Sitka Gear
Montana Outfitter Welfare
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
brettpsu 29-Jan-21
Missouribreaks 29-Jan-21
Castle Oak 29-Jan-21
SBH 29-Jan-21
South Farm 29-Jan-21
Scoot 29-Jan-21
JayZ 29-Jan-21
Smtn10PT 29-Jan-21
Scoot 29-Jan-21
JL 29-Jan-21
ki-ke 29-Jan-21
Missouribreaks 29-Jan-21
sjj 29-Jan-21
Jaquomo 29-Jan-21
JayZ 29-Jan-21
sdkhunter 29-Jan-21
Scoot 29-Jan-21
BIGERN 29-Jan-21
Mule Power 29-Jan-21
JayZ 29-Jan-21
tkjwonta 29-Jan-21
Zim 29-Jan-21
steve 29-Jan-21
steve 30-Jan-21
GF 30-Jan-21
SmokedTrout 01-Feb-21
WYOelker 01-Feb-21
trophyhill 02-Feb-21
wytex 02-Feb-21
DonVathome 02-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 03-Feb-21
trophyhill 03-Feb-21
brettpsu 03-Feb-21
MichaelArnette 03-Feb-21
Tilzbow 03-Feb-21
Mule Power 03-Feb-21
Spiral Horn 03-Feb-21
SBH 03-Feb-21
Scoot 03-Feb-21
steve 03-Feb-21
Spiral Horn 03-Feb-21
Matt 03-Feb-21
Mule Power 04-Feb-21
steve 04-Feb-21
JayZ 04-Feb-21
Pop-r 04-Feb-21
Highlife 04-Feb-21
Tilzbow 04-Feb-21
Pop-r 04-Feb-21
Tilzbow 04-Feb-21
Scoot 04-Feb-21
stringgunner 05-Feb-21
badlander 05-Feb-21
houndy65 05-Feb-21
houndy65 08-Feb-21
skookumjt 11-Feb-21
steve 11-Feb-21
137buck 11-Feb-21
137buck 11-Feb-21
JL 11-Feb-21
steve 12-Feb-21
Smtn10PT 12-Feb-21
trophyhill 13-Feb-21
steve 13-Feb-21
Grey Ghost 13-Feb-21
Rocky D 13-Feb-21
Rocky D 13-Feb-21
Mule Power 14-Feb-21
SmokedTrout 14-Feb-21
BogenBau 14-Feb-21
Barty1970 14-Feb-21
JL 14-Feb-21
Mule Power 14-Feb-21
sbschindler 14-Feb-21
Barty1970 14-Feb-21
Big Fin 14-Feb-21
Drnaln 14-Feb-21
Big Fin 14-Feb-21
JL 14-Feb-21
Mule Power 14-Feb-21
Big Fin 14-Feb-21
trophyhill 15-Feb-21
hunt'n addict 15-Feb-21
Scrappy 15-Feb-21
T-rex 15-Feb-21
JL 15-Feb-21
Big Fin 15-Feb-21
JayZ 15-Feb-21
JL 15-Feb-21
trophyhill 15-Feb-21
Scoot 15-Feb-21
ND String Puller 15-Feb-21
ironelk 15-Feb-21
Scrappy 15-Feb-21
JL 15-Feb-21
trophyhill 15-Feb-21
JL 15-Feb-21
Scoot 16-Feb-21
SmokedTrout 16-Feb-21
Big Fin 16-Feb-21
T-rex 17-Feb-21
JL 17-Feb-21
JL 18-Feb-21
Spiral Horn 19-Feb-21
JayZ 19-Feb-21
Branden 19-Feb-21
ainsleyhunt 19-Feb-21
Spiral Horn 19-Feb-21
JayZ 19-Feb-21
trophyhill 19-Feb-21
Branden 19-Feb-21
Barty1970 23-Feb-21
LUNG$HOT 23-Feb-21
LUNG$HOT 23-Feb-21
JL 23-Feb-21
Monarchcx 24-Feb-21
JL 24-Feb-21
Missouribreaks 24-Feb-21
Mule Power 24-Feb-21
stringgunner 24-Feb-21
LKH 24-Feb-21
deerslayer 24-Feb-21
From: brettpsu
29-Jan-21

brettpsu's Link
Surprised this wasn't brought up here. Another tag grab across the west for the outfitters.

29-Jan-21
This is a way to control private land harbored animal numbers, which most residents and nonresidents will never get to hunt. Similar to before I-161 passed.

From: Castle Oak
29-Jan-21
Good grief. MT has been my go-to state the last several years. I have fired off a comment to the Bill's sponsor but I ain't holding out any hope that I will be heard. I'm no expert on MT, but in the areas I have hunted, I have never seen an outfitter/guide or any hunters that are hunting with a service. Just another welfare program.

From: SBH
29-Jan-21
Hadn't heard about this. Didn't we used to have some guaranteed tags that went to outfitters in the past? 60% seems heavy. Outfitters have been shafted for awhile between the loss of those tags and poor predator management.....many went under. I don't mind seeing some guaranteed tags go to them but that % seems high off the cup. Have to do a little more research. Thanks for the post.

From: South Farm
29-Jan-21

From: Scoot
29-Jan-21
WTF? Is this an adaptation of NM's system where the outfitters are guaranteed tags and the DIY guys get the shaft? If my read of this is correct, it looks like a complete crock of crap to me... I don't understand how the outfitters get so much pull in this process.

From: JayZ
29-Jan-21
Voters in MT abolished the guaranteed tag system to MT outfitters a few years back. The number back then was 10% I believe. 60% is WAY too high. If you think leasing of lands was bad at the 10% level it'll really explode at 60%.

Outfitters shouldn't be guaranteed tags. Just like 99% of us they should have to compete for business.

From: Smtn10PT
29-Jan-21
If you thought Colorado OTC was packed before, wait until this goes through!

From: Scoot
29-Jan-21
"Just like 99% of us they should have to compete for business."

Amen!!!

From: JL
29-Jan-21
Portions of this sound similar to Wyoming's draw system. The killer for me is NR do-it- yourselfers only get allotted 40% of the initial total of big game combo and deer combo tags and whatever scraps, if any, are leftover from the guaranteed outfitter tag draws.

I think Randy put it in context correctly with something like....."we're all non-residents in 49 states".

