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Make Your Voice Heard – Idaho’s Wildlife

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In my opinion, politics have no place in wildlife management. In fact, in 1938, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission was established to remove politics from wildlife management. Unfortunately, a few elected politicians in Idaho have decided to use their position and political power to strong-arm certain wildlife management agendas into action. Because of this, the landscape of wildlife management in Idaho has become entangled in a political chess match.

 

In a nutshell, the Idaho F&G Commission (7 members) should be receiving input from sportsmen and then drafting bills pertaining to wildlife management. They would then submit these bills to the Idaho State Legislature to get them approved and written into law. In a perfect world, that is what would happen. Unfortunately, a few lawmakers in Idaho have been attempting to add personal agenda “riders” to bills that the Idaho F&G Commission has been attempting to submit. Most notably as of late, is the fee increase proposal that the Idaho F&G Department desperately needs to be able to manage Idaho’s wildlife.

Idaho Fish and Game receives no general tax revenue. They are funded by license and tag sales, so the usual solution to keeping up with inflation is to either cut programs or increase fees. It has been over 12 years since Idaho residents have seen any fee increases on hunting/fishing licenses and tags. During that time, the Fish and Game’s operational costs have increased over 22 percent due to inflation. The level of services Fish and Game provides and their ability to manage wildlife are both decreasing because of increased costs and no increase in revenue. To provide the level of services and professional management that is needed in Idaho, the Fish and Game needs additional revenue. The proposed fee increase is minimal, with a $1 – $6 increase being proposed, with incentives for hunters to purchase a license every year and experience no increase.

Unfortunately, every attempt to introduce a fee increase bill through the Idaho State Legislature has been obstructed by a couple greedy members of the Idaho House and Senate. In previous attempts, they have attached personal agenda bills (riders) to the fee increase bill, and let the Idaho F&G Commission know that they will not allow the needed revenue to make it to the Fish and Game Department unless their agendas are approved in conjunction with the fee increase bill.

The good news is that these members of the Senate and House have been caught in unethical and corrupt behavior as of late, and they are now trying to lie low. Because of this pressure, it is unlikely that they will be attempting to add their riders to a fee increase bill this year. Instead, the F&G Commission is now meeting resistance to introducing a fee increase bill at all.

THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN. Sportsmen need to make their voices heard, and send a clear message to the Idaho State Legislature that we do not approve of political meddling in the managing of our wildlife. With the help of great organizations like the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) and the Idaho Wildlife Federation (IWF), we have made it really easy to get involved and add your voice to the voices of other concerned sportsmen.

I fully support the proposed Fee Increase bill that the IDF&G Commission is attempting to send through AS A CLEAN BILL (no attached riders). The revenue that will be generated by the Fee Increase is vital to be able to manage Idaho’s wildlife, BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP!

The very first step in getting the bill moved through legislation is getting it approved for a print hearing with the House Resources & Conservation Committee. The chairman of the House Resources & Conservation Committee, Marc Gibbs, is a previous F&G Commissioner, and has expressed that he needs to hear from sportsmen and other legislators regarding their support for the fee increase, otherwise the bill will likely never even get to see the light of day.  Here is what you can do: 

1. Call and/or email Marc Gibbs – mgibbs@house.idaho.gov  (208) 547-7447

2. Call and/or email the members of the House Resources & Conservation Committee:

3. And if you are a resident of Idaho, call and/or email your House representative and ask them to urge Chairman Marc Gibbs to support the IDFG Fee Increase bill.  You can find your representatives at https://legislature.idaho.gov/legislators/whosmylegislator/, just by entering your address.

*NOTE: The copy/paste function is disabled on this page, but scroll down to the comments area below and the information is there and can be easily copied and pasted into your emails.

 

KEEP IT SIMPLE:  When contacting the above individuals regarding the Fee Increase Bill, it is imperative to stay on message and not muddy the waters by bringing up past issues. I would suggest a subject line of “Please support the IDFG Fee Increase” and writing something simple in your email such as:

“I am contacting you as a concerned hunter, and would like to ask for your support to give the Idaho Fish & Game Fee Increase bill a print hearing.  As a sportsmen, I would like to see the IDFG Fee Increase Bill pass as a clean bill, so that the IDFG can receive the revenue they need to properly manage the fish and wildlife in the state of Idaho.”

