The Arizona Game and Fish Commission recently voted unanimously to oppose proposed Arizona House Bill 2072, a bill that would have reserved a large number of big game tags for a "qualified organization" to resell at auction or raffle. As part of its 5-0 vote to oppose the bill, the commission also directed its representatives to "clearly inform the sponsor and supporters of this bill that our opposition is not just to the bill as written, but to the entire concept of removing or adding any big game tags from the pool of big game tags available for the general public and transferring them to any private organization."
In discussion leading up to the vote, several commissioners expressed strong concerns over which organizations would qualify, how money would be spent, who would benefit, and what accountability there would be over expenditures. Commissioners pointed out that the proposed legislation differs from current law that authorizes the commission to issue a small number of big game tags to nonprofit organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation. Awarding these tags is through an open and competitive process that allows the organizations to auction or raffle those tags. All the proceeds come back to the Arizona Game and Fish Department for projects that support wildlife management.