Despite months of drought and weeks of fire, the fall hunting season is shaping up to be a great one, regardless of the game you plan to pursue. Here's a rundown of this year's hunting predictions in Southwest Idaho by Fish and Game Wildlife Manager Lou Nelson:
Deer - Fawn survival was excellent in the Boise River drainage (unit 39) this year - 88 percent compared with the average of 44 percent. Nelson predicts good hunting for mule deer in the Boise and Payette River drainages. In the Weiser River and Brownlee areas, deer populations are doing very well, but the number of bucks will not be as high as in past years. A shortened deer season in these areas will help improve future buck numbers.
The two-point buck hunt in Owyhee County (units 40, 41 and 42) should be good again this year. This mule deer population has slowly increased since 1993. That factor, in combination with good fawn survival last winter, should translate into plenty of yearling, two-point bucks to pursue this fall.
Elk - Herds are in good shape throughout Idaho's Southwest Region. With last fall's dry (and noisy) conditions, many hunters experienced difficulty finding elk. This year appears to be similar and that could mean low success rates again this fall. However, if moisture arrives in October, elk harvest should be better.
Bull harvest in the Boise River Zone (unit 39) has exceeded production for the last several years, so hunters will have a tougher time finding a mature bull. Remember, there is no A-tag rifle hunt in this zone! Fish and Game is looking at ways to reduce bull harvest in the Boise River Zone. If you hunt this area, your input is needed to help develop workable management options. Give Lou Nelson a call at 465-8465 to find out more.