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Idaho considers big changes to nonresident hunting

Potential big Idaho nonresident hunting changes

Photo credit: Dreamstime

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is considering changes to how the state handles nonresident hunters. A new proposal, which would be in effect in 2021, is on the table for Idaho—one that could change how hunter crowding and congestion is handled during the general season and include an increase in nonresident hunting fees.

The proposal is in response to repeated comments collected from resident hunters about overcrowding by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) as officials work to update the state’s deer management plans. According to the agency, while nonresident hunters are regulated in big game controlled hunts and elk zones that have limited tags, it’s difficult to “manage the distribution of nonresident hunters participating in general hunts.” 

Hence, the commission’s recent approval of a proposed rule, which would allow them to “limit nonresident tags in any elk zone, or big game hunting unit for deer tags, to a number not less than 10 percent of the previous five-year average of all hunters in a unit or zone,” according to an IDFG press release. However, in order for this rule to go into effect, it will have to be approved by the 2020 legislature. 

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Making this change could impact the future revenue because fewer nonresident licenses and tags would be sold in certain areas. To offset that, the commission is asking the Idaho governor’s office to increase nonresident fees for the first time since 2009. If approved, the nonresident fee increase would include a “general, 10 percent hike for most nonresident fees, with larger increases for big game tags and related items” like archery or muzzleloader permits and “also adjust reduced-price licenses”—like those for mentored junior hunters—“to a 50 percent discount in relation to the applicable adult item,” according to an IDFG press release

The nonresident license fee for wolf tags and disabled American veterans would stay the same. There is also no proposed change for resident fees (those increased in 2017).

If all are approved, the rule change and nonresident fee increase will be effective for the 2021 licensing year.


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Leanne M. - posted 1 month ago on 02-15-2020 09:02:55 am


JERRY A. - posted 3 months ago on 12-07-2019 05:42:08 pm

I've been hunting idaho longer than most idaho hunters have been alive. Nonresident. Now they whine about over crowding. Idaho's answer is to cut nonresident hunter numbers and raise the price to cover lost revenue. Since residents are the ones benifitting from this why can't they not cover the cost of lost revenue. Especially since most non resident hunters hunt national Forest land which is federal and does not belong to idaho.

Gene E. - posted 3 months ago on 12-07-2019 04:57:19 pm

Put the draw in to afflict it work in nv
Steven B. - posted 5 months ago on 10-08-2019 02:12:33 pm
Spring Creek, NV

I've seen both. As an NR deer hunter I was in 47 during archery season. Circus, but all Idaho folks. Later, helping my Idaho-resident daughter hunt elk in the Frank Church, was about 75% out of state plates on vehicles. That said, I never saw one other human being afield, except one from a distance. Just trucks in camps or on roads. Way fewer hunters than I see most places. Also...a lot less elk (zero).

There aren't any easy answers, Idaho. You guys just need to do what you think is right for your herd and your hunt and we NRs will have to accept it. That's what happens in every state. I love to see NR hunters in NV because I know they are paying for my hunting. I also know that only 10% of tags go to NR here, so it simply isn't an issue for me. Idaho, if you use a system like ours where NRs have to pay $150 just to get a license, and can't return it if they want to retain draw bonus points, you will get to keep the money without really seeing many NRs. Bonus points can be a moneymaker for you and allow you to control numbers better. Best of luck with this!

Nick S. - posted 5 months ago on 10-08-2019 11:16:18 am
Coeurdalene, ID

I almost never come across hunters once I leave my truck so I agree with some of y'all there. But let me say that when roughly 80% of the rigs I see out here in the Panhandle are all Washington, it not only gets annoying, but it makes me a little sick to think that there are thousands of guys out there wanting to hunt Idaho but don't get the chance because everyone and their brother is hopping the border from Spokane (an area with plenty of OTC elk options) and taking up NR tags in Idaho. I don't think Idahoans, OR the elk are going to suffer from a decrease in NR tags and frankly, I won't mind seeing fewer rigs on the road.

DAVE M. - posted 6 months ago on 09-25-2019 05:46:01 am

I'm a NR hunter who has hunted archery elk in the Panhandle zone the past 3 seasons. I spend a little over $600 for OTC license & tags and only am able to hunt 5-7 days a year in ID. I suspect other parts of the state see more hunting pressure in general but where I have been hunting I have never come across another hunter in the woods. I see a low ratio of NR to resident hunters. Increased NR fees would likely cause a decline in NR hunters who have to make a cost benefit decision to hunt other western states instead but would not in my opinion accomplish the goal of spreading the NR hunting pressure. It would be interesting to see the "days hunted" numbers for Res. vs NR.

