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Idaho Fish and Game


Big Game Damage Prevention & Compensation Program

Private landowners in Idaho provide important habitat that supports fish and wildlife. All who hunt, fish and trap in Idaho benefit from good habitat.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission and department appreciate all that landowners do for wildlife and for hunting, fishing and trapping in Idaho.
Hunters prefer that the Fish and Game Commission manage for abundant big game herds of deer, elk and pronghorn antelope to provide for hunting opportunity. The commission also recognizes its responsibility to address impacts Idaho’s publicly owned wildlife can cause to privately owned farms and ranches.

That responsibility is outlined in Idaho Code 36-1108, 36-1109 and 36-1110.

Hunters, anglers and trappers provide the funding used for the prevention and compensation program for crop and livestock loss due to wildlife. The funding is generated by the Access/Depredation fee, ($5 for residents, $10 for nonresidents) and $3.50 of the price of each deer, elk, and pronghorn tag.

Preventing Damage

Fish and Game’s first priority is to work with the landowner to prevent or minimize damage caused by big game animals. To be successful, it is essential that landowners and Fish and Game communicate, cooperate and work together to reduce damage. Landowners are encouraged to contact Fish and Game if they suspect or observe damage to growing or stored crops for profit.  Staff will work with the landowner to develop a plan that follows statute and policies to assist them with damage prevention. Landowners are obligated to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent or reduce damage to their property before they can be considered eligible for depredation compensation. 

How Landowners Can Get Help

If you are experiencing or anticipating big game damage problems, contact your local Fish and Game regional office and ask to speak to the Landowner/Sportsman Coordinator or your local Conservation Officer. A Fish and Game representative will assist you and will try to find a solution that works for your operation.

How to File a Depredation Claim:

Idaho Fish and Game has assembled a series of checklists, simple forms and examples of fencing techniques to assist landowners in filing a claim. You will find all resources in the document below.


Landowners Guide to Preventing Big Game Damage and Filing Damage Claims - 2022

– Full brochure, 1-16 [PDF, 1 MB] Download Document
pdf preview

How Fish and Game Can Help

  • Staff will work with the landowner to develop a plan that follows statute and policies
  • Provide materials to reduce or prevent wildlife impacts
    • For example: fencing, gates, panels
  • Provide advice and assistance for hazing animals away from green or stored crops
  • Fish and Game can also authorize special hunts or issue permits to harvest a certain number of animals
  • Work with landowners on crop agreements, such as paying landowners to allow wildlife use of their crops
  • In some cases where prevention was ineffective, Fish and Game will compensate eligible landowners for damages caused by big game wildlife 
farmer in field showing elk trailing damage depredation August 2004

Compensation for Damage

If Fish and Game, in cooperation with the landowner, is unable to prevent or minimize damage caused by deer, elk, pronghorn, moose, black bear, or mountain lion; eligible landowners can file a claim and be compensated for the damage. Any compensation from Fish and Game cannot be in addition to any commodity insurance received for the same loss. Local Landowner/Sportsman Coordinators will assist landowners through the damage claims process.

To be eligible for compensation for damage, landowners must:

  1. Notify Fish and Game within 72 hours of discovering damage is occurring
  2. Provide written notification, which may be electronic, with 20 days of discovering the damage
  3. Have allowed reasonable access for hunters
  4. Have suffered loss of at least $750