Above: Table from goHunt.com's Elk Strategy article for Idaho. Sites like goHunt.com cater to nonresident hunters and could have a hand in overcrowded hunting areas in the State.
By Mountain Pursuit
At it's July meeting, the Idaho Fish & Game Commission will decide on language that could allow the department to restrict over-the-counter (OTC) deer and elk tag sales to nonresidents.
The proposed language would limit nonresident participation in general season big game hunts. Limit nonresident participation in general season big game hunts. Below is the language describing the change from the IDF&G website:
"Some resident hunters have asked commissioners to address hunter congestion and geographic distribution of nonresident hunters in general season deer and elk hunts," This proposal would provide the Fish and Game commission the authority to limit nonresident deer and elk tags issued in general season hunts to 10 percent (or more) of resident tags available without limiting resident hunter opportunity. This rulemaking also will make considerations for providing outfitter tag allocation in those general units."
According to IF&G Deputy Director Paul Kline, Idaho resident hunters approached the F&G Commissioners representing the Panhandle and Salmon regions with concerns of overcrowding by nonresidents with general season OTC tags in specific and popular whitetail deer and archery elk hunt areas. Based on hunter survey data, "some of these hunt units have 30-35% nonresidents," said Mr. Kline.
"There are certain hot spots around the state," for whitetail deer and archery elk he continued, "the concern is all about hunter congestion, overcrowding, and an overall decline in hunt quality."
Currently, these nonresident OTC tags are not distributed to certain hunt areas, and this allows nonresidents to be concentrated in the most popular or marketed hunt areas. The proposed rule will allow the F&G to limit the nonresident tags sold in individual hunt areas to 10%, thus better distributing the hunters.
This nonresident overcrowding in specific areas is likely encouraged by the "goHunt effect" where sites that cater to nonresident hunters like goHunt.com, hunting industry marketing podcasts, videos, blogs and other media identify hunt areas with above average harvest data, easy public access, or easy draw odds, resulting in a significant increase in nonresident interest, applications, and license purchases.
A 21-day public comment period on the proposed rule ended June 26th. At its July 26th meeting the IDF&G Commission will finalize the proposed rule language, and another 21-day comment period will commence. Final approval and implementation would come in September. Click HERE for the current draft rule language.