Idaho Fish & Game In-person Tag Sales Strategy

7mm-08

WKR
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Idaho
With the threads (and experiences) regarding the recent Idaho nonresident tag sale fresh in people's minds, I'd like to start a discussion regarding an effort in which I have been engaged with the Idaho Fish and Game Commission since last fall. Sorry if this is going to be a long post, but I hope to garner support from Idaho resident and nonresident hunters alike in my effort to convince the Idaho Department of Fish and Game that it needs to eliminate its fundamentally unfair practice of allowing one individual to purchase tags for other individuals who are not physically present at the point of sale. This is not an effort to prevent proxy purchases, which I contend are totally legitimate and should continue to be allowed. Heck, my wife has stood in line for me and purchased tags in the past when I've been out of town. My proposal is that the Department allow the sale of one tag (of however many species desired) for one person physically present and this should be the Department's in-person tag sales practice going forward. This is also not an effort to address the significant (think 2022) issues the Department has had with its contractor who handles its online sales. Rather, mine is an effort to eliminate tag purchase abuses at points of sale that are (primarily) administered by the Department in its physical offices. I know this suggestion won't sit well with the folks who have been making money by acting as brokers to purchase 20 tags for others who are "too busy" to stand in line or live in locations they can't make it to Idaho for the tag sales event or those who think they are exercising social responsibility to "get theirs" and let our fellow hunters standing in line for hours (or days) behind them go to hell because the Department allows people to buy multiple tags for hunters who aren't present and have no skin in the game. I contend that both of these practices are fundamentally unfair. If you haven't had the pleasurable experience of literally standing in line for days for a tag sale, it is a sacrifice.

On that happy (and potentially contentious) note, here we go. Tag demand for all of Idaho's big game species has been growing substantially since 2018 (according to Department Public Information Specialist Roger Phillips) and it is unlikely this trend will diminish. I've been playing this stand-in-line game for tags off and on for ten or so years. One year, I went to a merchant that was in possession of one of the terminals connected to the Department's database for license and tag sales. I waited for a few hours and was the first person in line. Just prior to 10 AM, the owner of the business came in and took over the operation of the terminal from the clerk I had been chatting with while waiting. When he (the owner) started securing tags from a list of people he had written on a piece of paper in his hand, I asked him what was happening. This man let me know in no uncertain terms that I was first in line after he secured tags for the people on his list. And, if I didn't like it, I could leave. I assumed that he was purchasing tags for friends or relatives, but it was more than mildly frustrating to stand there while that occurred. Another time, I went to a different merchant and was third or fourth in line and something similar occurred. In this instance, the person operating the terminal told the first guy in line that he had failed to "get on the list" with his $100 donation to the business for this early tag sales service. These sort of shenanigans won't likely be eliminated by my proposal, but I hope people smarter than me can figure out mechanisms to narrow these abuses as well in the planned changes to the Department's online sales system that are underway. This new system should theoretically account for outfitters who have legitimate reasons for the purchase of third party tags for business purposes.

Think of it this way: the first five guys in line at a Department facility with ten names each can virtually eliminate any potential for the multitude of people standing behind them in line to have the opportunity to purchase high demand tags (think Sawtooth Zone elk) by tying up all of the Department's available computer terminals before the tags sell out. I'll say right up front that the Department's license sales representatives make a tremendous effort to service everyone as quickly as they can and they do an exceptional job. But, they can't work miracles and magically increase the number of tags for sale.

Here's what I hope folks consider: if you believe my effort to eliminate the Department's practice of selling tags to one person for third parties who are not present at the point of sale is a valid one, get involved! Communicate your sentiments with the appointees on the Idaho Fish and Game Commission relative to this issue. I've been doing so (via email) since September and I traveled to Lewiston from Boise last month to have the opportunity to speak at the public meeting that occurred the night before the Commission's quarterly scheduled meeting. I had the opportunity to speak to a few of the Commissioners after the meeting and through those contacts, I was able to determine that my position was an issue that the Commission had discussed in the past with the Department and its Director. The next Idaho Fish and Game Commission meeting is scheduled for January 26, 2024, in Boise and the public meeting where people will have an opportunity to communicate with the Commission will occur the previous day at 7 PM at the Department's Headquarters Office at 600 South Walnut Street. There is a three-minute time limit for public presentations, but written statements can be submitted to the Commissioner prior to the public meetings for presentation at that forum.

