Tuesday, February 08, 2011

ATV-riding hunters want backcountry trail access

Some Idaho hunters who prefer to mount all-terrain vehicles to pursue their big-game quarry are chafing at Department of Fish and Game restrictions on where they can ride. Under current hunting regulations, the state requires armed hunters who head out onto public land in about a third of Idaho's 99 hunting units to stick to established roads, while keeping away from off-road vehicle or jeep trails and areas that are otherwise open to unarmed recreational ATV riders. The agency says this is to protect big-game herds from the advantage afforded hunters aboard swift, powerful ATVs — and because some hunters who don't use them have complained about the disturbance, as well as violations of the "fair chase" ethic. On Monday, angry ATV riders told the combined Senate and House resource committees during a hearing at the Capitol in Boise they see the state agency in cahoots with the federal government to limit their access to public lands. "Idaho Fish and Game has a secret agenda," said Danny Cone, a hunter from Fruitland in western Idaho. "They're basically in a conspiracy with the U.S. Forest Service." The all-terrain vehicle riders are getting help from Mountain Home Republican Sen. Tim Corder, who wants to strip the state wildlife management agency of much of its authority to regulate where hunters can steer their ATVs on state, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management territory...more

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