Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s appointment of Derick Attebury of Idaho Falls and Daniel Blanco of Moscow to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission puts two active volunteers on the body that controls the controversial agency in charge of the public’s fish and wildlife.
Attebury, 41, who succeeds Kenneth Anderson of Rigby, is a member of the National Rifle Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and has recently worked with Pheasants Forever on habitat projects. Blanco, 62, who succeeds Fred Trevey of Lewiston, is an NRA member as well as a member of the Henry’s Fork Foundation, Idaho For Wildlife Foundation, The Gamebird Foundation. He’s also an Idaho Hunter Education instructor. He has served on boards including Sen. Mike Crapo’s Clearwater Elk Initiative, Concerned Sportsmen of Idaho and the Moscow Lions Club.
“Commission or no commission, I’m an activist sportsman,” Blanco said.
Trevey and Anderson ended their terms June 30. Otter took his time with the appointment process. This is no surprise. Otter helped former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne with Fish and Game Commission appointments as lieutenant governor and he has always sought to ensure the process was defensible.
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It blew up, through no fault of his own, when the Senate rejected Joan Hurlock of Buhl in 2013 after she was criticized by some Magic Valley sportsmen. This year’s appointments come in the wake of controversy over the commission’s fee-increase proposal.
The commission pulled the proposal after several lawmakers sought to tie it to changes in the landowner game-tag program, a bonus controlled-tag proposal and a proposal to offer more tags for big game to the highest bidder.
The commission has since directed Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore to get more input on the proposals.
The commission has seven members who serve four-year terms.
“Few duties are more important to Idahoans, and few positions in state government are more demanding,” Gov. Otter said. “Derick and Daniel are committed to helping advance Fish and Game’s mission of preserving, protecting, perpetuating and managing Idaho’s wildlife for future generations of sportsmen.”
Attebury, an irrigation company operations manager, said he’s an avid hunter and fisherman. He will represent Butte, Jefferson, Madison, Teton, Fremont, Clark, Bonneville and parts of Lemhi, Custer and Bingham counties.
He hopes to improve the relationship between sportsmen and the Department of Fish and Game and “make sure we protect our resource.” He also would like to get more youths engaged in the outdoors hunting and fishing.
“I’d like to see a younger generation get involved,” he said.
Attebury said he hopes to balance the concerns of sportsmen with landowners and find where they “can work together on what are common interests.”
Blanco, a tent salesman and former director of Career Services for the University of Idaho, has a master’s degree from the University of South Dakota in public administration emphasizing environmental management. He will represent Latah, Clearwater and Lewis counties, as well as most of Idaho County and parts of Benewah and Shoshone counties.
He hopes to encourage more opportunities for anglers to catch species like bass, crappies, bluegills and channel catfish. “The resource is certainly there,” he said.
“We just need to do things to turn people on to it,” Blanco said.
He also wants to work with the department to improve wingshooting opportunities in the Clearwater region.
“It’s always gratifying when engaged and concerned citizens step up to take on the responsibilities of managing our precious public resources,” Otter said.