If you believe in this effort, please don't be apathetic. Send an email to the Commissioners to express your thoughts.

Below are the names of the Commissioners and their email addresses if you'd like to communicate with them on this (or any other) subject pertaining to Idaho's fish and game:

Chairman - Don Ebert, Weippe, Idaho (Clearwater Region) - [email protected]
Vice-Chairman - Ron Davies, Clayton, Idaho (Salmon Region) - [email protected]
Commissioner - Dave Bobbitt, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho (Panhandle Region) - [email protected]
Commissioner - Tim Murphy, McCall, Idaho (Southwest Region) - [email protected]
Commissioner - Greg Cameron, Rupert, Idaho (Magic Valley Region) - [email protected]
Commissioner - Jordan Cheirrett, Lava Hot Spring, Idaho (Southeast Region) - [email protected]
Commissioner - Derick Attebury, Idaho Falls, Idaho (Upper Snake Region) - [email protected]

Copies of communications can also be sent to Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director Jim Fredricks at [email protected].
 

Z Barebow

WKR
Joined
May 24, 2012
Messages
302
RE Proxy buying. If it must be allowed, cap it at qty 1 proxy purchase per buyer.

RE: Outfitters buying 3rd party. I am for ending it. Too much abuse. And is trending worse. Curious why outfitters need to purchase NR tags when the commission has already carved out separate outfitter tag allotments? If that isn't enough tags, what is wrong with the free market picking reputable outfitters for added clientele? (Whether potential clients be resident or non resident) GUARANTEE outfitter will scream from the mtn tops to retain this loophole.

On line. REQUIRE a hunting license purchase BEFORE they can enter waiting room. Idaho wins as they are guaranteed $$$$. Serious hunters win as it keeps out trollers, bots and people who want to flood the system to cause mayhem.

From my chair, the commission needs to have a comprehensive approach to closing loopholes. If they single out one method and play a wait and see attitude, that will tick off one group. (And the other loopholes will continue to expand) Rip off the bandaid and deal with all of the known loopholes.

I listened to the Nov quarterly meeting. Commissioners acknowledge this is a situation of there own doing. Commissioners also mentioned surveying what other states are doing. I would make sure any survey identifies which states allow in person purchase of NR tags? Maybe go to online only? Look at how much Idaho manpower (state and local) is dedicated for in person purchase. At what expense? (Or profit if you are a private business vendor?) There is a reason your vendor wanted an early sale "convenience charge. (Because they make very little money on tag sales)
 
Last edited:

downthepipe

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Messages
233
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SW IDAHO
I’m a resident and I agree. I also think they should figure out how to sell a tag that is attached to another person. At the very least a youth tag should be guaranteed with every adult tag if the youth has the necessary qualifications… it’s bad enough that friends can hardly get tags together but i guess they don’t care enough about that… but cmon do it for the kids…
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
1,191
Location
WA State
It needs to just go to a draw like Montana does it. It's basically already a draw at this point but at least with a draw you can put in as a group and either everyone in your camp gets one or no one does, which I'm assuming most would want. And you don't need to waste hours of the work day waiting in an imaginary internet line that might end up kicking you out when your turn finally arrives 4 hours later...
 
OP
7

7mm-08

WKR
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
667
Location
Idaho
RE Proxy buying. If it must be allowed, cap it at qty 1 proxy purchase per buyer.

RE: Outfitters buying 3rd party. I am for ending it. Too much abuse. And is trending worse. Curious why outfitters need to purchase NR tags when the commission has already carved out separate outfitter tag allotments? If that isn't enough tags, what is wrong with the free market picking reputable outfitters for added clientele? (Whether potential clients be resident or non resident) GUARANTEE outfitter will do scream from the mtn tops to retain this loophole.

On line. REQUIRE a hunting license purchase BEFORE they can enter waiting room. Idaho wins as they are guaranteed $$$$. Serious hunters win as it keeps out trollers, bots and people who want to flood the system to cause mayhem.

From my chair, the commission needs to have a comprehensive approach to closing loopholes. If they single out one method and play a wait and see attitude, that will tick off one group. (And the other loopholes will continue to expand) Rip off the bandaid and deal with all of the known loopholes.

