Public Comments Wanted on Hunting Methods

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Fish and Game wants to hear from you.

Should Idaho rules regarding archery and muzzleloader hunting mirror changes in the equipment used for these hunting methods? These and other issues (termed non-biological rules) will be the focus of discussion at two upcoming public open houses hosted by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Biologists will also have a draft of the white-tailed deer management objectives and data analysis areas for the white-tailed deer species management plan available for review.

On December 29 from 4:00 to 7:00pm, Fish and Game personnel will host open houses at the regional office in McCall (555 Deinhard Drive) and Nampa (3101 S. Powerline Road). Compiled information from the open houses will be presented to the Fish and Game Commission for consideration. The Commission will set final rules for the 2004 seasons in March.

By Commission rule, archery hunters are currently limited to compound bows that have a 65 percent let-off. Let-off is the amount of pressure needed to maintain the bow at full draw. Many compound bows now on the market have an 80 percent let-off making it easier to hold the bow at full draw for a longer time while the archer aims. Pope and Young, the archery club that monitors archery hunting records, recently changed its rules to allow animals harvested by archers using 80 percent let-off bows to be entered in the record book.

Some muzzleloader hunters have requested that Fish and Game consider allowing the use of "209" shotgun primers or musket caps rather than be limited to the current No. 10 or 11 percussion caps as a muzzleloader ignition device. Shotgun primers and musket caps produce more dependable powder ignition than percussion caps.

Fish and Game also wants to gauge public opinion on a number of other minor rules. These include allowing hunters to buy any number of leftover nonresident deer or elk tags (current rules allow for the purchase of one each). Also at issue is whether nonresident junior mentored hunting license holders should be treated the same as hunter education graduate license holders and 10-11-year-old small game license holders by requiring that a licensed adult accompany the junior nonresident in the field. "Accompanied" has been defined as being within normal talking distance without the aid of electronic equipment.

The department is also proposing to make it illegal to kill wild big game animals within a fenced enclosure and requiring successful lion hunters to allow for the removal of a premolar tooth, the same rule that applies to bear. Still another proposal would allow persons to cancel their controlled hunt application at regional offices and reapply in case they change their mind about a hunt or submit an incorrect initial application.

Other proposals would make motorized travel restrictions in traditional weapons hunts consistent with the new motorized vehicle rule and would drop the requirement for transporting the lower jaw of elk and deer from the field.

For more information regarding these issues and how to provide your input, please contact Fish and Game's Nampa office at 465-8465 or McCall office at 634-8137.