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Sell Your Soul For A Buck???

A new bill proposed may make it illegal to sell the coordinates of an animal that you locate during the hunting season. A bill recently passed out of the Wyoming House Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee would ban just that. Jim Allen, State Representative for District #33, chairs the committee.

Allen, who works as an outfitter and rancher, was quoted by KCWY 13 saying, “We thought by our vote that it was an unfair advantage given to some hunters and not others, and so we’ll see what the bill does when it gets to the budget session in February, but right now we passed the bill out of committee that prohibits that practice.”

The draft bill includes language that reads, “No person shall provide to a hunter for remuneration the location information of any previously scouted big or trophy game animal for the purpose of aiding the hunter in the taking of the big or trophy game animal.”

The bill defines “location information” as either GPS coordinates or a map, drawing, illustration, or another document which shows the animal’s location.

The bill would not apply to licensed outfitting or professional guide services. It would also not apply to governmental agencies who were performing lawful duties.

The punishment for a violation of the proposed statute could include up to a $10,000 fine and one year in state prison.

KCWY also quoted WGFD Chief Warden Brian Nesvik as explaining, “Folks are spending quite a bit of time scouting for big trophy class animals in remote areas, and then taking the locations of those animals and selling services to people, helping them to find those animals during the hunting season.”

Locating mature mule deer on public land is an intensive process that few will ever truly master. Purchasing GPS coordinates of a big buck might sound like an appealing option to those who don’t have the time or patience to develop their scouting and glassing skills. A mature mule deer buck tends to have a small summer and fall home range, so purchasing the coordinates for a big buck could vastly increase a hunters chances of success.

However, making trophy animals into a commodity to be bought and sold certainly leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many hunters. Even further, it furthers the anti-hunting narrative that hunters are only concerned with giants racks. In truth, almost all hunters do it for the challenge, the quality time spent with friends, for the awe inspiring feeling of time spent in the wilderness, and to feed our families.

What do you guys think? Is Wyoming on the right track with this law? Let me know in the comments.

About Schuyler Watt

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Schuyler was born and raised in Montana. He writes the ID and MT Member's Research Articles. He is currently a law student, but gets out with his bow as much as he can.

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  1. I agree 100% . We have become lazy as a society. I grew up hunting and scouting with topo maps. Hiking no atv’s. Technology has taken away so much from the experience.

    • Mitch, you got it right and I understand your words very well! I learned and believe in hunting as you have described. All the other whiners comments totally miss the mark! It’s not about outfitters. It is about lazy society and lazy hunters. They need to get their lazy back sides off the dang weekend warrior looking, stupid lousy 4 wheeled toys and out of their status symbol toy haulers and city diesel p/u’s and put out the work to hunt like a real man on their own two feet! Selling coordinates is just as bad as selling game meat or poaching in my book! Giving coordinates to a friend or stranger whether GPS, pointing to a map, or a map drawn on the ground is just fine if one so wishes to do so since that is nothing more than helping someone that one wants to help. Selling is just about profit, helping one’s own checking account. Furthermore, guiding has become such a rich business because of this same laziness. A true hunter is one whom puts in the time and work to become one, not the lazy joker that pays big bucks to have warm nights in a lodge and everything else done for him… So those jokers belly aching about guides need to stop supporting the guides. Stop paying guides and the services will go away as well as the greed of the current generation of inheritance ranch owners. It’s not legislation, it dollars in the hands of lazy boys with guns in their little boy hands. You bet I’m disgusted!