I listened to the Nov quarterly meeting. Commissioners acknowledge this is a situation of there own doing. Commissioners also mentioned surveying what other states are doing. I would make sure any survey identifies which states allow in person purchase of NR tags? Maybe go to online only? Look at how much Idaho manpower (state and local) is dedicated for in person purchase. At what expense? (Or profit if you are a private business vendor?) There is a reason your vendor wanted an early sale "convenience charge. (Because they make very little money on tag sales)
Excellent points here. Thank you for the input. My strategy was eat the elephant one bite at a time - yours is shove the whole damned thing in your mouth, which I like better than mine approach. I was hoping that incremental changes might win the day with the Commission, but (I agree) that larger scale changes are appropriate.
 

87TT

WKR
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Mar 13, 2019
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Idaho
See there’s the problem. What the OP proposes and what others want are all over the place based on each one’s point of view. I think there isn’t a fix that will make everyone happy. The way it is now, all the tags get sold. Every time they make changes, people get upset no matter what. And everyone thinks they have a better idea.
 

Alder_

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Feb 2, 2023
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⚡️
They’ll still get rid of all of the tags 87.

No, not everyone will be happy but there’s certainly more fair ways to distribute tags.

OP I commend you on your efforts. I’ll be sending letters. Their survey efforts comparing their system to others will show they’re living in the stone ages.
 

rodney482

WKR
Joined
Feb 27, 2012
Messages
3,830
System is laughable.

** I did draw my ID elk tag
*** $100 one way flight to Boise (Sept 2024) booked.
 

Fullfan

WKR
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Jul 31, 2016
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Nw/Pa
It matters not how the tags are sold; someone will not be happy. As far as the outfitters buying tags, well I asked the outfitters myself. Response from them, I can not support my business or family on the tags allocated to me by IDFG. Also know the one outfitter had his ppl at three locations trying to get tags. FYI I stood and sat in line for 46 hours, and I was not in the top ten spots in line.
 

TheTone

WKR
Joined
Mar 4, 2012
Messages
1,620
It matters not how the tags are sold; someone will not be happy. As far as the outfitters buying tags, well I asked the outfitters myself. Response from them, I can not support my business or family on the tags allocated to me by IDFG. Also know the one outfitter had his ppl at three locations trying to get tags. FYI I stood and sat in line for 46 hours, and I was not in the top ten spots in line.
I bet almost every hunting outfitter I know does other work outside of hunting season. I bet almost everyone of them is also a strong believer in free markets also except for when it comes to this. I have zero sympathy
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2015
Messages
302
There are horror stories every year about the online waiting room booting people before purchase and some of you want to totally depend on that system to function? I've talked to fish and game employees and they know that they can't handle the site traffic. That site needs to be bulletproof for that to work.
Think of it this way: the first five guys in line at a Department facility with ten names each can virtually eliminate any potential for the multitude of people standing behind them in line to have the opportunity to purchase high demand tags (think Sawtooth Zone elk) by tying up all of the Department's available computer terminals before the tags sell out. I'll say right up front that the Department's license sales representatives make a tremendous effort to service everyone as quickly as they can and they do an exceptional job. But, they can't work miracles and magically increase the number of tags for sale.
This actually isn't true anymore at fish and game offices. Anyone who wants more than 5 tags gets sent to their own line now. If you have less than that, you go to the other terminals. They covered it in the last meeting. I think it was the right move.

How would you eliminate proxy buying at other 3rd party vendors like you described? No proxy buying at all?
Can't buy tags for your kids anymore?
Immediate family can proxy purchase?
Cap it at 2,3, or 5 tags per buyer?

Not saying there isn't some room for improvement, But changing just for the sake of change seems like we are setting ourselves up for some unintended consequences.
 

Wrench

WKR
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Aug 23, 2018
Messages
5,759
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WA
I watched f&w employees purchase proxy tags.

I don't care what they come up with, just so long as they release the information with enough time for me to figure out how to game the system.

Internet and social media has really hammered western states. Guys come out with big dreams and suddenly realize that 90% of what they saw on YouTube or read on a sight like (gasp) this is embellished bs. There are plenty of successful hunters out here, but we're not relying on luck. Most people I know who reliably kill stuff have hundreds of days in the field......not 14 days in September.

This game takes dedication and if that means flying to Idaho to stand in line....be dedicated.
 

Idaboy

WKR
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Oct 22, 2017
Messages
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It matters not how the tags are sold; someone will not be happy. As far as the outfitters buying tags, well I asked the outfitters myself. Response from them, I can not support my business or family on the tags allocated to me by IDFG. Also know the one outfitter had his ppl at three locations trying to get tags. FYI I stood and sat in line for 46 hours, and I was not in the top ten spots in line.
Why does the state of Idaho "owe" outfitters tags....I have never understood that.. Welfare for outfitters.
 

