Idaho F&G may open hunt for escaped [domestic] elk, but owner says animals pose no threat

Rocky Barker has an article on the controversial elk escape in today’s Idaho Statesman. In Idaho when Barker writes a story, that means its big news. Story.







  1. Elizabeth Parker Avatar
    Elizabeth Parker

    Does anyone know if the Chief Joseph “hunting” ranch in the article is the same as the one offering memberships for 1 million dollars each?

    Here is the link about the 1M memberships:

    I am new to this issue, but I find it hard to believe that the general population of Idaho would support such a ranch. Inevitably native wildlife is comingling with these fenced in elk. Who knows if they are shot as well as the elk?

  2. Robert Hoskins Avatar

    Elizabeth–Yes, it is the same place. Yes, it is highly likely that native wildlife is getting inside the fences of this place, just as it is all too common for “domestic” elk to get out and mingle with wild populations. It is hoped that after this event, the people of Idaho go the route of the states of Wyoming and Montana and ban these ranches and farms outright. They are hazards to wildlife in every sense of the term.

  3. Elizabeth Parker Avatar
    Elizabeth Parker

    Again, I am new to this issue. However, if you were to put a fence around 2000 acres that I hike regularly, I could easily locate elk in a very short amount of time. These ranches are a pity and don’t seem to require much in the way of “sportsmanship” or hunting in general.

    I don’t have a problem with responsible hunting, even though I’m not a hunter. However, let’s put the “hunting” back in hunting.

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    I think this is the future of much of the West unless voters wise up. What I mean is that hunting, if you can call it that, and other recreation will be privatized.

    While much of the West will be torn to shreds by energy companies, off-road vehicles, and random housing developments, large private reserves for the very wealthy will be cordoned off.

    Chief Joseph seems to be one, although the Yellowstone Club is farther down the path and the person behind it is already expanding to new horizons in Idaho and Wyoming.
    The end result is the average person in the West will struggle at a low paying job, have little access to the outdoors, and people like Dick Cheney will live on private reserves patrolled by armed guards to keep the “rabble” (us) at a safe distance.

  5. Howard Avatar

    I recently read an article in a fly-fishing magazine about the prospects of of angling on some of England’s classic brown trout rivers, such as the Test and Itchen. Most of the “great” trout rivers of England (and I put great in quotes because in most places, there are virtually no wild trout… in the early days of fishing as a gentleman’s pastime, all fish caught were killed, and there are records of obscene numbers of wild brown trout killed in a day’s outing…although that may no longer be the case, the rivers have been modified by human activity and are currently not conducive to natural spawning in most places) are extremely difficult for the average person to gain access to. Many miles of these rivers are private property, with no possible access. Stretches of river that are not individual property are owned by trout fishing clubs. Note that these are not trout fishing advocacy groups…they are private clubs, and only members can fish. What determines membership? In most of these clubs, wealth and social standing, and each group has its own set of criteria of who is desirable and who is not. Common folk who want to fish these rivers have two options…use the extremely limited public access that exists on a fraction of the rivers’ mileage, or, pay private property owners big bucks for the right to fish. The author noted that England’s long standing social “classicism” is clearly alive and well on the Test and Itchen.

    As Americans, we share alot in common with British culture, but one of the most radical breaks from our parent culture is our rejection of an aristocracy and our emphasis on egalitarianism (at least in theory). The case of the Test and the Itchen should be a warning to hunters, anglers, hikers, etc. of what will become of their usage rights if the ultra-elite are permitted to buy up our public lands.

    Public land is not a socialist plot…it is an all-American concept that, at its core, asserts that the super wealthy and powerful are not “better” than the rest of us.

    This whole land grab business, while masquerading as property rights and individual liberty of the highest magnitude, is in fact, the antithesis of everything American. Why on earth would we want to turn America back into 19th century England?

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Well said, Howard.

    I do think citizens, especially hunters in the West, are waking up. Nevertheless, some prominent recent privatizers, even though they might be talking differently now, are going to have to go down in the elections before the tide is turned.

    The idea that Larry Craig and Butch Otter are now born-again friends of our public land, doesn’t impress me.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan