June 20, 2019

The 2013 Elk Plan – IDFG Biologists Continue to Blame Gross Mismanagement on Declining Habitat

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The 2013 Elk Plan – IDFG Biologists Continue to Blame Gross Mismanagement on Declining Habitat

By George Dovel

My Introduction to Idaho Fish and Game Biologists

Discharged from the U.S. Army late in 1956, I established Gem Helicopter Service in Boise and put on an informal one-helicopter air show at Gowen Field.

The plastic “bubble” of my new Bell helicopter was painted with a clown face and topped with a cowboy hat. I demonstrated vertical and horizontal capabilities of the machine with simulated forward and backward loops, followed by forward flight with rapid stops and then hovering motionless at various altitudes.

I still have several 35 mm color slides of me lifting a cowgirl from a speeding convertible using a two-rung rope ladder that I dropped to her shortly before I deposited her gently on the tarmac near the tower. And my final demonstration involved placing a dime on the concrete near the tower, taking off and climbing to 1,000 feet, and then cutting the throttle and executing a 360-degree autorotation with a “dead-stick” landing straddling the dime.

Following the demonstration, I was approached by Idaho Power engineers, surveyors and wildlife biologists
who envisioned a saving of time and money by hiring our service. Idaho National Guard Brig. Gen. George Bennet, a decorated combat veteran, eagerly questioned me about my experiences in Korea and revealed his interest in acquiring Army fixed wing and helicopter proficiency.

Wildlife Biologists Claimed North Idaho Shrubfields No Longer Provide Adequate Forage and Cover for Elk

That was 57 years ago and Idaho was still a game paradise. Yet the biologists, who had quietly taken over all aspects of game management, insisted there was not enough winter habitat to feed the deer and elk in Idaho’s roadless backcountry areas – but offered no evidence in support of that claim provided by the Wildlife Management Institute.

They said the north Idaho shrubfields created by large, hot destructive fires in 1910, 1919 and 1934 had
matured and no longer provided the winter forage and escape cover needed by elk and deer. Now, 57 years later, a new crop of biologists claim habitat is still deficient in Idaho’s 2014-2024 elk plan – again with no proof offered.

The Clearwater Region in North Central Idaho provided more than 45% of Idaho’s total elk harvest for
nearly half a century. But by 1956, a decade after IDFG biologists began implementing WMI President Ira
Gabrielson’s recommendation to radically increase the back country elk and deer harvest by non-resident hunters, the famous Clearwater elk herd had already taken a nose dive.

Instead of blaming their own doubling the either sex back country deer and elk hunting season lengths,
adding multiple deer harvests, and radically increasing nonresident elk and deer hunters; IDFG biologists continued to blame the transition from seral stage (temporary) increases in shrubfields back to the climax stage of conifers that they claim existed when the 1910 fires hit.

Despite Biologists’ Claims, Abundant Forage Existed

Finally in 1963, IDFG initiated the first five years of the 22-year Clearwater Elk Ecology Study to determine the best method of rejuvenating the shrubfields to provide adequate forage and escape cover for elk. According to the research reports, the area studied was representative of the areas in which more than half of Idaho’s elk were harvested.

But in the five years, researchers found utilization of winter forage by elk and deer in the study area never exceeded 25% of the forage that was available to elk during the winters! Yet the elk population in the study area declined another 85% during those five years!

More research from 1968-1972 revealed high conception and calf birth rates but very poor post-hunting
season calf survival. In 1973 an intensive study began to determine the cause of all elk calf deaths in that study area during the first six months of life.

Predators – Not Poor Habitat – Destroyed the Elk

Over the next five years, average calf birth weights exceeded the minimum required for 90% survival by 6%
and the newborn calves gained about two pounds per day. But two-thirds of the calves were killed by predators – 84% of those during the first two weeks after birth when they are most vulnerable.

Five different predators killed those elk calves, but 75% were killed by black bears, so in 1976 the researchers temporarily relocated many of the bears, which numbered two per square mile in the study area. This jumped post hunting season elk calf survival from the three-year average of 21-calves-per-100-cows to 61:100 in 1977!

Battle to Restore Sound Management Took Its Toll

Meanwhile, after 13 years of working with our Fish and Game biologists and watching them continue to
destroy the big game herds that had taken half a century to rebuild, it was obvious to me that someone had to stop it. I put together a team of volunteers and, with one full-time and several part time employees, we began publishing The Outdoorsman in May of 1969.

