Most big game hunters in Idaho could soon be out from under the mandatory harvest report system established two years ago.
In the last two big game hunting seasons, all deer and elk hunters were required to fill out a harvest report card and return it to Fish and Game. While the Fish and Game Commission was evaluating the mandatory report system against the long established telephone survey method of estimating big game harvest, both systems were in effect.
The Commission decided in its March meeting in Boise to ask Fish and Game staff to come up with a plan by April that will use a mandatory report system for all controlled hunts (already required for moose, goat and sheep) and a telephone survey for elk and deer general hunts.
Hunters who participate in controlled hunts will be required to file their reports within 10 days of harvest or end of the season. Those who fail to report will not be able to apply for another controlled hunt for two years.
The Commission was told that 83 percent of last fall's hunter report cards have been returned so far.