Hunters interested in the next decade of elk hunting in Idaho have a chance to guide it.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has copies of its draft 10-year plan available at its offices, and it can also be viewed online at fishandgame.idaho.gov. Fish and Game is asking the public to review the plan and provide comments by Sept. 22.
Fish and Game officials will also hold a live chat on its website from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday to discuss the plan during a live, interactive forum.
Participants may ask questions to biologists and also comment.
The elk plan is part of Fish and Games periodic update to changing situations with elk management, hunter preferences and elk populations.
The plan is important for hunters because it sets direction and outlines preferences for hunting rules and seasons within the limits of populations, such as general versus controlled hunts, bull hunts versus antlerless hunts, etc.
The plan guides the framework of hunting seasons and rules, but does not specifically set them. Commissioners set hunting seasons and rules annually.
This plan is to guide us in the next 10 years; its not a new rulebook, said Toby Boudreau, Fish and Games deer and elk coordinator.
The proposed plan outlines general direction, such as maintain the opportunity to hunt elk every year, enhance opportunities to hunt mature bulls, and provide avenues for hunters to hunt more than one zone in a season.
The plan also addresses predator control, strategies to reduce crop damage, co-mingling with livestock and disease control.
Public input taken during the comment period will show which management directions hunters prefer or dislike, and that information will be given to the commissioners before they adopt the final plan, which is scheduled for November.