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Members Research Section (MRS) State Updates: Arizona and Montana

Arizona changes: 

Fees are going up across some western states in 2014. Arizona for example has increased most of their non-resident fees by 10%, to almost 30% in some cases. For instance, an elk tag that was $595 in 2013 will now cost non-residents $650. Pronghorn tags went from $485 to $550 and a deer tag that was once $232.75 will now set you back $300. Then, to even apply, it’s going to cost you $160 this coming year.

Arizona is notoriously hard to draw in most units and though trophy quality is high across most of the state, the increased license fees seem to only add to the drama. I would still look to Arizona as a top choice for those patient enough to accrue, or have already accumulated the points necessary for a trophy elk or antelope unit – there’s little doubt it could produce huge for you. For those just starting out, you need to take the rate hike into consideration when planning your hunt budget and which states you want to apply too.

Montana changes: 

On the other hand, sweeping changes are predicted for the state of Montana. If I were to speculate, I would say Montana is moving in the right direction with redefining hunting district boundaries, quotas and season dates. Below are some excerpts and links from the Montana FWP website.

For 2014 and 2015 some significant, proposed changes include antlered-only mule deer seasons and largely eliminating mule deer B licenses statewide. For more information click on this link: http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/insideFwp/commission/meetings/agenda.html?coversheet&itemId=31756428

And for 2014 and 2015 elk season structure, some of the more significant proposed changes include reductions in antlerless elk licenses and in some regions making the hunter choose a bull or a cow tag, but not one of each. No changes are proposed for the elk archery permit structure. For more check out this link: http://fwp.mt.gov/doingBusiness/insideFwp/commission/meetings/agenda.html?coversheet&itemId=31756432

Also, Montana is proposing a tax credit for those private landowners that have landlocked state and federal ground, to allow public access.

As always, we’ll keep you informed on future state changes.

Dan Turvey, Jr.
Managing Editor – Eastmans’ Hunting Journals

About Dan Turvey, Jr.

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  1. I am an Arizona native. I have 11 antelope bonus points and I have never gone antelope hunting in Arizona. There are many who are going to laugh at this statement because they have even more resident points than me.

  2. Dan, Eastmans’ Team,
    Please try to keep in mind that AZ is also one of the lowest priced tags in the west for Non-Res…..still! Yes the prices are going up and yes trophy quality is good, and yes hunters need to know that before applying. But the quantity of animals is still low compared to other states that have 2x, 3x, 4x the amount of animals. I live in AZ and understand the lure of hunting here. The same can be said for NM, WY, MT as they are equally great places to hunt. But a non-resident for any state has to take into consideration that particular states rules/costs. Idaho…+$150 to buy a license for a chance at a draw. Wyoming good number of animals, but a pricing structure of “hey if you pay more, we’ll give you better chances of getting drawn”. If AZ applied that practice as well as business rule 101 supply vs demand, not only would the tag prices sky rocket but so would the number of hunters that don’t get drawn.

    I get your message. Hunters need to pay attention to changes in prices. But maybe a little shout out of how AZ is still affordable to Non-Res hunters with limited budgets. Your paragraph reads as if AZ is gouging Non-Res. That’s all….

    My $.02,

    PS. Am I going to get coal in my next magazine….. 🙂 Happy Holidays!!!

  3. I agree on the NR pricing AZ offers. But keep in mind your odds are terrible for NR’s with or without max points. They also seem to keep your refund check much longer than most. Although ID for example charges the license fee upfront your odds for quality hunts are much better and you can enjoy other hunting opportunities with the small investment. WY in my opinion does the best job of fairly allocating NR tags and I also feel the special price option is fair. If an applicant can spend a little more money to improve their odds and possibly obtain a tag sooner that’s up to the submitter. Sometimes the odds are worse. Come to Utah and try your luck. Take Care

    • Kevin,
      Yep AZ odds are terrible….

      Yep AZ G&F do hold onto the refund check longer. At least when having to submit full fees at time of application. Do Non-res still have to submit full tag price at time of application? Since I am not a Non-res to AZ I don’t pay attention those particulars. With on-line application I only pay the application fee until drawn.

      Sorry, can’t agree on the WY Special as being fair for the average hunter. The cost is, or almost is, double the price of a Regular tag fee. Now with that said I do get if a hunter is able to save to apply for the Special and does get drawn he/she has an opportunity for a great experience and hunt. The wifie and I are on our third year trying for a buck antelope tag. First year we did use the Special option. Second year we did not. This year we will probably use the Regular option again. If we get drawn, great. If not, then we’ll apply again the following year. The beauty is that it is my choice.

      Going to get started on the Utah system this year. Heard that one could take awhile. I’m (early 40’s) now so does that mean I might get a tag by the time I am 100? JK… Seen some tremendous animals come out of UT. Hope for a Res of UT your odds are much better.

      Hope you get plenty of tags in 2014 and one is in AZ. I could even give some advice if you do.

      Take Care as Well,

      • UB. Good point on the upfront fees if done online. I send mine in the old fashion way and still use the mail system. For some reason I think its lucky but with 19 antelope, 15 elk and 15 deer (I have drawn 13B twice several years ago so I know I shouldn’t complain) maybe I should re-think things :). I appreciate the offer to help out if I’m ever drawn. I might take you up on that. I would love an antelope tag in AZ more than anything else.

        Let me know if you need any advice or suggestions on Utah as well.

        Take Care, Kevin

  4. I only have two pt for deer, elk, and antelope. I’m glad I’m not invested/wasted anymore money. I’m out! The prices are too rich for my blood!

  5. I wish they would of done this 15 years ago so I wouldn’t of wasted all that money. I am 66 now and the chance of ever having MAX point is slim to none!!

  6. The only problem I have with AZ is that 20% max point is not separated by unit. Thus, the max point people grab nearly of the top elk & deer tags. There is no chance for someone that is behind the max points. Example is that if there are 1000 tags for the state, 200 go in the max pool. But, they will grab 100% of the top units.

    Most other state still give you a chance while guaranteeing or at least improving your odds as a long term applier. Utah gives 50% to max but it applied to each unit. Wyoming is at 75% and manages per unit.

  7. All this makes me angry. If the state wants to let rich people hunt on state lands, fine But, excluding me from TX on “Our” federal lands is morally wrong. Same way with RMEF spending my dues in states which exclude NR is also wrong. Selling my part of our national resources to residents first then rich with out equal access is descrimination surpassing civil rights and Jewish persecution. God given rights userped by man- nothing new under the sun. db

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