  2. Just some schmuck

    So it’s okay for outfitters to do it, but not for anyone else? Once again, Wyoming sets policy to give an advantage to the outfitters…

  3. I have hunted for 50 years all over the western U.S….The last 25 years devoted to trophy quality game…taken some very nice trophy mule deer, bull elk, some even out of Jackson Hole Hoback country in Wyoming. I think the law, would be extremely hard to enforce, let alone convict any violator….a waste of tax payers money on court costs, cases being thrown out of court A wheel spinning exercise at best…I can appreciate the continued support the Wyoming G&F gives to the Wyoming. outfitters…Just visualize a prosecutor for a moment trying to make his case against one party drawing a map in the dirt or snow… I know this is a extreme example …. Besides,. if you are going to have such a law on the books, it should apply to everyone, You want respect for the law.. Don’t try and bend it for a select few…Go after the violators harder with penalties you have, using the laws you have now. Unless there is a…LOT… of evidence to support making this a law… I say it’s a NO VOTE..Come on Wyoming G&F, keep doing the good job you are known for..Keep setting the good examples the rest of the states keep following…Stuck in California

    • I agree with Roy, you’d have to make the law applicable to both outfitter and the general public. Even then, it would be difficult/futile to enforce and a waste. I believe there is a distinction between hiring an outfitter to help or assist you hunt a particular area versus paying an outfitter for a specific pre-selected animal. Either way, selling off the info or service is bad for our hunting Image/heritage.

  4. I think this is a very good law. It shows Wyoming is trying to keep huntings image as one of hard work and challenges not how deep your pocket books . I don’t think it would be as hard to prosecute . You can find adds on the internet and on hunting forums for this info. One phone call or email and a payment and you have the case. If you want to sell this info then pay your fees like an outfitter I.e. Outfitter dues , insurance ect. that the outfitters have to pay for their knowledge of trophy animals as well as provide other perks for their service.

  5. Travis Hofstetter

    I don’t agree with any of it. Is it any different than the Eastmans journal high lighting units to hunt in and grading trophy quality? Or 30 guys glassing for some rich asshole who bought a strip tag? I don’t think so! Do the research put the time in . Hell I don’t know maybe go scouting.

    • I like most of your thinking Travis up to the part that says buying a Arizona strip tag..Strip tags are ALL on a DRAW…Have been all on the draw since i first hunted there in 1973…and maybe before that …But i get your point

  6. “Allen, who works as an outfitter and rancher, was quoted by KCWY 13 saying, “We thought by our vote that it was an unfair advantage given to some hunters and not others,” talk about a hypocrite…. wouldn’t a guided hunt do the exact same thing. I’m not a fan of selling coordinates but this is nothing more than additional outfitter welfare. Probably pushed and proposed by outfitters because they are worried about losing a few bucks….. pun intended

  7. I’m not sure the practice sounds ethical but it is the same as hiring an outfitter, just the economy service level. The only legitimate difference with an outfitter is hopefully they have the skills and resources to save your bacon if you get in over your head. Maybe they should limit outfitter services to continue chaperoning and assisting their client with logistics but ban their pre-hunt scouting. That would help level the playing field locating game but provide the support some hunters want or require.

    Isn’t it precious a legislator is voting on a law to protect his income.

  8. Lazy hunters are disgusting and this just makes me sick and angry! Selling coordinates, if allowed, would become a slippery slope promoting all sorts of bad things such as ever higher prices for the data and ever more lazy hunters. Lazy hunters are usually bad in the field disrespecting animals, disrespecting the environment and often throwing multiple shots all over the countryside. Hunting needs to be kept pure ie hunter access for the DIY’er and hard work honed into refined skill. People need to get off their lazy back sides and put out the work!

  9. Have to agree with the comments about exempting outfitters. Not a good idea. Laws should apply to everyone equally. I’m sure almost everyone has told a hunting buddy…. if you look in that basin, there are two trophy animals there…or shown a buddy on a map where you saw that last big buck/bull yesterday. And there are outfitters who send multiple scouts out before season opens so the guy who wants to pay $15-20K for a hunt can kill that 350+ bull. Only difference is the price.

