Winters in Eastern Idaho can be long and cold so when early spring weather shows up its understandable that folks want to get out and enjoy themselves as a cure for cabin fever.
While most people who head out to the hills for fun are responsible, a few seem to go out of their way to cause trouble. Unfortunately, the actions of these few miscreants can lead to the loss of access to private lands for large numbers of sportsmen. Such is the case regarding some vandalism east of Ririe Reservoir during the stretch of nice weather in mid-March.
"We're asking the public for assistance in locating who might be responsible for vandalism and damage to both private and public property just east of Ririe Reservoir sometime during the week of March 12," said senior conservation officer Dan Kelsey of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
Vandals drove across newly sprouting grain fields and destroyed signs belonging to Fish and Game's Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area.
"Not only did they tear up the fields by cutting from one road to another, they also busted off a Fish and Game sign from Bull's Fork near Kepp's Crossing south of Tex Creek WMA, and then dumped it north of the WMA after using it to get unstuck from a mud bog," Kelsey said.
Unfortunately, this happens all across Idaho on an all too regular basis.
"The families that own this property have allowed access for hunting for over 50 years, and this kind of vandalism leads to the loss of hunting opportunity for everyone," said Cameron Wheeler, Idaho Fish and Game commissioner for the Upper Snake Region.
That means sportsmen pay the price of lost access because of the wanton disregard of others who are also using the outdoors.
"In the case of the Ririe area, no real hunting seasons are open, and the ground squirrels aren't even out for the plinkers yet," Kelsey said.
Anyone with information about this incident or other such incidents that could result in the loss of access for sportsmen should contact the local Fish and Game office at 208-525-7290.