Press Release

September 2000

Portion of Unit 28 Closed to Hunting

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission honored a Forest Service request to close more than half of Unit 28 to hunting in a conference call meeting September 18. Part of Unit 28 was burned in the 200,000-acre Clear Creek fire. Salmon-Challis National Forest Supervisor George Matejko asked the Commission to consider the closure, citing fire-caused dangers to hunters, further damage to forest resources and potential hazard for workers doing rehabilitation in the burn. The Commission voted unanimously to close the burned area for the rest of this year, beginning immediately. The closure affects about 60 percent of the popular hunting unit. These are the boundaries of the closure requested by the Forest Service and approved by the Commission:
Beginning at Myers Cove, thence NE along Silver Creek Road #108 to its junction with the Panther Creek Road #055, thence SE along the 055 road to Morgan Creek summit, thence NE along Unit 28 boundary to Trail #093 south of Hat Creek lakes, then north along 093 to Iron Lake, thence NE along the Ridge Road #020 to the Wallace Lake junction #391, thence W along the Stock Driveway which follows the hydrologic divide to the Moose Creek Road #061 (same as the #300 road), thence NE along the 061 road to the junction with the 023 road W and N to where the 023 road crosses East Boulder Creek just north of East Boulder Meadows, then down East Boulder Creek to the Salmon River, then west and south following the Unit 28 boundary back to Meyers Cove.

Ask Fish and Game

Q. How come the silly two-day split in duck season? A. The federal framework allows only a certain number of days in duck season. By putting the two-day split in midweek, the Commission gained another weekend at the end of the season.

Women's Shotgun Clinic Scheduled For Blaine County Gun Club

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will conduct a shotgun-shooting clinic for ladies only on Tuesday, October 3 at the Blaine County Gun Club, Ohio Gulch Road. This introductory clinic will offer good basic training in shotgun use and safety for this fall's bird hunting seasons. Topics that will be discussed include basic weapons handling and safety, types of shotguns, appropriate gauges and shotshells for specific birds, laws and regulations and basic shooting skills. There will also be a range session for every participant to have an opportunity to shoot some clay birds. The Department of Fish and Game will furnish all the shells and even shotguns to those women who do not have their own. This event is co-sponsored by the Blaine County Gun Club. The session runs from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, October 3. Those planning to attend should call the Department of Fish and Game in Jerome, 324-4359, by 5 p.m., Monday, October 2, and sign up with Clayton Nielson or Mike Todd. There is no cost for this clinic.

No Fish Salvage Planned For Richfield Canal

The Big Wood River below Magic Reservoir dam and the Richfield Canal will NOT be open to fish salvage this fall. Due to the amount of water left in Magic Reservoir, there will be sufficient seepage and spring water below the dam to maintain fish populations in the river and canal below the dam. The river between the dam and the Richfield Canal diversion is open until March 31, 2001. The Richfield Canal is open year round. Current fishing rules of a six trout limit apply in these waters. The Big Wood River below the Richfield Canal downstream to the Milner-Gooding Canal, and the Lincoln Canal system will be open to public fish salvage effective October 1 through December 31, 2000. Fish in these waters may be taken by snagging, spearing, archery, dipnet, seines, or with the hands. The use of any toxic chemicals, explosives, electric current or firearms is strictly prohibited. Bag and possession limits are removed; however, a valid fishing license is required to salvage fish. Other canals in the region will also be open to salvage as they are dewatered over the next several weeks.

In The Field

Hunting seasons are upon us and this is a good time for hunters to take some time to review this year's regulations. While the seasons are all similar to last year, a few changes are important to note. I will highlight a few changes here. The Unit 1 rifle hunt for deer has a very significant change this season. Whitetail and mule deer bucks are both legal game. However, only whitetail does may be taken, mule deer does are now protected from harvest during the rifle season. Sportsmen in Boundary and Bonner counties had expressed concern about mule deer populations for several years. Sportsman's clubs circulated petitions and asked the Commission to close the area to mule deer doe harvest. The Commission considered the petitions circulated in the far northern counties of the state, and agreed to closing mule deer doe harvest by rifle hunters. I have personally seen whitetails and mule deer standing together in a single group in Unit 1. While it is not difficult to determine species among bucks, does present greater difficulty unless the deer are spooked. Frightened whitetails often exhibit their characteristic, name-sake raised white tail flags when they run. Because it is not logical to spook the deer to identify them, hunters must pay close attention to other details. Whitetails have a tell-tale white circle around their eyes, and smaller ears than their mule deer relatives. Whitetails normally have a white bib which runs all the way across the base of the neck, whereas mule deer tend to have a white goatee under their chins. Both have some black on the visible side of the tail. My recommendation is to shoot a buck if hunting in Unit 1 so you don't need to make the distinction! Two very popular rule changes this year include the elimination of the requirement for state waterfowl and upland game stamps. These are now included in the hunting license.

Fish & Game Seeks Information On Elk Poaching Case

Hunters who have a permit for bull elk in unit 52A in October and November will unfortunately not have the opportunity to take a 7 x 7 point trophy class bull that was shot and left recently near Kimima. Conservation Officer Lee Garwood reported that on or about September 5 the animal was shot and left in unit 52A, in the southeast corner of Lincoln County, just north of Highway 24. The animal was discovered by farm laborers and reported to Fish and Game. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game needs help from the public in bringing these violators to justice. Anyone with information regarding this case can call Officer Garwood at 886-2556, Officer Duane VonBargen at 436-5278, or the Citizens Against Poaching Hotline 1-800-632-5999. Informants can remain totally anonymous and receive a reward if a citation is issued for this violation.

