for the DIY hunter rather than come on making snide remarks. Pretty obvious why it’s great for the outfitters but I am interested in the “real facts” as you state in your first post.

From: Scoot
17-May-21
RK, I'll piggyback on Brijake's comment/question-- you made a comment about people not gathering facts, but in your next post you "suspect" the system of who got welfare tags and who didn't worked. Sounds to me like maybe you should follow your own words and gather facts and not comment until you have.

Outfitter welfare is bullshit and the only reasonable reason I can see to disagree is if you benefit from it. This is a class/money issue as well- those who can afford to use an outfitter are simply gifted a tag after they didn't draw a tag when in the lottery with everyone else. Couldn't afford an outfitter- good luck, maybe you'll draw. You can afford an outfitter-- here ya go, we'll just give you one since you didn't draw with the commoners. If you can't see how that is unfair and a slap in the face of those who didn't draw, then you're both blind and dumb.

Further, for those of us who did draw a general tag, we now have 3000 additional hunters who SHOULD NOT HAVE TAGS who will hunt the same general units lands we are hunting. It is a bait and switch from MT and is total bullshit.

From: JL
17-May-21
^.....The NR big game combo quota is currently 17,000 tags. I don't recall off the top of my noggin but do those 3000 NR outfitter tags come from the 17,000 pool or are they above and beyond the 17,000 (20,000 total)?

From: jingalls
17-May-21
There will be winners and losers no matter what MT does. The public land DIY guys will cry foul if outfitters or landowners are allocated tags.

The outfitters and landowners cry foul because they can’t get tags for their customers. Both sides need/want tags. It’s a balancing act.

17-May-21
JL - How I read it there will now be 20K NR Big Game combo tags. Total BS. MT set their draw system up for wealthy people now. As others have said, the DIY guys will get less tags every year.

So, tell me why I should continue to donate to the conservation organizations down the road when I cannot afford to, or cannot get a tag?

From: hoyt-6190
17-May-21
The 3000 tags is a one time deal so it will return to the normal number next year. But those that use an out fitter can buy extra points or what not vs those that go diy.

From: Scoot
17-May-21
JL, it's above and beyond. Also, not random drawings above and beyond what was initially allotted, it's only for those who can afford to hunt through an outfitter who get access to the new tags.

Jingalls, 17k tags were awarded. If outfitters were good and there was sufficient demand for them, wouldn't they have plenty of business? If they didn't, there should be fewer of them.

In my hometown of 1700 people there used to be 3 pharmacies. That's too many obviously, and 2 sold out/ closed. The one that stayed open did the best, and therefore the most, business. Maybe some think the mediocre businesses should have been given vouchers so their wealthy customers would be guarented meds that others patiently wait for? Ya know... cuz they were struggling.

The pharmacies that closed didn't hold the balls of the politicians like the outfitters in MT. It's blatant and shameful what they have done in MT. This bill was/is the tip of the iceberg if things don't change significantly.

For the record I love Montana. It's a beautiful state filled with a huge percentage of great people. However, what has been allowed to happen there in the past few months is a great example of what Jaq referred to above and should be illegal. The politicians and outfitters assoc who pushed this through are in bed together and I hope they are all ousted from their positions come election time.

From: jdbbowhunter
17-May-21
All about the $$$$$! DIY guys will be priced out before long. some already are. Its not just Montana its all over .

From: Birdman
17-May-21
My buddy and i drew our Montana general elk combo tags , don't understand why they call it combo , oh well , first time we applied in 5 yrs. Guess we should consider ourselves very lucky. Probably last time we'll be able to hunt that state unless we pay a outfitter.

From: Pop-r
17-May-21
It's a "combo" because it's a deer and elk tag. Along with other things....

From: jingalls
17-May-21
Scoot, I’m not advocating one way or the other. But jdbbowunter hit the nail on the head. And it’s not all about the outfitter. Landowners want the tags too. They have guys that pay trespass fees. And that’s becoming huge business in the west. Competing with the guides for leasing actually.

The issue is you have the baby boomer generation that has basically just retired. I’m part of that albeit on the tail end. But that generation has more money than time and they know it. So yes it is going to be tough for the guy on a shoestring budget.

I’ve done both guided and DIY. I prefer DIY but am not a opposed to doing a guided again. I’ve got 2 elk hunts this year both DIY. NM fully public and MT is part public and part private.

