Idaho Fish and Game is proposing new rules and rule changes to be considered by the Fish and Game commission, and people have until June 26 to comment. Proposals could affect youth turkey hunting, use of WMA permits where pheasants are stocked, certain deer and elk tags, wolf trapping equipment, and importation of wildlife.
Fish and Game commissioners will consider public comments before deciding whether to move forward with the proposals that would need to be approved in the 2020 Legislature. People can click on the link to each proposal to comment online, or go to the Public Comment website page.
Youth turkey hunting
The current minimum age for turkey hunting is age 10. Hunters and supporters of youth opportunities have asked Fish and Game to allow Hunting Passport holders ages eight and nine years of age to participate in general-season turkey hunts, youth-only general hunts, landowner permission hunts, and depredation hunts.
WMA Upland Game Bird Permit
Current rules identify nine Fish and Game Wildlife Management Areas with pheasant stocking programs where hunters 18 years of age and older must have a WMA Upland Game Permit to hunt pheasants. Hunters and supporters of pheasant hunting have asked Fish and Game to expand the pheasant stocking to include additional properties. The WMA Upland Game Bird Permit requirement helps to offset costs of stocking. A rule change would provide the commission the flexibility to require a WMA Upland Game Permit to hunt additional properties.
Importation of live deer and elk of wild origin
Fish and Game’s chronic wasting disease prevention strategy recommends the discontinuing of the issuance of permits authorizing the import or possession of live mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose or wild-origin elk. Fish and Game is proposing a rule change to reduce the possibility of CWD being introduced into the state through the importation and possession of wildlife that could be sources of the disease. This would not affect privately owned elk, which are not regulated by Fish and Game.
Reduce buying opportunity for highly competitive general season capped tags
High demand for general-season hunting tags in capped hunting zones and quick sell outs has led to requests for waiting periods. For example, establishing a five-day waiting period for people who apply for controlled hunts before they could buy tags for high-demand general hunts could reduce competition at vendor locations and online. Individuals who did not apply for controlled hunts could buy capped zone tags immediately when they go on sale.
Limit nonresident participation in general season big game hunts
Some resident hunters have asked commissioners to address hunter congestion and geographic distribution of nonresident hunters in general season deer and elk hunts. This proposal would provide the Fish and Game commission the authority to limit nonresident deer and elk tags issued in general season hunts to 10 percent (or more) of resident tags available without limiting resident hunter opportunity. This rulemaking also will make considerations for providing outfitter tag allocation in those general units.
Modify requirements for snares to exclude diverters, stops and breakaway devices during wolf trapping
Currently, when pursuing wolves with snares, trappers are required to equip snares with diverters and have either a breakaway device or a stop that minimizes loop size within the snare loop. These components are incorporated into the snare design with the intent to minimize non-target captures. Constituents have brought forth concerns that diverters may reduce the snares effectiveness to capture wolves and that they are ineffective at reducing the capture of non-target species.
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(Photo source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)