|Idaho Question and Answer
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission addressed the "10 percent rule" which limits issuance of controlled hunt permits to nonresidents. In all controlled hunt drawings, nonresidents will be eligible for up to 10 percent of permits by species. In the past, nonresidents were eligible for 10 percent of permits in each hunt, or one in hunts with 10 or fewer permits. In the case of a species having many hunts with few permits in each, nonresidents have drawn up to 25 percent of the permits because of the "one, if fewer than 10" rule. In the future, nonresidents will not be eligible for more than 10 percent of permits for any species. For bighorn sheep the rule will be phased in over three years. Under a proposal offered by Commissioner John Burns of Carmen, bighorn permits this year will be allocated as in the past. Since the number of permits for California bighorns has been reduced from 43 to 13, there will still be a reduced number of nonresident permits. In 2002, the quota will be half of full implementation of the 10 percent per species rule and in 2003 and thereafter, it will be fully implemented. California and Rocky Mountain bighorns will be regarded as one species for the purpose of this rule. The lottery and auction sheep tags, which by law must be from the nonresident pool of tags, will be extra tags added after the numbers for each hunt have been determined.
The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission scheduled over 40 meetings across the state in January to address the tentative hunting regulations and quotas for 2001 deer, elk, black bear, lion, and upland game bird seasons.
The deadline for public comment is January 26. To comment or to obtain copies of the tentative regulations and proposed changes for the 2001 hunting seasons, write to: Wildlife Division, Montana FWP, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701. A summary, with a comment link, is available on-line at <ahref="http://fwp.state.mt.us/summary">fwp.state.mt.us/summary</a>.
State biologists are working to balance mule deer numbers with available habitat after a summer fire consumed 80,000 acres used by wildlife during the winter months.
The Jackson Fire burned through sage, bitterbrush and grasses near the community of Vale, across Interstate 84 to the Snake River. The burned area, which includes both public and private lands, provided year-round forage for 500 resident mule deer, 300 elk, 250 pronghorn antelope, and winter forage for another 500 migratory mule deer. The fire, fueled by hot temperatures, wind and a high buildup of noxious weeds, left little behind but charred ground.
"The primary concern is loss of wildlife winter range. It could easily be 20-30 years before the habitat is fully rehabilitated," said Walt Van Dyke, wildlife biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).
To jump-start the recovery process the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeded 22,000 acres of the burn with range land plants. Private landowners, the Soil and Water Conservation District and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board are all contributing to the rehabilitation effort. But with only 8 inches of precipitation per year, plant growth will be slow. Fall rains allowed some vegetative growth for wildlife forage but if snow accumulates, mule deer will find little to eat. Reduced forage on the winter range will encourage deer to move onto agriculture lands, and potentially cause damage to crops. ODFW held a public meeting this fall with landowners, hunters and other interested individuals to formulate a post-fire wildlife management strategy. Participants identified issues and options, some of which were implemented to deal with the fire effects. Ideally, biologists want to manage deer numbers at levels that the remaining undisturbed habitat can support. Last fall ODFW implemented an emergency hunt program to reduce the number of resident deer to better match available habitat. In addition, landowners have assisted by fencing haystacks to minimize wildlife damage to agriculture lands. Depending on winter conditions and damage to agriculture, a feeding program could be established. However, biologists note that feeding deer usually doesn't produce the desired results.
"Biologically, it's not a good thing to winter feed deer," stated Van Dyke. Feeding programs result in changes to habitat use patterns by wildlife that can cause long-term damage to agriculture lands. "We're still suffering damage from a prior feeding effort. We've got landowners now who used to support feeding and are totally opposed to any additional feeding," added Van Dyke. Winter feeding programs are expensive too. The Jackson Fire burned with such intensity that the entire shrub overstory was lost. A feeding program, if started, would have to continue for years before the habitat could support a large deer population. Biologists and many landowners agree that the best management strategy is to reduce the deer population to match the habitat.
Although the Jackson fire was significant, it affects less than 8 percent of the mule deer in the Beulah Wildlife Management Unit. Biologists note that other winter ranges in the unit are in good condition.
Hunters looking to bag some snow geese in Wyoming's March 1-31 season are alerted they will need a "Conservation Order Special Management Permit" beginning this year. The permit is available at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's Laramie, Casper and Cheyenne offices. Hunters can also buy the permit by mailing an application to the Cheyenne office. The permit costs $10 for both residents and nonresidents.
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requires states to be able to accurately survey hunters participating in the Light Goose Conservation Order," said Steve Tessmann, G&F waterfowl supervisor. "To do that in Wyoming, we needed to specifically identify our late-season snow goose hunters with the permit. The survey card issued with the permit will help the Fish and Wildlife Service get a better estimate of harvest during the late-winter season." He adds the $10 fee will help defer the costs of the survey, which must be returned to the G&F by April 10. The new permit is required in addition to a game bird license, federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) permit and conservation stamp. Hunters with a daily game bird license are not required to purchase a conservation stamp.
This year, the Wyoming late-winter snow goose season, or conservation order, is March 1-31. The season is only open in Wyoming's Central Flyway, which is east of the continental divide. In 2001, hunters can use electronic calls but are still required to use plugged shotguns. Hunters may take snow geese during the conservation order from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. The limit is 20 per day with no possession limit. Details of the light goose conservation order are explained on pages 30-34 of the Wyoming's 2000-01 Late Migratory Game Bird Regulations. Conservation order permit applications and regulations are available at license agents in southeast Wyoming or by calling the G&F at (800) 842-1934 or (307) 777-4600 from out of state.
Copyright © 2000 J & D Outdoor Communications. All rights reserved.