Participate in Idaho's new Elk Management Plan

robby denning

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I didn't see a post on this, so here you go.

Idaho is taking input from hunters on a new proposed plan for Idaho. As Idaho has lost millions in revenue from elk tag sales (some of it justified, some of it not), they are probably willing to listen more than ever.

Tonight is their first online chat and another is scheduled for tomorrow. You just might get their ear on this one.

For more info:

http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/IDFISHGAME-739080
 

Darren Best

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I gotta tell you, this pisses me off.

My first year of hunting elk was in 1978 and I remember very well how many hunters there were. All through the 80's and over half of the 90's I never cared about the politics of the Idaho Fish and Game. I just bought my license and tags each year and went out and hunted.

I was here for the winter of 96/97 and remember full well numerous sources warning the Fish and Game that the elk were in trouble and they did nothing. Numerous people offered to feed the starving elk at their own expense and the Fish and Game told them no.

Then when it finally dawned on them just how bad the winter kill was, they said oops, they should of listened to us. But did they learn from that or fix it, no, they doubled down and did a double stupid and hopped into bed with the wolf lovers and didn't listen to a word from us about what was going to happen. This right on the heels of the massive winter kill, the elk never got a chance to bounce back.

I was out there during the early 2000's when the Fish and Game kept saying that there was no problem, that there were plenty of elk and in fact more hunters now than ever. Lies, lies upon lies and more lies.

Up until 1996, Idaho had the second largest number of elk and they stood there with their hands in there pockets and totally fumbled it and ignored us every step of the way.

Now that all the hunters are telling them to piss up a rope by refusing to buy license and tags, they want our input?

The solution is easy, protect the calves.

What's killing the calves?

Wolves.

But no, they claim this isn't happening as bad as we say it is. They keep claiming elk numbers are stable, they keep claiming hunter numbers are way up.

You can't have a reasonable conversation with someone unwilling to be reasonable!

What you see happening here, is the power of the economic vote.
 

Ryan Avery

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Elkhunter_241, I agree with you. I talked to a biologist about calving and cows a couple years ago. He said their recommendation back in 2000 was to move cow elk to draw permits only. They knew the wolfs impact on elk populations would be huge. But they would rather sell tags!
 

Darren Best

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Ryan you are right, all they cared about was the dollar signs and they viewed hunters the same as peasants.

The question that comes to mind, is what's different now, will they actually listen to us this time?

I really doubt it though, everyone has the attitude that wolves are here to stay and getting rid of them isn't an option.

But if they really want to get back to pre 1996 elk numbers, that is the solution.
 
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Darren Best

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Here is exactly what I am talking about, read this page. https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/webform/panhandle-zone

Take note of this;

Proposed strategies to address these impacts: Predation - Develop a predation management plan, Increase harvest of black bears and mountain lions in those units where calf ratios indicate low calf survival.

Maybe I need to get my eyes checked but I don't see the word "wolf" in there even once, do you?

Another thing, their numbers only go back to 2004 on those charts, so you don't get the full picture of just how monumental their blunder was.

What they are leaving out is that some of these units have seen an 80% reduction in elk numbers since 1996 and yet they still claim it's not that bad and wolves aren't the problem.
 

HellsCanyon

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Here is exactly what I am talking about, read this page. https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/webform/panhandle-zone

Take note of this;

Proposed strategies to address these impacts: Predation - Develop a predation management plan, Increase harvest of black bears and mountain lions in those units where calf ratios indicate low calf survival.

Maybe I need to get my eyes checked but I don't see the word "wolf" in there even once, do you?

Another thing, their numbers only go back to 2004 on those charts, so you don't get the full picture of just how monumental their blunder was.

What they are leaving out is that some of these units have seen an 80% reduction in elk numbers since 1996 and yet they still claim it's not that bad and wolves aren't the problem.

I agree the IDFG has screwed up royally and is full of wolf lovers, however I'll ask a question. What more do you think the IDFG should do in regards to wolves? They have opened up pretty liberal seasons on them, you can now buy 5 tags as a hunter, and trappers can buy many more than that. You can hunt them from Sept through June in some places... There have been nearly 700 wolves taken by hunters and trappers in Idaho the last two seasons (692 as I type this) and there have been more from arial gunning by the feds. It's not a perfect situation but it could sure be a darn sight worse...

Also while elk numbers are indeed not what they were in the past, the wolves have caused more than just a drop in numbers and calve survival. They've caused a huge behavioral change in our elk herds. Instead of finding the huge herds on the winter range you'll see little groups of 2-7 and they are fragmented all to hell n back.

