TWIN FALLS — Fish and Game staff in the Magic Valley Region continue to work with local agricultural producers in an effort to reduce agriculture crop damages caused by big game.
Requests from landowners for depredation assistance continues to come in from all areas within the region, which stretches from Galena Summit south to the Utah and Nevada borders, and from Mountain Home east to near the tip of the American Falls reservoir. As in years past, elk continue to move onto cultivated fields at night which limits Fish and Game’s available depredation management options for changing elk behavior for the purposes of reducing crop damage.
In an area near Little Camas Reservoir, Fish and Game technicians have begun to haze elk off of agricultural crops using noise making devices. To date, no sharp shooting has occurred in this area. Fish and Game attempted to implement a managed hunting program on private lands in proximity to the areas at Little Camas where elk depredation is occurring. However, Fish and Game was unable to negotiate access to large tracts of private land, so the use of managed hunts in the Little Camas area will not occur this year.
In mid-July, a depredation hunt was authorized in an area northeast of Fairfield, in an effort to reduce crop damage to alfalfa fields. This depredation hunt provided an opportunity for hunters to hunt antlerless elk in an effort to reduce depredation damages.
Kill permits have also been issued to landowners throughout the region by Fish and Game. A kill permit can be issued to landowners that typically allows them to take one to three elk. Kill permits allow landowners to assist in reducing big game numbers in an effort to reduce, or eliminate wildlife that cause crop damage.
Since mid-July, crop damage caused by elk has also been occurring in the Goose Creek area, south of Oakley. In response, Fish and Game has authorized a depredation hunt in this area.
With summer temperatures rising, it is anticipated that big game will increase their use of agricultural crops over the coming weeks. Increasing numbers of big game animals accessing and damaging crop lands may necessitate the use of additional management actions, including allowing more hunters to hunt antlerless elk, issuing more landowner kill permits, as well as hazing and sharp shooting by Department personnel.
For more information, please call the Magic Valley Regional Office at 208-324-4359.
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