Friday, March 30, 2012
Public Trust Under Attack in AZ
March 28, 2012
To all Arizona RMEF Members
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) became aware of House Bill 2072, an act related to Big Game Tags and Permits introduced to the Arizona Legislature, earlier this month. The RMEF, representing over 5,500 members in Arizona and over 185,000 in the US, went on record opposing the bill in a letter to Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer.
RMEF is now appealing to you, our members in Arizona, to make your voice heard on this poorly crafted legislation. HB 2072 would allocate a significant number of Arizona’s most prestigious and already limited permits to a “conservation” organization, most likely, Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife, the primary advocates of this legislation. This action would undermine one of the most basic tenants of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model…that hunting is an opportunity for all. The allocation of 330 special permits for auction and raffle in a state with already limited public opportunity would be nothing short of a travesty and it will take away tags from those who participate in the public draw system.
The absurdity of HB 2072 does not stop there. This bill allows the “conservation” group selling these permits to exclusively retain an unreasonable percentage of the gross proceeds from the sale of these permits to cover administrative and operating expenses. The RMEF is proud to report that an average of only 8% of all Governor’s and Commissioner’s permits RMEF offers nationwide is retained for administrative purposes. 92% of the gross proceeds have been returned to the states and conservation projects to be invested only in benefiting wildlife and their habitat.
In Arizona specifically, RMEF currently returns 100% of the sale proceeds from the one special elk permit we sell. RMEF actually loses approximately $3,500 annually through direct expenses associated with handling the AZ elk permit. While RMEF believes it is appropriate for organizations to recover direct expenses associated with selling special permits, we firmly believe that private, non-profit entities should not take public assets to support their operational expenses. We operate RMEF the old fashion way, we work for what we get. We are not guaranteed any tags or licenses to create operational revenue.
As a member of RMEF and resident of Arizona it is time to contact your legislator and make your position known on HB 2072, or any similar legislative attempts to take public wildlife from the public. Please act today as this legislation would significantly impact your opportunity to hunt your prized big game species in your home state.
M. David Allen President and CEO Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation