The Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Thursday decided against adding more big-game tags for auction.
Fish and Game has auctioned a single bighorn sheep tag annually since 1988. That tag sold for $90,000 in January.
“Commissioners had a lengthy discussion about auction tags, noting that sportsmen and women overwhelmingly opposed expanding auction tags during meetings they held in recent weeks in their regions. At the commission’s public hearing Wednesday in Boise, fourteen commenters unanimously opposed issuing more auction tags,” said Idaho and Fish and Game spokesman Roger Phillips.
A recent questionnaire about expanding auction tags on Fish and Game’s website got 591 responses with 80 percent opposing them, 15 percent supporting and 5 percent neutral, he said.
However, in the 2015 Idaho Hunter Opinion Survey, 55 percent of respondents said it was “acceptable” to auction tags to generate funds for wildlife management. Another 37 percent disagreed and eight percent were neutral. When asked if up to twelve more auction tags should be released to help fund wildlife management and hunter access programs, 51 percent agreed, 38 percent disagreed and 11 percent were neutral, Phillips stated.
The Idaho Legislature in 2012 gave authority to the Fish and Game commission to auction up to 12 “Governor's Wildlife Partnership” big-game tags, which could include three each for deer, elk and pronghorn and one each for bighorn sheep, moose and mountain goat.
Since that legislation passed, the commission has regularly discussed Governor’s tags but never offered any, said Phillips.