The Idaho Fish and Game Magic Valley Regional Office shot 206 elk at night in order to stop them from damaging crops. Many people are furious that hunters were not used to kill the elk.
A 1990 law forces the Idaho Fish and Game department to pay for damage done to crops by wildlife. This was not a problem until the elk population started to grow in certain areas of the state. The Magic Valley region paid out four claims in fiscal year 2015, totaling $69,000. In fiscal year 2019, the agency paid out $1.546 million. The number of claims went from 40 in fiscal year 2015 to 150 in fiscal year 2019.
One claim in 2018 was $1.1 million, so the department shot 108 elk on that land alone. This year the claim on the same land was only $100,000.
Revenue is generated when hunters pay for hunting licenses and tags. This money is given to the Fish and Game Department and is then being paid out to the landowners for depredation.
“I think every person in this room wants a law stating that you do not get depredation money unless you provide public access,” hunter Jevon Benson said, receiving a round of applause.