With the 2017 Idaho legislative session officially concluding on March 29, sportsmen and women celebrated the passage of several bills of importance to the state’s hunting and angling community. Included among these were measures to fund fish and wildlife management, combat the introduction and spread of invasive species, and manage grizzly bears.
Among the notable bills to pass during the 2017 session and be subsequently signed into law by Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Butch Otter were:
House Bill 168 – This bill allocates 50 percent of the revenue from salmon and steelhead permits to be deposited into the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s Salmon and Steelhead Set-aside Account. This funds salmon and steelhead research and management, as well as access, development, and maintenance of fishing and boat access sites in salmon and steelhead fishing areas, among other uses.
House Bill 211 – Raises the boat sticker fee for non-resident boaters that use Idaho waters, providing additional funding for the state’s efforts to prevent the introduction of devastating quagga and zebra mussels from out-of-state waters.
House Bill 230 – Increases most hunting, angling, and trapping license and tag fees, while allowing those who purchase such items each year to lock in at a set price so long as they purchase every year. The legislation will allow the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to keep up with inflationary pressures that have significantly increased the cost for the Department to carry out its fish and wildlife management efforts. The bill also increases funding for sportsmen’s access programs and wildlife depredation efforts.
Senate Bill 1027 – Among other provisions, this bill provides the Idaho Fish and Game Commission with the authority to set hunting seasons and rules for the Idaho population of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, in the event that the grizzly population in the Yellowstone ecosystem is delisted from the Endangered Species List. As noted by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the bill itself does not delist grizzly bears or create a grizzly bear season.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?