WI Bear Hunting & Non-Residents

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Mountain Man
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WI Bear Hunting & Non-Residents

Unread postby Mountain Man » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:47 pm

Many western states limit the number of non-resident tags for big game. A bill in WY just came up (I heard it died today) where they wanted to reduce the number of non-resident tags so that residents can get more tags and also raise the non-resident tag prices to offset the loss in revenue of the increased number of cheaper resident tags (many states in the west charge non-residents 10x what residents pay for the same tag). This got me thinking about WI and non-resident drawing opportunity - specifically bear hunting.

In WI, residents and non-residents have the same chance at drawing a bear tag based on preference points. I believe MN is the same. However, MI limits non-resident bear tags to 5%. In MI, it might take a resident 4 points to draw a tag while in the same unit it might take a non-resident 10 points. MI also prohibits non-residents from buying any leftover tags.

I tried to find how many non-residents actually apply or are awarded bear permits in WI, but I couldn't find that info.

With the long waits in WI to draw bear tags for zones A, B, and D, what are your thoughts on giving preference to residents first and then having a separate drawing for a percentage of non-resident tags? Would you be for or against this? Why or why not?

I have nothing against non-residents hunting here, but based on my experience hunting western states and trying to draw limited tags as a non-resident, it seems to me that WI should take care of it's own residents like the western states and MI do before non-residents. Maybe it would cut 1 year or more off of the wait to draw a tag (dependent on the number of non-residents that apply, which I don't know those numbers).


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Re: WI Bear Hunting & Non-Residents

Unread postby Freelance Bowhunter » Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:20 am

Interesting topic to think about. I think it would take a change in the whole dynamics of how tags are drawn in Wisconsin. Imagine if a person is now waiting 10 years between hunts, and the nonresidents are only allowed say 10% of the tags, imagine now long it's going to take a nonresident to draw in that zone. Depends on which percentage of the applicants are nonresidents. If only 5% of the current applicants are now nonresidents, then they will draw in half the time of a resident and if it's 20% are nonresidents, then it will take them 20 years to draw a tag, Outfitters aren't going to stand for that.

I personally think the fact that nonresidents are paying so much more for their tags is enough. No need to further restrict it. I also think there's going to be a day when nonresidents hunting public lands is going to be reevaluated, particularly federal land. Look at it this way, If I want to hunt nationally owned land in Wyoming, how can the state stop me from hunting land that I paid for and pay taxes on? How can they charge me far more than they charge others? That doesn't apply to Wisconsin as much as it does to some states, but it's still something to think about.

The North American Model of Conservation is set up on the cornerstone that all wildlife belongs to all the people. States are charged with managing the wildlife within their borders but they do not own the wildlife, all people do. The entire nonresident system the way most states have it set up is on really shaky ground. I think eventually there's going to be a court case that looks at this. How can a state charge 10 times as much for someone to hunt an animal that he owns just as much as someone who lives in the state? Someone with a lot of time and money is going to sue a state and see how it comes out.
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Re: WI Bear Hunting & Non-Residents

Unread postby Ol Split ( ) Toes » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:11 am

Im ok with equal opportunity tag drawings, I wish other states did it like WI. Now don't get me wrong I love to hunt my home state of Wisconsin, but I also like out of state hunts. So in my opinion I would take the good with the bad!
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Re: WI Bear Hunting & Non-Residents

Unread postby Mike Foss » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:53 am

I believe WY is doing this not necessarily for there bear hunt but for the other big game animals. I am totally in favor for the way it is, most non-residents that apply for a bear license in Wisconsin have either lived there or still have ties and interest in the state. The same Non-residents that apply each year for either a bear point or tag most likely bring big $$$$$$$ to the state of Wisconsin each and every year. In all the years that I guided bear hunters theirs only a handful of Non-residents that ventured into my camp and most that did were from MN.
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Re: WI Bear Hunting & Non-Residents

Unread postby Mountain Man » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:14 am

Good info Bernie.

Mike Foss wrote:I believe WY is doing this not necessarily for there bear hunt but for the other big game animals.

That is correct. It just made me think of bear tags in WI for some reason.

It sounds like Mike didn't have many non-residents at his camps over the years. Maybe the number of non-residents is negligible and it doesn't really matter.


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