Commission keeps prepayment rule for moose, sheep and goat tags

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Idaho Fish and Game commissioners rescinded a proposal that would allow hunters to forego prepaying moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat tags when applying for those controlled hunts in the spring.

Those hunts will remain under the existing rules, which means residents and nonresidents must pay the application fee and tag fee to apply, as well as have a valid hunting license.

Application fees for moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats will increase in 2018 to $16.75 for residents and $41.75 for nonresidents, which was part of the legislation passed in 2017 that included hikes for nearly all resident hunting, fishing and trapping licenses, tags and permits.

Fish and Game has seen the number of applicants for moose, bighorn sheep and goat tags steadily increase in recent years, and commissioners have grappled with how to keep drawing odds from getting slimmer for those coveted tags.

Commissioners were concerned if hunters could forgo paying up front for a tag when they apply, it would give them more incentive to apply. For nonresidents that would mean not having to put up $2,101, which does not including the license or application fee. Nonresidents are eligible for up to 10 percent of the tags, but the tag fee is refunded after if they’re not drawn, but not the license or the application fee.

Residents also have to pay for the tag up front when they apply, along with the application fee and have a hunting license, but residents pay $166.75 for a moose, sheep or mountain goat tag.

The application period for those tags is April 1 through April 30.

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