The idea that Idaho hunters are buying game animals to hunt is preposterous to most.
However, that is exactly what every resident and nonresident hunter in the state is doing. No, they are not going out to the auction or game farms and picking out the biggest or most prolific animals and releasing them into the wilds to hunt. What Idaho hunters are doing is annually financing the development and or improvement of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat across the state.
A small portion of every hunting license purchase in the state goes into the Habitat Improvement Program (HIP) fund. These funds are to be used to increase the quantity and quality of wildlife habitat on public and private land across the state. The main focus is given to upland game bird and waterfowl populations. However, some funds have been allocated to other specific efforts such as mule deer habitat in southeast Idaho.
The resulting increases in high quality habitat leads to larger and healthier wildlife populations. This provides more opportunity for sportsmen to enjoy our wildlife resources through increased harvest quotas, longer seasons, and more access.
In the Clearwater Region we use the majority of our HIP funds for upland game and waterfowl habitat improvements on private lands. This is because the majority of the upland game bird and waterfowl habitat exists on private land, such as on the Palouse. Private landowner participation in the HIP program has aided in the widespread improvement in landowner and sportsmen relations and hunting access. By participating in the HIP program landowners agree to not lease, sell, or completely close hunter access to the contracted project acres.