Wes Seitz called me today and asked me to put the word out that rules for permit holders and for walk-in permits are going to change this season. He will provide me with the exact wording to be placed int he brochures as soon as they finalize them.
In a nut shell, Permit holders will have to name their guest(s) at the time they check in between 4:00 and 5:00 am. If a permit holder does not name his guests before 5:00 am, he must hunt alone. Those who get drawn for a walk-in permit must also name their guest(s) immediately upon being drawn. Once you have named your guests and chosen your parking spot, you may wait around to see who else gets in, but you will not be able to switch names of guests. If you name someone who is not there and they do not show up, you may not name someone else in their place. This is the way it will be and there will be no exceptions.
Wes told me that after the complaints 2 years ago, rather than change things last year, they monitored the situation for a season and found that it was happening in limited amounts on every hunt. As a result, they have made these changes to alleviate the confusion and make the walk-in process more fair for all involved.
They realize that in reality, it will likely reduce the number of people in the walk-in lines coming from further distances and thereby benefit the local hunters more. However, there is no other remedy at this time.
He also stated that in order to combat the unfair advantages to locals with respect to walk-ins, Wes told me they are contemplating adding the preference point feature to the waterfowl permits and will also be looking at revamping all the waterfowl permit drawings to make them more uniform across the board.
What this means is that they may or may not apply the preference points and the same walk-in drawing process to TMG/BM. They will likely hold meetings and take suggestions from hunters as to whether or not changes at TMG/BM are necessary or wanted among hunters. It is unlikely any changes will take place with the permit process at MINWR but they are not ruling out preference points there either.