I fired off an email to the legislators already. I sent this to the bro in Montana and my NR buds who hunt in MT. Courtesy of a commenter in the link, here is a copy/paste you can do with the email addresses to those legislators. Copy it and paste into your email's "To" line. I did it on outlook/hotmail and it worked.

steve.hinebauch@mtleg.gov, bob.brown@mtleg.gov, tom.jacobson@mtleg.gov, mark.blasdel@mtleg.gov, jill.cohenour@mtleg.gov, jason.ellsworth@mtleg.gov, pat.flowers@mtleg.gov, greg.hertz@mtleg.gov, david.howard@mtleg.gov, bob.keenan@mtleg.gov, edie.mcclafferty@mtleg.gov

From: ki-ke
29-Jan-21
My crystal ball tells me more OTC Colorado units will soon become draw units as pressure becomes unmanageable. Low point Gen units in Wyo will also begin to creep....Start shoveling driveways, mowing lawns and bump up your Door dash hours boys! Gonna need the extra coin to apply in the Montana Outfitters pool! No doubt a few (or more) enterprising outfitters will grant you access to their preference pool by offering "semi guided" options in their app process. For a reduced fee from fully guided options, of course!

29-Jan-21
Of course "point creep" will continue, it started in many areas decades ago. Simply too many hunters after limited resources.

I would also keep watch of Montana's position on the scoped and cocked crossbow. Remember, the roll out begins with permits for the seniors and those with disabilities. It blossoms from there. The issue is coming to light right now in Montana.

From: sjj
29-Jan-21
terrible......these are public lands.....

From: Jaquomo
29-Jan-21
I read a good analysis of this yesterday. More outfitter tags = more pressure to lease ranches that are now open to hunting by walk-in or permission. More leasing = fewer cows shot because paying hunters want to kill bulls, which becomes big imbalances in the bull-cow ratio. Also leads to more crowding on available public land, which typically results in decreasing success on public land.

This is almost the exact model and result in the north-central CO units where every ranch is leased to outfitters. Bull-cow ratio way out of whack, herds way over objective, huge herds roaming the ranches and very low success rate on super-crowded public land.

From: JayZ
29-Jan-21
Lou, the reasons you stated above are the exact reasons the guaranteed tags were abolished to begin with. For the guys hunting public land exclusively this may have little to no effect, but for the guys hunting BMA areas I'd guess some of those will disappear.

From: sdkhunter
29-Jan-21
Message sent - thanks for the heads up. The more we can get to send a simple, respectful message in opposition the better chance we are heard.

From: Scoot
29-Jan-21
I encourage every single one of you who read this to send an e-mail. Ask every person you know who hunts/fishes/likes the outdoors to send an e-mail. If you know MT residents, ask them to do the same.

From: BIGERN
29-Jan-21
Email to all sent. Thanks for the heads up!

From: Mule Power
29-Jan-21
Even when I was outfitting in Montana I hated the sponsored licenses. MOGA pushes that crap and they are all about private land outfitting. The price went to $1500 at one point so even my blue collar hunters weren’t all that interested. The guys who paid big bucks for those ranch hunts didn’t blink an eye at the cost. Every once in awhile MOGA would ask me to join and I’d hear crickets when I asked what they are doing for us hard working back country public land outfitters. Those guys who lease up the land barely earned it compared to us. They just had the keys to the golden gates. I can’t believe they went back in time to this discriminatory system! I wonder what the cost will be???

From: JayZ
29-Jan-21
Mule Power, nothing has been decided. I think the bill is in committee.

Other than that I agree with everything you said. If an outfitter is good he will have clients.

From: tkjwonta
29-Jan-21
Emails sent, thanks for the heads-up

From: Zim
29-Jan-21
I will be 62 this next hunting season and my how things have changed in my 30 years of hunting. Everyone wants sumthin fer nuthin. Not interested in earning anything any more. Just want free stuff. Had my own building business for 20 years and never asked for nor expected entitlements forcing customers to come to me. We were on your own and dependent on how good a product we put out. Not any more. This crap ruined New Mexico & Utah, to much extent Nevada. Just glad I never bought into the Montana points scheme cause if I understand right, all the NR points would be greatly devalued.

From: steve
29-Jan-21
Called all 11 on the list , 3 actually answered, one called right back. Jill Cohenour's just continually rang, Ellsworth didn't answer and his message machine was full, imagine that ! Waiting for return calls from the rest. David Howard said he's against the bill, said he received over 500 calls /text's, 137 text's in 10 minutes !

From: steve
30-Jan-21
Well I found out today that Jason Ellsworth who introduced this bill lives in Hamilton and owns 4 section in eastern MT that maybe he leases to an outfitter, go figure..............

From: GF
30-Jan-21
“ and owns 4 section in eastern MT that maybe he leases to an outfitter, go figure..............”

You figure???

From: SmokedTrout
01-Feb-21
It's not too late to send emails. Let these legislators know what you think.

From: WYOelker
01-Feb-21
Sent my emails....

Resident hunters need to be heard. This will end the block management system. It will gut the access they enjoy as well. It will do exactly what has happened in Colorado.

02-Feb-21
Scoot. Yes it is. Kinda. No question the outfitter lobby is in bed with big landowners and the Cattle and Sheep Growers here in NM. But something I never here anyone talk about here is the amount of tags given to landowners that are totally separate from the draw pool. I think I read somewhere that of the total licenses handed out either by draw or other means, something like 50% go to landowners. Can anyone here confirm or deny that? No wonder outfitters are besties with these guys. Somehow though I have a feeling that is all about to change as far as outfitter welfare goes. Maybe residents and nr odds will go up at some point. Stay tuned!

From: wytex
02-Feb-21
Bill in NM to get rid of the outfitter set asides. https://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/21%20Regular/bills/senate/SB0312.pdf

From: DonVathome
02-Feb-21
To many people say "well everyone else does"

Everytime someone mentions the cost of a NR elk tag 75% of guys say "it's inline with what other states charge". I gave up explaining how silly that was. If you are dumb enough to use that logic then you would never understand how stupid that logic is.

Lemmings.....

All states will increase NR fees and app costs. Why not?

03-Feb-21
Most states non resident license fees are far too cheap, especially in the west where limited drawings prevail.

03-Feb-21
Yeah in that bill wytex mentions, the nr take goes up but here’s the catch. So does the cost. But you have to pass the bill to see how much.......