Idaboy

WKR
Joined
Oct 22, 2017
Messages
497
I watched f&w employees purchase proxy tags.

I don't care what they come up with, just so long as they release the information with enough time for me to figure out how to game the system.

Internet and social media has really hammered western states. Guys come out with big dreams and suddenly realize that 90% of what they saw on YouTube or read on a sight like (gasp) this is embellished bs. There are plenty of successful hunters out here, but we're not relying on luck. Most people I know who reliably kill stuff have hundreds of days in the field......not 14 days in September.

This game takes dedication and if that means flying to Idaho to
In person sales is one thing, totally legit. Call it dedication, commitment, bucket lister...whatever

Buying for others is bs.. Maybe for spouse and kids, maybe....but other than that one person, one license
 

Wrench

WKR
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WA
So...do you define it as kinship? If a person has a spouse and 3 kids does he get one choice? Who polices this....the clerk at Cabela’s?

This becomes a rabbit hole.

Like I said, I just want to know the rules of the game so I can get my strategy together.
 

Jmort1754

WKR
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Aug 17, 2018
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So if I fly out to Idaho next year and have my parties information I can get tags for everyone?
 
Joined
Jul 6, 2017
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Boise
I agree with 90% of what is being said here. The way I see it, there are two paths that IDFG can go here:

Option 1
  • Require a license purchase prior to purchasing tags.
  • License sales is suspended on Dec 1 (you can't stand in line, get a license, then get a tag). This would force people to have a some skin in the game and cut down on the flood of online traffic.
  • Allow only one proxy tag sale per person. If you want more than one proxy tag, bring a friend. If the outfitters want tags above and beyond what is already allocated to them, they have to play by the same rules as everyone else. Allowing proxy sales opens the door for so many shenanigans. Honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing them eliminated completely.
This option still doesn't allow for party hunts, which I think is the biggest shortcoming of the current system.


Option 2

The better option, to me.
  • Make it a dang draw. Simple, done. Online only.
  • License purchase required to enter draw.
  • Applications open Dec 1 and close Dec 31. Results in late January. Run it just like the controlled hunt draw.
  • Allow party applications.

The system is already in place. The idea that the current system is "OTC" is laughable. There's nothing OTC about it. It's a de-facto draw.
 

TheTone

WKR
Joined
Mar 4, 2012
Messages
1,620
Option 2

The better option, to me.
  • Make it a dang draw. Simple, done. Online only.
  • License purchase required to enter draw.
  • Applications open Dec 1 and close Dec 31. Results in late January. Run it just like the controlled hunt draw.
  • Allow party applications.

The system is already in place. The idea that the current system is "OTC" is laughable. There's nothing OTC about it. It's a de-facto draw.
-allow up to 4 people per application, this would allow people to still hunt with family/friends if they draw
-bar those that applied from applying for other controlled hunts. Would probably really improve non resident draw odds across the board
-don’t allow people returning or exchanging tags to designate who the tag go. If you turn it back it just goes back into the pool. Maybe eliminate exchanges and returns all together.
 
OP
7

7mm-08

WKR
Joined
Oct 31, 2016
Messages
667
Location
Idaho
See there’s the problem. What the OP proposes and what others want are all over the place based on each one’s point of view. I think there isn’t a fix that will make everyone happy. The way it is now, all the tags get sold. Every time they make changes, people get upset no matter what. And everyone thinks they have a better idea.
While I agree with your point that all the tags get sold, my effort has nothing to do with what I'd like to see in the system if I were king for the day. That would be a MUCH longer post than the one I wrote. My effort is to eliminate a historic practice that flies in the face of fundamental fairness and if you can't support that change, then we can agree to disagree with no hard feelings.
 

ez_willie

WKR
Joined
May 9, 2018
Messages
302
Location
MN
So...do you define it as kinship? If a person has a spouse and 3 kids does he get one choice? Who polices this....the clerk at Cabela’s?

This becomes a rabbit hole.

Like I said, I just want to know the rules of the game so I can get my strategy together.
There is no rules, or at least that are enforced. So you either own the machine or own the person running the machine that prints the tags. Sure you might get 1 or 2 being first in line somewhere.
 
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