UPDATE: Idaho Fish and Game commissioners postponed a decision on releasing more big-game tags for auction until their March 9-11 meeting to allow more time for public input. Seventy-five percent of the written responses received about the idea were opposed. The commission also opposes a Senate bill that would force the agency to offer the maximum number of auction tags each year.
Idaho Fish and Game commissioners will consider a huge step into auction tags for big-game hunts at a meeting next week.
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The plan would add one auction tag each for elk, mule deer, mountain goat, pronghorn and moose.
Idaho Fish and Game has auctioned a tag for bighorn sheep every year since 1988. The most recent tag sold for $90,000.
The Idaho Legislature in 2012 gave the commission permission to auction up to 12 Governor’s Wildlife Partnership big-game tags. The commission hasn’t used that authority so far.
The meeting to make a decision on the auction tags is a conference call at 8 a.m. Thursday.
At least 95 percent of proceeds from auction tags would go to Fish and Game. Up to 30 percent of the money could be used for sportsman access programs.
Fish and Game recently ran a survey about auction tags. It found that 55 percent of hunters surveyed considered auction tags acceptable to generate funds for wildlife management. Fifty-one percent said Fish and Game should release all of its auction tags to help fund wildlife management and hunter access programs.