More on the plan in the Idaho legislature to auction the best big game tags

Even the anti-wolf crowd have this plan to enrich big landowners figured out-

The outcry over the plan in the legislature to sell a number of big game tags to the highest bidder — to let landowners have a number of them and charge the highest prices they can get selling them privately, seems to have unified those in favor of public wildlife against the idea — those favoring a place for the average person hunting, and no doubt most other outdoor activities. If some version of this becomes law, the idea of wildlife for the rich will  soon spread to fishing, camping, hiking, off-roading, scenic driving, mountain climbing. . . you name it.  The details will vary but the top 1%, 2%, 5% will be the ones who get to experience the great outdoors, and when that happens, of course, the public won’t have the slightest interest in conserving it.

Even the anti-wolf folks seem to sense the danger, as do other outdoors enthusiasts, recreationists, conservationists, sportsmen, etc.  They have been sending out emails warning of it. It is very important to note that, while in one version of the bill Idaho Fish and Game will make money off this scheme, the department does not support it.

SB 1256 Amends existing law relating to fish and game to provide for special big game auction tags designated as Governor’s wildlife partnership tags.

SB 1282 Amends existing law relating to fish and game to provide for special incentive tags to hunt antelope, elk or deer in designated units to certain private landowners; to provide for the use or sale of such tags.

SB 1283 Amends existing law relating to fish and game to provide that any landowner issued a Landowner Appreciation Program controlled hunt tag may sell the tag to another person.

Here is an article about the legislation by the Idaho Stateman’s outdoor writer Roger Phillips. Roger Phillips: Idaho considering auctioning big game tagsIdaho Statesman.


  1. Ken Cole Avatar

    Sounds like they want a European style of hunting and fishing. Who would have thought that the republicans were so in love with France? 😉

  2. JB Avatar

    The proposed legislation violates two principles of the NA Model: (1) democracy in hunting (i.e., the idea that all hunters should have an equal voice and equal access to game), and (2) the elimination of game markets. Many people who post here regularly are highly critical of the model, but I would hazard a guess that IDF&G’s opposition to these bills is rooted in their support for it.

    1. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Avatar
      Mark Gamblin (IDFG)

      JB –
      Small, but important clarification: the IDFG doesn’t make or have policy positions on state legislation. That, of course, is reserved to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission which, like most state wildlife commissions or boards, is responsible for wildlife management policy and program approval. The state agencies are responsible for implementation of state wildlife management policies, monitoring of the state’s wildlife resources, recommending management management plans and alternatives and acting as advisors to the public, Commission and other appointed/elected leaders.

      1. JB Avatar

        Thanks, Mark. These are important points and I should’ve articulated. To be clear, I used “IDF&G” generally to refer to the Commission–the policy-making body.

  3. CodyCoyote Avatar

    Mark G. and Idaho et al—

    Didn’t the era of wholesale shameless avaricious Market Hunting of big game end about 1885 ?

    Apparently not.

    1. Doryfun Avatar


      Hey, don’t you know this is the year of the zygote? Doesn’t the Dark Ages precede 1855?

      1. william huard Avatar
        william huard

        People are already calling Rick Santorum
        “flat earth rick” Independents are horrified now that real “conservatives” are speaking about what they believe. Anti science, quoting the bible, zygote loving boozos…..

        1. Mike Avatar

          Did you see Stewart rip the House panel on birth control? Not a single woman in the bunch. Amazing. How in the hell can you have a panel on birth control and not have the majority of the panel WOMEN?

          What are these people thinking? They’re trying to take the country back to the freaking dark ages.

          1. william huard Avatar
            william huard

            They are Loons Mike-
            Just sell off all Federal lands to private entities. The Environment is here for humans to enjoy and ruin. while we are at it- allow canned hunting everywere- allow private capitalism to thrive and manipulate animals for profit….it will be good for them…give all animals a price tag….. to show their “worth” and “value” to the trophy hunting vampires…..

    2. Mike Avatar

      It’s alive and well. See canned hunting on private land across the country.

    3. Mark Gamblin (IDFG) Avatar
      Mark Gamblin (IDFG)

      Cody C. –
      Not sure what the last day of shameless, avaricious Market Hunting of big game in Idaho was – only that it ended some time ago.

  4. ExFedDave Avatar

    It bears repeating: “Follow the Money”. Those with the biggest dollar interest will have the loudest voice…or maybe they already have.

