The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is planning public meetings during the week of June 25-29 to gather comments on the 2012 sandhill crane seasons.
An all-day open house on Tuesday, June 26, will be held in the Upper Snake Region office in Idaho Falls to discuss sandhill crane permit levels and proposed nonbiological rule changes.
A detailed list of proposed non-biological rule changes and an electronic survey can be found at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/portal/form/2012-nonbiological-rules.
Other locations and times will be announced when they are set.
The proposed changes cover a wide variety of topics ranging from types of bait that can be used for trapping to how to manage unlimited controlled hunts and allocation of elk tags in zones where the quota is capped.
Idaho's 2012 crane harvest allocation, as directed by the Pacific Flyway Council Rocky Mountain Population Crane Plan, is 225, down from 410 in 2011.
The allocation declined because the number of birds during the fall 2011 crane survey was down. The allocation is revised every five years. In Idaho, the number of cranes and the proportion of cranes in the total population have declined. As a result, the Idaho allocation declined from 22 percent to 16.68 percent of the total population.
While crane hunts have been popular, some Idaho hunts only sold half of the available permits in the past, so a decrease in number of permits should not greatly affect the number of birds harvested.
Individuals with disabilities may request accommodations by contacting Daryl Meints at Fish and Game at 208-525-7290 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-3529(TDD). Individuals not able to attend may comment by regular mail to IDFG / 4279 Commerce Circle in Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401.
Public comment will be taken until July 5. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will rule on these issues at their meeting July 11-13, in Bonners Ferry.
In addition, hunters may also participate in two public opinion surveys: An OHV rule survey at http://www.cnr.uidaho.edu/access/ohvsurvey.htm, and an Idaho elk hunter survey at: http://www.cnr.uidaho.edu/IDFG/elkhuntersurvey.htm. Both these surveys close Friday June 22.