A legislative audit found that IDFG knowingly exaggerated published population and harvest statistics to
cover up its destruction of Idaho deer and elk herds. In May of 1971 F&G Director Dick Woodworth was forced to resign and his replacement, Joe Greenley, ordered 10 years of inflated harvest data replaced with just the number of animals hunters had actually reported killing each year.

Then, as now, IDFG had developed supporters in the legislature and in selected sportsman organizations, and they fought every effort to restore honest management. The Outdoorsman achieved a 30,000 circulation, but the cost to my family, to Rob Donley and others who stood with me, and to state and federal govt. employees who dared to tell the truth was extremely high.

Greenley Plan Halted Cow Elk Hunting, Shortened allSeason Lengths and Dramatically Reduced Predators

When Idaho outdoorsmen finally won the battle, Joe Greenley implemented a plan that promised to restore
Idaho deer and elk herds by 1985. His plan involved dramatically shortened deer and elk seasons with limited female deer harvest and no female elk harvest except for short either-sex seasons in the Panhandle Region.

Units where even a 3-day bulls-only season might result in excessive harvests were closed to elk hunting, and most controlled deer and all controlled elk hunts were eliminated except for a small number of bull elk permits in some of the closed units.

Both residents and non-residents were allowed to take two bear in Units 8, 8A, 9A, 10, 10A, 12, 15, 16, 16A, 17, 19, 20, 20A, 23, 24, 25, 26, 34 and 39, using a regular and extra bear tag. In Units 19A, 33, 35, 43 and 44 a resident hunter could kill two bears without a bear tag, and could kill one bear without a tag in all the units that now make up the Southeast and Upper Snake Regions.

When Greenley retired in 1980, he was replaced by Jerry Conley who began to increase back country season
lengths and sell a few antlerless permits. But when both Greenley’s Elk and Deer Restoration Plan and the 22-year Clearwater Elk Ecology Study ended in 1985, elk populations were at or near record highs in many units.

Hansen and Kaminski Used Record-High 1985 Elk Data to Support 219 Wolves in Central Idaho PAA

Graduate students and former Montana Wolf Biologists Timmothy Kaminski and Jerome Hansen dated the end of their Idaho wolf-prey study as 1984. But then they identified and added Idaho’s 1985 elk population data,
and used it to justify adding 219 wolves that could be supported in the 20,700 square mile “Central Idaho
Primary Analysis Area.”

For example, in 1985, Units 10 and 12 (now the Lolo Zone) had a post hunting season elk population of
20,115, a harvest of 1,430, and the elk were increasing at the rate of 805 per year. Dividing the 805 elk by an estimated kill of ~17 elk or deer per wolf per year, showed the area could support about 45 of the 219 total wolves – if management remained the same.

But by 1989, F&G increased the annual Lolo Zone elk harvest by 38% and eliminated bear control resulting in a decline of 24% in the Lolo elk population – which now totaled only 15,270. The loss of 4,845 elk averaged over the four years reflected an annual loss of 1,211 elk instead of the annual gain of 805.

Biologists Hide Massive Prey Declines From Citizens

This meant Units 10 and 12 could no longer support any wolves! Yet Hansen, who was now employed by Idaho F&G to provide accurate wolf prey data to FWS for its 1993 Draft Wolf Environmental Impact Statement,
made no effort to change the 1985 figures he provided to FWS Wolf Team Leader Ed Bangs.

Kaminski assisted Bangs for the next nine years, and then served as Congressional staff for the next two
years when transplanting Canadian wolves was approved and the wolves were relocated in Central Idaho and
Yellowstone Park. Yet he kept pretending the 10-year-old elk figures were still accurate.

By 1989 IDFG biologists had added 14,665 bonus elk permits statewide but only 9% were for bulls only!
Another 20% allowed the killing of either-sex and a whopping 71% allowed only a cow or calf to be taken!
Three years later, in 1992, money-hungry IDFG biologists increased the number of Idaho limited draw elk
permits to 20,400 – with 80% only allowed to kill a cow or calf! In just three years The Lolo Zone elk population had dropped another 4,073 to only 11,197 yet IDFG still pretended nothing was wrong.

State Officials Supported F&G, FWS Lying To Public

In my 1993 written testimony to FWS Wolf Team Leader Ed Bangs, I included three pages of proof that the
Central Idaho ungulate populations claimed in the Wolf EIS were exaggerated by as much as 600%. Bangs never responded.