From: brettpsu
03-Feb-21
Any word on the committee meeting yesterday?

03-Feb-21
To those who live in Montana they should understand that this hurts the diu resident the most. They will lose tags and access over this and the nonresidents will keep paying $$ and will only get better hunts if they are will to pay.

Just talk to anyone who lives in New Mexico. It’s a terrible place to be a resident because of the guide draw and the landowner tags

Sent my emails today as well. If you commented here but didn’t email the reps please do so

From: Tilzbow
03-Feb-21
Word is the committee didn’t vote on the bill and it will or may be brought back with amendments. Anyone with more details feel free to chime in.

From: Mule Power
03-Feb-21
Does anyone know what the percentage of outfitted and diy hunters is? I don’t even have a guess but I’d like to know.

I realize that the number of guided hunters would probably go up since it basically becomes OTC for anyone who is willing to fork over the cash. But I’m curious what us diy guys would be losing if the guided folks bought up 60% of the licenses.

I can’t imagine that number of 60% flying. MOGA probably figured shoot for the stars and see where it lands. But we’re talking politics here so nothing would surprise me.

From: Spiral Horn
03-Feb-21
Non-residents not welcome; outfitters not welcome; crossbow hunters not welcome; anyone not in my local hunting club not welcome. Outside of keeping everyone but DIY resident bowhunters out, are there any major, significant, solely-resident-funded conservation efforts being fully-supported from within the state? Granted, residents should have some obvious advantage in access to hunting where they live. Nobody is questioning that. But folks need to be careful as they could drive out needed non-resident support or $$$. Whether folks like it or not, outfitted non-resident hunts bring significant revenues and major conservation organization support into the state. I do recall when MT stopped outfitter-sponsored licenses - if memory serves, the very next year the game dept was shocked when they had leftover non-resident combination licenses.

From: SBH
03-Feb-21
Good question Joe. I would like to know that and also how many put in and didn't draw for the combo license as a non res. We give out a lot of tags.

Something to consider......when they took the guaranteed tags away from the outfitters there were some great pieces of land that had been leased up that they had to let go since they couldn't guarantee a tag. ( which I don't get because we have so damn many tags available) Anyways, the outfitters gave up these leases. A few were picked up by some locals but most went un hunted. Guess what? More elk stayed on the unhunted private lands and didn't get pushed into the public like before when they were being hunted. I used to complain out of jealousy about those guys getting to hunt that land but now I see I benefited by them being hunted as they generally were moving elk around. Something to think about. I want those guys hunting that ground. Used to be 10% tags went to the outfitters, I still think that's reasonable. They could tell clients to put in and if they don't draw they would have a handful of tags to distribute. 60% is way to high PLUS they wanted to increase the overall amount of tags by 10%. Thats ridiculous. We already over hunt everything here. We need to decrease some tags or install some apr's for adults in my opinion. There are of lot of guys from other states that could benefit from using an outfitter and having a better hunt. Many can afford it and it may free up some public and move the critters around. I understand the fear of losing some BMA's and that would be a bad deal for sure. Thats a great program but I don't think 10% guaranteed tags would effect it much. Those guys are already using an outfitter anyways. Just my two cents, I know I'm in the minority here but I also think some of you are missing some pieces to the story.

From: Scoot
03-Feb-21
Spiral Horn, I 100% support outfitters. However, I feel just as strongly that outfitter welfare such as this is a travesty. Out of curiosity, are you an outfitter or are you associated with one somehow?

From: steve
03-Feb-21
Matt, I was told today by one of the reps on the committee that last year 22,000 applied for 17,000 tags. As far as the meeting yesterday, he said the outfitters were very organized and prepared and the opposition not so much. He said the outfitters biggest bitch was what other business depends on a lottery system for job security ? My answer to that would have been every business, every day when a business person opens up for the day there is no guarantee that customers are coming through the door. Just like taking a chance on a lottery ticket. As far as 60 percent going to the outfitters, he said that was made artificially high on purpose, they are shooting for 45-50 percent, they just want to look like they are willing to compromise. It may go to vote in the committee tomorrow , if it passes out of committee it goes to the senate for a second and third reading, then if it passes there goes to the house, and then to the governor for a veto or conformation. To me and many that I know, the only real issue here that keeps getting glossed over is that I/we don't feel that the tax payer, state, fwp needs to guarantee anyone or business an income. And if they get guaranteed tags that equals guaranteed income, because there will always be folks standing in line to buy those hunts........period. All other points that everyone tries to tie to the issue, like bringing more revenue bla bla bla into the state are moot points. There's other work out there to fill in the years that they're clients don't draw tags, like night calving on the ranches some of them lease !

From: Spiral Horn
03-Feb-21
Scoot, if that was indeed a curious question why didn’t you just send me a PM? However, I’m not an outfitter. Just a guy who’s spent decades actively involved in supporting wildlife conservation and defending our hunting rights. Just some food for thought - when non-resident hunters who’ve spent a lot of money unsuccessfully putting in for western draws for 20+ years read threads like this and then get donation requests from RMEF, what do you think their first thought is? Or when the next big threat to hunting in a western state happens and the locals petition the big national hunting organizations for help should their first consideration be “why should we help — what good is the hunting in that state doing for anyone who doesn’t live there? The more non-resident access gets restricted, the louder those questions become. Fact is, most western states need a noticeable portion of non-residents and outfitters to keep the entire hunting enterprise in that state healthy and adequately supported. Where the tipping point is will have to be determined by someone with greater depth of understanding than anyone on this thread - but the pending legislation suggests that MT wants to expand non-resident license sales, and leverage outfitters as a mechanism to help sell those additional licenses and expand access to non or under-hunted areas of private property within the state. Previously, when MT had outfitter sponsored licenses they completely sold out. However, when they abolished the practice they had a license surplus. They just may be onto something.

03-Feb-21
Hey Spiral Horn Your memmory is correct but it had nothing to do with stopping the outfitter sponsered liscense. the elk numbers were in the toilet ( THANKS TO THE REINTRODUCTION OF THE TIMBER WOLF !!! look what happened to the Northern Yellowstone elk heard alone) and still are. Non resident hunters, outfitter sponsered and DIY hunters both found that out the hardway by coming here to hunt and not even seeing a elk let alone shooting one . It will not drive out non resident sportsmans $$$ beacause the DIY non resident will apply for these tags and they spend more money here than the guided hunter. But the main thing is why should these outfitters be guaranteed a income ? I was born and raised here am a self employed businessman and NOBODY guarantees me a income ! I agree 100% with Steve !

