The Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would like hunters to be aware of upcoming seasonal gate closures that will occur on BLM -managed land within Big Game Management Unit 72 north of Soda Springs.
An unlimited archery-only deer hunt (hunt number 1092) begins in Unit 72 on November 16 and runs through December 5. The upper gates on BLM-managed land within the Soda Hills in Unit 72 will be closed to all motorized traffic starting on November 16 and the lower gates will be closed beginning on January 5. Both the upper and lower gates reopen May 15, 2014. The land behind the closed gates remains open to foot and horse-traffic.
These gate closures are an annual event which protects wintering mule deer. Mule deer go into each winter with a certain amount of fat reserves on their bodies, directly related to the amount of summer and fall forage they were able to consume.
By eliminating motorized traffic in winter ranges, like Soda Hills, the extent of deer movement is reduced which in turn reduces the amount of energy these animals use. Restricting motorized travel in winter ranges is just one tool land management agencies like the BLM can employ to help wintering wildlife.
If you have any questions about these gate closures, you may call the Bureau of Land management Pocatello Field Office at 478-6340 or the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Pocatello at 232-4703.