Mike
 

Darren Best

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Mike,

It's a token effort, the tags, kill quotas and "generous season". The problem has to be addressed until the calf survival numbers come up, that is the end goal that needs to be kept in sight. How many ever dead wolves it takes to make that happen.

Considering that the predator plan doesn't even mention wolves at all, what does that say about how IF&G feels about the issue.

According to what I see, just 71 wolves were killed in the Panhandle this last season and it is currently closed. Why not leave it open during bear season also if they are serious about reducing wolf numbers. Keep in mind the Panhandle zone is huge, it covers a lot of country and much of it can't even be accessed without a snowmobile in the winter, even the lower lying areas and you don't get far on snowshoes.

http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=121

By all appearances the season is purposely self limiting. September and October, forget it unless I see one while hunting elk. November same deal because of deer or black powder. From December all the way through March 31, you need a sled.

Bear season in units 6,7 and 9 go through June 30th, why not wolves too?

Bears and cougars don't run in packs. Elk numbers were growing prior to wolf reintroduction and they aren't now. So how can bears and cougars get most of the attention in the predator plan?

Sorry man, but it's more of the same shuck and jive we have gotten from them since this started, it's a token effort and nothing more.
 

Rizzy

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I would like to ask the question, who is willing to give up their OTC tags and go to a draw system? Its most likely going to be a center point for a new management plan. Are we ready for it?
 

ridgefire

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I hunt Idaho as a non resident from washington every year and if Idaho goes to a draw system they will probably even have less hunters annually. why should I apply for Idaho as a non resident when I could hunt Colorado over the counter in most units or hunt Washington if not drawn here. put a bounty on the wolves and that would probably take care of the problem.
 

Rizzy

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They might lose more hunters at first, but I think they will gain hunters in the long run. Idaho is a trapping state. Trapping is the only CONSISTENTLY EFFECTIVE tool game departments have to manage predators, especially canines. Investing in points in Idaho would be a smart thing to do for out of state deer and elk hunters in the long run. Reason being, Colorado is an anti trapping state, they lost the use of footholds and snares before the idea of wolf reintroduction was proposed. So now in the future when Wolves migrate into Colorado, how is NDOW going to control the population. It will initially get decimated like in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. How will it recover with out a trapping season? Points in Colorado will be useless if there isn't enough surplus to hold a season. However with states like Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming who have the use of footholds and snares, recovery is a reality. We are already seeing it in Idaho. These are the states where you want to build points;) I know it sounds insensible, but think long term, who has the best tools for the job.

Idaho has been the most proactive game department when it comes to wolf management, and I feel the game numbers will continue to reflect this in time. Granted a lot of the zones are below objective, some are however showing improvement. Keep in mind that objective and actual carrying capacity seem to be two different things. The objective is having enough surplus to increase revenue and hunter success, actual carrying capacity is usually less. So from an objective standpoint I think we want more Elk and less predators, from a carrying capacity standpoint we aren't doing so bad. A population can be growing yet still be below "objective". Nevada's deer herd is sort of an example of this "independent" kind of relationship. Overall they have a declining herd, yet a healthy Buck to Doe ratio.

Anti's fight trapping tooth and nail. I feel, among other reason, this is because it is the only thing that can undo this mess, they know that. Over the long term gun hunting and Ariel gunning can't effectively reduce canine populations, footholds and snares can. This has been proven throughout history with coyotes and even with wolves in the early 19th century, if I recall correctly. Look at how many species have been trapped out versus hunted out over history.

So support trapping in your state, the game departments need it to control wolves:)
 

trophyhill

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i don't know anything about Idaho politics but i know wolves was a bad bad idea from the onset. did the IDGF ever have a say so on wolves in the first place? does the IDGF accept funds from the USFW? who knows but my experience in NM sounds pretty close as far as the "Comish" listening to "Majority" hunters during public comment periods. Majority meaning like minded hunters who share opinions on "controversial" issues. instead the Commision ends up pandering to certain groups.

another pattern that emerges is that whenever one of these so called public comment periods involving "controversial" issues/subjects, the result is almost always the same and now very predictable. if the public see's it 1 way the commision see's it the other which in alot of cases shows contempt for the very people they are supposed to serve. which leads me to believe that there is always a predetermined decision long before the public comment periods and that the comment period is only a formality so that the commision can say they followed proper procedures. so in alot of these scenarios the public and opinion are "ignored".
 

Rizzy

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None of the states had a say in reintroduction as far as I know. It was a federal decision. I think they got away with it because they where releasing them in Yellowstone, which is federal land. I'm pretty sure the wolf management is funded by wolf tags in Idaho now. Initially there may have been federal funding to get it going. I'm not really sure.
 
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