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Fish and Game: Hurlock deserved a chance

Statesman Editorial board
February 15, 2013
Idaho Statesman

The Idaho Senate came up with the strangest reason for turning down Joan Hurlock of Twin Falls for the Fish and Game Commission. They said she was not qualified because - as Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Teton, put it - she lacked the required "passion" for hunting to serve on the commission.

Hurlock had other strong qualities, including intelligence, a grasp of the issues overall and on-the-job experience. Hurlock has served the past six months on the Fish and Game Commission and had the support of her fellow commissioners. Senators had no basis for deeming her "unqualified."

The Senate's vote against Hurlock was historic, according to the Statesman's Dan Popkey. It was the first time in anyone's memory that a Republican-dominated Legislature turned down a Republican governor's selection.

The vote reflected a misunderstanding of the stated role of the Fish and Game, narrow-mindedness and sexism, judging by some of the comments. Senators sent the message to Idaho, and the nation, that the Fish and Game Commission should remain an old-boys club.

The Fish and Game Commission is not all about hunting. Part of the agency's purpose is to protect, perpetuate and manage Idaho's wildlife resources. Hurlock has brought to the commission a passion for engaging youth in outdoor pursuits to foster a lifelong respect of our wildlife resources.

Not all senators were on the wrong side of this 19-16 vote. Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, supports more youth involvement to bolster a waning interest in hunting and appreciation for outdoors. "We need more recruits," Brackett said.

He's absolutely correct. There's more to serving on the Fish and Game Commission than holding a drawer full of hunting and fishing licenses.

Gov. Butch Otter didn't make a mistake in appointing Hurlock. The Idaho Senate did by rejecting her appointment.

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