You can not hate people for being successful and willing to pay big money for a tag. The states see this and they want the cash. If you continue go down the path of class warfare it will not end well. We live in a country that anyone can be successful. Go earn it and the hunts will come. God Bless America!

From: Scoot
17-May-21
Jingalls, I have no hate for those who are successful-- absolutely none! I applaud them! If those who could afford an outfitter were able to buy one (like NM), that would be one thing, but this is another. This is welfare for the wealthy.

Also, I'm not opposed to those who hunt with an outfitter or to outfitters-- but I am fully opposed to those who aren't able to succeed in a free market by doing a great job. Actually not opposed to them, just not in favor of them getting welfare to continue.

Lastly, I'm opposed to the outfitter assoc fluffing the balls of the politicians in MT the way they obviously have. The number of steps they have gone though to finally accomplish this welfare for the outfitters should be humiliating for all hunters in MT. That's not hate for outfitters, the wealthy, or the state of MT-- that's hate for welfare and the association and politicians screwing the system and the people to accomplish their nefarious agenda.

From: RK
17-May-21
Jingalls. Well said

This stuff in MT is just the new / old beginning

Totally driven eventually by supply and demand principles

Same theory applies to all recreational activities

From: Predeter
17-May-21
I don't think money (cost) or tag allotment are really the issues hurting outfitters, it's a change in hunter attitude due to technology. DIY 20 years ago was tough! The "value" of a guide/outfitter was much higher.

These days when I say I went on a DIY hunt what I really should say is I went on a DIW hunt (Did It With google earth, go hunt, toprut, onX, bowsite, rokslide, and youtube). Obviously tech doesn't provide everything that an outfitter would (by a long shot) but it's hard to deny that the value has diminished.

So instead of outfitters adapting or dying, the states are stepping in with welfare to prolong the inevitable.

From: Zim
18-May-21
Just glad I chose to pass on Montana when they went to points. Was bought into more than enough ponzi schemes at the time LoL. So this current dumpster fire won't affect me directly.

From: Scoot
18-May-21
RK, how you can describe welfare for the wealthy as simple supply and demand is beyond me. That's a completely ridiculous take in my opinion. It's also obviously a very biassed one. Simply because something benefits you doesn't make it ethically right or justified.

From: jingalls
18-May-21
Scoot, I have a lot of respect for you. I’m not sure how you are defining the wealthy?

Just because a guy decides to pay an outfitter or a landowner for a tag and a hunt. Does not equate he’s wealthy or welfare for the wealthy. It describes a person that saved up and decided…”OK, this is how this state plays the game. I want to hunt so I’ll buy that hunt.” The states are doing it because they can. It will be ever changing.

I understand your position. And I understand you not begrudging a guy that is successful. And I understand your frustration with states that help out outfitters and ranchers with tags. But it shouldn’t shock you that it happens. States give incentives to business to attract them to their state. Outfitting is no different. Brings in tons of money. Government doesn’t care about DIY guys that want an even playing field. The government wants the money! The only reason guys like you and me are still doing DIY hunts at all? Is because of hunting organizations and individuals banning together to watch and fight for our rights. It would be easy for the politicians to give tags to the highest bidder. But there’s too many of us watching. So every once in a while they sneak something in. In this case it’s for the outfitters and ranchers. Just stay connected to organizations like RMEF and continue to make your voice heard.

The rancher in MT that I pay a trespass fee to is far from wealthy. I would please ask to refrain from the verbiage “welfare for the wealthy”. All due respect, just my two cents.

From: Scoot
18-May-21
Jingalls, you are absolutely right- to say that anyone who hunts with an outfitter is wealthy is an exaggeration and not totally accurate. However, to not say that those who hunt with outfitters tend to have greater means than those who don't is also not accurate. I don't begrudge anyone who uses an outfitter and I certainly don't want them or the outfitters to be punished in any way. However, this is preferential treatment for a group of people who simply don't deserve it. ...and they are getting it simply because they have a hold on the purse strings of a politician(s) in their home state. It is pure, unadulterated bullshit.

I agree with virtually everything you said in your second paragraph. However, because I shouldn't be surprised by it doesn't mean I shouldn't be appalled by it. Preferential treatment to outfitters and their clients means disadvantaged opportunity/prejudice against DIY hunters. If people can't see that efforts like these will be the death of hunting and make it 100% a rich man's game, then they obviously see things very differently than me. Again, BECAUSE SOMETHING BENEFITS YOU DOES NOT MAKE IT RIGHT!

