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Fish and Game Schedules Public Meetings

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will hold several public meetings around southeast Idaho to receive public comments on 2002 hunting seasons and regulations for elk, deer, antelope, mountain lion, and black bear.

Meetings will be held at 7:00 P.M. on the following dates:

January 28

ISU Student Union

Little Wood River Dining Room

Pocatello

January 29

Bear River Bowmen Archery Range

Preston

January 30

Caribou County Senior Center

Soda Springs

Department biologists will be on hand to answer questions and discuss options for upcoming seasons. The public will have the opportunity to offer comments and suggestions that will be forwarded to the Fish and Game Commission for their consideration prior to setting final hunting rules at their March meeting.

One suggestion for changing elk hunting dates would reverse the timing of bull and cow seasons. Cow elk seasons in most areas have started October 15th, bull seasons on October 26, in recent years. Reversing the order would allow people with bull permits to hunt prior to the greater numbers of cow hunters. Allowing hunters to pursue cow elk a little later would hopefully result in better hunting conditions and lead to an increased success rate.

"Elk numbers are probably at the upper limit of what is socially acceptable across most of southeast Idaho, and are still growing in most areas," according to Regional Wildlife Manager Carl Anderson. "If you think about it, herds of animals the size of elk are not very compatible with humans and our farms, ranches, and towns. Also, while elk and mule deer are not direct competitors for resources, it's difficult to have lots of both in the same place at the same time. It seems likely that increases in elk populations may be replacing deer on some important winter ranges."

People who are not able to attend one of the public meetings are invited to send written comments directly to the Fish and Game Department, either at their Pocatello office, or to the internet homepage, http://www2.state.id.us/fishgame/.

Individuals wishing to attend one of the meetings who may need special accommodation due to disabilities or special needs are welcome to contact the Department office in Pocatello to make arrangements.