Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Donít let state market wildlife

Idaho's Senate Resources Committee is considering S-1256, introduced on behalf of a wealthy southeast Idaho industrialist and trophy hunter, which would have Idaho auction its big-game wildlife like some neighboring states. Revenue would go to listed activities like Utah's Rule R657-41-9, rather than to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game general license fund.

Marketing groups elsewhere retain 70 percent (Utah) and even 100 percent (Wyoming) from wildlife sales. Utah's wildlife auctions have been followed by 50 percent decreased harvest of buck deer and 60 percent fewer license-buying deer hunters, and enriched marketers.

Our legislature is considering this private bill, managed by its lobbyist, with little public notice, hurried hearings and no position by the Fish and Game Commission.

Two other bills, S-1282 and S-1283, would legalize current black-market sales of big-game tags that ranchers get for owning land.

Unbeknownst to most Idahoans, with the seven-member Fish and Game Commission sidelined, these three bills would establish private markets for the people's wildlife. Idaho's big-game commonwealth, owned by 1.3 million Idahoans, should not become a marketed property right.

The Idaho Fish and Game Advisory Committee said in its recent letter: "Idahoans want their wildlife to be 'managed' and not 'marketed.' The Committee is aware that the practice of tag/permit marketing is currently being used in neighboring states but feel that identical approaches are not right for Idaho."

Legislators should refer these three bills to the Fish and Game Commission so citizens can have their say. 

John Caywood


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