Nick P. - posted 6 months ago on 09-21-2019 02:35:03 pm

I have yet to see any mention, in 40 something comments, about predator control. Yes you could argue that we as hunters are considered predators but I’m talking about the four legged variety. Tell me this, if you are a hunter, there are 30 rigs parked at the trailhead, you go hunting anyway and see plenty of game, have a chance to harvest and thus enjoy your trip, how likely are you to complain about those 30 other vehicles? Now flip that around with the outcome being little to no game and thus a bad experience? Wolves have had such a drastic effect on game populations in ID that it is almost unimaginable if you haven’t seen it with your own eyes. When are we as hunters going to demand that we get in return what we pay for? I sure as hell know that if I get half a pizza delivered to my house from Pizza Hut I’m demanding a refund. This epidemic is no different. We are paying for a product and getting $hit in return. Watching our F&G turn a blind eye to the wolf crisis effecting nearly half the state is a joke and honestly malicious. You want a better experience no matter what the cost? We as both resident and NR need to be bringing this to the doorstep of the State. Are tag increases needed and better regulations put on unsold NR tags, sure do, but this overcrowding is a mask the State is hiding behind to divert the real problem and that’s its poor management of game populations.

Nick P. - posted 6 months ago on 09-21-2019 02:35:10 pm

I have yet to see any mention, in 40 something comments, about predator control. Yes you could argue that we as hunters are considered predators but I’m talking about the four legged variety. Tell me this, if you are a hunter, there are 30 rigs parked at the trailhead, you go hunting anyway and see plenty of game, have a chance to harvest and thus enjoy your trip, how likely are you to complain about those 30 other vehicles? Now flip that around with the outcome being little to no game and thus a bad experience? Wolves have had such a drastic effect on game populations in ID that it is almost unimaginable if you haven’t seen it with your own eyes. When are we as hunters going to demand that we get in return what we pay for? I sure as hell know that if I get half a pizza delivered to my house from Pizza Hut I’m demanding a refund. This epidemic is no different. We are paying for a product and getting $hit in return. Watching our F&G turn a blind eye to the wolf crisis effecting nearly half the state is a joke and honestly malicious. You want a better experience no matter what the cost? We as both resident and NR need to be bringing this to the doorstep of the State. Are tag increases needed and better regulations put on unsold NR tags, sure do, but this overcrowding is a mask the State is hiding behind to divert the real problem and that’s its poor management of game populations.

S W. - posted 6 months ago on 09-21-2019 02:43:33 am

I’ll add... I have no problem with nonresidents coming to Idaho and sharing in our resources, but our infrastructure CANNOT handle much more. Highway 55 is a one lane nightmare. It’s a dangerous road to travel anymore. Most people are tired of driving 5-30 miles below the speed limit, and then you have the crazies passing in unsafe areas. So to bring it back on topic.... I think nonresidents should pay higher fees, to be used toward making Idaho Great Again! ;)

S W. - posted 6 months ago on 09-21-2019 02:12:26 am

Should be charging HIGHER fees when nonresidents buy our land too!

cory s. - posted 6 months ago on 09-20-2019 08:59:31 pm
stansbury park, UT

Gonna be honest here. I hunted one of the most heavily hunted units in southeast Idaho last year and never even saw another hunter after I parked my truck and hiked in. Idaho can do what they want but the tag numbers are capped for NR already. Idaho's growing population is the problem not non-residents. I live in the west so this doesn't affect me all that much but at what point are the guys who live out here going to realize if we shut out NR completely we lose support for public lands out here.

Jay K. - posted 6 months ago on 09-18-2019 08:58:44 am
Dallas, TX

This question isn't related specifically to Idaho. But, is there any good data that looks at actual hunting pressure in an area by residents versus non-residents? We've all heard the stories of the local guy who shows up at the trail head on opening day and there are 50 pickups already there and 49 of them have out of state plates. And maybe that is reality in some places. It would be interesting to see data on actual days in the field for residents and non-residents. Having the number of tags sold to each group is a start. But, actual hunting pressure comes from being in the field. Not just buying a tag.

My guess is that on average a resident will spend more days in the field hunting than an average non-resident. I would expect that effect to be more exaggerated, the longer a particular season runs. And I would also expect that a resident might be more likely to pick up a tag and never go out in the field. I know I did this when I was an Oregon resident. I would buy a tag "just in case" because they were so cheap. I doubt this data exists. But, I think it could prove instructive in managing excess hunting pressure in certain areas.
Steven B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-18-2019 07:50:45 am
Spring Creek, NV