    1. Salle Avatar

      Here’s some recent blow from the blowhards:

      Save Western Wildlife Rejects Proposed Idaho Fish and Game Wildlife Summit

      SWW was informed that IDF&G managers are secretly negotiating with non-hunting organizations to allow these non-stakeholders to change the mission of Idaho’s big game management strategy. It is hunters who have financed Idaho’s greatest wildlife success story, and Idaho’s hunters are the stakeholders of this institution. Idaho’s hunting residents and nonresidents have invested over 80 years of equity to build both sustainable hunting populations of wildlife and viewable wildlife for non-hunters. SWW charges the department with attempting to exclude Idaho’s wildlife investors, with contemptuous disregard for their on-going investment.

      1. Doryfun Avatar


        Nonsense, begets more nonsense.

      2. Mike Avatar

        “Stakeholders”. A bullshit term if there ever was one.

    2. Doryfun Avatar


      ” Water flows uphill towards money.”

  5. Ken Cole Avatar

    I was sent a copy of the opinion of the Lewiston Morning Tribune written by Marty Trillhaase. Unfortunately you need a subscription to read it.

    OPINION: Ethical lapse is legal as long as you admit it – The Lewiston Tribune: Opinion: editorial,.

    Senator Siddoway has introduced several bills which would line his own pockets but, because he admits his conflict of interest, it is okay with the rest of the legislature.

    It seems that ethics are only applicable to Democrats in this state who are increasingly too conciliatory to the Republicans who have no ethics.

    Yesterday there was a hearing about a bill which would allow insurance companies and other entities to impose their beliefs on women by denying them coverage for contraceptives. Representative Bilbao from Emmett said “When I think it is wrong, it is wrong whether you like it or not.”

    Bilbao: 'When I think it is wrong, it is wrong whether you like it or not' – Eye On Boise – – Feb. 20, 2012.

    I think this is increasingly the attitude of the Republicans in the Idaho Legislature and when someone from their clan gets in trouble they all run to cover it up or make it look like no big deal.

    There was a big kerfuffle recently when a Democrat brought up this fact and provided a long list of malfeasance on behalf of Republicans. The only thing that they could point to in defense was the fact that a Democrat in the legislature used her email account to bolster the opposition to the Luna education bills that were passed last year which pales in comparison to things like the young state senator who was arrested after trying to drive off with a couple’s truck and trailer after a drunken bender.

    Feudalism is alive and well in Idaho.

    1. Doryfun Avatar

      Our countryis best off when there is a healthy two party system.
      Unfortunately, the Repuplican party is so sick it appears it may take a long time to heal. Sadly, it is like a person with conceit, who not only suffers from their own sickness, but makes everyone else sick, too.

      It appears evolution is working backwards.

    2. Salle Avatar

      Isn’t it though?

      This attitude of paternalist values has to go. What is really galling about this is that they allow only their own religious zealotry to “guide” them in their decision-making, which is patently wrong, unconstitutional, and stupid.

      1. Doryfun Avatar

        thanks for that Bill Moyer site. I really like him.

        Simplified, religion thinks it knows absolutely where everything comes from and where it is going, while science appreciates that more knowledge only reveals how much more there is that we don’t know, and is why science is not absolute.

        It is absolute thinking that is the more dangerous. One stretches the mind, the other confines it to replaying the same tape over and over again. Perhaps part of why we see Dark Age thinking resurface and repeating the same battles ad nauseum.

        1. Salle Avatar

          Yeah, I agree with that conclusion. I sure am glad that Bill Moyers has returned to journalism after retiring… twice now. He does it because the narrative is so lop-sided at present, he feels his voice in the media is an ethical mandate for the country and the world. And I do believe the gentleman is correct.

          1. JEFF E Avatar
            JEFF E

            what I wouldn’t give too have Molly Ivin back

        2. Salle Avatar

          Indeed, Ms Ivins was a gem in a coalfield.

        3. WM Avatar

          The very sad and disturbing part is that there are no new younger voices to follow on the standards set by Bill Moyers (or Nader, McNeil Leherer, Cokie Roberts and half dozen others) who know what is going in DC and Wall St., and the unsettling direction our country is going, and are willing to report the news, or even say so.

          Most of the Clinton appointees have gone on to do their own personal wealth thing (for awhile Robert Reich took up the mantle but has faded), and are not inclined to take on the complicated issues, even though they are in the know.

