Steelheading streams are off color and the wild turkey hunting season is still more than three weeks off.
With a little breather in the action, let’s play the field today, touching bases on a few topics from a proposed bounty on Lake Roosevelt walleyes to liquidating big St. Joe cutthroats.
Sad reality TV: Bob Beck, co-host of Extreme Outer Limits on The Sportsman Channel, won’t be filming himself participating in public hunting seasons in Idaho – or 36 others states – next year.
Beck’s TV broadcast of a 2010 hunt helped seal his case, forcing him to plead guilty last month to hunting illegally near St. Maries.
On the broadcast, the Oregon hunter explained Idaho’s rules allow hunters to purchase a second tag that entitles them to shoot an additional whitetail.
Indeed, he bags two deer for the viewers’ pleasure.
But working with a tip from a sportsman a year after the TV show aired, Idaho Fish and Game officers and Benewah County prosecutors were able to prove that Beck had purchased only one tag.
Beck was required to pay $2,600 in fines and restitution and he lost hunting privileges in 37 states that cooperate to shun illegal hunters.
He’ll be able to ply his style in the West only on private canned hunt ranches, where he won’t have to bother with silly state hunting laws that protect public resources.
Incidentally, he’s lucky the feds didn’t bother to pursue him for violating the Lacey Act by transporting the illegally killed deer across that state line to Oregon.
Being a felony offense, that could have taken a bit of the firepower out of his hunting show.
A federal gun restriction might tarnish TV show hosts who bill themselves as being “capable and able to make competent, ethical harvests at extreme distances” of more than 1,000 yards.
Dave Overman, IFG conservation officer, said several TV hunting show personalities have been prosecuted in Idaho. Among them:
Keith “Doc” Ainsley (Outdoor Icon Show) killed a sow black bear accompanied by her cubs in 2004
Glenn Berry filmed himself killing a bull elk in Idaho with a Montana tag. Berry of Medical Lake has filmed big-game hunts worldwide for Big Bull Productions.
Overman senses the pressure to get television video of kill shots may factor into the illegal activity of hunting show personalities.
And wouldn’t it be interesting to know how many TV kill shots were made on baited animals?
Enjoy the next show.
Walleye bounty: Rumors have been flying about the Spokane Tribe’s plan to offer tribal members cash for killing walleyes in the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt.
It’s true the tribe had planned to pay tribal members $2-$4 for walleyes caught by hook and line in April and May – the spawning period during which public fishing is closed in the Spokane Arm.
Little else about the plan is clear – or if it’s still a go – since Spokane Tribe officials have not responded to phone messages or emails requesting information.
That’s a shame, because they’re unnecessarily angering anglers with the idea of a bounty on a sportfish.
The issue of walleye predation needs a full hearing, not more sandbagging.
The tribe’s modest plan to harvest a thousand or so walleyes out of the Spokane Arm likely would be good for all fish in Lake Roosevelt, including the walleyes.
Ample evidence suggests the Spokane Arm should be open to all anglers during the walleye spawn. Don’t be surprised if that’s among the fishing regulations proposals the state will be considering next year.
The issue will be explored in the Sunday outdoors section, regardless of whether the Spokane Tribe wants to take part in the discussion.
Speak up: A lot of commenting is underway in North Idaho on public land and resource issues:
The comment period for Idaho Panhandle and Kootenai National Forest Draft Forest Plans has been extended to May 7.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has extended the comment period to May 21 on a caribou critical habitat proposal in the Selkirk Mountains.
The Natural Open Space Management Plan for the Coeur d’Alene Parks Department is available on-line for comment at cdaidparks.org.
Idaho Fish and Game is holding a meeting tonight regarding proposals for Priest Lake mackinaw, Lake Pend Oreille rainbows and a possible pull back of catch-and-release rules for cutthroats on the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers.
The meeting starts 7 p.m. at the Fish and Game regional headquarters, 2885 W. Kathleen Ave. in Coeur d’Alene.