Perhaps the concern lies more around elk tags. In 2018 total OTC tags issued was 81,100. In 2019, the NR allotment was 12,800, which represents about 16% of the total tags (2018 to 2019 isn't perfect, but close enough and all I could find). Many of those remaining NR tags get sold to residents on September 1 as extra or second tags. I can see knocking the cap back on NR tags to make things closer to the 10%, but again, this won't move the needle much AT ALL...will change only 4 to 5% of hunters in field after considering the resident buying of NR tags. It will eliminate a lot of revenue and will eliminate the chance for residents to buy up those second tags. Again, us NRs shouldn't really care about all of this. It really isn't much of an impact to us at all.
Steven B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-18-2019 07:30:29 am
Spring Creek, NV

Marcus, that is an interesting take. I bought an OTC deer tag last year and never got around to hunting it. In fact, instead of hunting my own tag, I took two residents out hunting and helped one guy kill his first Idaho deer rather than punch my own tag. I plan to hunt my OTC tag this year, if my wife gets her NV cow in time, and in between helping my brother and Dad with their NV deer and my daughter with her resident ID elk. Maybe one weekend for me plus possibility of late archery. My own opinion is that you are right. The NR tags are already limited to about 10% for deer in the OTC, and those don't all get sold to NRs. The controlled hunts are officially limited to about 10% on first draw. If Idaho residents are seeing a crowding problem, it simply isn't due to NRs...they have met the enemy and they is they...Idaho is among the most beautiful states and I love it for its mountains, rivers, and deserts. I backpack there. I fish there. I boat there. I tour there. And I hunt there occasionally, but mostly to help out ID residents. With something around 150,000 OTC deer tags and a statewide OTC success rate of 28%, it is simply up to ID hunters and voters to decide whether that system suits them the best or not. It is a generous hunting opportunity, but deer have so many natural predators and higher mortality than elk in general. If I lived in Idaho, I would vote to cap all OTC tags or to move all of the rifle tags into a draw system to better allow the IDFG to manage the hunt units. Raising resident tag prices to $40 or $50 also would provide the IDFG with a better base of resources with which to manage the herd. What Idaho is proposing, however, doesn't really move the needle for us NRs that much, so it seems like much ado about nothing...this article certainly produced some opinions and thoughts, which is so awesome. I'm really glad to get to read about how people think about this subject!!

marcus t. - posted 6 months ago on 09-17-2019 08:09:02 pm
Pullman, wa

I too am a resident of an adjacent state to Idaho. I must admit that I am confused in regard to residents complaints of NR hunters crowding trail heads. It strikes me that it matters not 1% from where the hunters reside in the conversation. I fail to see what that has to to with harvest success. In fact if anything it probably skews it south, after all a resident had more
Opportunity to scout, learn and know the areas and hunt more frequently. Let’s be honest with ourselves about this. This like any other discussion of tag limits in all western state boils down to money. One can make the same argument about tags in regards to fishing as well. Do residents take offense to a parking lot full drift boat trailers with a variety of NR plates? It’s absolutely absurd the low barrier to entry that residents of Idaho pay for tags. 18$ for a deer tag? I’m sure most residents would gladly pay 3x that amount and not bat an eye.
I’ve not looked on the fish and game website but does anyone know what percentage of NR tags
Are even hunted?

Brandon S. - posted 6 months ago on 09-17-2019 01:16:42 pm
Treasureton, ID

You can obviously see the split between the residents and non-residents on this one by reading the comments. Idaho is one of the last states that don't cap non-resident tags. Every other state in the West has done this. So, why is Idaho the "bad guy" because they are just trying to implement what everyone else has done?

I can see the argument about 65% of the state being BLM and US Forest Service managed land. So, yes, these areas are for the public to enjoy. However, the animals that reside on these lands have always been managed by the states. Again, no different than CO, WY, UT, AZ, etc. Each state manages the deer, elk, antelope, sheep, moose, etc. Therefore, the state can make the laws and regulations as it applies to the wildlife on state and federal lands. Even the animals that reside on private lands are still managed by the state.

Therefore, everyone from any state can come and enjoy the federal lands. Come camping. Come ride your UTV and enjoy Idaho's amazing scenery. When it comes to hunting these lands, however, you will have to pay the fees that the state has implemented and live with the fact that there may be a cap on non-resident licenses. It's not that I agree with this system but Idaho is merely catching up with the rest of the surrounding states. Yes, being a resident of Idaho (and other western states for that matter) has its advantages and capped non-resident hunting licenses may be one of them as is the nominal fee that residents pay in the great state of Idaho.

