Unfortunately, Over 2000 underage applicants were able to apply for controlled hunts even though the policy stated that they were ineligible . Once this year's draw results were out, IDFG allotted over 1000 tags illegally to these ineligible underage applicants. By doing this IDFG not only significanlty lowered the odds for legal applicants to draw on controlled hunts but also gave unfair treatment and preference to some 9 and 11 year old hunters than the other 9 and 11 year old hunters did not receive because they followed the law/policy. The biggest issue with this is that the IDFG has sent a strong and loud message to these hunters and their families that fish and game laws are not important enough to enforce of follow!
I myself won't deny that I am a little jealous that I have been putting in for a big bull elk tag for 16 years now with no avail while a ineligible 9 year old hunters is allotted the tag I have earnestly and patiently desired for the past 16 years... The bigger issue to me is the future of hunting! I have heard people say that these 1000+ youth who were allotted tags need to keep their tags to keep their interest and desire to hunt at such a young age... What about those other 9 and 11 year old hunters who followed the law yet get to watch or hear about some other 9 or 11 year old go out and hunt while they stay at home... If we are sincerely desiring our youth to gain a passion and interest in hunting, shouldn't we start by teaching them about the laws of the land and how important it is to follow these laws and rules no matter what! I am extremely disappointed in the IDFG who have shown these hunters and their families that rules and policies are not important enough to enforce or follow. I am also disappointed in these families who tool their 9 or 11 year old and knowledgeably allowed them to illegally put in for a controlled hunt and sent a message to their youth that it was okay to go against what the law stated. What type of hunting culture is this creating? What kind of message are we sending to the youth (and adults) in this state about the Department of Fish and Game? IDFG made a statement this week that they would allow these underage applicants to keep their illegally allotted tags but then recently stated that they would reconsider the issue and make a statement next week concerning the matter.
What is your opinion?
Should the Department of Fish and Game allow these youth to keep their tags?
Should the Department withdraw these tags (individual and group applicants) and refund the money?
If they withdraw the tags:
Should the Department allow all 10 and 11 year old youth to apply and draw again?
Should the Department draw all remaining tags with the unsuccessful legal applicants?
Should they withdraw the tags and allow all the 2nd choice applicants to have a chance at the tags?
Should they just withdraw the tags and go forward without allotting these 1000+ tags to other hunters?
Or do you have another solution or opinion?
What if it was you.... what if it was your child?... what if you had been putting in for 16 years and never drawn?... :)
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF IT WAS YOUR STATE?