Posts tagged: Fish & Game
Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: GRANGEVILLE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho’s top fish and game official has pleaded guilty to one count of trespass to hunt and ordered to pay a $500 fine. Idaho Fish and Game Director Cal Groen told a judge Tuesday he wasn’t hunting on the property near Elk City on Oct. 13, but just assisting others tracking an elk. Groen said only after crossing on to the land did he realize it was private and closed to public hunting. The Lewiston Tribune reports Groen was also given a withheld judgment by Magistrate Randall Robinson. The 63-year-old director was charged with three others for crossing on to the property without permission. Groen has said his partners previously hunted the land but were unaware it changed ownership. Groen says the lesson is hunters can’t assume they have permission to hunt on private land.
Idaho Fish & Game is investigating what it calls “an alarming number” of big game animals shot and left to waste along a single stretch of road east of Kamiah - seven deer and elk since late October. “We’ve investigated poaching activity in this area in the past, but nothing to this extent,” said Roger Westfall, a senior conservation officer based in Kamiah. “There is no excuse for these senseless crimes – it’s outrageous.” F&G reported that the kills, all found along a 1.5-mile stretch of Beaver Slide Road, included two whitetail does, a cow elk, a mature mule deer buck, a small whitetail buck and two more elk. All appeared to have been shot from the road illegally; no meat was taken from any of them.
“Anyone observing suspicious activity in this area or with information about these crimes is encouraged to contact the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999,” Fish & Game said in a news release. “Callers can remain anonymous and will be eligible for a reward.”
The agency also is asking for help in finding the poacher of a trophy-class white-tailed buck that was shot from Deer Creek Road west of Whitebird around Nov. 16; those poachers took the head, including the animal’s huge and distinctive antlers, and left the rest of the carcass to waste.
This morning’s helicopter crash in Kamiah involved two Idaho Fish & Game fisheries biologists and a pilot; two people died, and one of the biologists was hospitalized in Orofino. Identification of the victims is being withheld pending notification of the families. Fish & Game reported this afternoon that the crash apparently was caused by a mechanical malfunction; it occurred near the Fish & Game office in Kamiah. The biologists were taking salmon redd counts on the nearby Selway River; the helicopter belongs to a Clarkston, Wash. company that contracts services to Idaho Fish & Game.
Instead of raising more revenue, a fee increase hitting out-of-state hunters and anglers has resulted in less money flowing to the Idaho Fish and Game Department this year. “Usually in Idaho we sell out right away when it comes to our nonresident deer and elk hunters, and at this time we are not sold out and we’re seeing a lag,” said Fish and Game Director Cal Groen. “We have tags left over.”
In a survey, hunters from outside the state cited the fee increase, the poor economy and the state’s growing wolf population as reasons they’re staying away this year. Lawmakers had considered a Fish & Game proposal to charge more for the most popular hunts – a plan intended to raise an extra $7 million a year – but instead approved a more modest increase only on out-of-state residents. If nonresident tag sales held steady this year, the change was expected to net $2.5 million more. That hasn’t happened. Three months into the state’s new fiscal year, revenue from tag sales is 9 percent, or about $1 million, below the same point last year. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.