Skip to main content

Idaho Fish and Game

Off-leash dogs harass wildlife in the Wood River Valley


Dogs being allowed to run off-leash have resulted in the death of a mule deer buck

In two separate incidents in late February off-leash dogs were found chasing deer in both Bellevue and Hailey in the Wood River Valley. In Hailey, an off-leash dog chased and killed a mule deer buck in Quigley Canyon. In Muldoon Canyon outside of Bellevue, two off-leashed dogs repeatedly chased deer in deep snow.

In Idaho, it is illegal for an unleashed dog to actively track, pursue, harass or kill a big game animal.

Fish and Game officials ask that all people keep their dogs under control and do not let them run off-leash where there's wintering big game, or other wildlife in the area. Even friendly dogs can chase and attack wildlife if given the opportunity when wildlife is nearby and their predatory instincts kick in. 

In both instances, the dog owners were issued infraction citations by Fish and Game conservation officers for dogs chasing and harassing big game. 

“With increasing snow depths and ongoing cold temperatures, big game animals throughout southern Idaho can’t tolerate the added stress of being chased by off-leash dogs” stated Conservation Officer Cody Smith, “while we all may want to recreate with our dogs, everyone needs to do their part by not allowing their unleashed dogs to stress or kill wintering wildlife.” 

While used as a last resort, Idaho code does state that any dog allowed to run at large and that chases or harasses big game animals can be lethally removed by law enforcement officers.

A recent incident in the Pocatello illustrates the potential result when dogs are found chasing and killing big game.