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It’s no secret that Western states rely on non resident applications, tags, licenses, permits etc to fund their state wildlife agencies fiscal budgets each year. Meanwhile residents of those states get to hunt and fish for pennies on the dollar. Do I personally take issue with the way things are structured? No, but at what point do they begin to lose non resident participation due to the seemingly never ending fee increases?
On this week’s episode I’m joined by lifelong New Mexico resident and big game hunter Jesse Deubel, Executive Director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation . As someone who has spent more time hunting New Mexico than any other state besides Texas, I have a big problem with New Mexico Senate Bill 254 – which would increase non resident tags/fees across the board for both hunting and fishing. Jesse also proposed an amendment to the bill that would increase the application fee to $160 per non resident! That’s non refundable, no preference point – just the cost of throwing your hat in the ring for the draw.
While I went into this conversation ready to rumble, I walked away with a better understanding of why Jesse feels the way he does on certain issues. Most notably, I was pleased to hear he thinks New Mexicans should pay more than they currently do. Again, this issue isn’t unique to New Mexico- it’s the formula all the Western big game states use to generate revenue. So where does the bubble burst for non resident hunters? Only time will tell.
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