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Posted: Aug 13, 2009  12:14


Kootenai Valley Sportsmen Aid Fish and Game



      

Formed in the mid-1980s, the Kootenai Valley Sportsmen Association has been a voice for the hunters and anglers of Boundary County to work with the Idaho Fish and Game Department on wildlife management issues.

“Usually a group has more of a voice than a single person,” said Ken Brink, one of the original founders of the group as well as its treasurer.

The main objective of the organization is to enhance and conserve hunting and fishing opportunities in Boundary County. Additionally, they work to promote good landowner/sportsmen relations, public awareness of fish and wildlife activities and concerns, sportsmanlike conduct and wildlife education. They also cooperate with Idaho Fish and Game and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The initial idea behind the group’s formation was that area sportsmen felt that Fish and Game could use more accurate information and practical input on decisions that affected wildlife. Ken explained that for years there was only one Conservation Officer assigned to this area and he couldn’t possibly know everything that was going on with the animal, fish and fowl populations.

“We just felt that we had a lot more representatives in the field and could see a broader view of how many animals were out there,” Ken noted. “Fish and Game officers attend our meetings. We don’t tell them what to do; we just make suggestions. We give our input and then they take it from there. We work with Fish and Game, not against them.”

Jon Meadows, president of the 200 member organization, gave an example of how the suggestions that came from KVSA have had a positive impact.

“For example,” he explained, “about eight years ago, we had a very low population of mule deer. Fish and Game was going to keep the same hunt regulations from previous years, but we felt it should be a “buck only” hunt to keep the population stable. We combined with the Sportsmen Associations of Priest River and Sandpoint at the group meeting held by Fish and Game and expressed our viewpoint. Fish and Game wanted to do a two-year study on the problem, but we felt that the hunt regulations should change immediately. They ended up making it a “buck only” hunt. We have a real good Game Commissioner right now in Tony McDermott.”

Ken continued, “The problem is that most of the decisions are made in Boise. Even the Fish and Game guys from here have a hard time getting their ideas across down there.”

The problem with the increasing wolf population is one issue that has been plaguing hunters, on which KVSA is trying to make some headway.

Jon said, “People don’t realize that Fish and Game’s hands are tied because federal fish and wildlife laws and the court system are controlling the wolves right now. Tony McDermott has been working really hard to get our wolf season established.”

In addition to giving Fish and Game information and input, KVSA sponsors the annual Horn and Gun Show each year in early February. The funds raised from this event are put back into the community in the form of projects such as building boat docks, putting up goose nests, building picnic tables at Boundary Creek, paying for the restrooms at Smith Creek and Boundary Creek, building the roof and installing the outdoor range at the Rifle and Pistol Range and re-burning the Brush Lake Burn to create winter habitat for big game animals.

“We also get involved in anything to do with youth,” mentioned Ken. “We sponsor the Archery Club at the middle school and furnish the bows and everything they need to learn how to bow hunt. Plus we sponsored the archery kids going to the national competition.’

In the future, KVSA hopes to be able to build a trail from the boat dock to the fishing dock at Dawson Lake.

“Our group has had some impact on some issues. We don’t want conflict with Fish and Game but we try to have an influence,” concluded Jon.

KVSA meets on the first Monday of each month (except for the months of June, July and August) at the Rifle and Pistol Range on Highway 2. Meetings begin at 6 pm; everyone is welcome. Dues are $10 per year, and include use of the Rifle and Pistol Range whenever it is open. For more information on KVSA, or to join, call Jon Meadows at 267-9129.






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