Hunting on private land may become more expensive in Idaho if an idea suported by Idaho's Upper Snake Region Fish and Game Commissioner Cameron Wheeler gets legs. Historically, the state has ensured the same prices and opportunities for all hunters, but the new proposal, still in development, may allow private landowners to sell hunting tags on their land to the highest bidder.
Wheeler believes that landowners should earn money from the wildlife on their properties and said, "The days of asking landowners to provide access for free are over."
Fish and Game's program, Access Yes!, which pays landowners in exchange for allowing the public to hunt on their lands, has been successful with 84 properties around the state taking advantage of the program this year. But this new idea would allow private landowners to profit directly from hunters, offering the rights to hunt on their land to the highest bidder.
There is already a similar program in Colorado but landowners there must use the money to improve habitat and allow access to nonpaying hunters for cow and doe hunts. Before any new programs can take effect, the Idaho Legislature must approve of the plan.