1. What Prompted this Petition/Rulemaking:
For the first time in history, all nonresident tags for both elk and deer have been limited throughout the state of Idaho. This action by the Fish and Game Commission triggered Allocation of these nonresident tags to those hunters who need to utilize the services of an Outfitter. Such allocated tags come from the outfitted set-aside pool.
2. The Problem:
Without this rule change, the current number of nonresident outfitted elk tags available in the set-aside pool is insufficient to meet the historic use by outfitted hunters (which historic use the Commission may, and has, used to inform outfitter allocation) with the inclusion of the newly capped elk hunts.
Similarly, given issues with previous use records for deer tag use by outfitted clients, it is not unlikely that outfitted deer use (in particular in/with newly capped units) will be higher than was previously recorded—in turn, creating a potential difference between the number of tags available in the outfitted set-aside for deer tags available for allocation to outfitted hunters in future season setting.
- Currently, the number of general hunt elk tags set-aside for allocation to outfitters to sell to their clients is 2,800 (A and B tags combined), which is 21.8% of the nonresident quota for general hunt elk tags. The number of general deer tags set-aside for allocation to outfitters for their clients is 1,985 (regular and white-tailed tags combined), which 12.8% of the nonresident quota for general hunt deer tags.
3. The Solution (via this petition):
The number of tags available in the outfitter set-aside needs to be raised to the full 25% of the nonresident limits allowed by statute in order for there to be sufficient tags available in the set-aside to match the tags allocated by the F&G Commission for outfitted hunters in these newly capped hunts (and in general, to reflect the actual need for outfitted hunters, and provide tags for the true historic use in future allocations).
- This rule would increase the number of tags in the outfitted set-aside pool (within the limits set by statute) such that there are sufficient tags available to accommodate the allocations set by the Commission in the newly capped elk zones.
- In order for there to be enough tags available in the outfitted set-aside pool to meet the allocation numbers set by the Commission in these newly capped hunts, the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association (IOGA) has petitioned the Fish and Game Commission to adopt a rule to set aside the statutory maximum of 25% of the nonresident general hunt elk tags and 25% of the nonresident general hunt deer tags as the new annual limits for allocation to outfitters to use for their clients.
4. The Consequences of Not Adopting this Rule:
Without this change in rule, the current number of nonresident elk tags available in the outfitter set-aside in particular falls short of the historic use by outfitted hunters and the number of tags allocated by the Commission for use by outfitted hunters in newly capped elk Zones. Looking forward, without this change in rule, it is likely that this may be the case with deer tags as well.
- Going forward, outfitted-hunter historic use numbers will be recorded accurately with the new Fish and Game use-reporting system. This actual use may well be higher than has been recorded with the previous system. (This would require that more tags than is currently the case be available to accommodate Commission allocation going forward, though still within the limits set by statute for outfitted set-aside pool.)
- Expectation of Future Demand and Need for Predictability: The quick sellout of nonresident tags on Dec 1 prevented many outfitted hunters, who contracted the service of an outfitter, from buying a tag . These tags need to be reserved for those outfitted hunters.
- Small Outfitting businesses in rural Idaho are dependent upon having outfitted hunters being able to access to these tags to contribute to a reliable business model. These Outfitters provide the skills, equipment, and transportation to the hunting public to access and experience big game hunting in Idaho's backcountry.
- 25% percent may look like a big number, in terms of the nonresident quota/limits, but it is important to put in perspective that the 'outfitted hunter' tag share represents less than 3% of the total deer and elk tags any given year (based on IDFG/IOGLB 2017-2019 use data).