"In January I reported that the New Mexico Wildlife Federation had lost its attempt to severely change that state's A-Plus program for antelope. Their proposal would have drastically cut landowner antelope permits. They were also intent on limiting nonresident permits to only 10 percent of the total permits. I told you then that I thought their real goal was to limit nonresident hunting for all big game.
"Well, the Federation is now openly and actively backing Senate Bill 196 in the New Mexico legislature, which will cut nonresident permits for ALL big game species and greatly reduce the nonresident permits set aside for outfitters. The bill restricts nonresidents to 10 percent of the total licenses in the drawing, cuts unguided nonresidents to only two percent, and reduces the outfitter's pool to eight percent of the licenses (including both resident and nonresident clients). Currently, 12 percent of the licenses in the drawings are set aside for nonresidents who are required by law to hire an outfitter. Any permits not drawn are then made available to nonresidents, who at that point are allowed to choose whether to hire an outfitter or not. If not issued to nonresidents, the permits revert back to the general pool as leftover permits. Current statutes authorize up to 22 percent of the permits being issued to nonresidents. However, as far as I can determine, this upper limit has never been achieved, and the actual numbers are often far less than 22 percent. Frankly, I don't remember the total of nonresident applicants ever reaching this limit.
"The problem that I have with this and other resident/nonresident issues is that outfitters are typically the only ones speaking out in behalf of nonresidents. Let me tell you, my impression is they........(continued)