In a September 24, 1993 draft letter to Wolf Project Leader Ed Bangs, IDFG Director Jerry Conley
admitted that IDFG personnel had provided the data and the analysis in the Wolf EIS concerning the limited impact of introducing 100 wolves into central Idaho. He added, “We believe these analyses provide a realistic picture of the probable environmental consequences of a recovered wolf population…based on the best available data.”

I pointed out to Wolf Oversight Committee Co-Chairman Bennett that “the best available data” had changed dramatically since 1985 and it was doubtful that depleted elk and deer populations in Central Idaho could
support any wolves – much less the 100 Conley’s letter claimed. He said they would correct Conley’s letter and I thanked him.

But the final letter was sent to Bangs on Oct. 12, 1993, and the only change was replacing the words
“realistic picture” with the vague “reasonable estimate.” Deer hunters were already complaining about the massive starvation loss of more than half of Idaho’s mule deer during the 1992-93 winter, and despite the loss of thousands of elk to starvation from eight years of drought followed by the worst winter in 40 years, IDFG increased the number of special draw elk hunts to 23,995 in 1993!

In a February 17 1994 meeting with Sandy Donley and me, Wolf Oversight Committee member Don Clower told us the WOC knew the prey population figures were highly inflated when they were given to FWS but said that
was necessary to support the rapid build-up of wolves that would occur in the Nonessential Experimental Recovery option. Then he said he saw nothing wrong with lying to the public to accomplish that goal.

In a March 19, 1994 letter to Bangs, signed by Co-Chair Jack Lavin, the Wolf Oversight Committee endorsed
the 10J Nonessential Wolf Recovery option instead of the Natural Recovery of wolves that already existed.

The supporters of transplanting Canadian wolves were obviously afraid Congress would learn that depleted
mule deer and elk herds in Central Idaho would no longer support wolves and not approve the introduction. So in the August 16, 1994 Federal Register Ed Bangs wrote: “Millions of acres of public lands contain hundreds of thousands of wild ungulates (Service 1994) and currently provide more than enough habitat to support a recovered wolf population in central Idaho.” (emphasis added).

Four WOC Members Say 10J Plan Illegal

On Sept. 27, 1994 in Boise, Bangs held the final hearing on FWS transplanting Canadian wolves into
Central Idaho. My testimony and exhibits clearly proved there were now far fewer wild ungulates than were
claimed in the EIS and I spent an intermission alone with Bangs asking why he had made such an absurd claim to Congress.

He admitted that the deer and elk numbers were “probably exaggerated,” but said if Congress didn’t approve the transplant and funding quickly it would probably never happen. On that same day IDFG’s Director approved the FWS plans in writing and issued a permit for FWS to transplant up to 15 wolves per year into Idaho.

These secret actions by Conley directly violated Idaho Code Sec. 36-715 and should have been rejected by
WOC members. But regardless of who did or did not approve his illegal acts, nearly three weeks later four
members of the Wolf Oversight Committee sent a signed letter to Bangs’ FWS office in Helena, Montana stating that the FWS 10J wolf plan was illegal.

Their 4-page letter, dated October 17, 1994, listed the provisions of Sec. 6 of the ESA and Sec. 17 50 CFR
that were not complied with. It also listed consequences not addressed in the FWS plan, including allowing Idaho’s ungulate herds to be plundered with no certain controls on the result; making no provision to reduce wolf populations should they exceed the stated population goals; failure to address the wolves’ impact on private property rights including livestock; and preventing similar problems in
other states as a result of wolves migrating outside of Idaho Montana and Wyoming.

Finally, the letter stated that unless FWS corrected these deficiencies, it was the group’s intention to urge the State Legislature to retain the Code language prohibiting IDFG from participating in any wolf recovery activities – and to further prevent any state agency from any activity that would support the federal wolf recovery effort.

Neither Bangs nor anyone else in FWS responded to – or even acknowledged receiving the letter. The state
agency’s unrestricted approval of the FWS 10J plan – which threatened a stiff fine and/or serving time in a federal penitentiary for even throwing a rock at a wolf attacking livestock on private land – opened the door for FWS to do anything it wanted.

Congress Approved FWS Plan But Failed to Fund It

During the Joint Legislative Resource Committee Hearings, the WOC members who had refused to endorse the plan testified that it was basically an invitation to the feds to turn wolves loose in Idaho without adequate protection for game herds, livestock or private property rights. Legislators were also understandably upset with all Idaho F&G Commissioners, who had endorsed the 10J plan unanimously at their December 1994 meeting, and approved publication of statements claiming wolf recovery would not have a negative impact on Idaho’s economy.