I will gladly pay more for a tag if the legislature decides to increase fees. Idaho has been a "back up" state for many that don't draw tags elsewhere but can still purchase over-the-counter tags. It has been an amazing set-up for non-residents. However, Idaho may very well implement policies similar to its surrounding neighbors. Unfortunately, that is or has been the trend in western states hunting for many years. Idaho is just one of the last states that caters so well to non-residents. It will be interesting to see what the state legislature decides. Good luck this hunting season!
Steven B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-17-2019 09:36:52 am
Spring Creek, NV

Mark H. you make a good point. I'm lucky enough to be an archer who lives in a great western state. If we as hunters truly want to leave a legacy of hunting behind, we must embrace those from elsewhere who want to hunt out west. This is true all across the U.S., not just in the west. As a whole, we are a dying breed. There is a lot of pressure on the West, and sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees. I completely embrace NR hunters in my state and hope others decide the same way, for their own future. NRs pay 5x to 20x in fees and leave a ton of money behind in stores and local businesses. They actually prop up our existing systems! On top of that, they are part of the seeds of the while I respect any state's right to do as they please with their wildlife, I do hope they consider the crucial role played by NRs both for their near-term support and long-term solidarity as hunters.

Mark H. - posted 6 months ago on 09-17-2019 09:31:48 am

This is a tough subject as I completely understand the residents issues with crowding and fully believe you should have first right to your home land. As a non resident of all of the western states, opportunities are becoming less, but the biggest concern is the cost. I have not played the points game as I’m looking for opportunities not trophies. Everyone’s answer seems to be to further limit non residents and then offset that by charging them more. While this may seem like a good idea, there is no way to determine lost revenue from retailers. Hunters may spend more on the tag, but they will spend less in other areas of their hunt. I hear a lot of talk about the number of overall hunters decreasing. We have to be careful that we don’t price potential new hunters out of our sport.
Steven B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-17-2019 09:07:15 am
Spring Creek, NV

Lots of comments here, mine more than many. Look, residents pay $18 for their deer tag while NR pay $300. I can see the NR deer tag going up 10%, but Idaho should consider residents paying a bit more than the price of a twelve pack of beer for their own tags. Move that to $50 and bump NR to $350 and IDFG and the herd should benefit. As it stands, NR deer tags pay for way MORE THAN HALF of the deer tag revenue to the IDFG! Comments about over-hunting in Idaho are too general, but from my own experience, it is pretty rough. The best OTC elk areas get north of 30% success rates, with most in the 10-20% range. I think the Idaho hunters have some tough decisions ahead of them, but it is absolutely their resource to manage. They can choose for all residents to spend $18 to be "in the game" each year, or choose to manage the resource as a controlled hunt only (or anything in between). It is their decision. One thing is for sure, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Utah already offers a comparable deer opportunity for cheaper than Idaho, and that may become my new spillover archery deer state. Colorado offers better, but is a longer drive for me!! I have zero issue with the proposed changes...they are fine; however, non-residents are not the issue...overcrowding of hunters is.

Dave P. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 09:22:12 pm

Lots of passionate hunters out there... Which I applaud! Overall, I think that some of us are missing the point of the proposed changes. It’s true, not ALL units in ID are overcrowded, and there are MUCH more resident hunters than NR hunters. However, in certain units, there is an imbalance between resident & NR hunters.

From what I understand, ID isn’t proposing to limit the overall number of NR tags, they’re proposing to be given the authority to limit NR deer & elk tags to no less than 10% of the five year average in CERTAIN units. In other words, do some load leveling & spread out the hunters a bit. I’m all for it!

As far as a fee increase, it’s been a decade since the last NR fee increase. Adjusted for inflation, I’d say that NR’s have done just fine for the last ten years. The tags stayed the same price, and the economy improved drastically. A win-win.

As an ID resident, I realize that I DO NOT own the land or the animals. And I also hunt in other states. However, when I do, I pay MUCH more than NR’s do in Idaho and I have to draw a tag in most cases. Idaho is a fall back plan for most hunters who travel for hunts. Their draw period is the latest draw of any western state, you can see if you draw any tags elsewhere, knowing that you’ve always got ID in your back pocket. This is going to change.

Yes, I would gladly double or triple my resident tag price for the species I hunt to have a better potential experience, more solitude, not necessarily a higher success rate.

It’s a tough problem to solve, and I’m glad there’s passionate hunters on all sides. Keep it up fellas!

Maybe I need to get more than a mile from my 4x4 is sounds like! That’s what I’ve been doing wrong this whole time... Thanks for the tip! ;-)

Duncan M. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 08:58:23 pm
Las Vegas, NV

They are going to have to start managing resident tags too. Deer and elk tags are already limited for nonresidents. I certainly don’t believe the overcrowding being complained about is consistent throughout all units. Idaho will just have to do what most western states have done and limit resident and nonresident tags per unit. I certainly don’t get to hunt multiple units in any other state I apply in.
Gohunt descriptions for many of Idaho’s units says “fewer deer than years past due to hard winters and OVERHUNTING”. Limit the damn tags Idaho! Second tags??? Insane!
Purchased my first Idaho nonresident deer tag this year. Hope it’s not my last. But if it’s overcrowded and there are no deer I surely won’t send them another $500+ dollars.