  10. If I had a ton of money, I can hire a guide who has a small army of employees monitoring the trophy bucks most of the year in an exclusive public-keep-out area. They would guide me right to where one of their employees saw it yesterday. I see it on the hunting shows all the time: “Dave’s 2nd A.M. and the guide has taken him to a monster buck!” Pfff! Dave has been in the woods for 1 to 3 day’s tops; no scouting, no planning, no time invested, just writing a check … his money has BOUGHT him an almost captive animal. If Dave has less money he could hire a cheaper guide that doesn’t monitor the bucks constantly but knows the area and takes him to the honey-holes where he’ll sit and wait. If Dave has even less money then he could just buy directions from the guide. Now for presumably even less money, Dave can buy the GPS coordinates from a citizen without dealing with the guides. Waaa, poor guides.

    Money always buys an exclusive advantage over those that don’t have it. Information Technology usually counters that exclusivity and brings the advantage back to more of the regular people.

    It seems to me that this new service is of the same class of social warfare as “taxi vs uber / lyft”. A technology enabled a new business model with a new money-flow. The old business model screams when someone invents something different (and possibly better). The people making the money on guiding are probably the ones complaining as it is busting their monopoly a little bit; now citizens, not just guides, can scout and sell the results. Just curious, who’s the biggest hunting-related lobbyist in contact with WY’s congress? The guide association?

    If we argue this on ethical grounds and bust up the GPS service we should also bust up guide services for the same philosophical / ethical reasons. Ethics don’t apply differently to different people doing the same thing.

    • so you think high tech is ok.What selling videos taken by drones so the knows exactly whatbuck

      • Yes.

        “Hi tech” today will be old tomorrow. What’s standard today was “hi tech” yesterday. My 91 year old father and I have debates about guns: In his opinion, all AR platforms should be banned and citizens should only use guns that hold a single round and have open sights, because that’s what “fair” hunting is all about. In other words, if he didn’t use it as a kid then it’s unfair.

        I typed up a long reply listing the technology I use and see Eastman’s use on their shows, but deleted it. Most of that technology became available in the last 50 to 100 years. I’ll end that line of thought by asking how much of it will you give up this season so you can return to what was considered “fair hunting” 100 years ago?

        A more important discussion is “What do we need to do today to keep hunting relevant for our kids, grand kids and beyond?”

        There are three major factors that will destroy hunting if we don’t manage them as a community.

        Technology. We’re using it right now to have this conversation between people who otherwise never would have met. Technology change is a pain; it upends entire social systems and business models.

        Population Growth and Migration. It has happened. It is happening. It sucks. Repurposing of traditional hunting grounds. Closing access. And just too many people competing for too few resources. Bottom line is too many people making too many more people, and the more people there are the more competition and reallocation there is for scarce resources.

        Attitudes (aka politics). From “wolves are more important than humans”, to entire cities full of people who never see a tree outside of a park or a “wild” animal outside of the zoo, to special interest groups preserving their wants at the expense of others.

        Those three are the major drivers that will evolve hunting. Saving hunting depends on a strategy that manages the root causes. Nipping at one little thing (like taking money for a picture and GPS coordinates via the internet without being a licensed guide) actually makes us weaker.

        I personally believe we need to let the technology changes happen, or hunting will become anachronistic. At my age, I literally can’t hunt without some of the changes that occurred in my life time. I don’t know an answer to the other two other than do what we’ve done for ~100 years: Manage the health of the herds.

        • Well said and thought out. While I do feel selling GPS info should be illegal I also feel the outfitting laws during hunting season in wy are unconstitutional to say the least. All of your points are valid . Increasing demand for fewer resources and population pressure.

  11. Kenneth H Wilkins

    Although I don’t like it, I think it would be a very difficult thing to prosecute, Where do you draw the line? GPS coordinates, showing someone on a map, pointing up the mountain to a draw, telling someone where you hunted. Hunters have been helping other hunters for as long as I have been hunting (a long time). It’s the money issue I have problems with. Selling information not available to others. Hunting is becoming the rich man’s game, especially for trophy animals. The average hunter is being pushed to the sidelines more everyday. Whatever happened to ethics, fair chase and being a good woodsman?

