Courts Settle Arizona Tag Dispute

Non-residents have better chance with new system

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Non-resident hunters wanting to pursue elk and deer in Arizona just got a boost in permit numbers, but not without using the courts to advance the cause. Who would have thought that outdoorsmen would cite constitutional amendments as a reason to increase their chances for a tag?

Such was the case, though, when Judge Robert Broomfield deemed the 10 percent cap for non-resident big game tags to be violation of interstate commerce laws. In his ruling, Broomfield mandated that the cap immediately be dropped. This will put non-residents in the same lottery as locals. Entrants are competing for 38,000 deer tags and 22,000 elk tags.

Under the old system, Arizona residents were able to take a 90 percent share, leaving out-of-state hunters clamoring for a handful of licenses. Outfitters are pleased with the decision as it means for opportunities for guided hunts, which helps to stabilize a shaky business.