Idaho wildlife has a new boss. Virgil Moore, 59, of Boise, has been named director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. The appointment was announced during a news conference this morning in Boise.
"We're going to be able to hit the ground running fast and hard," he said in the phone conference with reporters, referring to his knowledge about department functions.
He replaces Cal Groen, who has retired. Moore's previous department appointment was as deputy director of field operations, a position he's held since 2007.
Moore comes to his new position faced with challenges, but says he has a few goals to help tackle them. He described the department's overall score as an eight.
"I would like to see us at a 10," he said. "I would be satisfied with a 9.5."
"The economy is down," he added. "One of the things we've got to do is make sure our organization is financially sound."
Ways he plans to help make that happen include tackling wildlife issues and opening more dialogue with sportsmen, including organizing a state wildlife congress made up of sportsmen and conservation groups.
Moore said he wants to evaluate the management of elk and mule deer populations - Fish and Game's "bread and butter," he said - and confront the wolf management issue.
"It's not just about wolves but about predators," he said. "Those predators are here to stay. We've got to understand and work to manage them."
Moore said he also wants to open more extensive conversations with sportsmen, including connecting with the younger crowd through social media and other new technology.
"That's the mindset we've got to get ourselves into. That's the candy jar I want my hands in," he said.
Moore's career includes having served as director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and in Idaho as Fish and Game's chief of fisheries and head of education and information.
He was selected to his new post out of a pool of six finalists, including three other internal candidates.
In a news release Thursday, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter thanked Groen for his four years as director of Fish and Game.
"Virgil has some big shoes to fill," Otter said. "But given his long experience at the department, I believe he can ably handle these new responsibilities."
"This is family," Moore said. "I'm looking forward to working with that family and the extended family of sportsmen."
Andrew Weeks may be reached at 735-3233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.