The end result was that Congress approved the FWS 10J Plan to start transplanting about 15 wolves per
year into both Idaho and Yellowstone Park in January of 1995. But Congress failed to appropriate any funding for the project.

The FWS solution was to steal $45-$60 million from dedicated excise taxes that were scheduled to be
apportioned among the states, and spend a large portion of that stolen money on their wolf recovery project. As wolves began to multiply for the next seven years, no evidence was offered that they were having any impact on Idaho’s deer and elk populations.

Pauley’s Warning to Halt Excessive Harvests Ignored

When the Deer and Elk Teams were formed in 1996 to find solutions to declining mule deer and elk populations, I was an observer who received all minutes, memos etc. I received a copy of Clearwater Research Biologist George Pauley’s April 30, 1996 memo to Clearwater Wildlife Manager Jay Crenshaw warning him they must stop overharvesting elk in 10 of the 11 Clearwater general season elk units.

Pauley’s two-page memo compared Clearwater elk population surveys from 1987-1992 with those from 1993-
1996. In 10 of the 11 general elk season units, cow numbers had remained fairly stable but bull numbers had declined 25% in the four years and calf recruitment had declined 34% causing a 41% decline in yearling bull numbers.

Pauley’s memo commented, “We obviously are not experiencing an increase in bull survival, and I would not call a 25% decline an acceptable management situation.” Then he explained that while the situation
resulted in a higher ratio of mature bulls to yearling elk in the hunter harvest (which IDFG officials claimed indicated a healthy herd that could support increased bull harvest), continuing to harvest even the same number of elk would continue to destroy the population.

Biologists Exploited Clearwater Region Wildlife

But instead of heeding Pauley’s warning to harvest fewer elk, Crenshaw left the same bull seasons as 1995 but increased the number of Clearwater cow/calf permits from 1,550 in 1995 to 3,675 in 1996! This included a change from 350 cow/calf permits in Units 10 and 12 to 1,900!

The extreme 1996-97 winter caused severe death losses in elk and deer in the Clearwater Region. As the
snow began melting along the Lochsa River in Unit 12 local residents saw dozens of elk carcasses exposed and asked Crenshaw to drop the 400 Unit 12 antlerless permits to save some breeding stock to help restore the elk herd.

Instead, Crenshaw responded in a May 29, 1997 Lewiston Tribune article with the claim that IDFG biologists had been monitoring the Lolo Zone elk since January 1997 and said total losses did not exceed the normal 5-10% winter loss. He increased the 400 permits in Unit 12 to 450 beginning Oct. 20 and ending Nov. 24, and kept the same 1,500 permits in Unit 10, with 375 of them good through Nov. 30.

The following chart illustrates how F&G biologists – not wolves – destroyed the Lolo Zone elk herd. When the few elk left produce a few calves, more wolves return.

53tablegeorge

In the early 1900s, what is now the Lolo Zone was grazed by herds of domestic sheep whose herders constantly controlled the bears to prevent predation losses to their sheep. When the sheep were finally removed in the 1940s, bears began to multiply.

Extended Hunting Seasons and Excessive Ratios of Predators to Prey Destroyed Famous Elk Herds

Overharvesting the elk without controlling their major predators resulted in the Lolo elk calf-to-cow ratio declining dramatically by the late 1950s. This excessive ratio of predators to prey is exactly what happened during the late 1800s and it was corrected by killing predators and establishing short deer and elk hunting seasons until the game species recovered.

Yet it took 22 years of research to prove once again that excessive harvests and predator imbalance was
causing the elk decline. Pauley’s additional elk research through 2007 provided ample evidence that habitat was not a significant factor in the decline of any elk population in Idaho and that should have ended the debate – but it didn’t.

In fact the 10J Wolf Control Plan for 2010 and 2011, repeated the claim that habitat was not a factor in the elk decline in any elk herd in Idaho. Written by IDFG biologists, including Pauley, and submitted to FWS, it contained multiple proof of that statement (see Pages 6-8 in Outdoorsman Bulletin No. 40).

Biologists Continue to Repeat the Habitat Lie In Order to Conceal Their Real Agenda from Urban Residents

At the same time the Aug. 2010 Lolo Wolf Control Proposal on the IDFG website showed the world there was
no evidence habitat reduced the number of elk in the Lolo Zone, page 3 of their August 2010 Idaho Fish and Game News on the same website said “In the Lolo Zone deteriorating habitat and other factors contributed to a long population decline, dropping from about 16,000 in 1988 to fewer than 8,000 elk in 1998.”

