IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - The Idaho Department of Fish and Game drafted a 10-year elk management plan Aug. 19, and will be accepting public comment until Sept. 22.
It is the first elk management plan from Idaho Fish and Game since 1999. It's meant to help them establish goals with the help of elk hunters, landowners and outdoor enthusiasts, and then achieve them over the next ten years.
The plan identifies population objectives for each zone, factors contributing to low elk numbers in zones and how to strategically address those factors.
Daryl Meints, regional wildlife manager, says the plan isn't just about hunting, but the blueprint will affect sportsmen and women.
"What we're looking for is the general direction that our sportsmen want to take our elk herds," said Meints.
He says managing the elk keeps Idaho's rich hunting history intact.
"There's a lot of family tradition that's been built for decades in hunting elk in the state of Idaho," said Meints.
Hunter Von Christensen is continuing a tradition with his family this Friday, taking his two boys bow-hunting on opening day. He said the plan should address the effect wolves have on herds.
"I think they manage them well," said Christensen. "It's just, the introduction of the wolf has impacted some of the herds a lot."
Brian Barlow is also getting ready for bow hunting this weekend. He said hunters sharing opinions is healthy for the plan.
"It's nice of them to listen to everybody and try to balance for the benefit of all in the state of Idaho," said Barlow.
Idaho Fish and Game will host an online chat about the 10-year elk management plan from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.
You can participate at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/elkplanning.