On February 1, House Bill No. 507 was introduced by the Idaho House Resources and Conservation Committee. The bill pertains to archery equipment and would make it legal for lighted nocks and mechanical broadheads to be used in the taking of game, effective July 1, 2022. While Idaho BHA does not have a formal position or opinion on the use of these tools, the Fish and Game Commission – not the legislature – should make that determination. For that reason alone, we oppose H0507.
Many BHA members will have differing views on the substance of this bill. Both lighted nocks and mechanical broadheads are widely used in states where they are legal. To reiterate, Idaho BHA has no formal opinion on the matter. What we do have a view on, and it is a view that only grows stronger as we see hunting rights threatened by legislation and ballot initiatives in other states across the West, is that these decisions should be firmly and finally made by the Fish and Game Commission. Not by the legislature, and not by ballot initiatives.
Legislating methods of take in this way is dangerous specifically because so many sportsmen and women are likely to be ambivalent about the topic itself. Idaho is the only state in the country in which lighted nocks are illegal. For many, the ability to use them would come as welcome news. But one of the reasons why Idaho’s wildlife resources are among the best in the world is that our wildlife management system has remained comparatively separate from politics since the Commission was formed in 1938. Every erosion of the Commission’s authority jeopardizes the system that has allowed Idaho to remain such a conservation success story. In opposing this bill, Idaho BHA is asking the legislature to abide by the process that has served us so well and permit the wildlife experts on the Commission to make wildlife decisions.