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Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) This year's controlled hunt drawing is sparking controversy statewide after kids under the legal hunting age drew well over two hundred tags, leaving many hunters demanding answers.
"Our system allowed it, because we've been letting youth apply for turkey tags, and we overlooked the fact that if it would allow them to put in for turkey tags, it would allow them to put in for deer tags. So we didn't have that stop gap in there that would keep the youth from applying for deer and elk tags," explains Kelton Hatch, Idaho Fish and Game.
Angry hunters protested outside Fish and Game offices demanding a re-draw and even punishment for the parents and kids.
As thousands of angry hunters took to the phone lines, Idaho Fish and Game responded immediately.
“We did what we thought was the best for the situation that we had, and there wasn't much we could really do to change things around, and it was the director’s decision to allow the youth to be able to hunt," Hatch says.
"Most of the people that we have had come in have expressed that they didn't have a big concern over it, because mostly it was young children and that is the future of our hunting," says Dan Hadley, Red’s Trading Post.
In a press release, Fish and Game announced its decision to allow the kids to keep their tags, but... that wasn't all.
"We put another 280 plus tags back into the draws for the tags that those youth had received, and they were distributed to other people that had applied the first time, but hadn't drawn," Hatch explains.
"Everybody has been fairly supportive of it; if the little kids got to draw and go out on a good hunt, I think that's where the important thing is," Hadley says.
"It's all on us and we understand that. What we did was try to come up with the best solution we could at that time to try and remedy the problem, and hopefully people can forgive us we don't have any issues like this in the future," Hatch says.
Be sure to tune into Connections on August 2nd. We will take an in-depth look at a variety of issues, including this year's controlled hunt tag drawing, limited and unlimited controlled hunts and how the draw system works as a whole.