Elko panel opposes shortening deer rifle season

ELKO -- An Elko County advisory panel worried about the impact on northeast Nevada's economy is fighting the state's proposal to shorten the rifle hunting season for mule deer.

The state's recommended three-week hunt for mule deer in 2003-2004 would have an especially significant impact on Elko, said Rich Sandoz, chairman of the Elko County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife.

"I'm concerned economically," Sandoz told the Elko Daily Free Press. "One week less, there will be fewer people in Elko to spend their dollar."

Board member Neil McQueary said a shorter season means less of a chance for a hunter to be successful, which also affects visitation.

"It needs to be a quality hunt," McQueary said.

The Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners will meet on Feb. 7-8 in Las Vegas to set hunting seasons for the next two years based on NDOW's recommendations.

The state proposed a shortened rifle season in response to significant die offs of mule deer herds around the state. But Elko officials the plan is at odds with recommendations from both the advisory board and local NDOW biologists.

The local NDOW biologists found that a shorter season will lead to more congestion among hunters in the area and that quotas -- rather than the length of season -- will do the most to properly manage the herd, local officials said.

In other action, the Elko board agreed to support a change in the state's poaching law.

The proposed changes would clarify that it is illegal to "willfully" hunt and kill a big game animal such as bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, deer, antelope, mountain lion or brown bear without a valid tag.

Under current law, someone who unintentionally kills an animal -- even someone who has struck and killed one with a car -- could be prosecuted.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment