Idaho Wildlife Auction Bill Faces Hunter Backlash

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The Idaho legislature is considering a bill that would expand the use of wildlife auction in an effort to boost revenue for the Department of Fish and Game. However, not everybody is on-board with the plan, and the DFG is opposing the bill. The Republic is running a story on the bill and the opposition to the bill.

Despite what the state Fish and Game Commission says would be a welcome cash infusion, it opposes the measure in part because of discontent over exclusive tags from some hunters who aren't wealthy enough to participate in such auctions, yet want the same access to a public resource. "We heard a rising tide of discontent in terms of feedback from some of our sportsmen," Sharon Kiefer, Fish and Game's assistant director of policy, told the House committee during its hearing on Thursday.


arrowflipper's picture


I think state wildlife agencies find themselves in a dilemma over this.  It is certainly a good way of generating some desperately needed revenue, but I have to agree with sportsmen who say they want an equal opportunity at those tags and animals.

In reality, the animal resource belongs to us all.  We should all be given the opportunity to pick up one of these tags.  But lets be real, those with lots of money get other things that we can't afford as well.  I watch as our bighorn sheep tag goes at auction for upwards of one hundred thousand dollars.  Oh, to be that rich! 

What I have to do is look at it rationally.... our state needs the revenue and this is a great way of generating some.  I have to be big enough to realize that and be happy for our department.  In the long run, I will benefit as well.

I think that sportsmen who have a fit over this need to check on how much they are putting into the state coffers.

groovy mike's picture

reminds me of Vermont moose tag auctions

The bill described in teh linked article reminds me of the moose tag auction in Vermont. 

Vermont has a program that I think is run very well.  They auction just 5 moose tags to teh highest bidder.  If someone really wants to buy one they can, but the vast majority of tags are given out to the public who put in their applications.  I think the going rate on teh auctioned tags is about $10,000.  That is way out of my price range, but even if they went for $1,000,000 it really wouldn't affect the other hunters odds because only 5 tags are up for auction.

This seems like a reasonable approach to me. The devil is in teh details as to how this bill will be implemented should it become law but I'm not opposed to teh auction process in egnereal so long as it doesn't create a policy allocating hunting rights only to the wealthy. 


hunter25's picture

I guess I don't have a

I guess I don't have a problem with this at all. Even though I will never have the money to just buy what I want myself I don't see where it's really reducing the opportunity for everyone else. Almost all the western states are doing this in some form and raising huge amounts of money with it. Didn't the Antelope Island deer tag in Utah nearly break $250,000 this year?

For the loss of around ten animals I think the gains are worth it but they should have to show exactley how the funds were spent to ease the minds of the sportsmen that benefit in the long run.

AlpineClimber's picture

The economic impact is fantastic.

At the Arizona Elk Society Banquest last weekend, the Arizona Commissioners Elk Tag went for around $94,000.00.  I believe the one at SCI in January went for $73,000.00.  Nearly every outfitter in the state will be out looking for a Bull to put that hunter(s) on and sell them on their service.  Obviously they will spot several other Bulls in the process to persuade hunters that get tags through the draw to hire them.  The interest for DIY people goes way up knowing they can get on the same animals without hunting the reservations.

If you want to draw in out of state hunters, this is the way to go.  New Mexico is dropping the ball by changing their out of state tag quota.  Kudos to Idaho for stepping up.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Well, I agree with the

Well, I agree with the hunters concern as a whole, but when you look firther at it, it's not a bad idea.

It's not like they are allotting 100 tags for this purpose, and you are taking them away from the other hunters.  They would just be adding a few tags.

Now, if you only add maybe 10 tags in total, and with that, could add $200,000+ to the state funds, what is the harm in that? 

Either way, I don't think they would add tags to the general draw, so it sounds like sour grapes to me.

jaybe's picture

Yeah, I don't know about this

Yeah, I don't know about this one. I can see that when hunters are applying year after year and purchasing preference points in hopes of getting a special tag in a trophy area, it may not seem fair to have some rich guy just "buy" one through an auction. And then he also gets an extra month to hunt for the animal in any area he wants (rather than be limited to one area like most people) - I'm sure that is a bitter pill to swallow for the average hunter.

The fact that it raises a lot of money for the present and future management of fish and wildlife probably isn't much of a consoloation for the guy who has applied his entire life and has never drawn one of these coveted tags, while another guy just plops down his money and walks away with one.

It seems to me that we have not done ourselves a great service with the explosion of hunting shows, videos and magazines that glorify the taking of only the animals with the largest racks or biggest skull. All the hoopla over "record book" animals, "trophy hunts" and celebrity status of the person who manages to take the biggest has evoked a kind of competitive spirit that I don't really see as being part of the great American hunting tradition. Everyone who hunts likes to think of getting the "big one", but to make that the sole purpose for hunting takes something away from the sport in my opinion.

That's just the way I see it.