General Cow Elk Hunts Cut, Deer Season Closings Vary
The overall shape of Idahoís new elk hunting structure remains in place for the 1998 season but Fish and Game Commissioners have altered some important elements of the plan.
provided by Stonehouse Publications
Most elk hunters have become familiar with the new elk plan by reading Fish and Gameís Hunterís Handbook published last fall or the electronic versions found on the department web page and mirrored on this site. Commissioners had several months to think about the proposed plan and take comments from a wide variety of hunters. When it came down to setting final seasons early in March, they had quite a number of ideas for changing the plan. As those changes are turned into printed rules, they are posted on the Fish and Game web site. Because of the complexity of the plan and changes, we will not attempt to interpret all the details (not wanting to be responsible for misleading anyone). Printed regulations should be available in late-April. Get them at your local Fish & Game office, or vendors in your region.
The plan for dividing the state into zones remains, as do the A and B tag split. The biggest change came when the Commission took most of the proposed antlerless hunts out of the A tag mix.
Some Commissioners expressed the worry that the cow hunts presented too much risk to Idahoís elk herds. Controlled hunts for antlerless elk will remain pretty much as they have been in recent years.
Many factors play into how the modified plan will work but critics, particularly those who supported the original plan, are concerned that the value of the A tag has been diminished so that more hunters will opt for the B tag, thereby creating pressure for caps on the number of B tags available in coming years. Another concern is that there is no new plan for dealing with elk herds causing substantial agricultural depredation, leading to more sportsmenís dollars going out in damage payments to farmers at a time when the department is in serious money trouble anyway.
Now we hide and watch for the actual effects of all this.
One effect that might be attributed to uncertainty over all the changes is that Idaho still has substantial numbers of nonresident elk tags left for sale. They are usually gone long before now.
It may well be that a fair number of hunters will refuse to wade through the new rules, leaving us with a little less frenzy in the woods this fall.
Most of the deer season changes had to do with closing dates, which had been proposed to be more or less uniform in all units south of the Salmon, an effort to keep deer hunters spread out. Regional considerations came into play among the Commissioners and now the season closings will vary, so check the regs closely as they become available.
Copyright ©1998 Spring Creek Communications