          Then, of course, the forum has changed. PBS has just become dominantly a forum for profit (don’t let the nonprofit BS fool you)cooking shows, travel shows, wildlife adventure and crafts than it is dealing with the complex issues of our times, with insightful people to call attention to them. One PBS channel now as many as three digital channels in local markets, with one entirely aired in Spanish.

          But then, PBS has changed and not for the better, in the digital age and internet. I fear for America’s future, and all we need to do is look at those who would be President/VP (or desired to be in the recent past to aspire, McCain/Palin, John Edwards(wretch).

          1. Doryfun Avatar


            Seems to me there are actually a few bright stars in the younger generational sky that give voices that do follow close to the standards as set by Moyer.

            Chris Hayes, Rachael Maddow, and Melissa Harris Perry come to mind.

            Have you read Dylan Ratigan’s new book “Greedy Bastards”? I haven’t, but reviews and excerpts make the book sound like it is worth investigating.
            Good ideas addressing all the things that affect us all and solution oriented.

          2. Salle Avatar


            I have seen and heard quite a bit from Robert Reich in the past several years, most particularly in the run-up to (and since) the 2008 crash. He has been arguing in favor of the working folks pretty much since he was in the Cabinet. You just aren’t likely to see him on the MSM, he’s quite vocal, you can see him on The Ed Show on MSNBC about twice a week and occasionally on other not so MSM shows. And his essays show up on the Internet in probably four different alternative news sources online about as often. In fact, I saw two in the past 24 hours. (It’s been blizzarding outside for the last 38 hrs. so indoor activities include a lot of web time.)

  6. Ken Cole Avatar

    You can read the letter sent to several Idaho senators by Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council here:

  7. jdubya Avatar

    This is driven by our friends at SFW who have ramrodded this kind of program down the throat of our Utah DWR for years and years. The Hunting Expo that just wrapped up in SLC uses such tags to drive an even higher level of hysteria for “quality” big game hunts. The little guy can go suck eggs.

    1. Craig Avatar

      You hit the nail on the head jdubya! SFW is an evil bunch of pricks! I have never heard anyone I know who Hunts say a good thing about that group.

      1. JB Avatar

        Craig: You made my day with that comment. Glad we have something to agree upon!

  8. Tom Page Avatar
    Tom Page

    There are a couple of important omissions in Mr. Phillips article. 1) The auction tags would be counted in the non-resident pool, so Idaho hunters wouldn’t have fewer chances, as is suggested in the article. 2) The auction tags would represent a tiny fraction of overall tags, so the impact on average non-resident joe/susie hunter’s chances would be virtually non-existent. Keep in mind that non-resident fees around the west are currently so high that few lower to middle income hunters are able to hunt other states anyhow.

    I’d go so far as to say that, if managed and administered properly, the benefits from auction tags would likely increase the quality and quantity of hunting opportunities for residents and non-residents. That is a much more important question. My issue with this bill is that it would allow the auctioning of those tags to SFW or other groups that are not habitat-based orgs. I’d much rather the auctions be organized by IDFG, RMEF, FNAWS or the Mule Deer Foundation, where the money could then be used on Idaho projects.

    I’ve had previous discussions with F&G Commissioners about the possibility of donating one of our landowner elk tags to a non-profit, with those auction profits being used for habitat work (or access or land purchase) on public/private lands within the same area. Under current rules, this is not permissible. I’d be interested to hear why people would be for/against this.

    I don’t support either of the landowner bills, though.

    1. AYRES Avatar

      It is important to know the proposed bills to either auction off wildlife to the highest bidder at trophy hunter conventions with non residence tags or use LAP tags granted to landowners both avoided the proper public vetting process. The backers of the current auction bill S1256 and the sale of LAP tags bill S1282 weren’t interested in public opinion. The backers didn’t have to be concerned because of their political ties and skipped the fundamental step required for creating wildlife policy provided by Fish and Game Commission public hearings.
      Since you seem to believe the auction tag revenue will improve habitat, it may prove insightful to examine what significant contributions, the existing bighorn sheep auction tag(generating revenues since 1982) had on habitat improvements. Especially when the primary habitat for bighorn sheep remains under siege from the ranching industry interest even after the federal forest decision rendered a rule to protect wildlife habitat. If you read the language of S1256 carefully note the money cannot be used for purchase of retiring grazing allotments which addresses the ranching industry chief concern but does little for improving habitat for bighorns. Interesting prohibition since the greatest money maker of the proposed auction tags will be a ram.It may also serve you well to review the steady decline of almost half of Idaho bighorns population numbers over the last twenty five years. For some of us the mire consideration of auctioning off another ram in the midst of such decline is imprudent and reflects poor wildlife policy. But most of all challenging wildlife policy to this magnitude without the public weighing in violates our role as wildlife trustees.

