Idaho Fish and Game sharpshooters killed 206 elk on private land north of Shoshone and across the Magic Valley region between July and October as part of a research project on depredation, the agency stated last week.
The project—which has sparked anger from both hunters and non-hunters alike on social media—happened in overnight segments. Fish and Game spokesman Terry Thompson said the sharpshooting team consisted of Fish and Game employees and one graduate student from the University of Idaho.
The goal was to kill elk in order to change behavior and drive out herds from private property.
“Wildlife does encroach onto private lands and damage crops, and [Fish and Game] is mandated by law to work with landowners to minimize or eliminate those interactions. Ultimately, we can go in and issue kill permits or depredation hunts,” Thompson told a live audience on 1310 KLIX last Thursday. “It’s a lot of elk, but we have healthy populations in southern Idaho.”
After elk were killed, they were field-dressed, put into refrigerated trucks and processed at Scarrow Meats in Jerome. Fish and Game then donated the elk meat to Jerome-based nonprofit Idaho Hunters Feeding the Hungry.
“Farmers and ranchers have been here in the valley for generations. They have the right to use their land to make a living,” Thompson said.