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IDAHO HUNTERS MORE INTERESTED IN RECREATION THAN IN TROPHIES

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The typical hunter looking for deer or elk in Idaho is more interested in getting away from it all in the wild than putting a trophy on the wall, a University of Idaho professor's study shows.

The Idaho Fish and Game Department asked William McLaughlin of the UI Department of Wildlife Rec-reation Management to gauge the sentiments of hunters leading up to the next five-year management plans for those various species.Some 3,000 elk hunters who bought licenses in 1987 responded by mail, as well as 3,000 deer hunters and 2,000 people who hunt with shot-guns.

"It's important for Fish and Game to realize the hunter is not just interested in having a critter to harvest," McLaughlin said Monday.

The typical resident deer and elk hunter is a male between 35 and 49 years of age, earns between $20,000 and $25,000 per year, has been hunting for 20 years, uses a modern rifle for big game and shotgun for birds. Non-resident hunters are more affluent, go on longer hunts and are more concerned with trophy antlers. Only about 10 percent of the big game hunters were female.

Hunters rated seeing elk or elk sign in a natural setting as the leading benefit of a quality hunt. Deer hunters also listed abundant animals, few other hunters and seeing deer as pluses.

"Fifty percent of the hunters said hunting in a designated wilderness was an attribute," McLaughlin said.