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.
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