Press Release

F & G Seeks Comment on Turkey Outfitting, Predator Policy

Wild turkey outfitting, waterfowl seasons and a draft predator policy top the list of discussion topics for an upcoming open house hosted by Fish and Game. Everyone is invited to attend the August 16 get together to be held at the Fish and Game Nampa office, 3101 S. Powerline Road from noon to 6:00pm. Written comments are also being accepted and can be mailed to:

Fish and Game, Attention: Lou Nelson

3101 S. Powerline Road

Nampa, ID 83686

or emailed to: lounelso@idfg.state.id.us

Here's a brief outline of the three topics that are the focus of the open house:

Wild Turkey Outfitting

The Department's long-standing policy against outfitting for wild turkeys stems from the concern that it could result in exclusive leasing of private lands - where most turkey hunting occurs - leaving the majority of turkey hunters with no place to hunt. However, the policy does prohibit outfitters from operating guided turkey hunts on their own property.

A proposal by the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association to allow turkey outfitting resulted in the formulation of four alternatives for sportsmen to ponder: 1) allowing no turkey outfitting; 2) allowing turkey outfitting only on lands owned by an outfitter; 3) issuing a limited number of turkey outfitting licenses for a three-year trial period and; 4) allowing unlimited turkey outfitting.

"This issue is social in nature, not biological," regional wildlife manager Lou Nelson noted. "None of these alternatives will have adverse impacts on Idaho's turkey populations. The impacts, rather, will be felt by all Idaho sportsmen and outfitting businesses, depending on the alternative selected by the Fish and Game Commission. That's why it's so important that sportsmen make their voice heard on this issue."

Waterfowl Seasons

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service develops a framework for allowable waterfowl seasons each year, including the number of hunting days and sideboards for season opening and closing dates. At issue is when to open and close the duck season (September 30 being the earliest possible opening date, January 21 being the latest closing date). "The duck season will most likely be 107 days this year," Nelson said. "Now it's just a matter of duck hunters expressing their preference for an early opener or a late closing date."

Input is also needed regarding goose season, which is one week shorter than duck season. "We want to hear the preference of waterfowlers," Nelson said. "We can open the goose and duck seasons on the same day, with goose season closing the week before duck season ends, or we can open the goose season one week after duck season begins with both seasons closing on the same day. The choice is up to those persons providing input to the department."

Draft Predator Policy

The Department, at the request of the Commission, has developed a draft predator policy. The policy discusses the role of predators, and criteria and conditions under which the Department would institute predator control measures.

After collecting and analyzing comments, Department staff will make recommendations to the Commission regarding these issues. The Commission will take final action on all three items at their August meeting in Boise.

For more information regarding the open house, contact Lou Nelson at the Fish and Game Nampa office, 465-8465.