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HB 469: Mandating muzzleloader changes — 2024

Summary: HB 469 would meddle in the Fish & Game Commission's business by prohibiting any restrictions on certain types of ammunition for muzzleloader weapons.

ICL's position: Oppose

Current Bill Status: House Committee

Issue Areas: Fish and Wildlife, Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Official Legislative Site

Rep. Ron Mendive (R-Coeur d’Alene), Chair of the House Resources & Conservation Committee introduced House Bill 469. The bill would prohibit any restrictions from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) Commission regarding specific ammunition types during the already “Muzzleloader-only” hunting seasons.

Muzzleloaders are a historic type of gun that is loaded from the barrel. They tend to have shorter range than most modern weapons and require more time to load. Specifically, the bill would prohibit any restrictions on “209 primers, pelletized powder, or sabots.”

The problem is that the IDFG Commission already has authority to limit or allow different types of ammunition or weapons associated with hunting seasons, and this bill interferes with the rightful role of the Commission.

Back in 1938, 76% of Idahoans agreed with an initiative that established professional management of wildlife via IDFG and their independent Commission. They were concerned because they saw the negative effects of political influence on fish and game management.

It was the right decision in 1938 to insulate wildlife management from political meddling, and it’s the right decision today. We already see too much legislative interference when it comes to IDFG budgets, management of game farms, and changes to bag limits and access. Opening the Commission to increased legislative influence undermines the ability of an independent and balanced commission to protect and preserve the fish and wildlife that belong to all Idahoans.