Outfitter Shot Down in Nevada
A lawsuit that was brought against the State of Nevada last summer by a New Mexico outfitter that claimed the state's big game tag quota system discriminated against nonresidents has been dismissed.

The lawsuit was based on the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, which was adopted to give Congress the power to regulate commerce between states and to reduce discrimination of one state against another state’s residents, or their access to goods and services.

However, recent legislation sponsored by U.S. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George Bush reaffirmed the states' authority to manage wildlife and recreation.

Jean Taulman, Lawrence Montoya, Filiberto Valerio and United States Outfitters, Inc., sued members of the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners and Nevada Department of Wildlife Director Terry Crawforth, claiming that Nevada policy on Big Game Tag Quota Allocation discriminates against nonresidents who "suffer discrimination in access to hunting opportunities in Nevada through the imposition of quotas for each species."

"It was hunters fighting with hunters," Crawforth said. "The agency was spending hunters' money to referee the fight."

He added that one of his concerns with the issue was that he feared the result would be that the state’s ability to manage wildlife was going to constantly undergo monitoring and oversight by the courts.

"I was concerned that we were spending sportsmen’s dollars for refereeing a fight rather than spending hunter dollars to do good things for wildlife," Crawforth said.

With the fight drawing to an end, Crawforth said it is now important for states like Nevada to look at their systems for allocation of hunting and fishing opportunities to make sure they are reasonable and fair. "I’m pleased that we got the legislation and the fight is over," Crawforth said.

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