Idaho Fish and Game to kill Thousands of Deer!

November 11, 2011 by  
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Idaho fish and Game commission gave the game department permission to kill thousands of deer on the winter range!


Yesterday, the commission approved the killing of 500 doe from the Bennett hills winter range.  The  two hunts of 275 tags each will start in December and run through the end of the month.  This hunt was concocted after a fire tore through the winter range in August of this year.  The first proposal was to kill 2000 head.  The local and the state biologist feel that the lack of feed will stress the deer into having a poor fawn crop or even the possibility of starvation.  These are both possibilities, I agree.  Were I disagree is with the solution.

Killing 500 does is not going to take the stress away from the other deer looking for food!  It is going to stress the deer even more with the thousand plus hunters driving around flinging bullets into the herds. The deer will be on their winter reserves as it is and now  you’re going to chase them for 30 days and through some lead at them.  Makes total since to me.  Yea right!  There will be some deer die, they do every year.  Maybe even a few more, but I’m willing to take my chances that it won’t be 500 more.  It’s not like the winter range was even close to carrying capacity as it was.

Sure 60,000 acres is a ton of habitat, but deer aren’t stupid they will find food.  The deer only need to move a couple miles one way or the other to find suitable food.  Most of them will gather in the fields to forage on left overs.  It might cause a huge increase in depredation claims but that is part of the game.  It’s nothing new. The fish and Game  can have my tag fees and put it towards a depredation claim.  I will be buying a tag along with hundreds of other concerned hunters just to turn them back in at the next commissioners meeting!

Killing 500 does this year is truly  harvesting 1,500 deer this year because they will be already bread and carrying twins.  Over the next six years that is 26,000 deer that could have been born. Sure you need to factor in that all deer don’t have twins and some deer die ever year due to harvest, winter, predation and other causes.  But, even if you take half that number its 13,000 deer that they are taking away from the sportsmen and women of this great state.

Just my two cents.  I would love to hear yours.


For more info on cost of application and how to apply, check out the post on the forum page under Idaho. Lets make a statement and let them know we are done supporting this kind of nonsense.


Steve Alderman

Idahoans not happy with the wolf Quotas

August 18, 2009 by  
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By Roger Phillips


Some hunters say the harvest limit set by Idaho Fish and Game commissioners Monday isn’t high enough. Environmental groups, meanwhile, think the limit is too high and may ask a judge to block hunting.

In addition to the sport harvest of 220, the Nez Perce Tribe could take 35 of Idaho’s estimated 1,000 wolves.

The group Defenders of Wildlife said in a news release Monday that it plans to seek an injunction to stop the hunt.

Wolf hunting in some parts of the state will start Sept. 1 unless Defenders of Wildlife and other environmental groups can stop it. Tags are scheduled to go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday.

The Fish and Game Commission voted 4-3, with the minority favoring a larger harvest limit that would have allowed hunters to kill almost 50 percent of Idaho’s wolves.

Some commissioners were concerned that the higher limit would provoke a judge to stop the hunt, which happened last year.

“An injunction did play a role. It was a tough decision,” commission chairman Wayne Wright of Twin Falls said.

Wright was in the minority that favored the higher harvest limit of 430 wolves.

Another Fish and Game commissioner said Idaho hunters probably won’t reach the 220 limit anyway, and setting it higher would invite more outrage and legal opposition.

“We will be lucky to hit probably half the hunter harvest limits,” Commissioner Tony McDermott of Sagle said.

Fish and Game officials predict very low success rates for wolf hunters despite expecting to sell 70,000 tags. Resident tags will cost $11.75.

That’s too many dead wolves for the environmental groups that filed a lawsuit to put them back on the endangered species list.

“We believe that any level of hunting an imperiled wolf population is inappropriate,” said Jenny Harbine, attorney for Earthjustice, which represents the environmental groups that filed the lawsuit.

Harbine cited the 2008 federal court ruling that genetic exchange between individual populations of wolves throughout the region wasn’t adequate. Increased mortality under state management would limit genetic exchange, she said.

Montana already has set its quota at 75 wolves, or about 15 percent of that state’s population.

Fish and Game officials say Idaho’s wolf population is growing at about 15 to 20 percent annually. The department wants to reduce the population to about 520.

Nate Helm, Idaho president of the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, favors reducing wolf numbers nearer to the 150-animal minimum outlined in the state’s federally approved wolf management plan.

