June 17, 2019

Idaho: Public Comment Period Open for Rule Proposals on Hunting, Trapping and Big Game Importation

Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator

On June 5, the Idaho Fish and Game Department (IDFG) began a 21-day public comment period to allow stakeholders to provide input on rule proposals affecting the importation of wildlife, certain deer and elk tags, youth turkey hunting, the use of Wildlife Management Area (WMA) permits where pheasants are stocked, and wolf trapping equipment.

Importation of Live Deer, Moose, and Elk of Wild Origin

Consistent with its 2018 Strategy for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), IDFG is proposing a rule change that “would ban the importation and possession of ungulates, not regulated by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, that could be infected with CWD by prohibiting import or possession of live mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose or wild-origin elk.” Because CWD has not been detected in Idaho, the objective of the rule change proposal is to reduce the possibility of CWD being introduced into the state.

Limit Non-resident Participation in General Season Big Game Hunts

In response to concerns expressed by resident hunters regarding “hunter congestion and geographic distribution of non-resident hunters in general season deer and elk hunt,” the IDFG has proposed a new rule providing the Fish and Game commission with “the authority to limit non-resident deer and elk tags issued in general season hunts.”

Reduce Buying Opportunity for Highly Competitive General Season Capped Tags

Due to “high demand for general-season hunting tags in capped hunting zones and quick sell outs on initial tag sale days,” IDFG has proposed establishing waiting periods for tag purchase eligibility. The objective of establishing a delayed eligibility for individuals who apply for both big game-controlled hunts and hunts in capped zones, would be to reduce buyer congestion.

Youth Turkey Hunting and Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Upland Game Bird Permit

A proposed rule change would allow Hunting Passport holders of 8 years old and older to participate in general season hunts, youth-only general hunts, landowner permission hunts, and depredation hunts of turkey. Such a rule change could help to increase recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) effectiveness, in addition to increasing revenue from hunting-related sales, which supports the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF). 

Additionally, pheasant hunting supporters have expressed interest in expanding the current Wildlife Management Area (WMA) pheasant stocking program to include additional properties and the associated WMA Upland Game Bird Permit. The proposed rule change would give the Idaho Fish and Game Commission the ability to require a WMA Upland Game Permit to hunt pheasants on additional properties, helping to offset the cost of stocking. This proposed rule change would increase pheasant hunting access and subsequent hunter participation. With greater hunter participation, license sales and hunting-related revenue also increase, supporting the ASCF.

Modification of Requirements for Snares During Wolf Trapping

Due to concerns brought forth by constituents that “diverters may reduce snares effectiveness to capture the target species (wolves), and are ineffective at reducing the capture of non-target species” the Commission is proposing a rule change that would modify wolf trapping equipment requirements. The objective of this rule change would be to balance the effectiveness of trapping efforts with minimizing impact on non-target species. As it currently stands, when utilizing snares in the pursuit of wolves, trappers are required to use diverters and either have a break away device or snare loop stop to increase the specificity of the trap and reduce non-target capture. Such requirements are consistent with the Best Management Practices for wolves established by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

The decision to move forward will need to be approved by the Idaho Legislature during the 2020 legislative session. If approved, the proposed rule changes and additions would go into effect.

For more information and to submit public comment, please visit the IDFG website under “Surveys and Comment Opportunities.” Public input must be submitted by June 26, 2019 to be considered in the decision-making process.

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?

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