From: Matt
03-Feb-21
"But the main thing is why should these outfitters be guaranteed a income?"

Can you point me to which pary of the bill guarantees anyone an income? Not to pick on you, but people keep throwing out hyperbolic comments about this but I do no believe they are supportable.

Even though the bill would allocate a large portion of tags to outfitters, there are still market conditions that exist within that pool.

From: Mule Power
04-Feb-21
Wyoming guarantees income for outfitters in wilderness areas so don’t hold your breath for a pleasant outcome.

From: steve
04-Feb-21
Matt, the part of the bill that guarantees anyone an income is the part that says outfitters are going to get x amount of the tags. Guaranteed tags = guaranteed income. There will be more people standing in line to buy those guaranteed tags from the outfitters than there is tags, period. I have nothing against outfitters, I buy 30 tons of hay for my critters every year from an outfitter, we have a very good business relationship and a great friendship, but you better believe he knows exactly where I stand on this issue. The issue being, the state , taxpayers, and FWP guarantee no other business's an income , and the last time I checked outfitters are private not state owned.

From: JayZ
04-Feb-21
It's a pretty tough argument to say the non-resident opportunity is restricted in Montana. Last I looked you could get a tag every other year as a non-resident (so no surplus anymore) and then the opportunities are almost endless whether you want to hire a guide or not.

From: Pop-r
04-Feb-21
The numbers you were looking for above are actually 40-45% according to the bill's sponsor. Cody Carr is right in the middle of this as he testified Tuesday on its behalf.

From: Highlife
04-Feb-21
NOT THEE CODY CARR??? Here it comes lol

From: Tilzbow
04-Feb-21
Guaranteed tags don’t equal guaranteed income over the long haul. It certainly helps prime the pump and ensure outfitters booked clients are able to draw a tag but outifitters still have to work to acquire clients and do a good job to retain them year over year and acquire new ones.

From: Pop-r
04-Feb-21
With all due respect Tilz that's missing the point. I agree outfitters make their bed. It still takes tags out of the hands of the average NR hunter.

From: Tilzbow
04-Feb-21
Pop-r,

I never said it didn’t tags away from DIY hunters, did I? My post wasn’t missing the point others made in the thread at all nor did I express my opinion on the matter other than the tag concept doesn’t guarantee outfitters business and income over the long term. If they’re bad at their business they’ll eventually fail, regardless. The good ones will find a way to deal with the fact clients who book with them might not be able to hunt. I don’t support the concept, I’m merely pushing back against incomplete arguments that guaranteed tags guarantee business.

As a NV resident who can only hunt elk in my home state every 15 - 20 years, waiting a couple of years to be able to hunt MT or any other state really doesn’t bother me much....

From: Scoot
04-Feb-21
"Scoot, if that was indeed a curious question why didn’t you just send me a PM?"

I guess I was unaware of a written or unwritten rule saying a curiosity had to be entertained via PM.

From: stringgunner
05-Feb-21
Cancel student loan debt, keep sending money to all households making less than 150k, extra money a month if you have kids, everyone will be getting a mask in the mail from Biden....why shouldn't outfitters in Montana get in on the welfare train like they do in Wyoming? Isn’t this what we voted for...sorry, rant over. Carry on.

From: badlander
05-Feb-21
Wyoming just defeated a similar proposal a year or two ago and it wasn't even close. In 2010, Montana eliminated the 10% outfitter set aside that they had prior to that because of concerns that it was leading to increases in leasing, a reduction in block management participation in favor of leasing that was in turn leading to less opportunity for both residents and non-resident alike.

I sure hope that this is still a vocal minority and that others in MT remember the problems that the previous 10% set aside was causing, but the NR hatred in MT runs very deep for some people so who knows.

From: houndy65
05-Feb-21

From: houndy65
08-Feb-21
I don't support SB bill 143. I look at this bill in a hypothetical way. My best friend and hunting buddy is my youngest son. Some day after college Dylan will go out into the job world that will either keep him here in Montana or move him out of state. There are the come home to hunt tags, they are not always available, I believe first come first serve. My oldest boy was born out of Montana, moved out to make a better living. We are seeing more and more of our children move out of Montana because they cannot afford to either here or they cannot pass up the opportunity at a great paying job. SB 143 at 60% of 17000 is 10200 tags go to outfitters leaving a pool 6800 tags to family, friends and DIY hunters. I love having my family & friends come to hunt with me. So now even at the 17000 tags they are not guaranteed to draw. I can't agree with that, it pisses me off and it is greedy. I own a archery business (Zink's Big Sky Archery Targets) that pays for my habits of hounds and bow hunting to pay for just my hunting and give back to the hunting community in a lot of different ways here in Montana. I also work a regular job to pay the bills. So many of the outfitters are really good friends of mine also. I think it great have the vets in the bill, but the was a ploy to make a bad bill look good. What will this do to our Block Management land, that is what bothers me most about this bill, there will be land owners pulling out of the BML program to look at bigger bucks from outfitters wanting to lease their land. . In the last session there was a bill that limited DIY houndsmen from coming to montana also, limiting those to 35 total, friends and family to me, another MOGA bill.

Thanks, Terry L. Zink Zink's Big Sky Archery Targets

From: skookumjt
11-Feb-21
Has there been any updates on this?

From: steve
11-Feb-21
Still in committee as of today, looks like it's gonna survive committee and go to the senate. That's all I know, but I'd feel sure it has been amended to try and appease the folks against it. I hear anything else I'll post.

From: 137buck
11-Feb-21
It passed out of committee and is in the senate now, I know they reduced the number of tags, but can't remember the exact amount of tags now, I want to say 49%.

From: 137buck
11-Feb-21
It was 39% of the nonresident tags.

From: JL
11-Feb-21
I already voiced an opinion early to the legislators involved with the committee. Now that it is in the Senate....is there a new list of folks to send comments to? That may be worthy to know.

From: steve
12-Feb-21
If it makes it through the senate to the floor, which I would expect it to,that's the next time to appear in person to oppose. As far as another list to send comments to, I'm not sure.

