By George Dovel
In 1994 several Legislators insisted I be appointed to the newly created Winter Feeding Advisory Committees and in 1997 new IDFG Director Mealey appointed me to the Implementation Steering Team. Along with the other eight Team members, which included six IDFG officials, I was given a copy of the 1991-1995 Elk Management Plan and told our job was to establish Rules to implement the Deer and Elk Team’s plans using that Plan as our guide.
When I read the Introduction to the 1991-95 Plan, prepared by Jim Unsworth and dated July 1990, I was shocked that IDFG had boldly published its intention to ignore Idaho Wildlife Policy adopted as law in 1938. When you read the following unedited excerpts from that Introduction you will recognize the hidden agenda (e.g. to reduce consumptive use of deer and elk) that has slowly destroyed Idaho’s mule deer and elk for the past 20 years:
Elk Management Plan 1991-1995
Although this document is called an Elk Management Plan, it is really the plan of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (hereafter called the Department) for managing the many and varied impacts of people upon wildlife and wildlife habitat.
The basic reason for most management efforts is to ensure long-term annual returns from the wildlife resource to the human population. Most such management efforts benefit the wildlife populations. A gamut of “products”, including direct consumption (harvest), recreational opportunity, nonconsumptive use, scientific value, social and cultural value, genetic value, etc. can accrue from any wildlife population…The Department believes the greatest return to society from the wildlife resource occurs when the maximum variety of products is provided and that maximizing a single product (e.g., harvest) is not necessarily desirable. We will encourage and promote nonconsumptive use of elk.
I reviewed my 1996 notes of the Team meetings where biologists had agreed to increase deer and elk to provide food for bears – yet unanimously rejected Bill Chetwood’s suggestion to provide deer and elk for hunters to harvest. The biologists’ ongoing agenda was obvious.