BOISE — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says a recent survey asked athletes and women in Idaho what they considered the most egregious wildlife violations — from unlicensed hunting, to spotlighting, to out-of-season killing of wildlife and more. One of the most important responses may come as a surprise to some: license fraud.
It’s no secret that the prices for licenses, tags, and permits are much cheaper and more readily available to Idaho residents than to non-residents. Officials say this is intentional — providing a benefit for Idaho residents to enjoy Idaho’s wildlife resources.
The benefits to the population are great. For example, the price difference between a resident athlete package and the non-resident equivalent in licenses, tags, and permits approaches $2,000. In addition, the availability of the big game tag is much higher for residents than for non-residents.
The advantages of low-cost, high-availability accommodation are very attractive, for obvious reasons. Sometimes the benefits are so attractive that some individuals cheat the system by faking residency status to get resident rates and availability on licenses and tags. Those who fraudulently purchase licenses and marks abuse resident privileges and commit a type of wildlife crime known as license fraud.
Each year, conservation officers across the state investigate license fraud and hold violators accountable; However, cases of license fraud can be very difficult to detect.
Citizens can play an important role in helping the IDFG crack down on this crime. Three simple steps can help ensure that everyone in Idaho enjoys fair and equitable access to Idaho’s wildlife resources.
Learn about Idaho residency requirements
The residency requirements for purchasing hunting, fishing, and hunting licenses in Idaho are strict, and they’re stringent for a reason.
Those wishing to purchase a residence permit must have been a permanent resident of Idaho for at least six months before making a resident purchase of any kind. They must also have and present a current Idaho driver’s license, or for non-drivers, be able to prove six months of permanent residence.
Furthermore, they must not claim any resident privileges in another state—including privileges such as claiming a homeowner’s exemption, filing income taxes, voting, or purchasing residence permits.
Be on the lookout for license fraud
Licensing fraud cases can be hard to spot for custodians, and those cheating the system may slip under the radar — perhaps for years.
However, cases of license fraud are more common than some might think. Hopefully, just being aware of the problem and knowing Idaho’s residency requirements will allow you to recognize situations where someone takes advantage of resident privileges when they shouldn’t.
Clues to look for include those who live out of state but use the address of a friend or family member in Idaho, people who have moved out of state but continue to re-establish in Idaho, or people who claim “dual residency.”
As you interact with others in the field, pay attention to what you hear and note any potential red flags.
Report license fraud to CAP
Although Idaho athletes and sportspeople report intense contempt for license fraud and abuse of Idaho resident privileges, conservation officials receive relatively little advice about license fraud each year.
Report any and all wildlife crime, including license fraud, by calling the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline. Wildlife crime reports can be submitted anonymously at 1-800-632-5999 or online.
The CAP hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.