With the changing seasons the Idaho chapter's Learn To Hunt program entered the mentored hunting phase. Students were paired with an experienced hunter for a day of big game or upland hunting. Over the course of five weeks, chapter volunteers led twenty students through gear selection, sighting in rifles, field dressing big game, ethics and scouting,
Members of the Idaho chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers crafted and submitted a letter to the BLM regarding the Four Rivers Resource Management Plan. The letter was part of the official public comment period for the RMP which will guide future management of approximately 780,000 acres of BLM-managed public lands in SW Idaho. This opportunity provides necessary input to help steer the BLM plan towards science-based conservation options for optimal wildlife health and hunting and fishing opportunities.
Across the Sawtooth National Forest is an area called the Black Pine Mountains located in SE Idaho. This island of mountains maintains excellent wildlife habitat and hunting opportunities. Recent illegal motorized use was beginning to adversely affect wildlife and hunting opportunities. That's when Idaho leaders stepped up. Dan Herrig, of Boise, serves on the Idaho BHA leadership team and was able to coordinate with US Forest Service staff to help identify several high priority locations where barriers and signage could be installed to limit illegal travel routes.
On a hot late August weekend, a team of 10 people from Idaho BHA, the US Forest Service and Idaho Fish & Game joined forces to construct jackleg fence barriers and install signs on non-system routes (trails not open to motorized use). These barriers will help prevent illegal motorized use of trails and will encourage responsible recreation, particularly during the busy hunting season. The barriers will help to create habitat security for elk, deer and moose and deter trespass issues on neighboring private land.
Much of the access to the national forest in Black Pine is through private property without easements; landowners have considered closing some roads and access points due to damage to private property and illegal and unauthorized activities from the public. We want to thank the local landowners that helped with this project. Improving wildlife habitat and land stewardship is a team effort!
Idaho BHA organized a cleanup project along the Salmon River on August 3rd. Volunteers floated the river on rafts and inflatable kayaks on two different sections of BLM land near Salmon and Challis. Thirteen people enjoyed the day on the water and put in some elbow great to pull, bag and remove invasive spotted knapweed. The team also found and removed old tires, pieces of rusty metal, plastic pipe and other trash. The Salmon River remains an iconic American river and thanks to these volunteers, the fish and wildlife habitat is in better shape today. The dedication to public lands and waters is clearly evidenced by the fact that some folks drove from as far away as Boise and McCall.
Members of the Idaho chapter crafted and submitted a letter to the Idaho Department of Transportation as part of the official public comment period for the 2019 Idaho Transportation Investment Program – intending to remind ITD that as Idahoans we view investments in wildlife crossings and fish friendly culverts as smart construction practices to ensure wildlife health and protect our hunting and fishing traditions.
This summer the chapter sponsored one student participation in the Idaho Conservation Officers Association Youth Conservation Camp. This camp connects 10- to 12-year-olds with local conservation officers for an instructive, fun experience centered on conservation ethics and shooting guns and bows, followed by a Payette River float. At the end, students completing the course received their youth hunting license! Thanks go to Eric Crawford for securing a spot for our BHA sponsored student.
The Idaho chapter board extends its gratitude to Eric Crawford and Katie Oelrich for serving with distinction as chapter co-chairs for the last several years. Both Eric and Katie had to recently step away from chapter leadership roles due to professional work requirements. However, Katie has agreed to serve as our regional representative.