Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) This season's wildfires destroyed prime hunting grounds in the South Hills leaving many hunters concerned.
The Minidoka Complex destroyed over 97,000 acres in the South Hills, an area known for its mule deer population.
"It reduced our winter range just by about a third for our mule deer up there. So, we have a lot of concerns about that," said Kelton Hatch, Regional Conservation Educator, Idaho Fish and Game Department.
Leaving local hunters concerned about the upcoming season.
"You have some people predicting that it's going to be a good season that there are going to be some opportunities, but yet a lot of people really don't want to take the chance with the cost of ammunition, with the cost of gas, taking time off," said Ryan Horsley, Red’s Trading Post.
Idaho Fish and Game counted well over one–thousand deer in that area last winter.
Many of those animals have been pushed to higher elevations and down into the valley because of the fires.
"There's a lot of islands of habitat left once you hit the Forest Service up there. So, there will be some animals remaining in that area. Animals will push to those areas of green and they'll hang out there," said Hatch.
But, how will it impact hunting season?
"The hunt is still going to be really good right now. You may have lost the area you typically hunt, but you can move to a lot of other areas," said Hatch.
An outcome that may not sit well with those who have hunted that unit for years.
"You have people who are very territorial in regards to where they want to hunt. And, this may push a lot of people to the same areas, so that's a concern for some hunters," said Horsley.
It could be a disappointing season for many local hunters.
For those not willing to risk it, hunters can bring their tags back in before the season starts and exchange it for a general tag.