Lastly, I'm sorry if the phrase "welfare for the wealthy" is offensive to you. I also agree with you that it is not perfectly accurate. However, it definitely conveys a message that really captures my problem with this whole screwed up system. This is welfare for outfitters and it's an undeserved freebie for those who had the means to use outfitters.

18-May-21
"Lastly, I'm opposed to the outfitter assoc fluffing the balls of the politicians in MT the way they obviously have."

Agreed. And all the other states that this happens in like NM, WY, AK, etc.

From: Drnaln
18-May-21
Outfitters should succeed on their own merit. Good business people survive in all other walks of life. It's total BS for any state to designate big game tags to help outfitters stay in business. The Landowner Tags given out by states are completely abused in most cases also!

From: Scoot
18-May-21
Since I'm on a roll...

"Berglee said he brought the amendment due to a 30% surge in nonresident applications. Nearly 32,000 hunters applied for 17,000 nonresident big game licenses. The uptick has harmed outfitters by creating uncertainty with how many outfitted nonresidents may draw licenses in a particular year. Industry groups said client success in the drawing was down about 40% over prior years."

First, of course client success was down-- there were tons more applications and success was down, regardless of whether you applied through an outfitter or not. However, if more people applied through outfitters but a smaller percentage drew, there very well may be just as many outfitted clients with tags (before giving the freebie tags). Saying "Industry groups said client success in the drawing was down about 40% over prior years" is pretty worthless- show me some data. I can say "client success in the drawing is up 95%" and it may be every bit as accurate as what the "industry groups" said. They gave them 3000 tags based on what a biased group of folks said about the draw, but apparently provided no data? WTF? Of course the truth is he's somehow in bed with the outfitters assoc and this was going to happen one way or another and data be damned- numbers didn't matter.

The percent success rates of their clients dropping is not meaningful if there were more potential clients applying (and there were). Rather than giving them 3000 tags because of what "industry groups said", they should have looked at how many outfitted clients drew in the last draw and how many they drew this time. But in the end, after getting the actual data instead of what "industry groups said", they should have given them absolutely no tags whatsoever. There are tons and tons of ways to help outfitters out without screwing over DIY guys in the process. I would be more than happy to see outfitters (and many other industries that have suffered through this mess) get some federal and state help. But to do it with a slap in the face of DIY hunters is insulting and idiotic IMO. It's also yet another way to chip away at a great American past time.

I don't typically get this fired up over things, but damn I'm sick of DIY hunting getting F'd! MT has made a mockery of it this year and the BS they have tried to push through, and finally successfully pushed through, is shameful.

From: RK
18-May-21
Interesting conversation for sure. Not new or unique it’s been like this for decades. Right now it is Montanas turn again. More to come is a guaranteed truth

For the record. The fact that have been an outfitter for 4 decades does not mean I agree with what Montana has done.

In fact, I believe not a single non resident license should be issued until every resident has a license for whatever they want to hunt, based of course on the science

Of course that won’t work, Kansas tried the no non-resident hunting for years until other states reciprocated and decided Kansas residents were not welcome in their states to hunt and fish

The world to me is a very simple thing to understand. Being a black and white pragmatic guy nothing that is going on in Montana is a shock nor unexpected. And yes it is as simple as supply and demand. And with populations rising it does not take a genius to figure out what the future will bring. And my opinion on anything will change nothing.

But I agree strongly with Jingalls , everybody needs to continue the fight and stay involved with organizations that are fighting for our causes!

From: 0hndycp
18-May-21
Scoot, I agree 100% with what you’ve said. I think what really frosts me, is that we as MT residents passed by legislative process, to do away with outfitter ‘welfare’ tags! They were still eligible to guide or outfit the 17000 non-residents and thousands upon thousands more residents, but they didn’t get to guarantee non-residents a permit. Then to have them slip in this “1 time” allocation is total BS and a complete slap in the face to not only the DIY nonresident, but also the residents for passing legislation to completely disregard what we, the voters, passed!

If you think it won’t effect the DIY resident or nonresident in access and competition.....you are sorely mistaken! This provides outfitters with guarantees to provide the extra income to lease up more land and block more access for the public hunter who doesn’t need or want the hand holding the outfitter provides!

18-May-21
"Government doesn’t care about DIY guys that want an even playing field. The government wants the money! "

Help me understand how guided hunters bring in more money to the giverment.

The givernment would get more money from DIY hunters IMO, unless there is a service tax paid by guided hunters in MT I am not aware of. Guided hunters buy the same tags DIY hunters do, so no loss of money there. Guided hunters typically don't need to spend money on hotels, gas, food, etc., so this to me would be a loss in tax revenue.

19-May-21
There is a generation of older hunters, and those with physical limitations, who have a difficult time on a western DIY hunt. Outfitters do keep them in the game a bit longer.

From: SmokedTrout
19-May-21
"There is a generation of older hunters, and those with physical limitations, who have a difficult time on a western DIY hunt but happen to have a bunch of money" Fixed it for you.

In general, Montanans do not want guaranteed outfitter tags to kill public owned wildlife. That was made very clear 10 years ago. MOGA used the current legislature to go behind the citizen's backs to get their increased guaranteed income. I get the feeling that this will come back to haunt MOGA as they may have poked the bear. I for one sure hope so.

Forgive me for being jaded. I just got done dodging drift boats on the Missouri and hope I never see another guided hunting or fishing trip again. The quality of our hunting and fishing experiences are declining due to overcrowding, and outfitters with rich clients are a big contributing factor. Now we'll have an 18% increase in nonresident tags this year, along with the increase in leased lands, to further degrade the residents' quality of hunting experiences.

19-May-21
More and more outfitter clients and private land leases are actually wealthy Montanans. Difficult situation for sure.

From: 0hndycp
19-May-21
There are about a dozen or so ranches I used to hunt or use to access public lands in MT, they are all currently leased and blocked by outfitters. 5 of them were enrolled in Block Management, but outfitter paid such a premium to lease I don’t blame the ranch for leasing.

SmokedTrout I’m with you that this was a sleezy move by the MOGA to completely disregard what MT voters said loud and clear, we DONT WANT, 10 years ago, and thats outfitter set aside permits!

The nonresident DIY should be pissed too, because the guys that pay for the outfitters will be a year ahead of you, every year, from here on out, when applying for Elk and Deer combos.

From: jingalls
19-May-21
hunt’n addict, I’m not agreeing with how they did it. Just not surprised.

Let me explain the $ question you asked. Whether you DIY or go guided, which group spends more money?

Both groups spend money on motels and food. And having done both, I know I have spent more money on guided hunts on those categories. The outfitters that I have been with, have spent big money on lodges that they charge clients for. So just like hotels they pay taxes on those facilities. So no advantage in either group.

What I have observed is that the clients with outfitters have the ability to drop $ in the state. A lot of extra spending goes on in the guided category. I watched a guy blow up his bow on the practice range when he came to the lodge the afternoon before his hunt began. He spent his first day at the local shop buying an all new bow set up. Not that that doesn’t happen with DIY guys.

The “government” that was mostly referring to was the states and DNR’s. If the states can get more money out of one group or the other they will. In this case it’s the guided hunter. If they can get two times the amount for points out of guided hunters they will. And that is what they are planning to do. Again…not fair! But life ain’t fair!

Having been involved in western hunting for only a short period compared to many on this site. This is only my opinion. But guided hunters “WAY” outspend DIY guys. And that’s what the states see too. That’s why they do what they do.

If we all don’t pay close attention we will loose DIY options faster than what is already happening. So make sure your voices are heard in a loud but respectful manner. Shoot straight and have fun this season!

From: JL
19-May-21
^....just based on known numbers in this situation....there are 3000 NR tags allotted to the outfitters. There are 17,000 other NR BG combo tags for the DIY folks to fight over. I'm thinking that revenue from the 17K crowd will dwarf the revenue from the 3K crowd. I say that generally speaking because some of those 17K NR's are guided too. What percent...I don't know.

I suppose at the end of the day, NR DIY folks can stop contributing to Montana's coffers every year and just stay local or go to another state. Or....write letters to the state reps and other national organizations that are supposed to be looking out for the folks. How many NR DIY folks out there are members of B&C, P&Y, RMEF, MDF, DU, NRA, etc. Those are your platforms to voice your opinion about this and other issues of importance (like high tag fees).

Another thought is this extra revenue that is supposedly coming could be used to increase payouts to BMA folks to incentivize them to join into and/or keep their places out of leases and open to the public.

It wasn't too long ago there was usually leftover NR BG combo tags left over after the draw. I think that was mostly during the Prez Bamster years when the economy and employment was in the tank. IMO....if the economy continues to slide downward....we might see those leftover tag days again.

From: jingalls
19-May-21
Good observations JL and spot on!

