Director Schriever's letter to Idaho Sportsman Package supporters

Thank you for your Idaho Sportsman Package purchase!

Hunters, anglers and trappers like you support wildlife conservation by purchasing licenses, tags and permits, and we at Idaho Fish and Game proudly recognize your support. Sportsmen and women also contribute to conservation through federal taxes paid on fishing and hunting-related gear and boat fuel, which are also important funding sources because Fish and Game receives no general tax revenue from the Idaho Legislature.

Fish and Game strives to manage Idaho’s wildlife resources to balance a wide range of desires from hunters, anglers and trappers within the normal fluctuations in our wildlife populations. We continue to stretch our capacity to understand how wildlife populations function, and adapt that knowledge to meet expectations. 

As director of Fish and Game, it is my sincere opinion that our constitutional mandate to “preserve, protect and perpetuate all wildlife” are best served when we first demonstrate impeccable management of the state’s fish and game in order to “provide continued supplies for fishing, hunting and trapping.” That is my continuing charge to our staff.

We’ve accomplished many things over the past year that reflect our wise use of resources to provide exceptional opportunity, access and customer service:

  • We continued to expand our sportsman-access initiatives, securing more than 4 million acres of land available for public hunting, fishing, trapping and wildlife viewing through Fish and Game sponsored programs.
  • Fish and Game placed new limits on nonresident, over-the-counter deer and elk tags to address growing concerns from residents about crowding, and more evenly distributed nonresidents across deer units and elk zones.   
  • ·A nonresident license and tag fee increase took effect in December 2020 to offset the anticipated loss of revenue that could result from new limits on nonresident participation in deer and elk hunting and ensure that Idaho residents would not pay higher fees as a result. 
  • The department reared and released 29.7 million fish for anglers, including over 2 million catchable trout.
  • Over 20,000 students graduated Idaho Hunter Education in 2020, which ensures the next generation understands the value of wildlife conservation and has the ability to take part in a valued Idaho tradition.
  • 87 percent of deer units and elk zones are meeting population objectives, and more than 72,000 deer and elk were harvested in 2020, which provided a valuable food source for Idaho hunters’ families and friends. 
  • The department responded to 1,017 complaints about wildlife depredation to agriculture operations. Through various methods of resolving wildlife conflicts, the department paid only 84 damage claims with payments providing about $856,000 to compensate farmers and ranchers for their losses. 
  • The department completed mapping of major wildlife migration routes, which provides valuable data for managing big game populations. 
  • Fish and Game expanded steelhead research projects, including an assessment of angler effects on wild steelhead populations to ensure their continued protection as we manage mixed-stock fisheries targeting the harvest of hatchery fish.
  • Pheasant hunters enjoyed doubled the number of Fish and Game pheasant stocking sites in 2020. The number of stocked birds increased by 50 percent to more than 34,000, and we will continue that effort in 2021. 
  • Staff pioneered new wildlife survey techniques by placing 1,377 remote game cameras to detect animals and create population estimates. Working with Microsoft, the department processed 25 million photos in 2020 and more accurately estimated wildlife populations and distribution.
  • Idaho conservation officers continued to protect wildlife and enforce hunting, fishing and trapping rules by doing 45,369 field checks and issuing 3,727 citations to violators. 
  • Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, all fishing, hunting and trapping opportunities remained open for residents in 2020, and the department implemented technology to provide and enhance public involvement in the management of their wildlife through virtual platforms.

As we look to 2021, we continue to focus on our work and meet the challenges facing the department. With Chronic Wasting Disease present in several neighboring states, prevention and management of wildlife disease continues to be a priority to maintain wildlife populations that meet our objectives.

Fish and Game will continue to work with landowners to find solutions to prevent and reduce wildlife damage done to agriculture operations. 

Lastly, with growing resident concerns about crowding in their favorite deer and elk hunting areas, the agency will continue to solicit opinions on how to meet residents’ expectations while continuing to effectively manage big game populations. 

With all that in mind, I would like to leave you with two requests: Please accept this sticker as a symbol of appreciation for your investment in the conservation of Idaho’s fish and wildlife. I hope you will display it with pride.

Secondly, to preserve our lasting heritage of hunting, fishing and wildlife conservation for future generations, I encourage you to share your passion, and support, for Idaho’s fish and wildlife by sharing the outdoors with a young – or new – hunter or angler in 2021.

I hope your Sportsman Package provides you with priceless memories and food on your table.

Sincerely,

Ed Schriever, Director
Idaho Department of Fish and Game

P.S. For more information on how Idaho Fish and Game is meeting our responsibility to citizens and wildlife, I would encourage you to look at our 4-page document titled, “Fiscal Year 2020: A Report to Our Citizens.” 

 

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