Fish & Game may allow landowners to sell tags

STATESMAN STAFFMay 14, 2014 

Under a new proposal, landowners in Idaho's Landowner Appreciation Program (LAP) could sell big game tags given to them for participating.

Fish and Game's Landowner Appreciation Program allocates a portion of controlled hunt tags in a lottery exclusively for landowners who provide habitat for deer, elk, and pronghorn in units where there are no general hunts.

A public meeting on the LAP proposals is scheduled 6 to 9 p.m. June 4 at the Southwest Regional Fish and Game office, 3101 S. Powerline Road, in Nampa. There will other meetings Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Jerome and Lewiston.

Under current rules, a landowner must have at least 640 acres in that area to enter the special lottery.

Landowners who draw an LAP tag can give the tag to another person, but can not sell that tag. That could change for the first time in the history of the 27-year-old program.

Big game tags have become a hot commodity, with prime tags selling in other states for tens of thousands of dollars.

Under the proposals, controlled hunt tags would be guaranteed to landowners rather than allocated in a lottery.

The number of tags allocated to each landowner would be directly tied to the amount of habitat for deer, elk or pronghorn provided by the landowner, F&G officials said.

Additional tags would be issued to landowners who sign agreements for allowing hunter access and participating in habitat improvement and depredation management.

In the past, landowners had to provide public access to their lands in exchange for LAP tags, but that stipulation was dropped at the request of landowners.

Also under the new proposal, F&G is considering limiting where certain recipients of the LAP tags can hunt. Currently any recipient can use the tags in any part of a hunt area in which a landowner has drawn an LAP tag.

Direct family members and employees of the landowner would continue to have that opportunity.

Hunters who purchase LAP tags from landowners and are not related to or employed by the landowner would be limited to private land within the hunt area, according to the proposal.

Comments about the LAP program can be submitted online from May 19 to June 6 at fishandgame.idaho.gov.

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