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Commission to Study Rising Costs of Stocking Pheasants

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission agreed to study options and to decide at the July meeting what to do about the rising cost of stocking game farm pheasants.

The commissioners agreed to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's recommendations on the pheasant stocking budget during their recent quarterly meeting in Sun Valley.

Options for the stocking program on department wildlife management areas include increasing permit fees, changing fee structure, stocking upland birds other than pheasants or discontinuing stocking at some areas. Rooster pheasants cost $6.92 each when the program began, but the price has risen to more than $15.

Any change would not take effect in the 2007 season.

The Sun Valley session began with a mule deer workshop during which commissioners sought information from Fish and Game wildlife bureau chief Jim Unsworth, the director of the Utah Division of Wildlife and a Wyoming commissioner. The session was attended by about 15 hunters.

The Commission agreed to recommended changes in turkey hunts in the Panhandle Region.

For the fall 2007 wild turkey hunt, hunters in Units 1, 2, 3 and 5 will be able to buy up to three turkey tags at $5 each including vendor fee, in addition to the two tags they could have in any Idaho turkey season. The season will be extended to December 31. High populations and landowner complaints prompted the changes.

Sandhill crane and dove seasons will be about the same as last year's, with the addition of Jefferson and Bonneville counties to the hunting zone. Hunting has not adversely affected populations, hunters remain interested and agricultural damage is reduced by hunting cranes. No early goose seasons will be open.

The Commission also adopted:

- The department's 2008, $74.1 million budget as approved by the Legislature.

- The department's recommended Lost River Whitefish Management Plan.

- Recommended changes in commercial fishing rules that allow commercial fishing for carp with gillnets.

The Commission also heard updates on continuing programs from several program managers.