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Are Big Game Auctions Fair?

February Poll:
Are Big Game Auctions Fair?

Every year around this time we receive a few stories or press releases about big game auctions. Usually these are highly coveted tags that are being auctioned to the highest bidder. The proceeds of the auctions go to fund research, game management, or charities. The winning bid in recent years has soared, for example:

New Mexico BigHorn Sheep Tag Auctioned For $130,000

Oregon Bighorn Sheep Auction Tag Sells for $78,000

Should public assets be auctioned to the highest bidder? If so, under what conditions?

[ This Message was edited by: moderator on 2003-02-04 13:32 ]

saskie's picture
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Location: West Carleton, Ottawa, Canada
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Are Big Game Auctions Fair?

Personally I don't have a problem with a VERY SMALL number of such tags (1 or 2) being auctioned as long as the funds are going to a worthy cause.

expatriate's picture
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Are Big Game Auctions Fair?

Absolutely not. Public assets, like Congressmen, belong to the people and shouldn't be sold to the highest bidder.

America is a democracy, not a plutocracy. The problem here is that there was one desert bighorn available in the public draw. Thus, this doesn't represent a small number -- it's selling off at least a huge percentage of available tags, if not all of them.

If it was about helping wildlife programs, these people could donate. But that's not the case -- it's about using money to bypass the peasants and step to the front of the line. It bothers me that a "sportsman" with the resources to significantly aid wildlife programs would only do so on the condition that he gets to step ahead of all the other sportsmen. Calling this "charity" is just a way of peeing down our back and telling us it's raining.

[ This Message was edited by: expatriate on 2003-02-04 21:10 ]

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Are Big Game Auctions Fair?

Hmmm.... interesting topic. In the big scheme of things 21 tags (referenced in the Oregon article) doesn't sound like a big deal. However these are all big horn tags, very high demand and very few to go around in the first place.

I don't support programs that sell public game to the highest bidder. It simply allows the weathiest to hunt and the rest in the cold without even a chance of participating.

It would be a little different if somebody was plunking down $130k (are you friggin nuts?!?) for a deer tag. That is plainly a good faith donation, since just about anybody can hunt deer if they so desire.

The raffle that Oregon offers is more responsible, if and only if each person may only buy one ticket per raffle and each ticket is reasonably priced. I'm not sure why they don't do this for both tags anyway, the raffle raised as much money as the auctioned tag. With something as rare as a public bighorn tag, everybody who wants to particpate should get an equal shot at all tags that are available.

It is sad that this catering to those that have the $$$ is going on. Teddy Roosevelt would roll in his grave if he knew of this.

[ This Message was edited by: bitmasher on 2003-02-04 22:45 ]

expatriate's picture
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Are Big Game Auctions Fair?

Excellent point, Bit. If you can raise just as much money through a raffle, why go with an auction? A raffle would definitely be more egalitarian, provided you don't let someone buy 130,000 tickets.

Good point about TR, too.

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Joined: 02/07/2003
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Are Big Game Auctions Fair?

In Arkansas they let the locals buy them and resell them. This should be stopped. If the locals dont want to hunt ducks then they should let the out of state people buy the permits.
I also dont think it is right to sell off tags to the highst bidder. Set the price and the number of tags and have a lottery like we do in KY.
Take Care

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Location: Washington
Joined: 02/09/2003
Posts: 18
Are Big Game Auctions Fair?

This is clearly a problem. Preferential treatment to only the wealthy is a trend that is bad for all. On principle alone, this should not be allowed. Everyone knows these auction permits generate a tremendous amount of funds, which goes directly back to the resource and is needed, but not at the expense of the rest of hunters. Others made the point that if people really just wanted to help, they would donate the money without getting a permit in return. In most states, sheep permits are all but impossible to draw, but the wealthy can just go buy one. Often, the auction hunter is also given preferential treatment by being allowed a season before and after the regular draw tags. This is wrong. Everyone should have the same opportunity. We don't want this trend to continue.

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Location: Northern Wisconsin
Joined: 11/19/2002
Posts: 44
Are Big Game Auctions Fair?

Once again we're at the old debate, the haves and the have nots. I for one could give a damn about the auction, namely because even if it we're up for drawing my chances would be slim to none and no one has seen hide nor hair of slim in weeks. Face it, we'd all love to be big game hunter extraordinares but lack of assets...$$$...forces us to get by with what we've got. Just remeber the saying that money doesn't buy happiness.

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