Why didn’t the IDFG report compare its 1985 Lolo Zone elk count of 20,115 with its Feb 2010 count of only
2,178 – which reflected an elk decline of 89%? And why did it claim deteriorating habitat contributed to the decline when it was caused by years of excessive harvests?

The answer is that under our unique form of citizen controlled government the power rests with the citizens to make changes by contacting their elected representatives and giving them the facts. If F&G agencies can convince urban citizens – who far outnumber rural dwellers – that poor habitat is the cause of their mismanagement, the urban representatives will outvote the rural minority and give the wildlife agencies a free ride to promote their own agenda.

While it is true that subdivisions and intensive farming practices have reduced wild game populations in
many populated areas, thousands of square miles of public lands in Western states can still produce healthy wildlife populations where extended seasons and unhealthy ratios of protected predators have not taken their toll.

Exposure to the IDFG Agenda Was a Real Shocker

As a member of the Big Game Emergency Feeding Advisory Committee and an observer on the Deer and Elk Teams formed in 1996, I was shocked to learn the real IDFG agenda. There were two private citizens serving on each Team and those who had not already subscribed to the Wildlands/U.N. Biodiversity agenda were told their Team was not going to use anything that was in the Idaho Fish and Game Code.

When Upper Snake Region Wildlife Manager Ted Chu suggested one of their purposes was increasing elk
numbers to provide feed for bears, his suggestion was enthusiastically approved. But when Citizen Team Member Dr. Bill Chetwood suggested their purpose was also to provide deer and elk for hunters to hunt, he was instantly reminded that his suggestion was not appropriate.

As the Elk Team agenda evolved, they still did not recommend using any of their arsenal of biological tools that were available to restore elk and mule deer populations. Their sole effort was directed at placing severe restrictions on rifle hunters while giving archery hunters virtually unlimited opportunity to hunt elk during the rut and kill either sex.

Because Colorado’s elk herd had been increasing, along with more nonresident elk hunters than Idaho’s total of all elk hunters, Colorado researcher David Freddy was invited to come to Idaho and share their secret to success. Freddy told the Team it was closing all antlerless hunting and not shooting any bull that was less than 2-1/2 years old.

Colorado Expert’s Warning Ignored

When asked about Colorado’s A-B-C tag system, Freddy said it had nothing to do with restoring elk herds. He explained it was designed solely to accommodate up to an additional 200,000 nonresident elk hunters and split them up into three elk/deer seasons so resident hunters could choose one and not complain about overcrowding.

Freddy warned that this stratified hunt scheme was strictly designed to increase income from nonresident
hunters and urged the Elk Team not to adopt it. Yet they ignored his advice and chose it to provide extra income.

When they presented five management options to the F&G Commission, they were instructed to scope those
with hunters and return with the two preferred choices. Instead, they manipulated scoping and returned with the two worst choices – A-B Zone Tags and Limited Controlled Hunts – which were both approved.

Although hunters in the Panhandle Zone and most outfitters supported the A-B Zone Tag because they
believed it would stop other hunters from hunting in their area, it has been a costly nightmare to administer and has not increased elk numbers – even with 50%-67% caps.

The only time capping tags or selling limited controlled hunt tags are justified biologically is when there is not a huntable population in an area, or rarely to distribute hunters. Both are schemes to raise extra income for F&G.

More about North Idaho Seral Shrubfields

The role of fire in establishing and subsequently rejuvenating seral shrubfields in north Idaho was thoroughly studied and the results published by IDFG Researcher Thomas Leeds from 1968-1979. Assisted by Mike Schlegel and others during the Lochsa Elk Study, Leeds documented that fires beginning in 1860, including severe fires in 1888, 1889, 1910, 1919 and 1934, re-established the shrubfields in 67% of the Clearwater National Forest.

One-fourth of that forest was impacted by severe burns that occurred at least once every 30 years during the past century and a half. In the Cook Mountain area of the Clearwater, researcher Barrett documented a history of severe burns dating back at least 350 years.

Leeds’ research revealed the need for controlled burns in the shrubfields once every 10-15* years to
maintain their role of providing optimum food and cover for wildlife. (* Burning at five-year intervals decreases the vigor of most shrubs)

The Big Question

So why hasn’t the Clearwater National Forest been conducting realistic controlled burns on its shrubfields for the past 34 years?

The Truthful Answer

It’s because the Forest Service has also adopted the wildlifers’ hands-off utopian philosophy of ecosystem
perfection absent of all human activity, which Dr. Val Geist refers to as “Intellectual rubbish that raises the hackles on my neck!”

