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IDFG killed over 200 elk for depredation study last year

IDFG killed over 200 elk for depredation study last year

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Earlier this year, 206 elk were lethally removed from private land in Idaho as part of a research study on depredation. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) used sharpshooters to kill elk north of Shoshone and across the Magic Valley region between July and October, the Idaho Mountain Express reports.

IDFG’s release of this information last week sparked social media fury between hunters and non-hunters alike after photos of the dead animals surfaced on Facebook. While seen as controversial, those involved were using the removal as a way “to change behavior and drive out herds from private property,” according to the Idaho Mountain Express. All sharpshooters were IDFG employees and a single graduate student from the University of Idaho. The student partnered with IDFG and the lethal removal was part of his two-year master’s project that looks at “ways to modify elk behavior to try to reduce elk depredation on private property,” according to East Idaho News.

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“People are confusing this with some form of hunting and this is not hunting. This is depredation control,” said IDFG Magic Valley Region Wildlife Manager Mike McDonald. “The sideboards that we have to operate under are a lot different in some cases than what the average sportsman would have to operate under.”

The project targeted elk in the Southwest Region, the Magic Valley Region and the Southeast Region.

“Wildlife does encroach onto private lands and damage crops, and [Fish and Game] is mandated by law to work with landowners to minimize or eliminate those interactions. Ultimately, we can go in and issue kill permits or depredation hunts,” said IDFG spokesman Terry Thompson. “It’s a lot of elk, but we have healthy populations in southern Idaho.”

IDFG donated the elk meat to Idaho Hunters Feeding the Hungry.


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Jay M. - posted 1 month ago on 01-30-2020 08:03:16 pm

Now the IDFG wants to spend $408,000 to count wolves... Imagine what $531,000 spent on habitat and elk research could do. Just to give you an idea of the management in this state, Unit 26 in the Frank Church most recent elk survey counted 300 elk (they killed 206 for a "research project") Let that sink in.

Jay M. - posted 1 month ago on 01-30-2020 07:58:05 pm

If you were curious and didn't see it anywhere else, at the cost of $123,000 (sportsman funding) not counting the federal funding.

John C. - posted 1 month ago on 01-29-2020 09:01:18 pm

dumb move , what wolves.

John M. - posted 2 months ago on 01-24-2020 11:15:01 am

You can't force them to allow hunters on private property but what they can do is STOP giving the landowners tag vouchers which are either used or sold off. You don't want to help us (F&G) help you? No more tags or reimbursements. You're on your own at that point. Us locals know that won't happen as it has been proven that the landowners are king (see Idaho trespass laws).

Steve L. - posted 2 months ago on 01-23-2020 10:14:44 pm The landowner mentioned here does not participate in the Access Yes! program according to Mike McDonald. He told me the landowner does allow some access, but did not know if he charges for that access. We attempted to speak to the landowner, but were told a very recent surgery prevented him from doing so.

Jay M. - posted 2 months ago on 01-23-2020 07:52:54 pm

Idaho is a fence out state. The legislature has allowed this to get out of hand which is no surprise considering they appoint the IDFG. The landowners now own the IDFG and they bow down to every request. There is something in the IDFG about having a responsibility to the sportsman, but I'm sure it is buried deep and the landowners are holding the shovel.

Dallin C. - posted 2 months ago on 01-23-2020 02:37:59 pm
Twin Falls, Idaho

I agree completely with cameron there is no perfect answer and it seems like the fish and game are honestly trying to do their best in this situation

Cameron S. - posted 2 months ago on 01-23-2020 01:16:47 pm

I understand the concern, but It’s not that easy. You can’t force people to allow hunting on private land. Additionally the risk land owners take by allowing people on farmland is pretty big. The areas of concern have excellent hunting opportunity with general open hunts. A heard of elk can have a devastating impact on crops in a short amount of time. Idaho has unbelievable opportunity for hunting in an attempt to combat depredation. There is no perfect answer for management and depredation. But we can’t keep spreading false narratives. It only makes all hunters look bad.

Thomas L. - posted 2 months ago on 01-23-2020 12:42:36 pm

If private land owners want elk driven out then allow people to hunt....don't massacre a herd of elk at a cost to the public when instead it could have been a revenue stream to both public and private. Government stupidity right there.

Jeremy C. - posted 2 months ago on 01-23-2020 12:42:22 pm
Belgrade, MT

I would be interested to know if the private land that wanted this depredation allows hunting during the off season. What really bothers me is when landowners want depredation permits, but will not allow hunting during the hunting season to help manage the populations.