There has been a debate raging for years in regards to the prices of out of state tag prices. U.S Congressman Duncan Hunter(R-CA) has announced the introduction of the Teddy Roosevelt Bring Back our Public Lands Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. This came to me via the Black Bear Blog. This is going to be a very interesting story to watch and track and poll over the next couple of months.
I am not really sure how this is going to play out but the separation has always been that while the federal government has owned the land, the states have owned the game that resides on the land. Whatever happens I am not in favor of any plan that is going to reduce the amount of funds that come into our state game and fish departments nationwide. SO if the federal government is going to replace the abilities of the states to raise funds through the sale of tags to residents and non-residents then there must be a replacement that provides for those funds to each state. I will be interested to see how this debate plays out and will strive to keep you all informed.
The press release:
HUNTER INTRODUCES TEDDY ROOSEVELT BRING BACK OUR PUBLIC LANDS ACT
Washington D.C. – U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) today announced the introduction of the
Teddy Roosevelt Bring Back our Public Lands Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation
seeks to reduce costs incurred by out-of-state American outdoorsmen who hunt exclusively on federal
Congressman Hunter’s statement of introduction follows:
“In 1909, when President Theodore Roosevelt signed the last piece of legislation successfully creating over
42 million acres of national forest, the American outdoorsman came into his own. Our great “Outdoor
President,” with a stroke of his pen, dedicated more land to American citizens for hunting and fishing than
all the royal estates of Europe combined.
“From the Adirondacks and the Blue Ridge of the East to the Sierra Nevada of California, every
outdoorsman could now be the master of enormous sporting opportunities. The only price was a stretch of
the legs and an investment of time and a modicum of woodsmanship.
“Because of Teddy’s Roosevelt’s leadership and efforts, the public land of the federal government became
truly the “estate” of the average American.
“A carpenter in Indiana or Iowa could saddle up the old Chevy pick-up and take his sons elk or deer
hunting on a long weekend in Colorado. A steel worker in Pennsylvania could drive “straight through”
with his pals to that certain Aspen grove in Western Wyoming where big bucks always abounded on
opening morning. Thus, until a few years ago, the outdoor legacy of Teddy Roosevelt and the birthright of
outdoor Americans were secure.
“Not any more.
“Today, bureaucracies in state governments are closing down the outdoor opportunities for average
Americans. They are slamming the door on outdoor families the old fashioned way: with outrageous fees
for non-resident hunters, even when the hunting is done exclusively on federal land.
“For example, the out-of-state license fee in Wyoming is $281 for deer, $481 for elk; in Colorado it is $301
for deer, $501 for elk; in Montana, it is $643 for both. In New Mexico, if two sons decide to take their dad
on a weekend getaway, they each face fees of $355 for deer and $766 for elk.
“What makes these high prices so unfair is that they are applied to out-of-state American
outdoorsmen who hunt exclusively on federal property. The 190 million acres of national forest and 258
million acres of BLM are the birthright of all Americans. The notion that they are viewed as the domain of
state legislatures runs against the principle of public usage of federal property.
“Certainly, individual states have the right to regulate the private land and state-owned property within their
boundaries. No one quarrels with that. But placing prohibitive fees on hunting that is conducted on federal
public lands quickly becomes a method of exclusion.
“What happens, for example, if New Mexico should raise its out-of-state fees to $2,000 for bull elk? This
increase would have the same effect as a locked gate for thousands of average Americans who want to hunt
elk on any of the six national forests in New Mexico, over 11 million acres of federally owned land.
“The bill I am introducing today will restore acres for all American hunters to Theodore Roosevelt’s “Great
Estate” of national forests and other public land. I acknowledge that some small amount of states’ wildlife
resources are expended on federally owned and managed lands. Therefore, it is only right that out-of-state
hunters share in this minimal expense.
“My bill, therefore, says this: No state may charge more than $200 for a big game license, specifically, elk, deer, antelope or bear, for hunting that is carried out exclusively on national forest or BLM federal land. “The $200 fee strikes a balance between two interests. The first interest is the state’s legitimate need to recoup the few dollars that it expends in the management of federal land. The second, and most important, is the interest of helping that father with two teenagers who does not have the $2,300 the state of New Mexico will charge this year for a family of three to hunt on national forest for bull elk. “In most cases, even a $200 fee will be a windfall for states; far out-pacing any help they give the federal
government for wildlife management in national forests. Any American, from any state, should be allowed
to earn a fall morning hunting elk in the Rockies with a healthy hike and a good shooting eye, regardless if
he has a large bank account. My bill restores that opportunity.”
The Teddy Roosevelt Bring Back Our Public Lands Act has been referred to the House Committee on
Resources for further consideration.