From: WVFarrier
24-May-21
Perhaps a few DIYers should get together and file legal claim to bar the state from enacting these shananigans? Im not an attorney but it seems like the only recourse at this point.

From: JL
24-May-21
^....I'm not a lawyer either but I believe the plaintiff folks need to have standing in order for the suit to be accepted. I don't know how that standing could be established. Not disagreeing with your sentiment....just not sure how the standing piece of the process would go.

From: Brijake
09-Jun-21
Ok RK, I’ll bite. Do tell us how this is a good thing for the DIY hunter. You snuck in stating to gather the facts, but low and behold it appears from your own words you are an outfitter, although from Texas as your handle states, you seem to come across quite knowledgeable about Montana. I’m game, let’s here your side of how great this is for the DIY hunter rather than come on making snide remarks. Pretty obvious why it’s great for the outfitters but I am interested in the “real facts” as you state in your first post.

From: JL
09-Jun-21

JL's Link
Seen this yesterday......if you're an outfitter, you're probably loving this. The PP increase and PP slant towards outfitters is a crock!

Outfitted nonresident hunters buy 350 one-time licenses so far

Tom Kuglin Jun 7, 2021

A one-time allowance for outfitted nonresident hunters to purchase a big game license has seen about 350 purchased in the program’s first few weeks.

House Bill 637 from Joliet Republican Seth Berglee saw a major amendment in the waning days of this year’s Legislature. The amendment offered out-of-state hunters booked with an outfitter prior to April 1, but who had not drawn one of the 17,000 big game licenses offered, to purchase one.

In order to purchase one of the licenses, proof of booking with an outfitter prior to April 1, such as a signed contract, must be provided to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. The agency then makes the license available for purchase.

After the bill’s mid-May signing into law, FWP began notifying the 15,000 nonresidents who were unsuccessful in the draw about the opportunity offered under HB 637, according to spokesman Greg Lemon. So far, 613 have submitted the required documentation with 353 purchased, he said. The cost of licenses is the same as ones obtained through the draw, which is $1,046 for a deer/elk combo.

FWP has been able to accommodate the additional verification and license issuances without additional staff, Lemon said Friday.

“They’ve got until Aug. 30 to take us up on that, so really we don’t know what that final number will be,” he said.

The late amendment to HB 637 was a controversial one. The amendment also changes nonresident preference points to favor those hunting with outfitters over do-it-yourself hunters.

Supporters point to a 30% surge in nonresident applications for this year’s drawing that diluted outfitter client pools and resulted in a dip in bookings. Without relief, some outfitting businesses risked going under. For the long term, outfitters say they need stability in the drawings in order to know year-to-year how many clients will be successful.

Opponents have blasted the changes as coming too late in the session and unfairly favoring those who can afford an outfitter over do-it-yourself hunters. The amendment also goes against a citizen ballot initiative that did away with guaranteed licenses for outfitters, opponents say.

Mac Minard with the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association agreed that it will be difficult to predict how many hunters ultimately purchase licenses. The organization estimated about 3,000 additional licenses would be necessary to make up for the slump in clients' drawings, but he would not be surprised if the number was closer to 1,500.

“The system seems to be working,” he said. “Our commitment to the department is that those criteria in the bill are locked in stone. We haven’t asked for any adjustments or changes, so they have been rejecting some of them.”

The main criteria in question are proof of booking with an outfitter prior to April 1. Not all outfitters, particularly those with a lot of repeat clientele, may formalize bookings by that date, but the parameters of the one-time program are clear, Minard said. For the most part, MOGA members are “ecstatic” about the ability to book more clients this year, which he said will bring a measurable economic benefit to Montana.

Whether the lag of time between the drawing and passage of the bill meant prospective clients already moved on is difficult to say, although response so far has been mostly positive.

“I have not heard that we missed the window, that some (clients) came and went,” Minard said. “Some outfitters sought to fill those open slots and some may not be in a position to take advantage of this, and maybe pushed (clients) to 2022. What I’m hearing is that they’re glad it happened.”

While the one-time outfitted nonresident licenses went into effect this season, the change in preference points does not start until next year.