  12. Then lets sell trophy only licenses. Must use with outfitter/guide only.Want to sell gps info.require seller to buy a special licence and to keep a log,which would be required to turn over to state f&g.Leave real hunters to hunt for meat for freezer.Yes what about meat hunter who happens upon a 200 + buck or a 400+ bull? Well hunter must buy a happen upon a trophy special tag,which could be turned in for refund with f&g if not used.Well you asked. Point is, hunters suck it up and get over it,money talks.

  13. Randy Stout wyoming is right on with this bill.At least you folks have some politcians with some common sence

    • Outfitter Jim Allen is the chair of the committee, I’m sure he’ll want to do what’s best for HIM and his outfitter buddies and couldn’t care less about the DIY hunter. As a matter of fact, he’d like to see the end of DIY hunting, it’s bad for his business. Just my $0.02.

  14. I very much understand and appreciate the “get out there and put in the work” guys. But As an Illinois resident that loves to spend a week or two a year chasing Mule Deer and Elk on public lands, spending weekends over the summer scouting just isn’t feasible from a time and money standpoint for an out of state hunter with a real job, family and a budget. I have thought hard about hiring scouting services or paying for information on several occasions. I haven’t, but just having a good place to start is always nice and I believe those kinds of services are warranted and have a place. Nonresident tags, Licenses and travel are not cheap. I gladly pay all of it because I know where those funds go. I also pay those fees because I want to see critters that don’t exist where I live. While I personally wouldn’t pay to specifically hunt one “trophy” animal, I don’t have anything against someone who can and wants to. I do believe that a portion of those funds should go to fund conservation efforts and should be taxed like guns, ammo, archery equipment, etc. It’s not how I prefer to hunt, but Just because someone wants to sell info on a specific animal’s whereabouts, doesn’t guarantee anything, doesn’t guarantee the animal will still be there and The payer still has to be skilled enough to get it done. I know where and have tons of trail cam pics of giant whitetails. Do I kill one every year…hell no. Do i try…hell yes! Would some dummy pay for the opportunity to hunt them, for sure! As long as there are people willing to pay for something, there will be people willing to sell it to them. I would rather see legislation enacting stricter penalties for poaching and trespassing rather than wasting time on a bill that isn’t improving anything for wildlife and would be nearly impossible to enforce. I feel law enforcements’ time would be better spent in a more impactful manner.

  15. I am one of those so called lazy hunters that pays for an outfitter to guide me in a hunt. Let me explain; I’m not lazy as in physically but by necessity, I work an office job and have only 10 days a year vacation time. I have family and kids that I want to spend time with, but who are not into hunting. I love to hunt and spend time in the outdoors and enjoy the hunt challenge but I have no choice. I don’t have the time, like many of you to go scouting an area 500 or 1000 miles away. If I want to hunt I have to buy a map or go with a guide or hunt private property. Should I give up hunting because someone who does not live in my shoes looks at me as a lazy sob who has some cash and wants to take the easy way out? Is that what we’re arguing about here.

  16. I feel this bill is unconstitutional. I appreciate the reasoning behind it, though. Hunting is becoming a money game; more and more with each passing year. I don’t like what I see as the commercialization of our wildlife, but I understand why someone would like the idea of profiting from something they love doing…after all, work is the sincerest form of fun if you love what you’re doing. What bothers me even more is the feeling with many on this forum that if a hunter doesn’t hunt the way you do, they are a “fat, lazy slob”. Your way or the highway. Shouldn’t “fat, lazy slobs” be able to hunt also? Or should hunting just be for the super physically fit folks that can do it on their own? Come on guys, WE ARE ALL HUNTERS! Either we stick together and thrive, or we fracture and die. I support the premise and the idea behind the bill…I just don’t think it can stand constitutionally…

  17. I see selling GPS corridinates to a buck as not being as bad as an outfitter guiding you to the same animal. At least the hunter given GPS coordinates has the find the animal during the hunt and plan the stalk. It is ironic that an outfitter should complain about something like this. The hypocrisy makes sense because it is coming from a politician. I don’t see how an outfitter believes it is ok for them to guide someone to an animal for money but it is not ok for someone else to sell the GPS coordinates to that same animal for money. This is just outfitters trying to create a monopoly on selling animals to the highest bidder in Wyoming. In my opinion, both guiding and selling GPS coordinates should be illegal on public land. This law is just another form of outfitter welfare, just like the wilderness law in Wyoming that discriminates against nonresidents that do not hire an outfitter.

  18. It’s a start. It should apply to all outfitters, guides and landowners. Also make it a minimum 5 year loss of hunting license and outfitter license. Then get rid of trail cameras on public lands.

  19. One weakness I see with this draft is it excludes private landowners. A guy owns a 50,000 acre ranch and sells an animal’s coordinates to a hunter will be guilty under the proposed bill even though it might be on his own deeded ground. Remember, you don’t need to be a licensed outfitter on your own property. Lots of ranchers in the legislature. If they figure out they’re being restricted like this, they’ll consider it an infringement of their property rights and the bill won’t go anywhere.

  20. It seems to me that Jim Allen is using his position in government to help secure his own business by lessening competition, which is self-serving. This disappoints me. I like the thought of another gentlemen had. It wouldn’t be any different than paying an outfitter to get you in on a nice animal. In fact, maybe it would be cheaper and more convenient for those of us that can’t afford those expensive guided hunts and live out of state. Maybe the compromise would be to have these people register, similar to what the guides have to. Then they would be treated the same as an someone outfitting without a license. After all, it’s only another form of outfitting.

  21. Not one thing wrong with using your advanced know how and your talent at locating a “toad” for an out of state hunter or in state hunter and making a few bucks off it!!!!! These little whining outfitters trying to protect themselves with “BS laws” show the true nature of the broken system, We (outfitters)can charge an arm and a leg for my self profit, but you little guys “NO WAY”. I have provided a scouting service at times for hunters that do not have the time or my “Gift ” for locating “TOADS” stop trying to stop me from making a buck mr. outfitter when you charge 10 times what I do and most times your hunter kills way smaller than mine do!!!!!!!!!! Most in America do not have a anti-hunting thought process, it is a small group of loudmouths or IDIOTS!!!!!

    • So you should be able to make money off of giving the location of the big bull to someone from out of state, the same bull that my boys spend endless days and hours hiking and glassing for. Just to go up opening day and have some out of state lazy person who can’t even do their own scouting. Earn the right to shoot that big bull, not pay out the bucks for it! Its not about the outfitters. Its about the locals hunters that feed their families off of it and ya get some nice trophy horns in the process that they worked long and hard for. Not for someone that just pays out the money for the horns only. Only real hunters truly understand!!

      • Bob A. Nichols

        Your “Boys ” are not the only ones that spend weeks out looking???? You folks that are outfitters in Idaho and Wyoming are so full of “Horse Dung” it creeps out when you open your ***** .No loopholes dummies, just skilled scouting and I will do as I please no matter the “outfitters” buying the lawmakers and Game and Fish departments. I’m a free living, free thinking man and seek not your (outfitters) approval.

  22. I agree with Roy-Outfitters taking care of outfitters – Don’t forget about the Wilderness restrictions for non residents. Outfitters taking care of outfitters

  23. Agree 100%. If you can’t put out the effort yourself to find the big one, you don’t deserve to kill it. My boys spend days and weeks scouting for them. Endless hours hiking and glassing. All in the end makes the kill even more worth it. The scouting is part of the experience for any “real” hunter.

  24. This is coming from a state that has gives a monetary advantage in the draw, ie special vs regular and doesn’t let non residents in wilderness unless they have a good buddy or pay the price. I’m not surprised another stupid, un-enforceable law might be signed!

    • FRANK, Years back, in the 60’s , i was a career officer with the U.S. Forest Service, and a nonresident hunter who hunted Wyo. for elk on my aunts ranch in the fall creek drainage . Use to drive me crazy, me being a F.S. officer, having comply with that guide requirement. Back then, every NON-RESIDENCE hunter was required to have a license guide to hunt big-game on National Forests and BLM lands.. The law was later modified to required a licensed guide ONLY in wilderness area’s for non-Residents BG hunters . Point here is ,The majority of the outfitters and guides though out the west not only Wyo. belong to organizations like the Rocky Mountain elk foundation , The Mule Deer Foundation with funds and hunts.They also perform a very valuable and appreciated service, to non-resident hunters , Wyo.G.&F.with information for game management, and bring a lot of money into some of these small communities. I do agree with you about the law being hard to enforce. We do need good and constructive G&F laws. My opinion I think Wyo. G&F. overall do a good job in management of the states wildlife and there laws..I think if you were to asked Mike Eastman or his sons , they would agree too.

  25. I agree with Wyoming

  26. Make it a law but include Outfitters also, they have been doing it for years.Id say the outfitters don’t want the competition.

  27. Technology diminishes the majesty and spirituality that only hunting can gift an individual. Other than a general interest in a big rack the tedious grading of animals is a contrary practice to test between man and animal. I agree with the law.

  28. if the states would lower the non-resident price for tags, or at least hold them where they are I may agree with it but the way things are now it is getting very difficult for non-residents to hunt out west anymore, let alone make a trip to do some scouting.

  29. This is nothing more than pure Outfitter protectionism. And for those who beat their chest and assert to be against this is nothing more than being lazy is as much horseshit. Unless of course you assert everyone that uses a guide is lazy, in which case outlaw Guides!. The exchange of info whether its a gps coordinate or a finger point on a map has gone on forever and is no different than speaking with a guide! So now if I meet someone in a bar and buy them a drink and they tell me where they saw a nice bull, thats now illegal? Total BS! This is a law created by ignorant guides for ignorant guides, thats it.

  30. I see this as a ploy for this outfitter to make more money. You would be shocked at how much a person makes for passing a bill like this. As it said in the article they have to wait until the next budget meeting to see if it will pass. The party that writes the bill takes a huge chunk of the pie once the bill is passed. I know in Utah people charge a finders fee to guides if they disclose the location of a trophy animal. I’ve never done it but I don’t disagree with it. These guides have been paid a ton of money, why not fork it out to some locals that know the area.

  31. I’m having a problem with the guys who say that selling the coordinates to a trophy animal is the same as an outfitter. When you hire an outfitter and his guides, you are not only paying for their expertise in the location and habits of trophy animals but also for a camp or lodge, transportation ( horses , 4 wheelers , trucks ect.). gear, game processing and other services. Also, when you are with a guide, they usually are only guiding you and possibly one other person ( on a 2×1 hunt) per hunt in their area and time frame so completion for that trophy is usually a gentlemans agreement between the hunters. Also the law is against “selling” the coordinates so it is not against hunters from sharing info “drawing maps in the dirt” ,”showing a buddy on a map” or the other senarios portrayed in comments,. Another problem I have is the fact that the person can sell coordinates to as many people as they want to. How would you feel if the the area you planned to hunt is crawling with hunters just because someone found a good animal while hiking through and decided to sell the area to whoever wanted to pay. Finally for those who say “why shouldn’t I be able to make some money off hard work I did in locating a trophy animal” there is a loophole, become an outfitter. You are just trying to make “outfitters” money without outfitters expense

  32. I agree with Jeff. The “selling” is the problem (and how many “sales” there are of given data), not drawing a map or pointing out an area or even having an outfitter guide you. I have been on several guided hunts ( some successful, some not) and the outfitter is looking for animals for multiple hunters, not just one big animal for one big-paying client. The outfitter would not be selling GPS coordinates but trying to lead hunters to an area where they might harvest an animal. Also, how up to date would the GPS coordinates be? Could a guy camp out, watch a trophy animal and send daily updates for a fee?? If there is no fee, there is no breaking of the law.

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