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Southern Idaho farmers and ranchers should welcome big game hunters with open arms this year, says Sen. Jerry Twiggs, R-Blackfoot.

Recent mild winters have contributed to increased antelope populations in southern and eastern Idaho, but landowners can help stem that trend by helping hunters thin the herds, he said.Twiggs, a Blackfoot farmer and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, serves on a legislative study committee on wildlife depredation.