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Public Invited to Review Whitetail Deer Plan

LEWISTON - Idahoans have an opportunity to weigh in on the proposed changes to whitetail deer hunting opportunities. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) will host an open house on Thursday, November 4 to gather public input on the draft Whitetail Deer Plan. IDFG biologists will be on hand to discuss the plan and accept comments at the Clearwater Region office located at 1540 Warner Avenue in Lewiston from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interested hunters can review the draft plan and provide comments throughout the day, or they can review the plan on the department's web site in the hunting section at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov. Hunters are also invited to take part in the survey found on the web site. Under the proposed plan, whitetail deer will be managed separately from mule deer. Currently, hunters buy a deer tag that does not differentiate between the species. Regulations are shaped under the plan to address agricultural depredation by whitetails while recognizing the value of habitat for maintaining existing populations. Specifically, a new whitetail deer-only tag will be considered for 2005. This new tag could be used wherever whitetail deer seasons occur and could only be used to harvest a whitetail during any general deer season in the state, including the Clearwater Region's late season. The other choice for hunters would be to purchase a general deer tag, which would allow harvest of either a mule deer or whitetail deer in much of the Clearwater Region no later than November 3, as well as hunt in the rest of the state during any open general deer season. The plan will be reviewed and may be adopted by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission when it meets in Orofino November 17-19th.