For the past 23 years I have watched state wildlife biologists pretend they are managing our wildlife while they continue to destroy it. In this lengthy article I have attempted to point out the radically reduced seasons and the massive control of predators that was required to rebuild game populations in the early 1900s and again in the 1970s and 1980s.

Even if the Forest Service did its job and burned the tens of thousands of acres of shrubfields to restore the quality elk habitat in the Clearwater Forest, it would be a waste of time and money without conducting the long term predator control to allow the depleted elk herds to escape the predator pit they are in.

What disturbs me the most are the hunters who enjoyed the wonderful hunting that resulted from those of
us who spent our time and money demanding the short seasons, an end to female harvests, and statewide predator control – yet too many of those same hunters now insist that killing predators to restore balance is not necessary.

One ray of hope on the horizon are the copies of several letters I have received from hunters concerning the 2014-2024 Elk Plan, which address the criminal activities Fish and Game employees are engaging in while attempting to float another fee increase to support those activities. I believe the following letter from Ed Lindahl fairly represents the comments from the other letter writers.

2014-2024 Elk Plan Input
By Ed Lindahl

Dear Commissioners:

The 2014-2024 Elk Plan is heavy on habitat analysis (excuses), tag sales, antlerless harvest opportunity,
long seasons (August-December), and light on predator management/control and accountable/realistic objective targets for elk units and zones.

The Conleyesque “blame the habitat or lack of it” boilerplate has been around since the 1980s and continues today. Likewise, the Conleyesque sale of the resource continues so that an excessively generous department payroll is met in spite of declining elk herds. Nothing new there including never-ending seasons, excessive antlerless harvest and the full array of super hunts, governor’s tags, etc.

The last review of the late 1990’s Elk Plan contained unit objectives which were so broadly ranging that units with declining herds were considered as continuing to meet objectives. That concept generally continues today. Low expectations breed subpar results.

The management for the payroll bottom line philosophy of the department has been a priority for every department director since Director Conley, with the brief exception of Director Mealey. Non-game and non-essential programs have bled the cash cow of resident and non-resident hunter, angler and trapper license, tag and related fee dollars to the point that elk management-related aerial elk herd counts
have not been adequately conducted. Until recently, the department hid from sportsmen non-game and nonessential program siphoning of their revenues.

The fraud of the reputed, broad support for The Compass and its implications increased the need to divert
sportsmen’s dollars from 2005 to the recent Wildlife Summit and beyond.

Recommendations.

1. Sell significantly fewer tags for antlerless elk harvest statewide. Sell antlerless tags only for units which have agricultural depredation. Do not allow selling second elk tags for hunting in another zone/unit.

2. Dramatically reduce season lengths for archers, black powder and rifle hunters. Eliminate rut and early winter hunts for all categories of hunting weapon choice.

3. Implement the Predator Policy and forget the part related to habitat. Manage and control wolves with generous tags for hunting and trapping wolves twelve months per year. Control wolf pups with gas in dens and seek safe and appropriate poisons for limited applications for additional take by professionals.

4. Increase bear and lion hunting opportunity. Explore limited bear and lion trapping as a method of take.

5. Accurately and completely count elk by aerial or other means on a repetitive basis.

6. Pay department personnel a hazard bonus to those performing aerial counts for all species requiring such counting.

7. Report with honesty the amount of sportsmen’s dollars supporting non-game and non-essential programs.

8. Narrow the range of “meeting objectives” for elk zones so that hunters can have confidence in the department’s successes and learn from failures related to elk management.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment.

Ed Lindahl
Sagle

(NOTE: I have not discussed these issues with Ed Lindahl and several other letter writers for some time and it is encouraging to read their frank comments to the Idaho F&G Commission.

Although I do not believe the Commission has the knowledge and the courage to properly address these
issues, especially Commissioner Budge who parrots the so-called “conservation science” agenda, letters such as this one from Ed Lindahl will hopefully encourage other knowledgeable outdoorsmen and women to expose the corruption that is destroying our once valuable wildlife resource along with our newly acquired Constitutional right to hunt.

Until the ecosystem worshipers who presently draw IDFG wages are purged from this agency, it behooves all of us to publicly expose their efforts to destroy our heritage and our formerly abundant wild game.

As the hunting seasons wind down, make notes of your observations and discuss them with the legislators you elected. A paragraph or two in your local paper – or in all the papers in Idaho – will start the process of informing others with facts. – ED)

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