F&G considering changing unlimited controlled hunts to first choice only

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game wants to know how hunters feel about a proposal to allow the Fish and Game Commission to designate some unlimited controlled hunts as “first-choice only” during the controlled-hunt applications.

Unlimited-controlled hunts provide special hunting opportunities without restricting the number of hunters. They're more restrictive than a general-season hunt because you're limited to that hunt, but the number of tags is unrestricted.

But F&G says some unlimited-controlled hunts have a higher-than-desired number of hunters because too many select these hunts as a second choice if they do not draw their first-choice hunt during the controlled-hunt lottery.

Under the proposal, commissioners could make some of the unlimited controlled hunts “first-choice only” during the season-setting process. This would reduce applicants for the specified hunts, so the “unlimited” number of tags could be maintained, and any hunter who selected that hunt as their first choice would get a tag. But people drawing for other tags could not use those hunts as a fallback. 

If the current rules remain, some existing unlimited-controlled hunts will likely be converted to controlled hunts. That would not only reduce the number of tags available, it would also restrict nonresidents to 10 percent of the tags for that hunt, require hunters to sit out a year after drawing, and allocate a portion of the available tags to outfitters.

Additional information, including complete text of the proposed changes and how to submit comments, is available here.