Happy 2014 IOGA Members,

Now that the Holiday season is over we are all back in the office working on many of the projects that were outlined at our annual meeting. Speaking of the annual meeting, I want to take a moment and thank all of the volunteers who helped the staff during the event. Especially the following, Gary Brookshire, Barbara Judge, Barb Billington, Dee Crane, Lynn Demerse, Karlee May, Brooke Oswald, Autumn Haney, Lora Haney, LeaAnne Haney and Gregg Simonds. Without these folks and many others it would be very tough for the staff to pull off such a successful event.

We had very productive Idaho Natural Resource Foundation (INRF) and IOGA Board meetings. Both Boards were engaged and had good discussions on where we are today and what it will take to get our organization to the next level in the future. You should all be proud to have such a committed group of individuals leading our organizations. I would also like to thank our retiring Board Members Dirk Gibson (INRF & IOGA) and Dana Demorest (IOGA) for their years of service and welcome new board members J.R. Williams (IOGA vice president of REC) and Clint Frank (IOGA). We are still looking for one additional Board member to join the INRF board so if you know of someone or might be interested or even yourself please let us know.

The annual meeting was well attended by our members and industry partners. There was some great information shared over the two-day event and a “big thanks” needs to go out to all of our presenters. Some of the many highlights were presentations from David Brown of America Outdoors Association, Jeff Sayer the Director of the Department of Commerce and the Lifetime Membership award that was presented to Doug Tims. Links to blogs compiled by Steve Stuebner will be included in this newsletter to give you a chance to view and hopefully forward these to those who could not make it.

Numerous meetings have occurred this month in regards to forwarding our efforts on the “Raft Idaho Campaign” and hopefully we will be rolling out some exciting new things on this front in the near future. Part of this plan will involve our acquiring some up to date exciting video assets to use in our promotional efforts. If you would be willing to donate any whitewater/river footage for this purpose I would appreciate the heads up. Those who do donate footage that is used in our videos will be recognized for their efforts.

Besides all of this the legislature has started up in town and our Government Affairs Liaison, Grant Simonds has been working hard with our lobbyist Tyler Mallard to protect our interests here. A full report from Grant will be included later in this bulletin.

It is also trade show time for the IOGA and we are ramping up to get on the road to promote our members in many shows over the first quarter of 2014. A much bigger effort is scheduled this year than in years past as I feel strongly that marketing needs to be expanded in our association. The IOGA will have a presence in the following shows:

  • International Sportsmen’s Exposition in Denver,              January 16-19
  • Wild Sheep Foundation Show in Reno, January 22-25
  • Safari Club International in Las Vegas, February 5-8
  • Idaho Sportsman Show in Boise, February 27-March 2
  • International Sportsmen’s Exposition in Salt Lake,        March 13-16

Staff, Board members or a combination of both will attend these shows and I would like to thank all of the board members who have offered to help out for these and future shows. Also if any of you feel strongly that we should be involved in other shows that maybe we have not done in the past please feel free to pass that information along and we will take a good look at those in future budgets.

Thanks and have a great January!

John May

Annual Meeting Highlights

  • Doug Tims, retired Middle Fork Salmon and Selway River outfitter, past president of the IOGA and recent author of a new book entitled Merciless Eden, became the 47th person to be recognized by the IOGA as an Honorary Lifetime Member during the annual December meeting. For more on this recognition and some priceless photos from the past, click here.
  • David Brown, longtime Executive Director of the national outfitter organization, America Outdoors Association, presented an overview of recent trends in the outfitting industry and the outlook for 2014. See this blog on the IOGA website for this story and how some Idaho outfitters are involved in some of the latest trends.
  • IOGA President Steve Burson, new IOGA Executive Director John May and Grant Simonds, now IOGA Government Affairs Liaison presented this overview of 2013 Association accomplishments during the 59th annual IOGA annual meeting last month.  IOGA appreciates all those who attended and participated.  A big “thank you” to our meeting sponsors, Thaw fundraiser supporters and our exhibitors.

IOGA Board of Director News

The 15 member IOGA Board met twice during the recent annual meeting, and focused primarily on the financial and membership development aspects of the organization.  Revitalization of the IOGA’s sister non-profit charitable organization, the Idaho Natural Resource Foundation, was front and center. The IOGA membership elected three members for a 3 year board of director term (Ken Helfrich, Kidd Youren and Clint Frank), and a vice president, Will Judge. Per bylaws, the REC and Hunt Sections elected their vice presidents, J.R. Williams and Tammy Overacker, respectively.  Click here for a complete list of the present make-up of the IOGA Board of Directors and their affiliations.

Licensing Board Nominees

Per state law, the IOGA has sent the names of outfitters Joseph Peterson and George McQuiston to Governor Butch Otter for his consideration for one of the three outfitter positions on the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board. The IOGA thanks guide member Doug Rigby for throwing his name in the hat. Also, IOGA would like to thank member Chris Korrell who will complete his second term on the IOGLB this winter. The outfitter vacancy officially becomes available in April. The IOGLB is made of a five members: 3 outfitter/guides, a member representing the public and a member representing the Fish and Game Commission. Click here for the resume of Joseph Peterson and George McQuiston.