Tell O’Neal, an Idaho elk hunter who started the Web site, said it’s time to maintain a balance between wolves, elk and hunters.

“People are ready to start hunting wolves,” O’Neal said.

“I think it (wolf hunting) is inevitable, and this is the year they need to set a precedent.”


Idaho intends to manage wolf populations in 12 different zones. Each zone has its own harvest limit. When a zone limit is met, wolf hunting will stop in that zone. When the statewide harvest limit of 220 is met, all wolf hunting will stop.

  • Panhandle    30
  • Palouse-Hells Canyon   5
  • Lolo    27
  • Dworshak-Elk City    31
  • Selway   17
  • Middle Fork   17
  • Salmon   16
  • McCall-Weiser   15
  • Sawtooth   55
  • Southern Mountains   10
  • Upper Snake   5
  • South Idaho   5

Idaho sets Quota for Wolves

August 17, 2009 by  
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Idaho Fish & Game Commission Sets Wolf Hunt Limits
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission, Monday, August 17, set harvest limits for Idaho’s first public wolf hunting season this fall.

Fish and Game models indicate Idaho now has at least 1,000 wolves. The population increases at a rate of about 20 percent a year, without hunting.

The commissioners adopted a strategy that would help meet the state’s wolf population objective, as outlined in the 2008 Idaho Wolf Population Management Plan.

Hunters will be allowed to take up to 220 wolves this fall and winter. Wolf tags go on sale at 10 a.m. August 24, at all license vendors. A resident tag costs $11.75, and a nonresident tag costs $186.

One of the commission’s top considerations is retaining state management of Idaho’s growing wolf population. Idaho has an approved wolf management plan, developed with public involvement. The plan was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and found acceptable by a federal judge.

The commissioners’ decision is consistent with the population goals set out in the plan.

In 1995 and 1996, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service introduced 35 wolves to central Idaho. Since then they have increased in numbers and expanded their distribution.

Fish and Game has a responsibility to manage those wolves in balance with their prey and their habitat – just as the agency manages other fish and wildlife species. As with other species, hunting seasons on wolves would be part of managing the population.

A wolf hunting season gives Idaho Fish and Game an opportunity to learn how public hunting fits into managing wolves. As Fish and Game learns how effective regulated hunting is, seasons can be adjusted in areas where wolves are causing unacceptable problems for big game herds or domestic livestock.

Wolf managers will use the harvest limits the same way already used effectively with other species that Fish and Game manages. When limits are reached, the season ends.

The commissioners set harvest limits for each of the state’s 12 wolf management zones. When the limit is reached in a zone, the season would close in that zone.

Commissioners want to manage the wolf population toward the 2005 level of 520 wolves through regulated hunting (five-times higher than the federal recovery goal). The 2005 wolf population figure was used as a target number because wolf conflicts both with wildlife and livestock increased significantly that year.

Wolves in Idaho and Montana were removed from the endangered species list in May and have been managed under state law since then. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s rule delisting wolves, however, faces challenges in federal court. The outcome of those challenges could affect Idaho wolf hunting season.

Idaho Fish and Game to allow Kill Permits?

August 7, 2009 by  
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Fish & Game approves plans that include kill permits

By Eric Barker

Plans for managing wild and domestic sheep herds are certified as required by law passed last year

Idaho Fish and Game Director Cal Groen approved 11 plans Thursday aimed at keeping domestic and bighorn sheep from coming into contact with one another.

Some of the plans, known as best management practices, include kill permits that allow ranchers and sheep herders to kill bighorns if the wild sheep are seen mixing with domestic sheep. The kill permits were included so ranchers can help ensure wild bighorn sheep that come in contact with domestics do not have a chance to carry disease back to their herds and infect other wild sheep.555439813_430581100_mbr_9318_wsl-1

Jim Unsworth, deputy director of Fish and Game, said in several cases the department also has permission to kill and remove domestic sheep that wander into areas where they could come in contact with bighorns.

“We have allowed kill permits for bighorn sheep, and the opposite of that is permission is given to Fish and Game to kill domestic sheep if they are in the wrong places,” he said.

In May, a bighorn ram was seen in close proximity of domestic sheep near Riggins. Afterward the ram showed signs of pneumonia, and the department decided to kill it to prevent it from spreading disease to other bighorns. But the ram eluded the department’s efforts for about three weeks while it ran with a group of bighorn rams.