      1. Tom Page Avatar
        Tom Page

        Yes, it’s true that these bills weren’t subject to the public vetting process, but that situation is commonplace in the Idaho Legislature. That doesn’t make it right, however.

        I haven’t seen any records of the projects completed using sheep tag funds. I’d be very interested to see that – particularly projects done in areas that don’t contain domestic sheep herds or areas that don’t have a strong history of recurrent pneumonia outbreaks, so it would be easier to see the effects of a coordinated habitat enhancement program. Do you have a link or source for those records?

        I don’t know if one can attribute the “steady decline of almost half Idaho bighorn population numbers over the last 25 years” to a poorly-run habitat enhancement program. Every big drop-off I read about seems to be disease-related. Also, the long-term population numbers show a high occurring about 1990, when considering 100+ years of data, so to use that point in time as a benchmark is a bit misleading.

        And finally, these auction tags would also include other species…I’d love to see a sage-steppe restoration project to benefit mule deer (and associated species) or a purchase of critical elk winter range (and there are still lots of elk out there in the units I know well…) so to focus solely on bighorns as a reason to dismiss auction tags limits the discussion somewhat.

        1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
          Ralph Maughan

          Tom Page,

          About the same time you were making these comments, I put up a story on the bill.

          It failed in a tie vote.

  9. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    To bad nothing like investigative journalism exists any more. IMO when the rocks start getting turned over SFW will be crawling out looking for another hole to hide in

  10. Dan Avatar

    So why does a tiny amount make something right? If I am a tiny bit wrong, am I still right? Nope, still wrong!

    1. Tom Page Avatar
      Tom Page


      With the good that might come of a properly managed auction tag (more and better publicly accessible habitat, and possibly more opportunity), a tiny reduction in non-resident draw tags is a price I’d pay every time. I don’t see that as wrong, at all. How is better habitat, more access and possibly more tags wrong? Please explain.

      1. Ken Cole Avatar

        Tom, this legislation is bad all the way around. It basically hands over some of the best hunting to just the rich. It’s reprehensible and I see no redeeming value to any of it.

        Take a look at this if you want to see what we are headed for with this kind of crap:

        1. Nancy Avatar

          New Property for 2010
          Unit #53
          500 private acres

          “blocking access to 1000’s of acres of public land”

        2. Salle Avatar

          eBay sales of these tags, nice.

        3. Tom Page Avatar
          Tom Page

          Ken –

          Maybe I wasn’t clear in my earlier post, but I don’t support landowner tag sales like your example. I’m talking about auctioning a tag for nonprofits for habitat work, which is a totally different deal than selling a landowner tag on eBay.

          1. Ken Cole Avatar

            In Idaho the nonprofit most likely to benefit from these tags is Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife whose name should be changed to Sportsmen for Only Fish and Wildlife I Like to Kill. I don’t think the money will be spent wisely by them or many of the other “sportsmen” groups. maybe I’m too skeptical but most of the groups in Idaho have sold out long ago. I don’t have much faith that they will do the right thing.

            I prefer an egalatarian approach to these sorts of things rather than an approach that leads to only the rich being able to get these tags. It just stinks to me.

  11. Nancy Avatar

    The other bill sounds like Block Management here in Montana. Two ranches in my area had it in place til the local outfitter got an exclusive to hunt their properties.

    Be interesting to know how much they made, selling the “public’s resources” this fall.

  12. Paul Avatar

    It looks like this bill failed according to this blog:

    For once common sense prevails in Idaho. I am sure that Siddoway is crying tonight. Oh well, there is always his “live bait” bill to look forward to. I really hope there is some type of ethics investigation against this guy for trying to use his office to craft legislation for personal gain.

    1. Ken Cole Avatar

      Maybe they could look into all of his speeding tickets. There should be a law to revoke driving privileges after a certain number of speeding violations in a certain timeframe.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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