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All Stop At Check Stations

Idaho sportsmen take pride in their knowledge of hunting and fishing techniques and safety practices, but there is one basic rule that is sometimes overlooked. According to Idaho Code, "all sportsmen must stop at Fish & Game check stations." The law does not require only those with fish or game to stop, it says "all sportsmen" who have been hunting or fishing are required to stop. Each year, many sportsmen fail to stop at check stations when they were not successful on that specific trip. They see the signs, but think the instructions don't apply to them and continue on their way. Occasionally, citations are issued for the failure to stop. A close reading of the check station signs say "all sportsmen, with or without game must stop". The Idaho Department of Fish and Game runs two types of check stations. These include wildlife management check stations and enforcement check stations. Both types are important, and sportsmen must heed all signs relating to these stations. Management check stations usually rely on voluntary compliance from sportsmen, but are often neglected by those in a hurry to get home. It is important that hunters stop and give biologists information relating to the trip they are returning from. According to Wildlife Manager Jim Hayden, "The check stations serve as a helpful immediate measure of how the season is going. The information provides us the short term ability to compare hunter success to previous years." Final season success and harvest figures are derived from the mandatory checks on some species and telephone surveys. Sportsmen driving on less traveled roads may also encounter impromptu check stations that stop all vehicles and divert hunters or anglers aside to answer additional questions. These check stations may be set up by conservation officers at any time of the day or night, and are intended to enforce Idaho wildlife laws and orders. When at a check station, hunters and anglers are asked a series of questions about how many occupants of the vehicle were hunting or fishing, where (big game unit), and how many animals have been harvested. At a check station, you are required by law to produce all fish or game in possession for inspection. In areas where Fish and Game has received complaints of spotlighting or other game violations, conservation officers on occasion place life-like specimens of deer, elk, and other game species that are being focused on by poachers. The use of such tools has been upheld in the court systems across the country as a valid and legitimate method of apprehending violators, and has aided officers in reducing illegal activities in specific locations. Many of the citations issued are for violations including spotlighting, shooting from a vehicle, or shooting across the road. The penalties for shooting a simulated animal are the same as if it were an actual game animal.