John E. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 08:58:12 pm
Vancouver Washington

This is a tough situation and there’s a lot of truth to many of the arguments on both sides. I am a Washington resident and have watched the hunting pressure change in Idaho the last 5-6 years right along with the “private” timber company land lock ups here at home. I understand that resident hunters in Idaho are feeling the loss of quality hunts, and pushed out of their spots by non residents. But that feeing is shared by many hunters all over the west. I don’t really have a dog in the fight on the proposed changes just know that the Good ol days are going to look different in the future for our kids than they did for us and that those out of state plates may soon be idaho plates in even bigger numbers.

Jason W. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 08:04:56 pm

WOW! At a time when hunter numbers are plummeting and we are on the precipice of obscurity as a population segment, I'm disappointed in us as hunters. What will it take for us to advocate for opportunity for all and any who want to hunt? Do we really have to lose it all before we get past our own self serving interests? Come on Idaho Resident Hunters, have you really lost sight of how good you have it that you'd rather complain to IDGF than welcome Nonresident hunters even if that means you have to work a tiny bit harder and walk a mile away from your ATV?

If so, enjoy it while it lasts because we won't have hunting around for much longer!

matthew y. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 08:02:43 pm

Wow I wasn’t aware Idaho had so
Many crybaby millennials blaming everyone else for not being able to fill a tag. I hear all the Idaho residents say
They will pay NR prices. Let’s see if there’s a grassroots movement to self increase license and tag fees. I won’t hold my breath
Steven B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 02:11:24 pm
Spring Creek, NV

I just got that from Eric M.'s post below. Whether it is 7,000 or 11,000 like the IDFG guy says, it is still less than 10% of the 148,000 tags issued. So, I fail to see what the proposed change really is. I have no idea about the elk tags, as I have zero interest in an OTC Idaho elk hunt with such poor quality hunts (I go on them every year with my Idaho-resident daughter). I personally feel Idaho or any state should do whatever they like with the game they manage. They can give 100% to residents if they prefer. I spend my money where it works best for me and lately it has been Idaho. In 2021 maybe it is Colorado, Utah, or Arizona. It's all good to me. I focus primarily on my home state of Nevada, then add some backcountry archery hunts in other states after that. Our family has tagged out three Booners (deer, antelope, desert sheep) and two 360+ elk in the past 8 years here in Nevada, so we always focus here first!! I totally feel your sentiment about your home state. All the best to you guys.

Adam U. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 12:43:55 pm
Boise, Idaho

I don’t know where you’re info comes from that we buy up half the unsold tags because I spoke with a fng employee two weeks ago before they sold out and he quoted me that it was easy 20% resident and 80% nr that buy the tags

Adam U. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 11:56:56 am
Boise, Idaho

No the controlled hunts are capped at 10% but for otc hunts there were 12,815 elk tags and 14,000 nr regular deer tags. The answer I get from fish and game on how they come up with nr otc tags is some magic numbers that the fish and game commission come up with every year. As far as our animals I mean I guess technically they are since I’m a resident here and states are mandated to control the wildlife in the best interest of its residents, come camp out on the federal land all you please, its gorgeous
Steven B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 11:56:34 am
Spring Creek, NV

In 2018, OTC elk hunts in Idaho averaged 16.6% harvest success per tag issued. Surely something needs to be done, because it isn't that attractive for a non-resident to pay $600 per year to hunt in this overcrowded OTC elk state, and I can understand why residents are frustrated with this kind of OTC hunt quality.The controlled draw offers some quality hunts at low draw odds...which is just fine. There are also some archery gems out there for other species, and Idaho is amazing on its sheep and moose draws. Idaho is faced with the same difficulties as any state handles. It is a difficult problem and I'm sure they will do the best they can to keep revenues up to allow solid management practices. Quite the balance they are attempting to strike, and it won't be easy in any case. Raising prices on OTC deer likely won't do much but reduce the number of NR buying them. As of now, the NRs only buy half of the deer tags allotted to them, while the residents buy up their other half of unpurchased tags. Good luck, Idaho, with some tough decisions! You can always just go to a draw-only system like we do here in Nevada!!
Steven B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 11:34:07 am
Spring Creek, NV

NR hunting pressure only represents 10% of the hunters in the field in Idaho for both General and Controlled. Someone check my math, as perhaps I got this wrong. Got it from the Idaho hunt planner. Let's say you cut that in half to 5%. Does that really move the needle noticeably for residents? Really? Amusing. With 148,000 deer hunters in the field, the pressure is there from residents anyway. Go ahead and double the price of your tags to eliminate non-residents. You won't notice the difference in the field.
Steven B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 11:30:24 am
Spring Creek, NV