From: Smtn10PT
12-Feb-21
Do they know what percentage of non resident tags go to people hunting with outfitters over the past few years?

13-Feb-21
I heard our friend Randy Newberg, a Montana resident, speak about this on a podcast with Jacobson tonight. Our emails and voices have been heard by the folks on the list. It’s just crazy that these senators complained about having to delete thousands of emails against this legislation yet they will still vote to push it through.

Also disheartening, in 2010 the outfitter welfare was overturned by popular demand essentially voted out by Montana citizens. This has to be a slap in the face to the voters of Montana.

Very similar type of situation that we face in NM. However the problem with NM is there is a bunch of liberal fluff attached to SB 132.

Newberg and Jacobson will have a podcast where they talk about the politics taking place in the west regarding issues we as hunters and stewards of the land and game face.

He said something I’ve spoke with my friend JP aka Mrelite about. And that is as hunters, we are unorganized. We don’t have the money to buy these politicians like the Outfitters, guides, sheep and cattle growers and big landowners. Make no mistake, these politicians are being bought by these groups. It is a strategic play by these groups to get the policy making out of the hands of the game departments, and into the hands of politicians where policy can be bought.

The 501c organizations had some influence with game departments because they could push and make an argument on sound management. Now that policy is increasingly being legislated, instead of implemented by the game departments, the politicians are out of reach of these 501c groups. And here’s why. It’s against the law to pay off these politicians and they’d lose that 501c status. But these other groups are free to lobby through payoff without consequence.

Can’t wait to see this upcoming Elktalk podcast. Eye opening stuff!

From: steve
13-Feb-21
In 2010 a private citizen of MT took out a second mortgage on his home to fund the ballot initiative that allowed us to get rid of the outfitter tags, which was @ 10% then now they 're gonna get 39%. No big deal only a 29% increase ! Also I talked to one of the guy's on the committee yesterday of which there are eleven. He said it was a party line vote, all democrats against and all republicans for. As trophyhill eluded to above, all you have to do is follow the money [buy out's] to find the source of such bullshit. That being said we have one more chance to assemble in person at the capital to voice our displeasure on the bill. If the bill makes it to Greg's desk I'm sure he'll sign it into law.

From: Grey Ghost
13-Feb-21
Sadly, this topic demonstrates what I've been preaching for years. The commercialization of hunting will ultimately ruin it for all but the wealthiest hunters.

As I see it, we made our own bed, and now we have to sleep in it. Horn porn at any expense, and by any method, is what is driving legislation like this. Just look at how the vast majority of this community has praised expensive outfitted hunts, like Pat's annual canned corn hunts in Kansas, for years. Is it any surprise that legislators, landowners, and outfitters are banding together to capitalize on MT hunting?

Anyway, hearing this legislation will likely pass saddens me. States like Colorado, that still manage for opportunity, will now see even more pressure, and the quality of hunting will continue to decline. Meanwhile, the small minority of hunters with $100 bills falling out of their pockets will be the only ones who will be able to afford a quality hunt.

Matt

From: Rocky D
13-Feb-21
Montana’s outfitter welfare doesn’t hurt me near as bad as Alaska’s outfitter welfare...

From: Rocky D
13-Feb-21
Montana’s outfitter welfare doesn’t hurt me near as bad as Alaska’s outfitter welfare...

From: Mule Power
14-Feb-21
Like Smtn10pt I’d like to know what % of licenses are already going to outfitted hunters. If it’s say.... a third which very well may be then we really wouldn’t be affected that much. The principle still reeks of politics but the actual loss to diy hunters wouldn’t be much. The people pushing the proposal really should be using that number to their advantage. I’ve asked before, What is it?????

From: SmokedTrout
14-Feb-21
Mule Power from what I've been reading FWP says approximately 40% of NR license holders end up with an outfitter. They say that is average, and fluctuates from year to year. I don't have a link, and don't know how they obtained that number, and do not necessarily believe it.

What I do believe is that this bill will pass on party lines. I also believe it will cause more private land to be locked up to leases, and increase harboring of elk. I also believe there will be another voter initiative to remove this in a year or two, hopefully this time with enough teeth to prevent it from happening again.

If you are a Montana resident and your representative/senator is a republican let them know what you think of this bill. Mine are both democrats and have already assured me they will vote against it.

From: BogenBau
14-Feb-21
Make hunting only for the crown and the commoners will suffer.

DG

From: Barty1970
14-Feb-21
As a non-resident (as in "I'm a British bowhunter living in the east of England" non-resident), surely I should be able to choose for myself whether I hunt DIY or engage with an outfitter, rather than have no choice but to hunt with an outfitter in order to draw a tag? As a member of the Montana Bowhunters Association and a non-resident, is it too late for me to lobby MT Senators against the Bill?

From: JL
14-Feb-21
Barty....I've already asked my brother who lives in Montana to speak up with the legislators about this. In my opinion....it's not too late.

From: Mule Power
14-Feb-21
Barty before you comment make sure you read the bill. There is nothing that states that you have no choice but to hire an outfitter to get a hunting license.

From: sbschindler
14-Feb-21
Mule power is right, the bill was amended to reduce the allocation from 60% to 39% of the non resident tags going to outfitters, NR can still hunt with out an outfitter although its not as good for the NR as it was last year,, That's if the bill passes, and its looking as if it will

From: Barty1970
14-Feb-21
Many thanks for the clarification; duly noted and much appreciated. As a wise man once said " the devil's in the detail"

From: Big Fin
14-Feb-21

Big Fin's embedded Photo
From FWP 2020 draw data
Big Fin's embedded Photo
From FWP 2020 draw data
Here is what could happen to the self-guided non-resident deer hunter if the bill passes.

The chart shows what happens when we carve away 39% for the outfitter pool and 2,000 deer tags for the landowner pool. That leaves 2,026 for the non-residents not sponsored by either a landowner or outfitter.

The math is the math. With a fixed number of tags, if one part of a population sample is given 100% draw odds, the remainder of that population sample is going to see a reduction in their draw odds. To argue against that math is laugh out loud material.

This same principle applies to the elk and elk-deer combo tags.

For reference, in 2020, the non-resident draw rate across all application pools for deer was 73%. Under this bill, it could go as low as 31%.

