Friday, September 30, 2016

Idaho hunters learn Texas billionaires are locking them out at the last minute - Full Article

September 29 2016

By Rocky Barker

Steve Wolfinger was planning to go on what was his first Idaho elk hunt starting Saturday in Adams and Valley counties.

But a week before he was planning to get on a jet to fly from his home in Arkansas, the 70-year-old got a letter from Regan Berkley, an Idaho Department of Fish and Game wildlife manager from McCall. She told him that private land recently owned by Potlatch Corp. that covers much of the unit where he planned to hunt is now closed.

DF Development, the new owners of the 172,000 acres of timberland and a vast road system in Adams, Valley and Boise counties, informed Fish and Game that the land will no longer be open to hunting.

Wolfinger and 304 other hunters had controlled-hunt tags for units where 30 percent of the land is owned by the Cisco, Texas, company. Berkley told those hunters they could trade their controlled-hunt tag for a general elk tag if they wanted.

Hunters go through a lottery to get controlled-hunt tags for units where they have higher odds of bagging an animal. But that won’t work for Wolfinger: He has time to hunt this week, but the general season hasn’t started yet.

“I hope you spread the word,” his son, Bradley Wolfinger, told the Statesman via email. “Outrageous.”

I first reported in August that Farris and Dan Wilks had purchased the land owned for decades by Boise Cascade. The two Texas billionaires have been buying up land all over the West, and closing off much of the access to those lands.

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