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Sage-grouse season up for public input



Fish and Game is seeking public input on sage-grouse hunting proposals. Upland bird managers will present sage-grouse hunting season recommendations to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission when Commissioners meet Aug. 11 in Idaho Falls.

Recommendations follow the hunting season and bag-limit guidelines as laid out in the state plan for sage-grouse. The guidelines compare the current three-year running average of male sage-grouse counted at leks (breeding sites) from 1996-2000 when Idaho began intensified surveys statewide. Current sage-grouse lek data indicate that many populations could be hunted at the “Restrictive” level.

Sage-grouse are proposed for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act, primarily due to habitat loss from such things as wildfire and invasive plants like cheatgrass. Candidate species are currently under state management and hunting sage-grouse is legal. Sage-grouse experts have determined that carefully regulated hunting is consistent with conservation of the species.

The public comment period is July 17 to Aug. 2. Visit a regional Fish and Game office for specifics.



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