Eleven conservation organizations vied for the privilege to auction off five Montana hunting licenses on Thursday, the most applications ever received by the Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks for the tags.
“Typically in the past it’s one organization, or one or two,” said Sarah Clerget, chief legal counsel for the department. “We’ve never seen this many proposals to choose from before.”
When awarded, the tags are auctioned off at events, helping to increase interest in participation for the group’s fundraising efforts, as well as advertising Montana’s wildlife and hunting opportunities. Of the money raised to auction off an elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goat or moose tag, 90% goes to the department with the other 10% available to the group to offset “reasonable auction expenses.”
“What sets our application apart here is that we also believe in the equitable allocation of our wildlife resources,” said Kevin Farron, regional policy manager for the group. “So like everyone else in this room, we want to see as much money raised for the department for the benefit of mule deer conservation, but we’d also like to see this once-in-a-lifetime statewide opportunity mule deer tag made available to anyone who wants to pitch in to help fund mule deer conservation, not just the one person who can afford the most at an out-of-state auction.”
The idea struck a chord with Commissioner Jeff Burrows.