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News about or concerning Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife.

Trophy Hunts

Editorial Opinion 

Published by The Salt Lake Tribune

Ron Mika's trophy bull elk

Ron Mika's trophy bull elk

Most human societies have evolved past the point where hunting was the job of every man in the tribe. Today, hunting is a sport. And some Utahns believe that the alpha males and females in the tribe are taking more than their share simply because they have more clams than all the other hunters.

Sunday’s Tribune profiled how big-game hunters pay up to $79,000 at auction for a special permit to hunt a trophy animal — a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, moose, mule deer, bison, pronghorn, cougar, bear or turkey. Ponying up thousands of dollars entitles the hunter to pursue a trophy animal in the most desirable game areas of the state.

The average Joe, by contrast, may have to wait years to win the right in a lottery to hunt certain species in certain areas, and may never have the good fortune to draw a permit.

The other half of this story, though, is that the $1 million or so the Division of Wildlife Resources earns from the auctions annually allows the agency to purchase wildlife habitat and transplant animals into and within the state. DWR officials point out that these programs benefit not only the populations of animals all other hunters and wildlife lovers enjoy, but they make life better for species of non-game critters as well.
So, while with one hand the policy of auctioning trophy permits is turning hunting into the sport of kings, or at those with princely incomes, with the other hand it is helping a much broader group of people, hunters and non-hunters alike.

If the rest of Utah’s hunters don’t like the idea of the capitalist elite buying trophy permits at huge prices, there are other options, but none of them is particularly attractive. The DWR could simply drop the auction program, but that would kill off valuable habitat preservation and management programs because of lack of funds. The DWR could raise the prices of tags for everyone to make up the difference, but that would do more to price the hunter of humble means out of the sport than does the status quo.

Another alternative would be to look for general government revenues to pay for wildlife programs. For years, hunters have paid the bills for wildlife management through their license fees and taxes on ammunition and outdoor gear. People who oppose hunting on ethical grounds complain that the DWR listens only to hunters, but it is natural for the agency to listen to the folks who are paying the bills.
Since state governments are struggling today with budget deficits and an economic recession, it is not realistic to expect them to come up with bigger contributions for wildlife management from general revenues. State income-tax check-offs to raise funds for non-consumptive wildlife have been a bust.

But if non-hunters are serious about funding wildlife management and habitat preservation, maybe they should propose taxes on water or real estate that would benefit wildlife directly. After all, every drop of water or square foot of ground that is taken for human use reduces resources for wildlife.

Until reforms like this are enacted, auctions for coveted big-game tags may remain the best shot at preserving wildlife and hunting for the everyday member of the tribe.

Copyright 2001, Salt Lake Tribune

Also posted in Editorial

SFW & MDF Raise Funds for Utah State Parks & Recreation Wildlife Programs

SFW presents a check for $283,500 to the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation for wildlife habitat improvement

SFW presents a check for $283,500 to the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation for wildlife habitat improvement

Salt Lake City, Utah – Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW) and the Mule Deer Foundation presented a check for $283,500 to the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation for wildlife habitat improvement and management work on Antelope Island State Park which is located in the Great Salt Lake. The funds were raised from the auction of a Mule Deer tag and a California Bighorn Sheep tag to be hunted on the Island this fall. The tags were auctioned last February at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo (WHCE) held in Salt Lake City. The Mule Deer Tag sold for $265,000 and the Sheep tag sold for $50,000. The WHCE retains 10% of the sale price.

Mule deer have not been hunted on Antelope Island for overmore than 30 years. Bighorn Sheep have not previously been hunted on the Island . The Bbighorn Ssheep were transplanted to the Island in 1997 by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. The Sheep herd has served as a source of transplant animals for the West Desert area of Utah.
The most visible Island resident is the Bbison. “From bison and bighorn sheep, to mule deer and pronghorn, all island wildlife will benefit from this generous gift,” said Director Mary Tullius, Utah State Parks and Recreation.

