Idaho Fish and Game Director Ed Schriever recently announced his retirement effective in February after spending his entire 39-year career in wildlife management with the department and rising through the fisheries ranks into leadership at headquarters. Schriever was hired as director in January 2019.
In summation of his career, Schriever made reference to the quote “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
“I’m proud to have served here for 39 years, and it never seemed like work,” he said. “The director’s job has been super fun, but it’s a demanding job, and it takes a lot out of you. I feel like it’s my time to do something else. I want to spend more time with my family and enjoy more of everything Idaho has given me for the last 40 years.”
Fish and Game Commission Chairman Tim Murphy of McCall described Schriever as a “top-shelf executive leader” who has been strategic to ensure wildlife is wisely managed, protected and perpetuated while staying in tune with Idahoans.
“He integrates wildlife management with the needs of local communities so they’re heard and their needs are met,” Murphy said.
Clearwater Region Commissioner Don Ebert of Weippe said he’s known Schriever since the early 2000s when Schriever was a regional fisheries manager. Ebert commended him for providing commissioners with the information they needed to make informed decisions.
“The thing that stands out about Ed is he expects so much of himself. I don’t think the Commission could have asked more from Ed than he asked of himself. He is driven to excellence,” Ebert said. “We’re very satisfied with his performance and appreciate the job he has done. He’s leaving when things are relatively stable, and I think it’s admirable to leave under those conditions.”
Ebert added, “I hate to see him go, and whoever replaces him has some big shoes to fill.”
Schriever described the commissioners as people with “clear minds, good hearts, good intentions for Idahoans, and a respect for science-based wildlife management.”
“I appreciate the partnership I’ve had with the Commission,” he said. “I will leave the department and its resources in good standing.”
During Schriever’s tenure as director, he oversaw a major shift in nonresident deer and elk hunting by limiting the number of nonresidents in each elk zone and deer hunting units in an effort to reduce congestion in popular hunting areas.
He also oversaw a major expansion of hunter access, which included lease agreements with major timber companies who own hundreds of thousands of acres of land and continue to allow public hunting and fishing. He also helped create a long-term lease agreement with the Idaho Department of Lands to ensure continued recreation on nearly all state endowment lands.
Fish and Game further improved hunting access to wilderness areas by enhancing airstrips on department-owned property within the wilderness, and it has aggressively worked to expand and improve public fishing access sites throughout the state.
Schriever’s time as director was interwoven with wolf management, including overseeing the creation of an innovative method to estimate wolf populations using game cameras. The Commission also expanded wolf hunting and trapping opportunities to reduce the population in an attempt to reduce conflicts between wolves, hunters and the livestock industry.
Schriever noted that although Idaho’s wolf population has been stable, wolf harvest in high conflict areas has increased, and there’s been a steady downward trend in livestock depredations during his tenure.
Schriever effectively worked with the agriculture industry to reduce crop depredation from deer, elk and other big game animals, while maintaining deer and elk hunting opportunity.
Schriever said the agency will continue to strive to meet the expectations of hunters and anglers while protecting and preserving Idaho’s wildlife.
“Even with all the changes happening in Idaho, it is still one of the best places with the best wildlife resources in the country,” he said.
“People want a lot out of their wildlife,” Schriever added. “The biggest challenge going forward will be balancing Idaho’s growth and the increasing appetite for all types of outdoor recreation with the finite wildlife resources. It will be harder to balance competing interests of population growth, development, traditional hunting and fishing and other outdoor recreation.”
Schriever started his full-time career with Fish and Game in 1984 shortly after receiving a bachelor’s degree in fisheries science from Oregon State University.
His Fish and Game career started as a fish culturist at the Grace Hatchery before moving through the hatchery ranks at Oxbow and Cabinet Gorge.
He was promoted to a regional fisheries biologist in the Clearwater Region in 1989 before rising to regional fisheries manager there in 2001.
Schriever was then promoted in 2008 to fisheries bureau chief at the Boise Headquarters, then to deputy director in 2015 prior to being hired as director.
The Commission will soon begin the process of hiring another director, which is the Commission’s sole employee.