FISH AND GAME
PROTECTION OF ANIMALS AND BIRDS
36-1108. Control of damage by pronghorn antelope, elk, deer or moose — Compensation for damages. (a) Prevention of depredation shall be a priority management objective of the department, and it is the obligation of landowners to take all reasonable steps to prevent property loss from wildlife or to mitigate damages by wildlife. When any pronghorn antelope, elk, deer or moose is doing damage to or is destroying any property or is about to do so, the owner or lessee thereof may make complaint and verbally or electronically report the facts to the director or his designee who shall, within seventy-two (72) hours, investigate the conditions complained of. If it appears that the complaint is well-founded and the property of the complainant is being or is likely to be damaged or destroyed by such pronghorn antelope, elk, deer or moose, the director may:
1. Send a representative onto the premises to control, trap, and/or remove such animals as will stop the damage to said property. Any animals so taken shall remain the property of the state and shall be turned over to the director. The director may provide written authorization for possession of animals so taken.
2. Grant properly safeguarded permission to the complainant to control, trap and/or remove such animals. Any animals so taken shall remain the property of the state and shall be turned over to the director. The director may provide written authorization for possession of animals so taken.
3. Make an agreement with the owner or lessee to allow continued use of lands by the animals where damage by them has occurred to stored, growing or matured crops, prepared seedbed ground, or irrigation equipment on private property whether owned or leased. The agreement made under the provisions of this subsection may provide for financial compensation to the owner or lessee. If made, financial compensation under the provisions of this subsection shall be governed by the provisions of section 36-115, Idaho Code, and shall not be in addition to any payments for the same crop losses from any other source. Compensation for damages under the provisions of this subsection shall be available for damages done to private lands, whether owned or leased, if the owner or lessee allowed hunters reasonable access to the property or through the property to public lands for hunting purposes during the preceding hunting season or as a measure of response to depredation. This provision shall not negate the provisions of section 36-1603, Idaho Code, relating to the necessity of obtaining permission to enter private land. If necessary, the arbitration panel provided for in subsection (b) of this section shall determine the reasonableness of access allowed.
(b) 1. In order to establish eligibility for submission of claims for damages, persons suffering crop, prepared seedbed ground, or irrigation equipment damages on privately owned or leased land caused by pronghorn antelope, elk, deer or moose must:
(A) Notify the department within seventy-two (72) hours of discovery of damage.
(B) Follow up verbal notification with a written, which may be electronic, notice within twenty (20) days of the discovery of damages.
(C) The department shall not be held liable or accountable for any damages occurring more than twenty (20) days prior to the initial notification of damage. However, the department may extend the period up to thirty (30) days under exceptional circumstances.
The owner or lessee must have allowed hunters reasonable access to the property or through the property to public lands for hunting purposes during the preceding hunting season or as a measure of response to depredation, provided such access does not impact on their operations, or the claim for damages may be disallowed. Compensation for crop, prepared seedbed ground, or irrigation equipment damages claims shall not be in addition to any payments for the same crop losses from any other source and shall not include fence or other types of property damage. While fences are not subject to claim for payment, the department is allowed to provide support and assistance, including provision of materials to design, construct, and maintain fences for control of depredation. The notice of damages caused must be in written form, shall be in the form of a claim for damages substantially the same as required by section 6-907, Idaho Code, shall be attested to by the claimant under oath, and the claim shall be at least seven hundred fifty dollars ($750). The claim shall not be amended after it is filed, provided however, that a claimant may file an additional claim in the event additional damage occurs subsequent to filing the initial claim. The department shall prepare and make available suitable forms for notice and claim for damages. Claims may be submitted only for the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) in which they occurred, with allowance for submission within the first sixty (60) days of the following fiscal year if the claim occurred within the last sixty (60) days of the previous fiscal year. Any person submitting a fraudulent claim shall be prosecuted for a felony as provided in section 18-2706, Idaho Code. For purposes of this subsection, crop damages shall mean damage to plants grown or stored for profit and exclude ornamental plants, and damage to prepared seedbed ground or irrigation equipment shall include necessary parts and documented labor.
