By Gregg Servheen
No doubt most Fremont county residents live here because of its high quality of life. If asked for the top three reasons why Fremont county’s quality of life is so good, most would probably make sure to have wildlife on the list. Of course, along with wildlife are spectacular landscapes, good people, public land, and lots of clear and clean water. Not a bad list, for sure.
Of course, just saying “wildlife” covers a lot of ground. Wildlife could be ducks, swans, wolverines or sage grouse. But most folks likely think of Idaho’s iconic big game species, those species where legal harvest is provided for, and that sportspersons and the Department of Fish and Game preserve, protect, perpetuate and manage to sustain healthy populations and a harvestable surplus.
Taking a look at the big game harvest statistics for Fremont county gives you a pretty good idea why folks who live here love their wildlife. The numbers show that big game is important and abundant. For example, if the latest tallies are any indication, a typical hunting season in Fremont county might produce 858 deer, 566 elk, 55 moose, 22 antelope, 103 black bears, 12 lions, and 6 wolves. The harvest numbers and diversity of species are amazing! Especially when they are attached to the approximately 8500 hunters who are participating in these hunting seasons every fall. These thousands of hunters are not only spending time in Fremont county, but are also spending money at Fremont county businesses. In addition, all those big game species are producing tons of delicious and good food for lucky hunters and their families. Knowing that these big game species are managed assures that both the harvest and healthy populations can be a sustainable resource in perpetuity.
The continued harvest and health of big game in Fremont county is a sign the habitats and ecosystems that sustain these animals are also healthy and functioning. Making sure they stay healthy takes continuous monitoring and investments. Like any house, we need to watch to make sure keep things are working. And if not, we must adjust and fix things when it looks like they are or will soon be broken. That is all about keeping a good quality of life. The wonder is how good a quality of life is enjoyed in Fremont county. The wonder is how wildlife and big game are such an important measure of that good life.