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Idaho elk plan meeting Thursday in CdA

HUNTING -- Idaho Fish and Game is beginning it's process to revise elk management plans with an open house at the Panhandle Region headquarters office from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursday (May 2) in Coeur d'Alene.

Not to be confused with annual hunting regulations, species management plans provide direction for management of a particular species for the next 10 years or more.

Read on for more details from IFG officials.

From IFG:

As the agency responsible for managing wildlife in Idaho, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) develops long term management plans for fish and wildlife species found in the state.

Not to be confused with annual hunting regulations, species management plans provide direction for management of a particular species for the next ten years or more. Plans are completed for species that are hunted, fished and trapped, as well as those that are not harvested. Species Management Plans are somewhat rigid, guiding documents that are closely followed with the intent to achieve long term goals for a particular species.

Using many sources of input and data, IDFG develops plans to preserve, protect, perpetuate and manage the fish and wildlife species that inhabit Idaho. For game animals, IDFG’s mission is to provide continued supplies of wildlife for hunting, fishing and trapping.

IDFG is currently in the process of drafting a new Idaho Elk Management Plan, a plan that was last revised in 1999. Because many hunters consider elk to be Idaho’s premier big game animal, hunters will be very involved in shaping the new plan.

The previous elk management plan primarily addressed the need to manage hunter density and distribution while incorporating changes in elk populations. With this new revision, IDFG is addressing hunter preferences and current elk numbers.

The goal is to create a plan that is responsive, that incorporates biological and resource realities, and considers hunter input and desires. The plan will need final approval from the IDFG Commission before being adopted as the state plan.

Based on hunter survey results, aerial surveys, and current elk population status, Idaho Fish and Game biologists have drafted statewide elk management objectives for the next 10-years. They have also developed objectives and strategies for each of the elk management zones. The objectives are still in draft form, but soon hunters will be able to provide input on statewide elk management direction, zone-specific elk management goals, and the possible option of hunting in more than one elk zone during a hunting season.

To create a final plan, IDFG is seeking extensive hunter involvement. Meetings and open houses are planned throughout the state to bring hunters together and gather comments. Beginning in July, the department’s web page will provide opportunities to participate in what will eventually become the state management plan.

In the Panhandle, an Elk Plan open house is scheduled from 3-7pm at the IDFG Panhandle Region Office on Thursday, May 2nd.Using comments from this meeting and others around the state, a draft elk management plan will be created. The draft will be completed in June.

Online participation in the process will be available beginning in July. There is already a link to the Idaho Elk Management Plan process on the front page of the IDFG website. The website is easy to find by searching for Follow the elk plan link to find loads of information and everything you need to know about the process. And, to make certain you don’t miss any opportunities to participate sign up to receive e-mail updates by clicking on the ‘PageWatch’ icon at the bottom of the elk plan page.

Open houses are just the beginning of the planning process and hunter participation is encouraged as the new elk plan develops.

The new Elk Management Plan will be presented to the IDFG commission for consideration and approval at the November 2013 Commission meeting.

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Outdoors blog

Rich Landers writes and photographs stories and columns for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including Outdoors feature sections on Sunday and Thursday.