Jim Unsworth, deputy director for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, says the agency has put in place a six-month hiring freeze on all open positions, eliminated at least two high level positions, and is looking at cutting some programs. He says the economic downturn is why fewer out-of-state hunters are heading to Idaho.
Most of the agency’s money comes from the sale of tags, licenses and permits.
Unsworth says items that could be cut include aerial surveys of big-game populations. That could lead to a reduction in the number of deer or elk that game managers would allow to be killed because regional supervisors tend to be more conservative when setting harvest numbers if they don’t have reliable estimates about herd populations.
Besides state revenue from out-of-state hunters falling, guides in the state have also seen fewer clients. Guide businesses say besides the economy, wolves killing elk and an increase in the cost of tags and licenses also decreased business for guided elk hunts. (AP)