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2001 Big Game Season Open Houses Set

What is your definition of traditional archery equipment? Should it include only wooden arrows and longbows, or could it include recurves with metal arrows also? What is a traditional muzzleloader rifle? Can it have an in-line firing mechanism, or should it be only a flintlock from a totally purist standpoint? And maybe you should have to wear buckskins when hunting with a traditional muzzleloader? (That's a joke!)

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will present these topics and other big game issues at three upcoming open houses in the Magic Valley Region for the 2001 Big Game Regulations. These meetings will cover season's dates, permit levels and hunt types for elk, deer, antelope, black bear and mountain lion.

The open house sessions will be held at the following locations: Hailey - Friday, February 16 at the old Blaine County Courthouse; Twin Falls - Tuesday, February 20, at the Best Western Cavanaugh's Hotel; Burley - Wednesday, February 21, at City Hall. Times for all events will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will also be an open house in Mountain Home sponsored by the Southwest Regional Fish and Game Office. It will be held on Wednesday, February 21, at the Bingo Parlor, 3285 Airbase Road from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

An issue that relates to traditional weapon hunts will be to suggest the prohibition of ATV's or motorcycles for designated traditional archery or muzzleloader hunts. Vehicles could be used on state, county or Forest Service system roads, but off-road or off-trail vehicle use would not be allowed. A hunter would ultimately have to walk in to find the game and harvest it, then walk out again with that game animal.

The Department has no intent to outlaw or restrict existing archery or muzzleloader equipment or technology. If accepted by the hunting publics, the regions would try to establish new opportunities for these specific traditional hunts.

Other issues to be covered at these open houses include reduction of antlered deer permits in unit 56, an increase of antlerless deer permits in the northern units, the change from a general muzzleloader deer hunt to an unlimited muzzleloader controlled hunt in unit 45, and the splitting of the former Big Desert Zone into two zones.

Also under consideration is to raise the age for youth hunt participants from under 15 to under 17. These young hunters would then be allowed to take only antlerless deer in general deer seasons. Current youth hunts in this region have proven to be very popular with young people and parents alike. This proposed change would require changes to our existing hunt framework.

The public is invited to attend any or all of these open house events. Input may also be relayed to the Magic Valley Regional Office in Jerome, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is 324-4359.

Anyone requiring special access considerations or needs due to a physical condition should contact this office no later than a day before the meeting date.