A law passed by the Idaho Legislature last winter mandated the department to seek out the agreements with all domestic sheep ranchers who run their animals in areas where they could come in contact with bighorns. According to the law, those plans were to be certified by Groen by Thursday.

Most wildlife managers and biologists believe bighorn sheep are highly susceptible to contacting pneumonia when they mix with domestic sheep that carry the disease. Cases of die-offs and chronic pneumonia have been documented in wild sheep herds throughout the West after they have had contact with domestic sheep.

Groen said the department determined 18 sheep ranchers in the state operate in areas where contact with bighorns is possible. The plans range from simple to complex, and a range of measures are outlined depending on the threat of contact on each of the allotments. Participation by the ranchers is voluntary, and Groen said four declined to work with the department to craft the plans. Another four did opt to participate but the department and ranchers have not yet been able to craft plans acceptable to both sides.

“We will move forward on the ones we are still working on and hope to get something accomplished on them,” Unsworth said. “We may or may not. This is a voluntary deal on the producers’ side. They may decide the (best management practices) we suggest are not appropriate.”

In certifying the plans, Groen said the department is saying the plans “provide for the separation that reduces the risk of disease transmission between domestic sheep and bighorn sheep to a level that is acceptable to bighorn sheep viability.”

The law, written by Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, who is also a sheep rancher, was prompted by a process on the Payette National Forest that could reduce domestic sheep grazing in Hells Canyon and the Salmon River canyon by about 60 percent. Bighorn herds in both areas have been documented with pneumonia and the Salmon River herds have declined by more than 70 percent in the past 20 years.

Officials on the forest are in the process of finalizing that plan, and in passing the law legislators hoped to influence their final decision. But the agency could decide to disregard the plans and reduce or end domestic sheep grazing in areas occupied by bighorn sheep.

Last week, Region Four of the U.S. Forest Service, which includes the Payette National Forest, added bighorn sheep to its list of sensitive species. The designation means the agency will work to preclude bighorns from advancing to threatened or endangered status under the Endangered Species Act, and all forests in the region will have to consider what effects proposed actions have on wild sheep.

Keith Lawrence, director of the Nez Perce Tribe’s wildlife department, said the sensitive species designation is both appropriate and important.

“I think the recognition says that the trends are not headed in the right direction and that it needs to change,” he said. “When you are talking about the population being 10 percent of what it historically was, I think that is a huge recognition that we are in trouble and we need to fix this.”

555439898_430581164_crw_1075_rt16-mThe tribe is opposed to the law calling for the best management practices and instead believes domestic sheep should be kept out of areas where bighorns roam.

“We have not had a chance to review the plans that have been developed. We hope that they do not advocate continued domestic sheep grazing in or adjacent to occupied bighorn sheep habitat, as it has been shown that the (best management practices) approach is ineffective when applied to occupied bighorn sheep range,” said Samuel N. Penney, chairman of the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee.

Lawrence said similar plans to those envisioned by the law were in place along the Salmon River in May, when the bighorn ram came in contact with domestic sheep.

“There was still contact and after the contact the provisions in place in the (best management practices) agreement to contain the risk of disease transmission failed.”

Lawrence went on to say agreements with kill permits might well stem the spread of disease after contact occurs, but the end result is still dead bighorns.

“The root problem is you still have domestic sheep too close to bighorn sheep. If you have to have a kill permit to make separation then you are probably way too close.”

Siddoway’s Bill Threatens Idaho’s Wild Sheep!

June 4, 2009 by  
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New Legislation Threatens Bighorn Sheep
Populations Across Idaho
For Immediate Release;May 29, 2009
Lapwai, Idaho — On May 7th, legislation that dictates state policy for managing domestic-
bighorn sheep interactions was enacted. The bill was sponsored by Terreton domestic sheep
producer Senator Jeff Siddoway. A previous bill with similar language proposed by Sen.
Siddoway had been vetoed earlier in the legislative session this year. Domestic and bighorn
sheep are incompatible when occupying the same range, as domestic sheep transmit fatal disease
to bighorn sheep, causing them to die of pneumonia. However, the new law directs the
Department of Fish and Game to develop allotment management plans based on “best
management practices” (BMPs) to justify continued domestic sheep grazing within occupied
bighorn sheep range; and then requires the IDF&G Director, to certify that implementation of
BMPs will provide separation between domestic and bighorn sheep and reduce the risk of
disease transmission to acceptable levels for continued bighorn sheep viability. rocky-mountain-bighorn-sheep1

