Outlawed: Big Game GPS Coordinate Sales

Posted December 21, 2017 by Scott Reekers in Elk

It is still unpopular to scout a mature mule deer in a unit you don’t have a tag for and then sell those coordinates to someone who has the tag. Last year this concept was made known to the hunting world on a mule deer hunting focused forum. It didn’t take long for detractors to show up, in a big way!

A bill in the Wyoming House has now been proposed that would make this activity illegal in the Cowboy State. The loophole is that licensed outfitters can still send coordinates to their guides and essentially, their clients.

This bill has also made it illegal to send pictures that identify locations of big game or trophy animals for money. The Wyoming Legislature is closing as many potential loopholes as possible for the rules to be bent on this law.

Personally, I believe these types of bills are going to become necessary as technology improves and the desire to add a little extra income from hobbies grows. Not crossing ethical lines as we move forward is going to be a constant talking point, which really isn’t anything new. However, as technology accelerates so will our conversations about ethics.

Which also begs the question, how long has this been going on under the radar? Did going public with this business venture simply expose something that has been going on for a while? My gut says yes, which means that the dude who may have never killed a mule deer suddenly stumbling on a 220” buck might not have been a coincidence.

What say you, is this proposal a good one? Will this law actually prevent the selling of GPS coordinates?

About the Author

Scott Reekers


    kevin h

    I think its great to outlaw this shady activity at it takes some of the “fair” out or fair chase. No one should be able to capitalize on so called locations of big game animals for profit unless you have an outfitters or guide license for the unit your supplying the info for. They can move miles in a day anyway so what does banning the practice have to do with it? Again, fair chase is fair chase. Whats next tranqin’ them and hobbling them to make sure they dont go anywhere and sell the gps coords to some dude in (Name a state).


    I thought the record books top entries was basically filled with animals that were scouted by large groups of people looking for the big ones, and calling the hunters that could afford the hunt to come and take the animal while charging a premium because it was a record book animal.
    I personally wouldn’t do this for ethics but also money. As an out-of-state hunter I try to watch what I am spending. However, I doubt this law in the books will thwart anyone from do this if they are so inclined because the people doing it has a different set of ethics than I do.

    Kevin Schwinkendorf

    I admit this is a tricky issue. My first impulse is to say, “Hell yes, selling of GPS coordinates to a trophy should be illegal! Why do they call it ‘hunting’ after all?” But then again, technology does move forward. I’m not into “long-range hunting” if that means 1,000-yard “sniper” kills – it’s called “hunting” for a reason. Then again, you could also label use of scope optics as unethical – why not use open, iron sights the way they used to in the 1800s? Going further, you could have told Daniel Boone to put away his Kentucky long rifle, that bows and arrows (not modern archery equipment) are the only “ethical” way to hunt. Well, I like using a Model 70 with a 2.5-7x variable scope, and I don’t feel like I’m using “too much” high-tech. Theodore Roosevelt once refused to shoot a bear that was tied up to a tree – and went on to co-found the Boone & Crockett Club, which advocates for “Fair Chase” hunting. I like technology as much as anyone else, but it seems to me that selling GPS coordinates for money is going too far.

    Dean Johnson

    Good that the state of WY is trying to curb unethical behavior, but I imagine extremely tough to enforce. Its sad that the motivation and value of hunting has been reduced to inches of horn.

    Tom Maresca

    Totally agree it should be illegal
    Completely unetichical
    Thanks Wyoming trying to get it outlawed


    Why are outfitters exempt come on this part is crap nobody should be allowed to do it.


    So, it is completely ethical to pay a guide or outfitter a few $thousand for him to take you to the scouted animals, but is somehow unethical to pay someone money for the locations?


    The reason outfitters are exempt is because the legislator that introduced it is an outfitter. He is protecting his own interests. This particular legislator has introduced other wildlife management legislation as he apparently believes he knows more the Wyoming Game and Fish about wildlife management.


    What they should also outlaw is the non-resident law requiring a guide


    At first glance outlawing that practice sounds like a great idea. But after more consideration I’m thinking along the same lines as “Dan” above. What’s the difference between paying for coordinates vs. Daddy Warbucks buying the most expensive tag in the country then hiring a posse of scouts to find him the biggest animal so he can swoop in to make the kill? It seems about the same to me; the major difference being how many people would be affected and how affluent they are. Does anyone have a link to info saying the bill was introduced by a legislator who is also an outfitter? That sounds like his motivation is protecting his financial interests by forcing those who might pay for coordinates to go to an outfitter and buy a guided hunt, which is just another kind of paying for information or access to get an animal.


    Well done Wyoming. I think this is a great law. I also think that the protection of the outfitters makes sense. Now I have never hired an outfitter or guide for any hunt and I don’t know if I ever will , but I can see their point. They have to pay a fee to be liscensed, have insurance, have the equipment for the hunt and put up with all sorts of clients ( yes there are bad clients among us) and pay guides out of their fees as well a locate animals . It is their living . Obviously the fellow who went public was trying to make a buisness out of his selling of coordinates and he should at least be required to play on the same field and buy an outfitters liscense to do it


    I am against this type of craziness. Glad to see states trying to curb this behavior. But I don’t see much difference between this and hiring Mossback to hire 10 guys to chase one buck or bull around all year. Then have the rich guy fly in and shoot that animal. I would say Mossback and others are most against this because it is cutting into their business.


    I think the outfitters should not be exempt from the law. They chose that profession and they can leave it anytime they want. If they are exempt, it still limits us common folk that can’t afford a guide to lead us to the animal. If I had the money for a guide, I would not waste it on one anyway. It is a challenge that I enjoy to get a critter on my own.Great personal satisfaction. It has become a rich mans sport.


    For the Record,

    I am 100% against someone selling out coordinates of big bucks.

    I am 100% against guiding on public land too. (Sick and tired of outfitters putting TENT camps right where the elk want to live, causing them to run into the next unit, then making a profit from it)

    I am 100% against the BS rule of guides having full access to MY AND YOUR public land in Wyoming while I am kept out of the “Guides Sanctuary” wilderness areas.

    Its should be 100% on your own and free chase.

    If you dont posses the skills to kill an animal on your own then you dont deserve to shoot it.

    If you want a canned hunt where you get to ride around in a SXS and shoot the animal of your choosing go to a private ranch and pop one.

    You say as hunters we must stick together. I’m on board 100%. But when I say hunters I dont include people who sell coordinates and make a profit by guiding people to animals. Those are businessmen plain and simple.

    Jerome Carlson

    I feel that outfits and guides shouldn’t be able to do it for their clients either. Their profiting from the same use . I thing it’s trying to be a one sided deal for the outfitters.They have made it hard for the real dedicated hunters by leasing up all this good hunting land from ranchers that apparently can’t make a livening ranching even with the high prices they have received for their calves . Their subsidizing their ranching by leaseing their ranch to outfitters.then turning a loss claim in in the spring for damages deer and elk did to their fences and eating their hay. That bill is too one sided I think. All in favor of outfitters that only big money clients can afford ! These ranchers and outfitters have also lessond the chances for the young Sportsmans to hunt too . I think it all falls back to to much greed .

Leave a Reply