Butch Otter’s treatment of Idaho Fish and Game commissioners, requiring them to reapply for their positions, illustrates perfectly why our public lands must never, ever be handed over to state control. At issue was the commission’s refusal to change policies, allowing big land owners to sell game tags, and offering big game tags to the highest bidder. Idaho presently auctions a Bighorn Sheep tag. In 2015 the winning bid was $100,000, a price obviously beyond the means of most Idaho hunters.
The move was political retaliation for commissioners’ refusing to go along with the scheme. Fish and Game was being responsive to the vast majority of outdoorsmen in the state. Otter and some legislators, most notably Mike Moyle and Steve Bair, were being responsive to their constituents, the big-money interests who would like to keep our public resources for their private use. Given this situation, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to visualize where they would want to go with our public lands if granted control. Forty-one percent of land deeded to Idaho at statehood is now private property. Our “public servants” would soon be handing out favors to every tasseled-loafer, big-money interest coming to Boise.
Dale Merrell, Boise