The math would be : nonresident deer tags at $300 each x 14,000 (2019 quota) = $4.2 million. With a total hunter tag purchase of 148,000 in 2018, that will require only bumping Idaho resident tags by about $30 to make up for it. I say: "Do it, Idaho!" On the flip side, if there are 148,000 hunters afield and only 14,000 of those tags are available to non-residents (and residents can buy some of those after controlled draws are over), the non-residents are already about 10% of the hunting population, so what exactly is the problem?? Either way, meh, Idaho can do whatever they'd like, and all of the NR hunters will adjust. It doesn't figure that prominently into the big scheme of things.

Josh B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 11:12:13 am
San Antonio, TX

Sad perspective my friend. Sorry you feel they are are your and your friends animals. Best of luck this season. I don’t mean to cause a stink. All the best, enjoy the season every one.

Adam U. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 10:37:21 am
Boise, Idaho

As far as all you nr guys saying we locals have to make up for it. It seems to me that doubling tag fees and selling 1/2 has many would still equal out the same and besides most Idaho guys I know would gladly pay 4x my resident tag if it meant less pressure and better hunting

Adam U. - posted 6 months ago on 09-16-2019 10:33:57 am
Boise, Idaho

Hopefully these changes go through and we can quit being everyone’s fall back opportunity state. Very excited that our fish and game is finally listening to its residents about NR hunting pressure and we can move up to everyone else’s playing field on costs of tags.

Josh B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-15-2019 03:05:32 pm
San Antonio, TX

I’m a NR and just got back from the Panhandle. The amount of local ATV hunters was sad. We’d park at a gate and hump it in 3-4 miles, then came the dozen or so locals on ATVs, road hunting during archery season. If you want to manage distribution of hunters I’d highly recommend travel management roads. But I’d be careful about rejecting NRs, whether states like to admit it or not, NRs fund the programs.

Dave P. - posted 6 months ago on 09-14-2019 11:11:15 pm

As an Idaho resident, I support these proposed changes. I also can understand the feelings and viewpoint of NR hunters who have enjoyed the management style of IDFG.

In communicating with F&G commissioners regarding the proposed changes, they mentioned that “everything is on the table” - and that they’re looking to shape the management of Idaho’s wildlife resources for decades to come. These changes are necessary, as documented hunting pressure has doubled since 2011. Some of this can certainly be attributed to a growing population, however, when you see 5-1 out of state plates in your hunting unit, the overcrowding issue isn’t just population growth.

I’m not complaining that I haven’t been successful because of NR hunting pressure, however, ID has been on the lower end of the fee scale and at the top of the “opportunity” scale for a long time. This needs to change in order to preserve not just the resources, but the experience that hunters have. Especially if we’re going to recruit the next generation.

For those that mentioned the federal land access that they pay for, you’re right. ID has a lot of federal land (thank goodness) and you’re welcome to come and spend time in it, just as I’m able to spend time in other states, enjoying & exploring state & federally owned land. However, I can’t harvest state managed game without a tag, in most cases that I have to draw for, and/or play the point system for a decade or more to get a tag. So far, ID has decided NOT to make it has hard for a NR to hunt here as just about every other western state makes it for an ID resident to hunt in their state. To me, this is the best example of having “your cake & eating it too”.

For the record, I’d gladly pay more for my resident tags as well to make up for any potential revenue loss because of lower tag sales.

There’s a balance somewhere... revenue demands to manage wildlife vs. maintaining hunting opportunity for residents & NR alike.

Jay K. - posted 6 months ago on 09-14-2019 09:38:48 am
Dallas, TX

They should tweak the system for what’s best for the wildlife and all hunters involved. As an outsider, I hope they don’t lockout us non-residents. Some states continue making it increasingly difficult on non-residents. (Looking at you New Mexico). Idaho has been very friendly to non-residents. Maybe too friendly. I can see why it needs to evolve.
Steven B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-14-2019 08:17:23 am
Spring Creek, NV

Idaho should do what they see as best. Changing the ratio of resident:nonresident is a sensible idea, but without a reduction in tags, won't solve the overcrowding issue they seek to address. Making OTC tags more expensive for everyone and dropping the overall quota will improve the quality of the hunt without impacting revenue. Is it time for Idaho to eliminate their OTC general deer tag and 1) turn it into a single-unit or multi-unit regional OTC tag, or 2) turn it into an unlimited but area specific controlled hunt? Asking for a friend.....
Steven B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-14-2019 07:51:30 am
Spring Creek, NV

As a nonresident Idaho hunter I think this is fine. I would also recommend that the IDFG take a serious look at increasing resident fees as well. Idaho's system is going to have to be changed at some point as the hunting pressure is pretty fierce and many of the OTC tags are pretty low success rate. It is a beautiful state full of wildlife and I enjoy going there. I'm just as happy to stay in Nevada or travel to Utah or Arizona for my hunting opportunities. Heaven knows that drawing a tag here in Nevada as a non-resident is a very low-odds proposition. Idaho can do whatever their legislature thinks is best. We will all just have to adjust, as we always do.