Special Validation for Sage and Sharptail Grouse

Saturday, September 16 is the opening day for sage grouse season in Idaho and sharptail grouse season will open October 1. For the first time, hunters after these birds need to get their license validated. The validation is free, but the vendor fee _ the amount paid to the vendor for processing the request _ is $1.50. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is requiring the permit to allow biologists to gather detailed harvest information on both grouse species. Sharp-tailed grouse have been proposed for listing as an endangered species and sage grouse will be considered for listing soon. Gathering more information will help the Department answer questions about how many birds hunters are taking while trying to defend your hunting seasons. This year hunters need to make an extra effort to stop at a Department check station or wing barrel to leave one wing from each bird harvested. All regional offices will also be able to take wings. About half of Idaho is open to hunting sage grouse. In extreme southwest Idaho and part of central Idaho, the daily limit is two birds. In the rest of the open area, which includes northern Owyhee County, southern Idaho and eastern Idaho, the limit is one daily. Possession limits after the first day are double the daily limit. Only eastern Idaho is open for sharptail grouse, and the limits will be two daily and four in possession.

Successful Hunters Asked to Report

Successful elk and deer hunters are now the only ones who need to send a harvest report to Fish and Game. This is a change from the last two hunting seasons when all deer and elk hunters were required to file harvest reports. Reports are to be filed within 10 days of taking an animal. No report is required of those who do not kill an animal. Reports may be sent to Harvest Report Processing, PO Box 70007, Boise, ID, 83707 or faxed to 1-900-773-4263. A small line fee will be charged for faxing. Reports may also be dropped off at Fish and Game offices.

Duck Talk Set

Whether you are a duck hunter or just enjoy masterful wildlife wood carving, Wildlife Wednesday at the Nature Center has a program for you. Tom Matus, world champion gunning decoy carver, and Regional Wildlife Educator Dan Papp will share their expertise September 20 at 7 p.m. at the Nature Center at 600 South Walnut in Boise. The program is free. Matus has won several national and international decoy carving competitions in recent years. He carves wooden decoys for both decorative and gunning use. Papp is an avid waterfowler and retriever trainer. He also carves duck calls and decoys. The program will offer pointers on making and using calls and decoys as well as training retrievers. For more information, call Adare Evans, 334-2633.

Commission Changes Refund Date

Meeting by telephone conference call September 12, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission voted to set October 1 as the deadline to apply for a refund, rain check for next season, or exchange a big game tag for one in another area. The deadline, previously November 15, was changed because weather conditions have allowed hunters to get afield much sooner than anticipated. The Commission created the refund policy in late August, when large areas of the state were closed to all access because of wildfires. As of September 11, $41,356 in refund requests, and 60 requests for a "rain check" or tag good for the same hunt next year have been received. Most requests have been from nonresidents. Some basic rules apply to all applications: Requests need to be submitted by October 1, 2000. Tag exchanges may be applied for at any Fish and Game office, rain checks and refunds will be processed at the Fish and Game headquarters office, Licenses Section, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707. Requests for refunds should be made on a form which Fish and Game will make available at offices and on the agency website, or in a personal letter. Requests for refunds or rain checks must include the 2000 license/tag. These must be returned prior to hunting with them. This program applies only to permits and tags in areas closed by the land managing agency to all recreational activity. Road closures which leave an area accessible by boat, trail or secondary road do not qualify. If the license will be used to hunt another species this year, only the controlled hunt permit and/or tag may be refunded or held for next year. If the hunter hunts with the license, permit, and tag, it is not eligible for later refund or exchange, or holding for the 2001 season. Refunds will be for the amount paid (purchases before a May, 2000 fee increase were for smaller amounts.) Convenience fees and credit card charges will not be refunded.

Youth Hunt to Start Duck, Pheasant Seasons

The popular youth waterfowl hunt has been expanded to two days before the regular duck season begins, and a two-day youth pheasant hunt will be held before that opener. This year's youth waterfowl hunt will be held September 23-24. In previous years, the youth hunts were held on one day only. The regular duck and goose seasons in most of Idaho will begin October 7. The daily bag limit is the same as in the regular season; seven ducks with not more than one canvasback or pintail, two redheads or female mallards or four scaup. The pheasant hunt will be held October 7-8, the first full weekend in that month. The upland rules booklet simply says "first weekend in October." The daily bag limit is one cock pheasant. In Area 1 the season begins one-half hour before sunrise; in Areas 2 and 3 the season begins at noon. Youth hunts have been held for the last several years in Idaho to give hunters aged 12 through 15 the chance to learn the skills and traditions of bird hunting with mentoring, rather than competition, from older hunters. Each youth must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old who is licensed but not allowed to hunt. The estimate for total numbers of North American ducks is the third highest on record. Record numbers of waterfowl have meant little to Idaho duck hunters in the last two years, however, when fall and winter weather has not been helpful in bringing flights to Idaho. Pheasants are again expected to be more numerous than last year, making these two-day hunts a real chance to teach a youngster about the fun of hunting for Idaho's game birds.