Please do not use this opportunity as a chance to bring up other issues (Bonus Points, Auction Tags, Landowner Tags, etc.), and keep in mind that many of these individuals support this bill (don’t come across as blaming anyone for it not passing in the past). Your voice absolutely carries weight, but sportsmen have been too apathetic in the past and have not expressed their voices nearly enough.

If this is all too overwhelming for you, there is a simple option. While it will be less effective than a personal message to each of the individuals listed above, it will still provide you with an opportunity to very easily send a message that you support the Fee Increase bill with no strings attached. Simply click on the link below to go to a pre-generated form that will automatically be sent to Legislators letting them know that you support the bill. Here is the link:

https://secure.everyaction.com/MnTYrelaS0egErolh2PDQg2

Again, it will be much more effective if you take 2-3 minutes and send individual emails to Marc Gibbs and every member of the House Resources & Conservation Committee. It will only take you a couple of minutes to draft an email and then send it out to each email address, and your voice will be a powerful addition to the voice of sportsmen who value the opportunity to hunt in Idaho.

I urge you to be involved in this process. We cannot afford to continue to sit back and hope Idaho’s wildlife is managed correctly. We need your help in sending a clear message to politicians that the state-owned resource of Idaho’s fish and wildlife needs to be funded and managed without political meddling.

  • Alex Green

    Mike a fellow Land Surveyor! So glad to see you on here! BHA really is a great organization, hope you subscribed!

  • Rick Mattis

    So it sounds like myself and several others sent emails (and I recv’d a reply from Rep Erpelding), but the CDA Press says the fee increase failed. Implied that Gibbs “shot it down”? Truth or journalism?
    Article also mentioned again (old news) that Butch Otter had refused to reappoint 2 committee members that were in opposition to issuing more of his auction tags, and that the new appointees positions on the auction weren’t public yet.
    So where to from here? How do we know exactly who is our friend in this process and who isn’t? Otter is pretty popular here in the North, but I don’t think I have heard many good arguments for his auction tags at this point, so where does he stand with sportsmen and our elk issues?
    Thoughts from Corey or others?

  • Gabe Gerrish

    Emails have been sent to all. Thanks for bringing this to us Corey! Your work on this is invaluable!

  • Jared Politz

    Thanks for the heads up Corey and appreciate you spearheading the efforts…sent emails this am.

  • Nate Hanan

    Done. I’ve never really gotten into the politics of it before. Definitely the first time I’ve ever joined in an email campaign like this. Feels really good. Thanks for making it so easy Corey!

  • Russ W.

    Corey – thanks so much for sharing this. Emails have been sent, brother!

  • Russ W.

    Thanks, Corey – emails sent! Appreciate you alerting us to this!

  • Frank Garcia

    Corey-If you ever make it up to The Panhandle Unit 4, let’s do a bow hunt. I will let you do the calling too 🙂 Take care and have a great weekend.

  • Corey Jacobsen

    Thanks Broc!

  • Corey Jacobsen

    Thank you Matt!

  • Corey Jacobsen

    Right on, thanks Frank!

  • Frank Garcia

    Corey-Thanks for the communication and your efforts. Emails have been delivered! Let’s keep hunting and conservation alive. Thank you

  • Matt Summerfield

    Done!! Thanks Corey for the valuable info!

  • Broc Bebout

    Non-resident support message sent to all listed reps. Thanks for the instructions and making it easy to get our voices heard. Keep up the good work, Corey! Cheers!

  • Corey Jacobsen

    Thanks Greg!

  • Corey Jacobsen

    Lou, your input is absolutely valuable as a non-resident. These changes – and the resulting revenues – impact your hunting here in Idaho, and our Legislators need to hear from you as well. Thanks!

  • Corey Jacobsen

    Awesome, thanks Travis!

  • Travis Turner

    Message sent from Burley.

  • Lou Ruscitto

    Corey, I am currently a non-resident of Idaho. I have been there many times and love it so much that my wife and I are planning to move there in the real near future. I understand that my input is not valuable due to me being a non-resident but I will participate if you think it’s for the best. As a non-resident I would have no problem paying more for nonresident tags because Idaho is actually one of the cheaper States for non-resident over the counter tags. Thanks

  • Greg Walch

    Just lobbed one in from Nevada as well. Keeping these places wild, accessible, and hosting healthy populations of game and hunters committed to fair chase is not cheap, and I’m glad to get behind you on this one. Now if I could just master that challenge scream . . .

  • Corey Jacobsen

    Awesome, thank you David!

  • Corey Jacobsen

    Thank you Michael!

  • Corey Jacobsen

    Thanks Matthew!

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