Friday, November 30, 2007

Open house to focus on wolf management

Meeting set for Dec. 3 in Jerome

Express Staff Writer

A controversial statewide wolf population management plan will be discussed at an upcoming public meeting scheduled for next week in Jerome.

The draft plan, which the Idaho Department of Fish and Game developed ahead of the possible delisting of wolves in Idaho and Montana from federal Endangered Species Act protection sometime early next year, would guide decisions on how wolf hunting would take place in Idaho. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will likely make a decision on the plan in March.

The open house will be held Monday, Dec. 3, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Magic Valley Regional Office at 319 South and 417 East in Jerome.

Proposed revisions to the Idaho mule deer management plan as well as upland game, furbearer and turkey season regulations for 2008-2009 seasons will also be discussed.

"This is a great opportunity for sportsmen to be able to voice their opinions on several very important issues," said Randy Smith, Magic Valley regional wildlife manager. "Decisions made on these plans will drive our management programs for the next decade."

Opening the meeting at 6 p.m. with a presentation on the state's draft wolf population management plan will be Steve Nadeau, the Fish and Game Department's large carnivore manager.

Fish and Game officials are seeking public comment on several important issues related to the future management of wolves in Idaho, including harvest strategies to manage wolf populations and policies addressing wolf interactions with livestock and big game.

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The revised mule deer plan will guide management in Idaho over the next 10 years. The plan addresses strategies to provide the variety of hunting opportunities desired by Idaho hunters, habitat protection and enhancement, population monitoring, law enforcement, and hunter recruitment and retention.

The draft plans are available for viewing on the Fish and Game Web site at or at any agency office. Written comments on the plans can be submitted at the scheduled open house, online at Fish and Game's Web site, or by mail to Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Box 25, Boise, ID 83707. The deadline for submitting comments on the wolf and mule deer plans and season proposals is Dec. 31.

Additional meetings to discuss the wolf management plan will also be held:

- Wednesday, Dec. 5, from 4-9 p.m. at the Fish and Game regional office, 4279 Commerce Circle, Idaho Falls.

- Monday, Dec. 10, from 6-9 p.m. at the Challis Middle School, 700 Main St., Challis.

- Thursday, Dec. 13, from 5-8 p.m. in the Trophy Room at the Fish and Game headquarters, 600 S. Walnut St., Boise.

For more information on the Jerome meeting, call 324-4359.

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