Wednesday, October 1, 2014

BLM seeks input on predator derby

Agency will draft environmental assessment for January contest


By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer

    The BLM is seeking public comment on a proposal to hold predator-killing contests near Salmon each winter for the next five years.
     A hunters’ organization called Idaho for Wildlife is seeking a five-year special recreation permit for the event. According to the BLM, less than half the area expected to be used for the contest would be on BLM land.
    Idaho for Wildlife held a similar contest last December, but contestants hunted only on national forest land following a court ruling that the organization did not need a special-use permit for contestants to do so. Idaho for Wildlife did not seek to use BLM land at that time.
    According to the BLM, next year’s event is scheduled for Jan. 2-4.
    A point system would be established and applied to different predators, and participants would compete for the most points. Coyotes, skunks, weasels, jackrabbits, raccoons and starlings are classified by Idaho law as predatory. Predatory wildlife may be taken in any number year-round and at any time by holders of a hunting license. Wolves would also be a targeted species. There would be no trapping allowed. All Idaho Fish and Game hunting rules would apply.


A 15-day comment period for the application ends Oct. 16.



    The event could occur each year between Dec. 15 and Jan. 15, and the permit would be valid for five years after an initial one-year probation period.
    The anticipated use is between 250 and 300 registered competitors, though the permit would allow for up to 500.
    Special recreation permits are required by the BLM for all recreation-related competitive events.  Permits have been issued in the past for events such as endurance races, bike races, poker runs and eco-challenges.  In a press release, the BLM stated that the permit system ensures that it can appropriately manage visitor use, protect natural and cultural resources, and achieve local goals for the community.
    A 15-day comment period for the application ends Oct. 16. Comments will be considered as the agency writes an environmental assessment. Information regarding the EA can be found at www.blm.gov.
    The BLM asks that people who submit comments focus on issues that are under the BLM’s authority, which include impacts to recreation, wildlife habitat and social and economic values.  The BLM does not manage for wildlife or determine hunting regulations; the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has authority over all hunting regulations regardless of land jurisdiction.
    Submit comments by mail to BLM, 1206 S. Challis St., Salmon, ID 83467, attention predator hunt derby SRP, or by email at BLM_ID_Predatorhuntderby@blm.gov.
    For more information on the application, contact the BLM Salmon Field Office at 208-756-5425.




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