The cost of preference points will double from $50 to $100. Outfitted nonresidents may purchase an additional preference point to gain an advantage in a future lottery license. Proceeds go to multiple public access and habitat improvement programs. Montana State News Bureau

From: Daff
13-Jun-21
At the risk of pissing residents off I'll say: Other than giving back the outfitter welfare and raising prices again it's a continuation of FWP agenda. Which is to regulate out or price gouge nonresident hunters into non existence. I love hunting elk in MT unguided! but over the years I've watched as they have eroded my ability to do so through quotas and never ending price increases. It would be nice if resident hunters and those of us nonresidents who are not guide dependent could be a combined voice. Always getting the overpriced scraps is getting old. Enough of the rant see you in September!

From: Scoot
14-Jun-21
Amen Daff! I couldn't agree more.

From: JL
14-Jun-21
Daff....considering all of that dues money and other revenue streams folks send to the RMEF, WU, DU, MF, B&C, P&Y, NRA, SCI, etc......maybe it's time they go to bat for their members and confront these rogue states that are gouging the NR's.

From: Brijake
24-Jun-21
Ok RK, I’ll bite. Do tell us how this is a good thing for the DIY hunter. You snuck in stating to gather the facts, but low and behold it appears from your own words you are an outfitter, although from Texas as your handle states, you seem to come across quite knowledgeable about Montana. I’m game, let’s here your side of how great this is for the DIY hunter rather than come on making snide remarks. Pretty obvious why it’s great for the outfitters but I am interested in the “real facts” as you state in your first post.

From: RK
24-Jun-21
Feeling so sorry for the Montana resident hunters

From: SmokedTrout
28-Jun-21
I've seen this crap since the 90's when I worked for FWP. Worked with their Economist, he would always ask "How much would you be willing to pay...", and from that was born the guaranteed outfitter tag fiasco. MOGA knows the ropes, knows to work the legislature, and keeps pushing and pushing until the citizens get fed up. This past legislature saw more bills aimed at privatizing and commercializing our fish and wildlife than ever before, and I've got a feeling it is going to continue. Thank goodness the legislature only meets every two years!

This past legislature was only good for rich non-resident sportsmen, and they did their best for rich residents too. I would rather we stay out of the economics argument regarding our fish and wildlife, but focus on opportunity instead.

From: Scoot
28-Jun-21
I totally agree, SmokeTrout. Also, "This past legislature saw more bills aimed at privatizing and commercializing our fish and wildlife than ever before..." is 100% true. The shit they tried to push through was absurd and the shit they finally did approve was also complete crap.

28-Jun-21
The term “scourge “ is appropriate

From: Zim
28-Jun-21
Just glad I got to go on a ton of great DIY trophy hunts in the last 30 years and have 20+ points for a few more in some states. Because I’m afraid the future of the NAMWC is dismal. Young guys are behind the 8 ball. Way way more applicants these days for dwindling DIY tags thanks to welfare, lower NR quotas, wealth tags, etc.

From: Scoot
29-Jun-21
Zim, I totally agree. The willingness of people to throw away their kids' and their grandkids' chance to hunt on public land, and eventually private land, is shocking and shameful. I can only assume groups like PETA and other anti hunting organizations absolutely love these efforts by the outfitters organizations. If people can't understand why they are extremely short sighted.

From: JL
29-Jun-21
^...interesting association....outfitters and PETA indirectly working towards the same goal. That could ruffle some feathers.

From: Scoot
29-Jun-21
Of course it will. Do I think they are "in bed together"? No, definitely not. Do I think their efforts towards their own agenda and personal financial gains will lead to the same/a similar place? Yup, without a doubt.

...and for the record, I didn't say that was a "goal" of the BS outfitter's orgs are pushing for, it will simply be a byproduct. PETA-type groups, on the other hand-- it's their goal. Flame away, if you so desire.

From: JL
29-Jun-21
I wouldn't dog ya for bringing up that association. In fact I think it has some validity that is a new perspective on the situation. If the goal is to reduce hunters....it seems the MT outfitters and PETA are going in that same direction using their own methods. Kinda surprised someone didn't notice that specific point earlier.

From: SmokedTrout
29-Jun-21
What bugs me is all the talk of "Hunting Heritage" and how we need more hunters, yet they do their best to price Joe Hunter out of the game. And that is regardless of resident/non-resident, they are doing their best to making hunting a rich man's game. Scoot's point of PETA and MOGA having the same end result is valid.

I agree with missouribreaks that the liberals would do their best to take hunting away from us. Then I see the conservatives trying to price us out of it, or at the very least keep the cream of the crop for the rich man. We're screwed. I wish the legislature, the Fish and Game Commission, and FWP worked for Joe Hunter instead of Special Interests.

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