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Magic Valley, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV )
As hunters gear up for hunting season at the end of the month, questions are being raised.
Devastating wildfires in the Magic Valley, including the Elk Fire, have severely impacted wildlife in the area.
Says Kelton Hatch of Idaho Fish and Game, "its displaced a lot of animals. We've had quite a few animals killed in the fire. It's been devastating not only to humans but also to the wildlife."
Jerome Hansen, Magic Valley Regional Supervisor, adds, "this fire was so hot and it just sent fireballs up the hills and we did lose a lot of critters."
The elk and mule deer season starts August 30 but there is some concern things will be different this year.
Hansen says, "obviously a lot of the hunt area is burned up and there’s question if there are going to be animals in there still and I can't tell you… I don't know the conditions are on the ground."
There are options for hunters discouraged by the Magic Valley region's devastation.
Hatch says, "most of that area is closed off and the season is going to start at the end of this month so we're offering an exchange of tags."
Despite the difficulties, there is hope for a successful season.
Hansen adds, "I think it could be a pretty good year. In fact, we've already got some pictures sent to us of bucks that are going to be record book bucks. I think it’s going to be a pretty good year."
The tags need to be exchanged before the season starts on August 30th.
Hunters may also take rain checks in controlled hunt areas for the following year.
For more information, visit the Idaho Fish and Game website at fishandgame.idaho.gov.