Moose Hunter Opinion Sought

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Idaho Fish and Game wants to know how potential moose hunters would like to handle the matter of hunting cow moose.

As the long-established rule stands now, moose hunting in Idaho is a one-time thing. Once a hunter has killed a moose in Idaho, there is no encore in this lifetime and it does not matter whether the moose is a bull or a cow. When this rule was established, there was no legal hunting of antlerless moose.

Idaho's moose population has expanded steadily in recent decades. The number of permits drawn in the annual computerized controlled hunt drawing has gone from a few hundred 20 years ago to 1,150 this year. Moose are hunted on more than half the land area of Idaho.

In some places, the moose population has become troublesome to local residents. It is an issue of depredation on private property and, in a few instances, a matter of public safety. Where the moose herd needs to be trimmed, hunts for antlerless moose have been established.

The problem with the antlerless hunts is that some of them are undersubscribed--hunters do not even apply for permits--largely because taking a cow moose means the end of the chance to ever draw for a bull.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission intends to find a way to make antlerless moose hunting more attractive when it meets in Boise January 15-17. Before that meeting and decision, the department and Commission want to know what hunters prefer.

The choices suggested so far are:

  • leave the rules the way they are.
  • if the rule on one moose in a lifetime remains, is it acceptable to continue selling left-over antlerless permits over the counter on a first-come basis at regional offices?
  • if the rules are to change, should cow moose permits be allocated by
    a. allowing one bull and one antlerless moose in a lifetime.
    b. not restricting the number of antlerless moose in a lifetime, but allow hunters to receive only one antlerless moose permit every five years.
    c. placing no restriction on the number of antlerless moose permits a hunter may receive and placing no restriction on the length of the annual wait period between receiving antlerless moose permits

Hunters can file their opinions on the department Internet web site in the hunting section at www2.state.id.us/fishgame or mail letters to Dale Toweill, IDFG, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID or call 208-334-2920.