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Idaho Fish and Game

Weiser River Zone Elk Hunters Should Do Your Homework

If you're pondering the purchase of a Weiser River Zone A tag with thoughts of hunting cow elk in unit 32, there are at least two things you'll need to do in preparation for your hunt: get to know the hunt area boundary and get to know a local landowner. This special general antlerless elk hunt is a novelty for a number of reasons. At five months in length (August 1 to December 31), it is one of the longest running seasons on the books. And it has been a long time since southwest Idaho witnessed a general antlerless elk season. "We've not had a general cow elk hunt in this part of the state since 1974," Fish and Game conservation officer Dan Hislop noted. The hunt is really an experiment in the works. "We put together this season in an effort to curb elk damage on private lands in the area," Hislop said. "We're hopeful that the extended hunt will reduce elk numbers sufficiently or change their behavior patterns, thereby reducing the damage to stands of alfalfa, sugar beets and onions." In the last few years, the elk herd has increased to between 300 and 400 animals. "We'd like to see the herd reduced to around 100 animals if possible," Hislop said. "By targeting females, we can reduce the reproductive potential of the herd, and stall its growth for a few years." Hislop emphasized that the season is not here to stay. "Depending on harvest levels, we'll keep the season in place for one to three years," Hislop said. "Once crop damage is reduced significantly, the season will likely revert back to controlled hunt status." Know Your Boundaries Familiarizing yourself with the hunt area boundary is a must. "Only the western half of unit 32 is included in the antlerless hunt," Hislop explained. "The boundary runs south to north along Big Willow Creek Road, Four Mile Road, Riley Butte Road, Crane Road and the Emmett-Council Road. Hunters holding one of these tags need to be aware of this boundary and stay on the west side of it during their hunt." A complete description of the boundary can be found in the 2001 big game rulebook. A map of the hunt area is available at the Fish and Game Nampa office. Do Your Homework Private land comprises a large part of the area available for this special cow elk hunt, and access to private land is only allowed by permission of the landowner. "Sportsmen wanting to hunt in unit 32 need to do their homework by determining who owns the property they wish to hunt and then seeking that landowner's permission in advance of hunting season," Fish and Game landowner/sportsman coordinator John Nagel said. "Better still, get to know the landowner, then help them with some chores on their property as a way of saying thanks for allowing access." General elk tags - including those for the Weiser River Zone - go on sale August 1 at all license vendors. For more information regarding the unit 32 antlerless elk hunt, contact the Fish and Game Nampa office at 465-8465.