How Much Would You Pay?

Indian Summer

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Feb 17, 2013
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1,080
How much would you pay for an elk license? In other words is there a limit? Is there a point where you’d say nope... for that much money I’m out?

I read the threads about license prices going up. Draw odds going down. Idaho is limiting non resident elk hunting. Colorado units went to a draw. Montana is looking at bringing back outfitter sponsored licenses. The bottom line is demand far outnumbers the supply. And the cost of game management goes up just like gas and pickup trucks. So we’d all be fools if we didn’t accept the fact that the cost of elk tags will keep climbing as well.

I think about the new hunters. The guys who at some point said to their deer hunting buddies “Hey what do you guys think about doing an elk hunt somewhere?” To them the cost of a license is what it is. They don’t have anything to compare to like the guys who have been at it for 20 or 30 years or more. Will the rising cost of licenses deter them from sticking with it? Will elk hunting actually become a rich man’s game?

Every once in awhile someone who knows my but doesn’t will ask “Are you going elk hunting this year?” The people who know me look at me and we just laugh. Do bears shit in the woods!

To some people elk hunting, just like deer hunting for others, is a way of life. I guess the word is priorities. If you have a passion for something, or a downright addiction then you’ll find a way to make it happen right? Where there’s a will there’s way. So for the guys in it for the long the question never comes up “To elk hunt next year or not?”

I shake my head when I click the submit button for a $1300 elk tag. But it never crosses my mind if I should reconsider paying that kind of money. What am I going to do.... not elk hunt! Pfft yeah right!

Myself I don’t think I have a limit. Don’t tell Fish & Game I said that! I guess if it got to the point where I could hunt moose in Alaska for the same money I might bounce back and forth. Other than that I cannot lie.... my name is Joe and I’m a terrible elkoholic!

So where do you draw the line? If your elk tag cost $2000 would you still hunt? What if it was $2500? $3000? Would the wife make that decision for you? I’m curious to hear the different answers and opinions.

I can’t live without spending time in places like this and coming home with a freezer full of meat and another set of antlers. FDCFA531-63AC-46AE-906D-CFF6DFD3EC61.jpeg
 

rclouse79

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Dec 10, 2019
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741
This post makes me thankful to be a resident of a state with good elk hunting. There is no limit for me, as long as my wife doesn't have anything to say about it. I would probably start donating plasma if it came down to it, and I HATE needles.
 

GunsAreFun

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Apr 18, 2019
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963
I don’t know exactly, but I can tell you it’s getting close enough that I personally will likely just tag along a caller and enjoy the scenery. I’m better at calling than others in my group, and it’s nearly as exciting. Plus I don’t have to haul a bow around.
 

Scoutman

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Feb 25, 2012
Messages
92
Location
Texas
Tags have increased every year since I started in 05, don't expect them to stop, less hunters means higher licenses. I will hunt till I'm dead or out of money. My children's inheritance was a paid for college education. Better off than I.

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rickjames80

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Jun 12, 2013
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541
Thankfully I am a resident of a state where an elk tag is relatively inexpensive. I absolutely have a limit though. When the price of an "opportunity" to hunt elk approaches a 1/2 a beef. I will focus on hiking and hunting predators.
 

WoodrowCall

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Mar 24, 2020
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137
I was thinking these exact same thoughts reading the threads about prices, etc.

Two things come to mind: inflation and basic economics.
Everything that costs money has inflated over time whether it be cars, gas, groceries, or elk tags. As you stated, those who have been in the game long enough have felt this inflation because they have something to compare to. Those who have just started don’t know any better; just the cost of going elk hunting.
The second variable at play is simple supply and demand. When there is limited supply (viable elk populations) and excessive demand (high applications), the cost for that limited supply will continue to rise until the inflection point is reached. States will likely maximize their earning potential until the demand for licenses drop. Just remember, DNR input costs to maintain fish and game has also inflated. Salaries, equipment, etc have all increased for them as well. That cost gets passed on to the consumer...

It’s unfortunate that some will not be able to afford participation in the future, but that’s the world we live in... There are many things folks can’t afford these days due to inflation. At least we have the freedom to sacrifice what we want in order to spend our disposable income on things we prioritize...
 

Fridaythe13th

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Aug 8, 2018
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Location
Minnesota
For me it's not the price of the license but the zone I get to hunt. I'm not going to drop $1500 on a zone that has a 2% kill and there's a good chance of not seeing a elk. If that's the case I may as well go camping in the hills and save the cash. But on the other hand I would spend $1500 or more on a zone that has a 20% kill. Just being in the hills hearing and seeing elk is what it's about for me.
It's hard for me to say this but Canada fly in fishing is starting to sound better all the time. If it opens again. Lol
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2015
Messages
95
Thankful my elk tag is like $15! I think about the only place I’m willing to pay higher is NM anymore. If they’ll ever pull my name I’d be glad to spend the cash.
 

Marble

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May 29, 2019
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1,652
Price paid will long be forgotten after satisfaction of purchase. Life is about expereineces and there isn't always a next time (next year).

I am fortunate enough to go on two 2 week elk hunts every year. I have the vacation time and finances to do it and I will continue. It may come to the point where it's only one hunt, depending on what it is and especially, my dads health.

I'm don't think the supply and demand rules of the free market should be applied to the tags. Not that anyone had suggested it.

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WoodrowCall

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Mar 24, 2020
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I'm don't think the supply and demand rules of the free market should be applied to the tags. Not that anyone had suggested it.

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I agree with you that it should NOT be applied to tags. However, it seems to be the nature of the world we live in with consumer goods. And realistically, tags could be considered consumer goods. I would like to believe the states recoup enough money through tag sales to simply pay for their input costs and conservation efforts, not to maximize their profit based on demand...
 

.270

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Jun 12, 2018
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300
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TX
Since I moved to Texas six years ago and found out how much deer leases are going for, my tolerance for elk/game tag prices has increased. I try to go on 2-3 trips a fall depending on what tags I can draw and that is still less then I would spend on a deer lease. The value of spending time in the woods, on public land chasing game is tremendous for myself, especially since I was used to enjoying that privilege.
 

bowhuntrben

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May 1, 2017
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201
Location
Minnesota
I don’t see it stopping me any time soon.
I can see that if a person hadn’t already gotten hooked, rising prices may be a deterrent to someone going for the first time...especially when they may need to invest in a bunch of gear.
Personally, I look at the big picture. Since I just camp when I go, the tag and gas are the primary costs. Still a fairly cheap vacation.
I’m eyeing doing a Colorado cow moose hunt in a couple years with my dad, so I look at the value of the experience/memory with my dad as having more value than the money. After the preference points and tag, that will be in the neighborhood of a $3000 tag for “just a cow”.
 

MallardSX2

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Feb 24, 2016
Messages
718
This is a very hard question to answer.

I will say that at current prices it is about out of my price range. If it goes up too much more I may have to start hunting the deer in my home state a little harder.
 
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