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Arizona OKs more tags for nonresidents

Associated Press — July 23, 2004

Members of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission recently authorized about 800 additional elk and deer permits for out-of-state hunters to satisfy a court order overturning a system that favored state residents.

U.S. District Judge Robert Broomfield had declared the state's 10 percent cap on the number of permits that go to non-Arizona hunters an unconstitutional infringement on interstate commerce.

The judge also prohibited the state from using the cap again and refused to delay his order.

The commission then approved 127 additional deer permits and 678 additional elk permits.

Earlier, the state had planned to issue about 38,000 deer permits and about 22,000 elk permits, with Arizona residents receiving 90 percent.

Game and Fish Department officials said nearly all of the additional permits will go to out-of-state residents through a supplemental random draw from applications already filed.

Some will go to Arizona residents who applied with nonresidents.

The extra permits will be restricted to a limited number of hunting districts. From a biological standpoint, the affected hunting areas can absorb the in-creased hunting as a temporary measure, said Steve Ferrell, the deputy director of the Game and Fish Department.

The increase aims to satisfy the court order for just this year and the state will embark on what is expected to be a lengthy process of crafting a permanent re-sponse, officials said.

About 200 hunters attended Monday's meeting.

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