2. Upon receipt by the department, the department shall review the claim, and if approved, pay it as provided in section 36-115, Idaho Code, or order it paid as provided in section 36-115, Idaho Code. Failure on the part of the owner or lessee to allow on-site access for inspection and investigation of alleged losses shall void the claim for damages.
3. In the event the owner or lessee and the department fail to agree on the amount of damages within fifteen (15) business days of the written claim, either party may elect to retain the services of an independent certified insurance adjuster licensed in the state of Idaho to view the affected property and determine the amount of damages. In the event the owner or lessee and the department fail to agree on the amount of damages and neither party elects to retain the services of an independent certified insurance adjuster, provisions of paragraph 4. of this subsection shall apply. The independent certified adjuster shall complete his review and determination within twenty (20) days from the date he is retained, and will report his determination in writing by certified mail to the department and to the owner or lessee. Neither the owner or lessee, nor the department, shall disturb the affected property prior to review and determination by the independent insurance adjuster. Costs associated with the services of the independent insurance adjuster shall be divided equally between the owner or lessee and the department, subject to reapportionment of the costs by an arbitration panel pursuant to the provisions of paragraph 4. of this subsection. If the department, or the owner or lessee rejects the determination of the adjuster, they shall notify the other party in writing of the rejection within five (5) business days of receipt of the adjuster’s determination. In the event that either party rejects the adjuster’s determination, the provisions of paragraph 4. of this subsection shall apply.
4. Within five (5) business days of a rejection of an adjuster’s determination of damages or failure of the owner or lessee and the department to agree on damages when a certified insurance adjuster is not used, the director must convene an arbitration panel. To convene an arbitration panel, the director must, within five (5) business days, appoint the department’s representative and notify the landholder of the appointment. The landholder(s) shall, within the next five (5) business days following such notice from the department, appoint his representative and notify the department of the appointment. Within the next five (5) business days, the department representative and the landholder must mutually appoint the third arbitrator. The arbitration panel shall consist of three (3) members, as follows:
(A) The director of the department of fish and game or his designee;
(B) The owner or his designee, or the lessee or his designee;
(C) One (1) member selected by the two (2) members above.
The panel shall convene within thirty (30) days of the selection of the third arbitrator, and render its decision within fourteen (14) days after the hearing. When convened, the arbitration panel shall have the same authority to make on-site inspections as the department. The owner or lessee shall be responsible for payment of the expenses of his appointee; the director shall pay the expenses of his appointee from the expendable big game depredation fund; and the expenses of the third member shall be a joint responsibility of the owner or lessee, and the department. Provided however, the panel is authorized to review the costs associated with retaining the independent insurance adjuster and to determine whether those costs should instead be borne solely by the owner or lessee, solely by the department, or be apportioned between the owner or lessee and the department. In cases where an independent insurance adjuster was used, the party electing to use the adjuster shall assume the insurance adjuster’s determination of damage as their estimate of damage. The panel shall consider the claim submitted by the owner or lessee, and the estimate of damages submitted by the department, and shall select one amount or the other as being the closest to the actual damages sustained by the claimant. The arbitration panel shall report its decision in writing to both the owner or lessee and to the department within ten (10) days of the decision, and the decision of the panel shall be binding on the owner or lessee and the department. The fish and game advisory committee shall develop guidelines to govern arbitration procedures in accordance with chapter 52, title 67, Idaho Code.
(c) Any claim received by the department under the provisions of subsection (b) of this section must be processed by the department within sixty (60) calendar days of receipt. If the claim is approved for payment, payment must be made within forty-five (45) calendar days of such approval. Any damage claim determination by an independent insurance adjuster pursuant to subsection (b)3. of this section, accepted by the parties, must be paid by the department within forty-five (45) calendar days of the determination. If the claim is arbitrated, the arbitration must be completed within one hundred eighty (180) calendar days of filing the claim for such damages.
[36-1108, added 1990, ch. 370, sec. 6, p. 1015; am. 1994, ch. 218, sec. 1, p. 680; am. 2004, ch. 189, sec. 3, p. 593; am. 2005, ch. 403, sec. 4, p. 1374; am. 2017, ch. 195, sec. 8, p. 475; am. 2018, ch. 350, sec. 13, p. 839; am. 2019, ch. 72, sec. 1, p. 168.]