Don B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-13-2019 01:18:36 pm

You haven't seen overcrowding! Come to Missouri for whitetail season. That's pressure! In the end the residents are going to have to make up more money. They will still gripe about it.

Eric M. - posted 6 months ago on 09-12-2019 08:20:37 pm

I disagree with this logic of overcrowding hunt areas. In August all unsold non-res tags go on sale to residents for a cheap second tag. This year I saw that number was around 7000. They sold out in like 3 weeks. So ya’ll want to improve your hunts, just lower the non-red tag quota. 7000 deer saved. Done.

Jay M. - posted 6 months ago on 09-11-2019 08:37:11 pm

As a resident I'd gladly pay extra to make up for the nonresident tag fee. In the last few years when you show up to a trail head you have no idea what state you are in. Last year I spotted more hunters than animals on the mountain. It's time for a change, Idaho has turned in to a junk show and it's a shame. This state has the potential to provide some amazing hunting but with unlimited nonresident and predation the game has little chance to grow. General season cow tags? Give me a break. The IDFG manages for $$$ rather than biology.

Kent S. - posted 6 months ago on 09-11-2019 08:15:02 pm

@charlesS. I’ve heard multiple people say the same thing, but wildlife management has nothing to do with the land. Doesn’t matter if it’s state, Blm, or private. Wildlife management is done by the state. So the state can decide how they want to manage wildlife which includes how they allocate tags. It’s something that has already been taken to the Supreme Court and decided. And their new tag prices won’t price out nonresidents. I bet they will sell just as many tags as they did before. In fact if you read the gohunt article on out of state hunting, their new prices will put them not to much over average. The same thing happened in Montana and in Wyoming. Supply and demand. If they do prove to high and lose revenue then they will be forced to lower the price.

Charles S. - posted 6 months ago on 09-11-2019 06:55:17 pm

Great let's price all non-residents out. I have my own horses and mules keep them all year for a couple of weeks to hunt FEDERAL land, pay through the nose for licenses, tags, fees. Can't hunt my home state because it's nearly all private. Most western states will not be able to manage wildlife without nonresidents $. Go ahead and let residents fund it all.

Justin G. - posted 6 months ago on 09-11-2019 10:39:25 am
Ontario, Canada

Although Idaho has not been on my list Its good to stay up to date

Jody W congrats on being able to hunt moose from Ontario. Im from Ontario and have not ever drawn a bull or cow tag. in most areas if you are not in a group of 5-6 guys good luck and in the popular units even with a group of 15 there is no guarantee of a tag. I did have a short term plan to hunt with an outfitter that will "provide a tag". But guess what. Ontario is going to a points system for moose. it will be very interesting but I think the change will be for the better.

Now could you guys imagine if Idaho said as a resident you need to at minimum be in a group of 15 to apply for 1 bull tag but you have no guarantee you'll draw.

John D. - posted 6 months ago on 09-11-2019 10:19:23 am
Lewes, DE

I would just like to know, why now? Idaho was selling out the non-resident tags before the recession hit and this didn't happen. I wonder if the numbers bear this out or what was the driving factor for the change. I spoke with IDF&G rep at sheep show and he said there were some changes coming including one to the late whitetail hunt in northern Idaho. He said there wasn't any real science for the change but that people were complaining "there's too many people here now" even though the statistics they have didn't bear that out. That the northern Idaho people were complaining about all the non-locals who were doing the hunt now and that most of them weren't really non-residents but rather southern Idaho residents which means they're still not locals to the locals.

It feels like across the nation everyone is becoming more close minded to a degree and "wants what's theirs". As in if I live here these are my deer and my elk. Doesn't matter what state I hear it all the time.

It will be curious to see what the tipping point is for people who travel to hunt. Obviously MT has a very hi license fee but they just started selling those out in the past 2 years. States all across the west are growing the fastest (Idaho, Utah, Colorado among the fastest growing in the last decade) increasing the number of resident tags sold and likely meaning non-resident tag numbers will continue to get squeezed or prices bumped. If there is another recession or the economy takes a hit then the states that depend on non-resident tag sales may suffer.