Mike Styler, Executive Director of the Department of Natural Resources says,  “This is a prime example of sportsmen reinvesting in habitat, and in this case the recipient is a great state park. Because of one deer and one bighorn sheep tag, we will have more than $280,000 invested directly into habitat work.”
Byron Bateman, President for Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife says, “The $283,500 raised at this year’s Expo is a wWin/Wwin for Utah State Parks and the Bbighorn Ssheep & Mmule deer that live on Antelope Island with 100% of the money going directly to projects to benefit both species.”

State Park’s budget has been reduced in recent years resulting in layoffs and some parks potentially being shut down. The auctioning of these special tags will bring much needed funds to help maintain and improve wildlife habitat on the Island that wouldn’t be available due to the budget cuts.

“We are glad we can help fund wildlife projects on Antelope Island during these difficult economic times.” says Miles Moretti, President/CEO of the Mule Deer Foundation. Moretti continues “tThis is a great example of a public/private partnership finding innovative ways to provide funding for the Park.”

In addition to the two auction tags, a public drawing was held for one deer and one sheep tag. The hunts will take place in November 2011.

Also posted in SFW In Action

Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife Expands Into New Utah Headquarters

Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife (SFW) has centralized its corporate operations at a 3,900 sq. ft. office and warehouse facility in North Salt Lake, Utah. Generous donations from key SFW supporters Steve Creamer, former CEO of EnergySolutions, and Utah entrepreneurs Marc and Debbie Bingham, made the purchase of an existing building possible. SFW officially assumed occupancy of the building at 215 North Redwood Road in March 2011.

“In 2010 we found ourselves in need of a central location where we could manage the day-to-day activities of wildlife conservation operations in the western United States and Alaska,” said SFW President Byron Bateman. “The business of protecting wildlife and hunting opportunity has simply outgrown the capacity of our home and basement offices. It’s high time we made this move, and SFW will be a stronger, more effective organization because of it.”

SFW serves chapters in seven states and more than 13,000 members spread throughout all 50 states. The purchase of the building enabled SFW to secure its Federal Firearms License and to eliminate commercial rental space at several locations. It will also provide a spacious conference room and warehouse space as well as offices and meeting space for members of SFW’s Executive Board and staff.

”SFW has seen steady growth and success in our wildlife conservation efforts for nearly 16 years,” said Ryan Foutz, SFW Membership & Marketing Executive. “This new facility will enable us to continue achieving the goals of the SFW mission and better serve our state and local chapters.”

On the second level of the building, the conference room is large enough to accommodate up to 40 people. SFW is making the conference room available to state and local SFW chapters for meetings. The warehouse portion of the building has multiple security features and will enable SFW to inventory banquet and fundraising merchandise, store trailers, ship and product to its membership throughout the country.

About SFW: ( Headquartered in North Salt Lake, Utah, SFW is a charitable, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The mission of SFW is to promote the protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat, assist in providing quality wildlife management programs, educating the public about the role hunters play in wildlife conservation, and perpetuating the family tradition of hunting and fishing. Phone: (801) 936-1386.

SFW’s Executive Board: Byron Bateman, SFW President; Ryan Foutz SFW Vice President, Bryce Pilling, SFW Secretary

SFW Staff: Troy Justensen, Banquets & Fundraising Mission Fulfillment Board Chairman, Mike Pritchett, SFW Turkey Coordinator; Ryan Benson Legal Council-consultant & Big Game Forever Executive Director

SFW’s Executive Advisory Board: Todd Abelhouzen, Kevin Pritchett, Kurt Wood, Dave Woodhouse & Scott Czaja CPA, Hanie & Company

Our Mission

"The mission of SFW is to promote the protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat, assist in providing quality wildlife management programs, educating the public about the role hunters play in wildlife conservation, and perpetuating the family tradition of hunting and fishing".