From: Drnaln
14-Feb-21
Scary numbers....Wonder what the elk graph will look like?

From: Big Fin
14-Feb-21

Big Fin's embedded Photo
Taken from FWP data.
Big Fin's embedded Photo
Taken from FWP data.
Here is the elk-deer combo chart. It is not as dramatic, as it does not have a landowner pool as is the case with deer. The draw odds for those not in the max point pool go down to 51%.

We have an increasing trend of demand for these licenses as neighboring states have increased their prices dramatically, while MT has continued to use their CPI adjustments. Given that trend, demand will likely continue on the same incline. As that demand increases, it only impacts the non-guided pool, making the 51% draw odds likely to get even lower as demand increases.

From: JL
14-Feb-21
I think another concern specific to the outfitters vs NR's....I would also be concerned some of the BMA's will start to disappear to leases. Granted there is alot of land in Montana, but some of the BMA's I've seen were in nice areas. It would be a shame to see them go to leases and shut off to the public.

From: Mule Power
14-Feb-21
And elk combo (elk only)???

From: Big Fin
14-Feb-21

Big Fin's embedded Photo
Big Fin's embedded Photo
Elk only combo is very similar.

15-Feb-21
Hey Big Fin Great charts and Thanks for doing the math and putting them together. Being a self employed Mt. resident , one of my big questions has been why does FWP or the state of Montana owe these outfitters a living on the backs of the sportsman!!! ? Keep up the good work B.F.

15-Feb-21
That’s an easy answer. $$$$$$ bought and paid for

15-Feb-21
Very disappointing. It appears the outfitters are willing to cut off their nose in spite of their face - they are not thinking what is best long term, only short term for themselves.

BTW - Randy great podcast on your Hunt Talk forum. Your guest obviously is only looking at the MOGA point of view based on the conversation.

From: Scrappy
15-Feb-21
Trophyhill, you meant politician bought and paid for right??

From: T-rex
15-Feb-21
Randy's podcast last week was great! I think he did a great job representing the DIY hunters. If you haven't listened to it yet you should.

Thanks Big Fin for all you're doing!

From: JL
15-Feb-21
^...X2

From: Big Fin
15-Feb-21
This bill comes for 2nd reading and vote on the Senate floor this afternoon. Right now there are a lot of Senators getting a huge amount of heat and asking. "How the hell did this bill get here?" A lot of behind the scenes pressure is being exerted to try kill it today or tomorrow on 3rd reading.

A lot of you have emailed, called, or otherwise contacted these folks. It has been invaluable to have that support. I know we all have a lot better things to do than to be drawn into political morass that pits hunters against hunters. But, if we can kill this bill, it hopefully sends a message that the many other terrible bills on the docket should not even be introduced.

Appreciate all of you taking an interest in this topic. Those who benefit from pitting hunters against hunters know that the legislative option is where they stand a better chance of winning, due to hunters' dislike for engaging in politics, due to our organizations being 501(c)(3) groups with political activity restricted by their charitable status, and they know hunters are not organized as are the industry lobby groups. Expect a lot more of our issues to be settled in state legislatures, not less of our issues.

Thanks again.

From: JayZ
15-Feb-21
Kurt Kephart is probably losing his sh*t over this. He busted his tail to get these eliminated in the first place.

From: JL
15-Feb-21
I hope you're right Randy. Thanks again for staying on top of this important issue.

15-Feb-21
Scrappy, yes. Now I couldn’t tell you about Montana game commissioners, but here in NM, I have to question how some of these guys get appointed. It’s pretty clear that in the past there have been a few who have had the outfitter lobbyist’s best interest at heart.

From: Scoot
15-Feb-21
Trophy, there's something we can agree upon! :) "Outfitter lobbyist's best interest at heart" and definitely not the hunters' interests. Legalized criminals as far as I'm concerned. I hope this flops miserably and then I pray people remember this the next time these money grubbing scam artists are up for re-election.

15-Feb-21
Thanks for everything you do Randy. It is greatly appreciated.

From: ironelk
15-Feb-21
This is a terrible bill and just got amended today. Now it has become an early drawing in December. Nothing to do with outfitter sponsored. Go read the new version. https://leg.mt.gov/bills/2021/SB0199//SB0143_3.pdf

From: Scrappy
15-Feb-21
Dammmmmmn, that's frickin nuts.

From: JL
15-Feb-21
A lot of legislative-speak. As I read this revised proposal.....40% of those tags go in a December 1st to December 31st app period in which the applicant has to pay $300 just to play. The draw is on Jan 15th. The money collected is supposed to be used to buy, fix, repair habitat for that fiscal year. Any application money not obligated for that year goes into a dept general fund to be spent at will. If there are any leftover tags, they go into the general draw. If the early draw sells out, the FWP can increase the early draw tag allotment up to 50% for the next year. 2000 tags are reserved for resident landowners on their private property (or their leased property???).

This stinks!! A red flag is waving in my speculative mind. I wonder if any of that early $300 app money go back to the outfitter properties for habitat improvement or any other benefits-in-kind to them? I hope there are no hidden or disguised kick-backs taking place here going to any special interest group. So unless an NR wants to pay $300 just to play in the early draw, they are stuck competing in the general draw with only 60% (or down to 50%) of the tags and maybe any leftovers from the special draw. It appears the $300 is just an early pay to play and those NR's still have to pay the $1000+ for the big game combo or $800+ for the elk combo. "If" none of these NR tags are directed toward the outfitters....then they're out of the picture. That raises the obvious question....why even mess with the current system??? Is it now a another opportunity for a money grab the state/FWP??

SECTION 1. Section 87-2-511, MCA, is amended to read: 22 "87-2-511. Sale and use of Class B-10 and Class B-11 licenses. (1) The department shall offer the 23 Class B-10 and Class B-11 licenses for sale through an early drawing and a general drawing as follows: 24 (A) (I) EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION (1)(A)(III), 40% OF THE CLASS B-10 AND CLASS B-11 LICENSES 25 MADE AVAILABLE PURSUANT TO 87-2-505 AND 87-2-510 MAY BE PURCHASED THROUGH AN EARLY DRAWING TO OCCUR 26 ON JANUARY 15 BY PERSONS WHO APPLY BETWEEN DECEMBER 1 AND DECEMBER 31 FOR A FEE OF $300. IF APPLYING 27 AS A PARTY, EACH PERSON MUST PAY THE APPLICATION FEE. APPLICATION FEES MUST BE USED BY THE DEPARTMENT TO SECURE, DEVELOP, AND MAINTAIN WILDLIFE HABITAT PURSUANT TO 87-1-242. AT THE END OF EACH FISCAL YEAR, 1 UNOBLIGATED FUNDS COLLECTED PURSUANT TO THIS SUBSECTION (1)(A)(I) ARE AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT FOR 2 ANY PURPOSE PURSUANT TO 87-1-201(3). 3 (II) THE DEPARTMENT SHALL CONDUCT THE EARLY DRAWING IN ACCORDANCE WITH 87-2-115. APPLICANTS 4 WHO ARE UNSUCCESSFUL IN THE EARLY DRAWING MUST BE ENTERED IN THE GENERAL DRAWING CONDUCTED PURSUANT 5 TO SUBSECTION (1)(B). ANY LICENSES THAT REMAIN UNSOLD IN THE EARLY DRAWING MUST BE ISSUED IN THE GENERAL 6 DRAWING CONDUCTED PURSUANT TO SUBSECTION (1)(B). 7 (III) THE COMMISSION MAY INCREASE THE PERCENTAGE OF CLASS B-10 AND CLASS B-11 LICENSES AVAILABLE 8 FOR PURCHASE IN THE EARLY DRAWING TO UP TO 50% OF THE TOTAL AVAILABLE PURSUANT TO 87-2-505 AND 87-2-510 9 BASED ON PARTICIPATION IN THE PREVIOUS YEAR'S EARLY DRAWING. 10 (B) AFTER THE EARLY DRAWING IS CONDUCTED PURSUANT TO SUBSECTION (1)(A), THE DEPARTMENT SHALL 11 OFFER FOR SALE THE REMAINDER OF THE CLASS B-10 AND CLASS B-11 LICENSES MADE AVAILABLE PURSUANT TO 87-2-12 505 AND 87-2-510 on April 1 through a general drawing conducted in accordance with 87-2-115 if the number of 13 applicants exceeds the number of available licenses., with 2,000 of the authorized 14 (2) In addition to the Class B-11 licenses authorized pursuant to 87-2-510, there are reserved 2,000 15 Class B-11 licenses for applicants indicating their intent to hunt with a resident sponsor on land owned by that 16 sponsor, as provided in subsections (2) and subsection (3) and this subsection.

15-Feb-21
So where do we send the emails?

From: JL
15-Feb-21
After reading the proposed bill numerous times, here's another red flag. Unsuccessful folks in the early draw are automatically entered into the general draw if they didn't get an early tag. Unless I missed it, I didn't read anywhere if the unsuccessful applicant will get his/her $300 app fee back. If they don't get that $300 app fee back...they're out the $300 plus they now have to compete in the general draw. If they don't draw in the general draw, they're stiffed with no tag at all and light $300. That will make some folks happy. If ya don't get the $300 back.....that's a spendy gamble for everyone who applies in the early draw.

From: Scoot
16-Feb-21
Hunter screwjob version 2

From: SmokedTrout
16-Feb-21
The MT legislature is going nuts with this. Worst thing I see is the public wildlife now given to landowners. Our wildlife is a public resource, and I want it kept that way. Giving preference to hunters based on "someone they know"s land ownership is taking from the public. This will undoubtedly lead to more locked up land, and more harboring of elk.

And I put "someone they know" in quotes because for sure this is about money derived from our public wildlife. Many ranchers control the deer/elk using their property by hunting. I'll be damned if I am going to support removing opportunity from the general public by giving the opportunity to those with the most money.

From: Big Fin
16-Feb-21
This bill will hopefully die in the Senate today or tomorrow. Not sure, but there is a lot of effort being placed to that end.

Some have noticed the 2,000 landowner sponsored deer tags in this bill. That landowner sponsored feature has been in Montana statute for over 25 years. This bill doesn't add or delete anything to that part of Montana statute.

Stand by to see what happens in the next 48 hours.

From: T-rex
17-Feb-21
Fingers crossed Randy!

From: JL
17-Feb-21
I too noticed the 2000 landowner tags. I think it's worthy to note that it is for resident landowners. Non-resident landowners are not eligible for those. I only noticed that because my buddy's boss in Michigan recently purchased either 1200 or 2000 plus acres in MT to hunt on.

From: JL
18-Feb-21
Any word on what happened?

From: Spiral Horn
19-Feb-21
Very surprised nobody brought up HB224 & HB225 here on Bowsite or other hunting forums. Within the past week personally received unsolicited pleas through national conservation organizations to protect hunting and wildlife in Montana and asked to both offer support, personally get involved and marshal any forces I could to help. From the email traffic I saw, I wasn’t alone and there was much discussion.

Just FYI - the growing number of threads on hunting sites dominated by the western state resident hunter theme, “this belongs to us, outsiders not welcome,” is being noticed by those called upon for external support when things get tough. We all need allies, especially these days. Just sayin.

From: JayZ
19-Feb-21
Spiral Horn, are you trying to say fighting this outfitter bill in Montana is saying they don't want non-residents hunting there?

From: Branden
19-Feb-21
Jay Z I believe he means that residents say mine mine mine until they want help from non res than say this affects everyone.

From: ainsleyhunt
19-Feb-21

ainsleyhunt's Link
you trying to say fighting this outfitter bill in Montana is saying they don't want non-residents hunting there?

From: Spiral Horn
19-Feb-21
Meant exactly what I said - nothing more, nothing less. Branden is essentially correct but it’s also much more than just this thread. If folks didn’t get what I said earlier no further explain is likely to help.

From: JayZ
19-Feb-21
Right Branden, but that isn't what this bill is about. Defeating this bill would literally not have any impact on a non-resident hunting MT. The tag numbers would remain the same I believe so just the odds of the average Joe who wants to hunt MT would decrease dramatically.

Couple this with the fact that giving outfitters guaranteed tags likely locks up more land (maybe removing it from block management) it hurts the resident hunters too. But hey let's cater to the wealthy hunters and outfitters.

19-Feb-21
National Conservation Organizations? That could mean just about anything considering Save the Wolf considers themselves a National Conservation Organization. Kinda like BHA considers themselves a National Conservation Organization when the truth is, all of us who foot the bills and don’t belong to any “organization” are the true conservationists. Organizations often times are no better than a union of elitists.....

