Idaho Governor Butch Otter tapped Joan Hurlock for a seat on the state’s Fish and Game Commission roughly eight months ago to succeed the outgoing Dr. Wayne Wright. The move garnered the approval of all seven members on the selection panel.
According to The Idaho Statesman, Hurlock is a lifetime NRA member, a former cop and supporter of Ducks Unlimited. Her father was a California game warden and she had taught her children how to fish. Along with being the second woman to ever serve in the state commission, she also has plans to increase youth activities in the outdoors. So why has she been rejected from the post by a 19-16 vote in the state senate?
Opponents cite a lack of hunting in her life.
“This lady is not qualified,” said Senator Jeff Siddoway (R-Terreton). “She admitted to us that she wasn’t a fisherman and that she had hunted once in her life and shot two whistlepigs. The passion that she has for hunting and fishing in Idaho is not there.”
It is true that she applied for only a handful of permits in the past decade or so. Hurlock acquired hunting licenses in 1999 and 2000 with a fishing license later on in 2003. Then last year she showed a renewed interest with multiple licences. This nine-year gap had her opponents worried that she lacked the necessary experience for the role. Other detractors worry that Hurlock wouldn’t place as high of an emphasis on hunting and fishing than someone who is an enthusiastic hunter and angler.
Hurlock’s supporters argue that hunting experience is not the only criteria for a nominee. Both Governor Otter and fellow senators praised Hurlock for her efforts in getting children outdoors and involved with hunting and fishing. Others say that Hurlock’s perspective as an outdoorswoman is greatly needed in driving the focus onto conservation, research and increasing license sales.
In the end it was not enough. A despondent Hurlock accepted the decision earlier this week after her testimony before the senate.
“I have fished throughout my life,” she told Associated Press. “I didn’t know I needed to keep an attendance record.”
The last rejection of a governor-appointed Fish and Game nominee was Robert Thomas back in 1974.
Image courtesy Idaho Fish and Game Commssion