Recently the Casper Star Tribune reported on an issue that is getting some attention here in Wyoming. The issue revolves around Wyoming pronghorn permits being allocated to special interest groups to use as they see fit – 80 tags for one group alone.
While the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation espoused by individuals like Theodore Roosevelt states that our wildlife resources are “In the Public Trust”, groups like Lander One Shot Antelope Hunt are allocated 80 tags to do with as they wish and have been doing so since 1939.
The group claims to be doing good work with the money, and they may be, but many feel that any fundraising done with the public’s wildlife tags should be directly given back to the resource that helped raise the money, i.e. pronghorn in this case.
The issue that arises when any group gets special tag allocations from state wildlife management agencies is that it opens a can of worms that is hard to close up again. I know this from personal experience. One tag for one group where fundraising dollars go directly to the resource eventually leads to Wyoming Game & Fish commissioners getting eight tags each to allot to causes of their choosing, which then leads to 80 tags to a group like Lander One Shot Antelope Hunt or even the Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt.
What say you? Should special interest groups be allowed to take coveted tags (or non-coveted tags for that matter) from the general public to use as they see fit? Oh, in case you are wondering what else the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation says, it mentions that “In North America we can legally kill certain wildlife for legitimate purposes under strict guidelines for food and fur, in self-defense, or property protection – Non-frivolous Use.” Do these tag allocations affect our reputation as sportsmen?