Fish and Game believes elk depredation mitigation efforts are working

Some hunters still don’t see how Fish and Game is working with them to make depredation hunts a reality
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 6:19 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Elk depredation is a topic many sportsmen and women are passionate about across the state of Idaho.

Idaho Fish and Game tells KMVT its efforts are working.

“This year, I think because of our extensive efforts, the number of complaints are down a little bit," said the regional wildlife manager Mike McDonald from Fish and Game. “Certainly the number of animals that are involved in some of those depredations are down. We’ve been pretty aggressive to address some of those private property depredations and I think it is working.”

This year, they have used various techniques to help curb elk depredation, which is when elk go onto private land causing crops or property to be damaged.

Their techniques are hazing and scaring elk, sharp shooting when elk have gone nocturnal, depredation hunts using sportsmen and women, managed hunts on private property, and kill permits to landowners when elk have gone nocturnal.

“If we get in a situation where we feel like we have to lethally remove animals, using sportsmen and women to do that is always our first option, but in situations where that doesn’t work, or for the land owner, whatever the reason, or in situations where elk have started to display nocturnal behavior that option is not available to us,” McDonald said.

Many hunters are upset because they don’t see how Fish and Game is working with the sportsmen to make the depredation hunts a reality.

For some hunters in the Magic Valley, the only option left is to change the laws that Fish and Game has to follow.

“We want to change the laws," said Kenny Stagmeyer, who is a local hunter. “We want to make the laws fair for everybody. We don’t want to make it one sided, we want to make it right, that works for everybody.”

And beginning in October, Fish and Game will begin trapping and translocating some elk from the Little Camas Region.

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