May 17, 2013 6:36 a.m.
HUNTING – The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation says it’s waiving fees for auctioning state-sponsored big-game hunting tags and is challenging other groups to do the same to increase funding for wildlife conservation.
The Missoula-based foundation announced last week that it will return 100 percent of the revenue it generates from the auction of state special big game permits through its national events and programs to the individual states.
Large groups that organize tag auctions or raffles generally take a percentage of the profits for their efforts and return the rest to state wildlife agencies for managing big-game species such as elk, deer and bighorn sheep.
“These tags were intended to benefit wildlife conservation and hunting access, not the organizations selling them,” said David Allen, RMEF president.
RMEF recently auctioned a special elk permit offered by Arizona for $385,000 at its national convention.
The RMEF convention generates $700,000 to $1 million each year in the auction sale of special tags/permits from state game and fish agencies.
Similar high-bid auctions are organized by groups such as the Wild Sheep Foundation and Safari Club International.
Allen also called for groups and sportsmen to follow the auction funds to make sure they’re used for the intended purpose of managing target species.
He said wildlife conservation groups should allow complete transparency of all their financial information including the publishing of their audited financials from each fiscal year.
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