Fish and Game and Predator Management

The IDFG Commission meets this week in Boise and one of top agenda items is approval of a new Elk Management Plan. If approved, this plan will update the 1999 plan. The new plan covers all aspects of elk management with updates on how various elk management zones are meeting or not meeting elk population objectives. In response to recent criticism from some groups relative to wolf control in the Frank Church Wilderness, IDFG Director Virgil Moore indicates in a recent editorial “that elk populations have dropped 43 percent since 2002 and wolf populations are too high in relation to elk numbers. Other IDFG research in other backcountry areas indicates that wolf predation is a major factor preventing elk populations from recovering.” Last week, the IDFG was sued in federal court relative to its efforts to actively manage the wolf population in the Frank Church Wilderness this winter. Click here for IOGA thoughts on professional state management of all Idaho big game. Licensing Board information indicate that vouchers used by Frank Church hunt outfitters to secure elk tags for their clients has declined by 57 percent since 2007.

2014 Idaho Legislature Convenes

The IOGA will again be represented by the firm of Risch Pisca PLLC and specifically lobbyist Tyler Mallard with support from Jeremy Pisca. This Wednesday, January 15th, the Licensing Board’s proposed rule to clarify outfitter operations on private lands will be before the House Resources and Conservation Committee. The IOGA supports this rule clarification and the extensive process over the lastseveral years that included negotiated rulemaking and public hearings across the state. All agency rules must be approved by the legislature. Fish and Game is moving ahead with a revenue enhancement proposal for the 2014 legislative session.  This package includes a bill that would amend the Wildlife Special Plate legislation to allow a broader spectrum of designs.  Two other bills – one for a license fee increase for residents and one that would grant the Commission authority to discount license fees – could result in something new that the Fish and Game calls Fee Lock.

More Boots on the Ground for 2014

IOGA continues to support efforts among its members, America Outdoors Association (AOA), the Forest Service and non-government organizations such as the Selway Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, the Backcountry Horsemen of Idaho/America and The Wilderness Society to deal proactively with the backlog of trail maintenance.  The GAO report published in 2013 indicates that of the 158,000 miles of trail on lands managed by the USFS that one third on average receive maintenance annually despite the fact that the Forest Service receives $81 million in trail funding. Unfortunately, 30 percent of appropriated trail money stays in Washington and the regional offices take another cut.

On the good news side, Chuck Mark, Salmon Challis National Forest supervisor, reported last month during an IOGA session on trails that 1,106 miles of the 2,400 miles of trails in the Frank Church Wilderness were maintained in 2013. This is up from 510 miles maintained in 2010. IOGA supports AOA efforts to seek legislative changes to reimburse recreation service providers for trail maintenance. In the meantime, IOGA continues its participation with a Forest Service work group that meets for the third time this week to find ways to get more boots on the ground for trail maintenance in the Frank Church and Selway Bitterroot Wildernesses. IOGA is also writing letters of support for two projects that other groups are seeking state funds for specific trail projects.

Classified Ads

For Sale or Lease: We are the 100 Acre Wood Lodge in North Fork, Idaho, located on the Idaho/Montana border& only 3 miles from the Salmon River. We are pursuing a “lifestyle” change & wanted some of our contacts to know we are for sale…(or lease). We are a turnkey operation with plenty of room to expand. We also have a lake, acreage and an Outfitters License. Check out our web site, the virtual tour and details of the business and property. Jon & Nancy Cummings, 208-865-2165.

For Sale:  High Adventure River Tours, a 30 year business, is selling due to health issues.  Float boating on the Middle Snake (SN6, SN8) and Power Boating on Salmon Falls Reservoir.  Contact Randy McBride for more information.  208.731.6673

River Discovery, Inc. is currently accepting proposals through January 31st from Outfitters to help with their amazing river adventures for cancer survivors that help promote healing and strengthen the mind, body and spirit.  For more information click here or contact Anna Buschbacher.

The Southern California Chapter of RMEF is looking for a hunt donation for their upcoming banquet.  If you are interested in donating, contact Michael Peters.

If you are in need of well trained individuals i.e. Packers, Guides, Wranglers or Camp Cooks, we have students ready to go to work. Contact Elm Outfitters and Guides Training Program 406.961.3603

Satellite Phone Rentals  Satmodo rents sat phones starting at $29.99/week.  Available 24/7.  Same day delivery available.  Reach us at (800) 279-2366 or via our website.

SITKA GEAR announces the Sitka Guide and Outfitter Program, open to any registered Idaho guide or outfitter looking for top-quality hunting gear. Please contact Jeff Sposito for more information.

ZEISS Sports Optics announces the ZEISS Guide and Outfitter Program, open to any registered Idaho guide or outfitter looking for top-quality German optics. Please contact Barton Dobbs at 303.903.4455 or via e-mail for more information.