Governor Bullock took a pass on a proposal that would have generated over $15 million in rural commerce today when he denied a joint MOGA and FWP proposal to issue additional non-resident licenses to unsuccessful applicants who had previously booked through an outfitter.
The proposal, originally authored by MOGA and amended and endorsed by FWP, was forwarded to the Governor and would have provided every non-resident who had booked with an outfitter but who had been unsuccessful in the general big-game draw to receive a big game hunting license this year. The rationale was that non-resident outfitted clients spend an average of $5,000 per person while the non-outfitted non-resident spends about $600 per person. This would have generated a significant amount of commerce and helped rural communities, already hard-hit by soft Ag and cattle prices, to recover from the government mandated shutdown due to COVID 19.
“The industry was poised to significantly assist in the economic recovery we all want to see” said MOGA President Chuck Rein. Rein went on to comment that “The proposal would have added significant deferred economic stimulus and put relatively few additional hunters in the field and it was expected that some $2 million in additional license revenues would have been captured for FWP. It would have been a win for everyone.”
There were some 9,000 applicants over the allocated 22,500 non-resident licenses in the 2020 draw. If just 1/3 of those were outfitted clients (3,000) that would have had an estimated economic impact according to University of Montana figures of $15 million. Most of that would have ended up in rural Montana economies where it is desperately needed.
Non-residents will now be invited to apply to the Alternate List and a randomized drawing will take place in six weeks to determine who (guided and unguided) will be allowed to have the returned licenses.
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