From: Branden
19-Feb-21
Jay Z you asked what Spiral meant. I explained. Nothing more nothing less.

Explain to someone else what the bill is about.

From: Barty1970
23-Feb-21
Any word on what happened to the Bill?

From: LUNG$HOT
23-Feb-21

LUNG$HOT's embedded Photo
LUNG$HOT's embedded Photo
Looks like the most recent action on the bill was that the hearing set for 2/17/21 was “Cancelled”. For whatever reason? Hmmm...

From: LUNG$HOT
23-Feb-21

LUNG$HOT's Link
Sorry that screenshot looks horrible. Here’s a link.

From: JL
23-Feb-21

JL's Link
Unless I'm missing something, in the amended proposed bill 143.3, it appears the outfitter tag guarantee was removed. Yes????

As I said above about this proposed MT bill revision #3, there is a $300 gamble for anyone thinking about the early draw. That is just the early app fee....no tag costs included. Unless you get your $300 app fee back if unsuccessful....you're out that $300 and possibly no tag if you also don't draw in the general.

I don't see any winners with this proposed bill except the state...at least short-term. Hopefully it is DOA. To take it a step further....I'm waiting on a proposed bill to reduce the NR tag costs and bring them back to earth.

From: Monarchcx
24-Feb-21
JL, what do you think the NR tag should cost?

From: JL
24-Feb-21
^....great question. Look at it this way....in any state....it should be no more than a reasonable "X" times the cost of a resident tag. For example, if a res elk tag is $40.....how many times that $40 would be a reasonable price for a NR elk tag? 5X's....6X's....7X's....maybe 10X's.....etc??

In Montana, the res general elk tag is $20. The NR elk combo, which includes two frills (fishing and birds) that most elk hunters won't mess with because their focus is on elk, is $888. That's a 44X ratio. That is price gouging IMO and using NR's to disproportionately subsidize these states.

What is reasonable is subjective. That is why the ratio approach would be a logical method and provide some type of standardized approach. Otherwise, we have unchecked, runaway NR prices like we see now which prices out a lot of folks. This isn't just Montana either. This should be a concern for everybody. As Randy correctly noted....we're all NR's in 49 states. I don't know if Randy has already done this, but it might be a great topic for his podcast.

24-Feb-21
I apply to many states as a non resident. I do not see the license fees as too high, in fact with the huge demand for limited tags in much of the west it appears hunters will gladly pay the fees. In many states the fees for residents and non residents are actually low, Wisconsin and Michigan are two examples.

From: Mule Power
24-Feb-21
JL... the decreasing odds for a Wyoming Special General license at about $1300 would suggest that $888 in Montana isn’t going anywhere but up.

From: stringgunner
24-Feb-21
As long as NR keep paying it, the prices will continue to rise.

As long as the states see potential to make money to support their over inflated budgets (generally all government sectors) in this case off the backs of NR, the prices will continue to rise.

Not complaining per say, but it is a pay to play sport at this point.

From: LKH
24-Feb-21
Wait a minute, aren't all you guys capitalists?

24-Feb-21
To all that think the cost to get a tag in another state as a NR to hunt is to hi then I suggest you move to Montana or the state you want to hunt in and get a job and a home there and pay property and income tax in that state !!! Just Saying

From: deerslayer
24-Feb-21
^^^^ 1000%

I pay $60 per year for a bonus point in Iowa, and will most likely draw my tag after four years which is around $644. After adding $60 x 4 years, I am paying $884, for the chance to hunt Whitetail’s in Iowa once every four years. I don’t even think there’s a real comparison to be made here when it comes to the price you’re paying to hunt elk in Montana as a non-resident. Out of all of the western states, Montana is the best thing going where you can consistently hunt every year for elk, as a non-resident. Colorado may have more elk, but nowhere near the quality, Idaho is not as good, Washington and Oregon are a joke, Wyoming is good, but harder to draw, and you can’t hunt on federal lands without an outfitter , so you’re getting to hunt elk in one of the best , consistently huntable, states there is just about every year. If there are complaints to be made, everyone should start complaining about the fact that you have to purchase a Hunting license in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico in order to even apply, and if you are fortunate enough to draw a tag once every 5, 10, or 20 years, you have paid way more for that opportunity than you do to hunt Montana that has, often times, as good of opportunities as the top tier states, not to mention you can come here on an almost yearly basis. I live in this state year around because it’s worth it to me to put up with six months of winter, often times at 25 below, with limited resources and limited access for things like sports for my kids in order to hunt a place like this as a resident. I really have zero sympathy for the tag fees that non-residents pay here. We are inundated with non-residents year after year, who very often are rude, discourteous, and lack respect for other hunters and boundary lines. I hope tag prices continue to go up. In fact I wish we would revert to the system that Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada all have, then you guys won’t be able to complain about this kind of thing anymore, and instead you will be talking about how awesome it used to be when you could get a tag almost every year for around $900. Out of all the western big game states Montana is by far the best ones to come hunt consistently, and if that wasn’t the case you guys wouldn’t be complaining about it. I like Randy Newberg, a lot, so no offense to him, but the fact that we’re non-residents in 49 states doesn’t mean anything. What’s the point? I am also an nonresident in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and every other province in Canada, even though I live 30 minutes from the border. Being a non-resident in 49 states literally means nothing. I don’t live I Hawaii, so I don’t get the kama’aina discount t when I visit, and that’s because I choose not to live there, and pay exorbitant taxes and house prices. Therefore I don’t begrudge the residence that you live there getting that discount. Move here to Montana, with the limited resources, a limited job market, extremely harsh winters, and the many other downsides of living in a rural place like Montana and I think you’ll appreciate my stance a little bit more. The fact remains most of you don’t live here because of those, or similar reasons. Just like I don’t live in Iowa because of similar reasons. I don’t begrudge the guys in Iowa who live there and get to hunt giant whitetails every year, and no one should begrudge a Montana resident paying $20 to hunt elk here. I chose to uproot myself and move away from all my family and friends in order to live in this state, and I’ll be darned if I’m going to be told that a non-residents fee to come hunt this state is too high, and my cost is too low. They say to “withhold judgment from a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes”. I have confidence that if many of you moved here, and lived here for a length of time, your perspective would be quite different.

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