Jan. 27, Rep. Marc Gibbs, R-Grace, addressed the Idaho Fish and Game Commission — yet another attempt by a gang of legislators making demands of the commission that aren’t supported by sportsmen. They’re intent on forcing the commission to double ($750,000 to $1.5 million) the current annual set aside available to landowners for crop damage by wildlife. Funded by hunting license sales, the fund goes unclaimed most years since landowner claims rarely total $750,000. Gibbs wants the fund doubled for undisclosed reasons. Last year Sen. Bert Brackett authored and passed bill S1344, mandating IDFG hire a contractor to manage controlled hunt drawings. S1344’s estimated annual cost of $100,000 starkly contrasts the current annual in-house cost of $3,000. The actual cost of S1344 is $2 million annually. During 10 years without a fee increase, IDFG’s purchasing power has reduced from inflation by 20 percent. 2017’s price-lock fee increase proposal would generate approximately $2 million annually. S1344 and the depredation increase will cost almost $3 million annually, nullifying the added benefit of the proposed fee increase. Perhaps it’s time the Legislature passes the sportsman supported fee increase for IDFG and quit saddling us with unjustified increased costs.
Thomas A. Fisher III, Meridian