“We are disappointed this legislation went forward”, said Samuel N. Penney, Chairman for the
Nez Perce Tribe. “The Tribe advocated for the bill to be vetoed as the previous legislation had
been because we are convinced it would lead to continued bighorn sheep declines. The recently
passed bighorn sheep legislation holds domestic sheep grazing harmless, continues status quo
grazing within and in close proximity to occupied bighorn sheep range, encourages continued
bighorn sheep population declines, and precludes opportunities for bighorn sheep recovery,”
added Chairman Penney.
As called for in the new legislation, the State of Idaho and the allotment permittee have
developed allotment management plans based on BMPs for federal grazing allotments
administered by the Nez Perce National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management within the
Salmon River canyon. Despite implementation of BMPs, on May 19th, twelve days after the new
legislation went into effect, the permittee for these allotments reported a bighorn ram in close
proximity to his domestic sheep. An investigation by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game
confirmed the presence of a sick bighorn sheep showing clinical signs of pneumonia that was
suspected to have contracted disease through contact with domestic sheep. The IDFG has
decided to remove the ram to confirm cause of illness and hopefully reduce the risk of this ram
spreading disease through the bighorn sheep population. Removal efforts have, so far, been
unsuccessful and ongoing monitoring indicates the ram has interacted with other bighorn rams in
the area, potentially spreading disease to other bighorn sheep. “This unfortunate incident is a
living example of the ineffectiveness of BMPs, and a clear message of the devastating
consequences of implementing this flawed legislation,” said Mr. Baptiste, Vice Chairman for the
Nez Perce Tribe. “We are hopeful this incident will not result in a disease outbreak, but at this
point all we can do is sit back and hope for the best,” concluded Mr. Baptiste.big-sheep-glacier-picture
“Although we will not know for sure until the sick ram can be collected and tested, if this ram
has pneumonia, this fits the classic pattern of comingling between domestic and bighorn sheep”
said Keith Lawrence, Wildlife Management Director for the Nez Perce Tribe. “The fact that the
ram was already showing signs of illness when first observed suggests to us that the initial
contact must have occurred sometime prior to this sighting and was undetected,” added Mr.
Lawrence. “Monitoring efforts during May, have documented straying of unattended domestic
sheep into areas close to bighorn sheep,” added Mr. Lawrence. “The demonstrated inability to
detect contact, control straying domestic sheep, and removing bighorns that may be infected, are
all indications of the ineffectiveness of BMPs to provide separation and reduce the risk of
contact and disease transmission,” concluded Mr. Lawrence.
“It is unfortunate we are placed in the position of having to kill bighorns to save them. This is
not a sustainable strategy for recovery or even persistence, but can only lead to the eventual
extirpation of these magnificent animals,” said Chairman Penney. “Clearly, by relying on
ineffective BMPs, this new legislation will fail to protect bighorn sheep and is an obstacle to our
efforts to recover bighorn sheep; a culturally significant species to the Nez Perce Tribe and an
iconic species to wildlife enthusiasts across Idaho,” concluded Chairman Penney.
The Nez Perce Tribe is opposed to the new law because its prescription is not based in science.
“BMPs have not been proven effective,” explained Mr. Baptiste. “It is not possible to measure
the effectiveness of management tools that are not based upon scientific principles or research,
and past experience by other state and federal agencies have shown BMPs to be ineffective at
maintaining separation or reducing the risk of disease transmission,” added Mr. Baptiste. “We fear this new law insures continued risk of contact between these two species resulting in a
continued threat of fatal disease outbreaks in bighorn sheep populations. In addition, this flawed
legislation will result in the Idaho Department of Fish and Game having to exercise their policy
of outright killing of bighorn sheep that come into contact with domestic sheep when BMPs fail
to provide separation,” concluded Mr. Baptiste.
The Nez Perce Tribe is actively working with federal agencies to restore bighorn sheep
populations within a reach of the Main Salmon River upstream from Riggins, Idaho. Salmon
River bighorn sheep are the last remaining native populations of bighorn sheep in Idaho and
population numbers have declined to remnant levels over the past decades and the Nez Perce
Tribe would view it as a tragedy to see them disappear and is working to avoid such an event.