|August 18, 2005
PHOENIX - Many local hunters are likely rejoicing today,
after the Arizona Game and Fish Commission decided to move forward
with a proposal to reinstate a 10 percent cap on the number of
out-of-state hunters who can receive tags to hunt for the most
desirable big game species in our state each year. The decision was
one of several high-profile moves made by the commission at its
August 2005 meeting in Flagstaff, Ariz.
"The public input we received was overwhelmingly in favor of putting
the nonresident cap back in place," says Richard Rico, assistant
director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department's special services
division, which is responsible for hunt draws.
Arizona's original 10 percent cap on nonresident hunt tags was
created to protect hunting opportunities for Arizona residents. Last
year, a U.S. District Court declared the cap unconstitutional and
prohibited enforcement of it, citing the federal Commerce Clause as
the reason. However, Congress recently took action to renounce
interest in regulating hunting and fishing permits under the federal
Commerce Clause, opening the door for states to impose caps and
other limits on nonresident hunt opportunities.
"It will take some time, and we'll have public hearings before a
final change is made," says Rico, "however, we're moving in the
direction of putting a cap back in place, if the court lifts its
injunction as expected."
The previous cap and similar limits applied to bull elk, buffalo,
bighorn sheep and some antlered deer hunts in Arizona. The Game and
Fish Commission voted to add the rest of the antlered deer hunts,
plus pronghorn antelope, javelina, and turkey hunts to the list of
those that would be affected by a reinstated cap. For most species,
the new cap would be applied as no more than 10 percent of the tags
available for each hunt number.
Some other important decisions by the commission at its August
1. Reaffirming Commissioners' direction to provide an online
application for Arizona's spring 2006 hunt draw, if possible. The
department has taken a one-year hiatus from online applications to
better evaluate options and technologies and will once again provide
this service to make it easier for hunters to apply for Arizona's
2. Approving the Arizona Game and Fish Department's recommendations
for spring 2006 hunts, including hunt application dates, hunt season
dates, and bag limits.
3. Approving more than $100,000 in additional funding for shooting
range development grants. Call your local Game and Fish office or
the Phoenix headquarters at (602) 942-3000 for more information
about how to apply for these grants.