The Idaho Fish and Game Commission, Thursday, November 10, approved two proposed controlled antlerless hunts to help reduce mule deer numbers in part of the Bennett Hills.
Idaho Fish and Game will issue 250 tags for each of two extra controlled hunts in hunt area 45-1. The first, Hunt-1127, runs from December 1 through 14, and the second, Hunt-1128, runs December 20 through 31. Commissioners also approved adding 25 landowner appreciation program tags to both hunts.
Hunt Area 45-1 is the part of Game Management Unit 45 north of Interstate 84, east of the Bennett Mountain Road, and west of the Bliss-Hill City Road, excluding the Camas Creek drainage.
In August, the Blair Fire burned about 38,000 acres of critical mule deer winter range in the Bennett Hills north of King Hill and Glenns Ferry. Surveys have shown that more than 5,000 deer used the burn area in the past, representing about 40 percent of the total wintering population in the Smoky-Bennett Population Management Unit, made up of units 43, 44, 45, 48 and 52.
The antlerless hunts would help minimize deer crowding on remaining winter ranges, lessen deer use of private lands and roadways, and provide hunting opportunity. And they would help bring herd numbers into balance with the remaining habitat.
The Bureau of Land Management's travel restrictions in the burn area will affect hunter access during these hunts. A map of the motorized travel closure area will be provided to all successful hunt applicants.
The deadline to apply is November 18. Interested hunters may apply at any Fish and Game license vendor, by calling 1-800-55HUNT5, or on the Internet at https://id.outdoorcentral.us/.
Hunters who have successfully drawn for an extra deer tag in 2011 are not eligible.