This change will likely significantly impact where I include Idaho in my algorithm. I have told IDF&F that I love the fact they are a straight up lottery that only allows entry into one trophy game species lottery. It levels the field and creates some of the best odds in the west. States that use preference points feel like a money grab and government sponsored pyramid scheme to be able to hunt a nicer unit. However, now the capped units will likely sell out quick meaning I won't be able to wait to see if I draw one of the limited entry permits. I'm not going to pay the license fee to play their lottery and then get stuck in some sub-par wolf ravaged unit like Lolo, or a place with the terrible bull:cow ratios.

Jody W. - posted 6 months ago on 09-11-2019 07:22:55 am
Omaha, Nebraska

These stories cut both ways with me. Wildlife managers asked to do more, with less. Governments charge more, take it away from the Agencies and use it to subsidize other programs. I am going Moose hunting in Ontario next week. If i harvest a moose, I have to buy an Export Permit to get home with it. Just another $35 fee. I hope i have to pay it, but on its face its just another money grab. Round and round we go. States want the federal dollars as mentioned below, but most of the time, residents don't think about that. myself included. The road I take to work and to hunt out west has federal funding, i'm sure. Hunting pressure is everywhere. Its hard to buy into the declining number of hunters when the orange army invades an area. Some people need to realize that the businesses in some of the remote areas that we frequent depend on the sporting revenue to keep afloat. You shut out the non-residents and maybe that gas station you fill up at wont be there next year. i guess my point to all this is we still need to stick together and keep in mind that divided we fall. Hope you all have a great hunting season.

Colter I. - posted 6 months ago on 09-11-2019 06:24:39 am

This is great news! Idaho has been the discount state of the west. We are finally bringing prices up comparable to the other western states. YOU don't like it. Stay in your own state and hunt. Problem solved! And yes Iam an Idaho resident

Tyson C. - posted 6 months ago on 09-10-2019 06:02:32 pm
Lincoln, NH

Western resident hunters are a bunch of whiners.

Kent S. - posted 6 months ago on 09-10-2019 12:31:50 pm

I'm not an Idaho Resident so of course I like the lower tag prices, but I could agree with this depending on the motive. If they are trying to reduce harvest and are restricting quotas then yes, residence deserve the top priority. If the cost of managing wildlife increases, then I believe the nonresidents should pay the bill if the demand for the tags are their. I agree with that whole hearted, but that doesn't seem to be the case. It doesn't seem to be a harvest or increased cost issue, it seems to be an over crowded issue. Why don't they just change their overall nonresident state quota, to unit by unit quota. You already have to designate your unit in Idaho for, So do the same for deer, bears, and turkeys, and just put a cap on each unit for nonresidents. Even if they let the resident general tag regulations stay the same and only make the nonresidents do it. They will still get the same amount of nonresident hunters, but it will spread it out. I think they are just trying to make more money like Montana and Wyoming did. If that's the case, just say it. Don't beat around the bush and try to justify it.

peter g. - posted 6 months ago on 09-10-2019 10:32:34 am

This is absolutely insane. The reasoning behind this is no different than the tax increase on tobacco products. Increasing the fee will not stop people from doing it. You watch, come December Idaho out of state licenses will hit record numbers and sell out because of this.

Chase K. - posted 6 months ago on 09-10-2019 09:27:51 am

Maybe I'm not understanding the situation correctly, and maybe it will not affect National Forest and BLM areas, but here's how I'm interpreting what I'm reading:

There's 16 National Forests with over 20 million acres in Idaho, 40% of its land area. BLM covers 12 million acres, another 25% of land area (Total Federally-managed area in Idaho = 65%) and Idaho residents feel that they need to be 90% of who hunts in it? Meanwhile, we all agree that we're staunchly against turning these lands over to the individual states in which they reside, to ensure that they can be here for all to use? We want the land to be here for everyone to use, but we're going to throw up taller and taller barriers to use it?

I really am baffled by this, and maybe I'm just not understanding this from a scientific standpoint. It seems to me that this is a situation where people want to have their cake and eat it too: We'll gladly accept the funding to maintain the lands on which we hunt from the people in each of the 50 United States, but we're going to decrease the accessibility to these same people because they don't live here. On top of that, hunter recruitment numbers are down, and people want to raise barriers to entry.

Really not trying to be combative, I'm just stumped on this one.

Erik S. - posted 6 months ago on 09-10-2019 08:26:03 am

This is great news, its unfortunate that it has to come to this though. Too many non residents flock to ID and shoot the first forked horn buck they see resulting in poor age class and heard management, just my opinion though.

matthew a. - posted 6 months ago on 09-10-2019 07:37:17 am
Sheridan, WY

Bad news for Idaho if this goes thru.

Sean B. - posted 6 months ago on 09-10-2019 05:15:15 am

Is this going to be specific to certain zones or a state-wide change?