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Idaho Fish and Game


F&G takes ownership of big game winter range parcel in Elmore County


Idaho Fish and Game recently took ownership of a 5,533-acre land parcel in Elmore County about 20 miles southeast of Boise that contains high-quality wildlife habitat and provides valuable winter range for deer and elk. 

The property was bought from a seller who sought out Fish and Game as a preferred buyer to keep the land undeveloped while retaining its value to wildlife and preserving open space. The property lies within heavily used winter range that supports roughly 1,800 mule deer and 700 elk, depending on the year. Deer and elk are currently wintering on the property. 

The property cost $7.86 million and was paid for by Bonneville Power Administration through the Southern Idaho Wildlife Mitigation Agreement, which pays for land purchases to offset the loss of wildlife habitat due to hydropower projects. 

The property is now part of the Boise River Wildlife Management Area. In addition to big game, it supports upland game species such as California quail, mourning dove, chukar, gray partridge, and other wildlife. 

“We’re very grateful to the landowners for reaching out to us, and their desire to see this land preserved as important wildlife habitat,” said Fish and Game Director Jim Fredericks. “We also appreciate the Bonneville Power Administration for providing funding."

Fish and Game took ownership in early February, and staff are beginning work on infrastructure projects such as gates, road maintenance, fencing, parking, etc.

"We ask the public’s patience before using this property. It is currently being used for its intended purpose – a safe place for deer and elk to winter – and it will take some time to make it fully accessible and useable to the public," Fredericks said.   

This acquisition will not only protect important winter range and provide public recreation, it will also improve access to tens of thousands of acres of adjacent public land.