The Idaho Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers recognizes the importance, and the challenges, of balancing our state's water needs - for business and residential purposes, recreation, and the needs of sportsmen and wildlife. The release of the Henry's Fork Basin Study Final Report prompts our response on the various final options being proposed. We feel that some of these options balance and take into account the needs of sportsmen, wildlife and habitat better than others.
The Teton River Canyons are one of the last strongholds for Yellowstone cutthroat trout, labeled a "Species of Concern" by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. In addition, IDFG has previously identified the Teton River Canyons as critical winter habitat for Teton Range elk herds, and significant numbers of mule deer (whose populations are declining across the West), among numerous other native species. Hunters and anglers cannot afford to see this important habitat lost, and the resulting negative impacts on our publicly-owned wildlife, as a result of rebuilding Teton Dam and the inundation of the Teton River Canyons. Nor can local outfitters and other businesses that rely on sportsman dollars afford to lose a very unique native fishery.
Good morning Idaho BHA members,
I would like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to some legislation being considered by the Agricultural Affairs Committee next Tuesday (2/18) at 8:00 a.m. that if passed, could have a devastating impact on our big game herds. Currently, 100% of dead domestic elk must be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD). House Bill 431 would remove this common sense measure. As written, House Bill 431 requires that only 10% of dead domestic elk- selected for testing by producers would be required to be tested for CWD. This would increase the risk of CWD transmission to Idaho’s healthy wild deer and elk herds exponentially, and have a direct impact on the venison on your family’s plate. In 2011, Idaho Dept. of Agriculture scientists used best science to write Administrative Rules requiring 100% CWD testing of dead farm elk. Elk Breeders couldn't kill those rules as Sportsmen spoke up for meaningful protection of our wild big game from infected imported elk.
Please take a moment to contact the members of the Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee and let them know that we, as sportsmen, will not support legislation that increases the risk of CWD in Idaho’s wild deer and elk herds. The Idaho Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council (ISCAC), of which BHA is a member, has provided a legislative update on House Bill 431 a link to contact committee members here.
Thank you for all you do for Idaho’s backcountry,
Co-chair, Idaho Chapter
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
To follow up on the ISCAC Action Alert I need to bring your attention to the2 bills that are being ramrodded through the end of thelegislative session without YOUR input. The first is HB 278- you can read more about the bill here: http://www.idahosportsmensconnection.com/updates/index.php
In short, HB 278 removes $100,000 from the Access Yes program (that is $100,000 of OUR money, paid through license and tag fees) and directs to animal control boards- so WE are funding predator control of livestock- period. Senator Lacey (Pocatello) pointed out in debate that HB 278 is raiding money from IDFG. HB 278 has passed the legislature and is heading for Governor Otter's signature. Please contact Gov. Otter and ask him to veto HB 278. You can contact the Gov. at 208-334-2100 or email him here: http://gov.idaho.gov/ourgov/contact.html
In short- HB 336 increases the tag prices on wolves. Bill sponsors estimate that the tag increases will generate $344,000 in revenue FROM SPORTSMEN through the sale of wolf (big game) tags. Of the $344,000- $86K will go to depredation control for livestock and $172K goes to a compensation fund for livestock producers. SPORTSMEN ARE BEING TASKED WITH FUNDING THE LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY.
Idaho Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is a grassroots group working to conserve and protect fish and wildlife habitat on Idaho’s public lands. Our members were very active during the debate on Senate Bill 1015 and 1016, which as you are aware, would have stripped the IDFG of their ability to regulate motor vehicle use as an aide to hunting across the state. I would like to reiterate our support of the agency’s ability to regulate motor vehicle use during hunting season, and urge the commission to continue to pursue this as a management option. We feel the equation is very simple- either regulate motor vehicles, or make do with shortened hunting seasons and/ or controlled hunt permits. Shortened seasons equate to reduced opportunity for hunters over a broad spectrum of interests, and have very real economic implications for rural communities in Idaho.
To: Rick Brazell
Clearwater National Forest
12730 Hwy 12
Orofino, ID 83544
Dear Mr. Brazell,
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is a national group of outdoors-people who cherish the opportunity to pursue America’s outdoor traditions in pristine and natural surroundings. We have a strong chapter in Idaho. As you know, the US Forest Service Northern Region offers world-class opportunities for backcountry hunting and fishing. Indeed, conserving these places and opportunities are among the reasons why Theodore Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot created the agency and our forest reserves more than a century ago.
In 2005, then U.S. Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth identified off-road vehicles/all-terrain vehicles (ORVs and ATVs) as among the top four threats to the national forest system. “I could show you slide after slide,” wrote Bosworth, “tire tracks running through wetlands, riparian areas churned into mud, banks collapsed and bleeding into streams, ruts in trails so deep you can literally fall in, meadows turned into dustbowls. Water quality deteriorates, soil erodes and native plant communities decline, partly because invasive weeds are spread by tires going where they shouldn’t be going. Such use also threatens habitat for threatened, endangered and sensitive species.”