Press Release

September 2001

Special Youth Pheasant Hunts & Clinic Set For First Weekend Of October

IDAHO FALLS - The world today has changed and hunting isn't as accessible to young people as it used to be. Parents either lack the time or hunting skills to pass on to their children. To help reverse this tide, the Idaho Fish & Game Commission has once again made youth pheasant hunting clinics an important priority and set aside special hunting opportunity for young people.

This year's clinic will be held on Saturday, October 6 at the Market Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) near Roberts, Idaho. The clinic is free, but space is limited and certain restrictions do apply. The purpose of the clinic is to help expose young people to the thrill of upland game hunting. Clinic topics will involve safe gun handling, hunter ethics, basic shotgun skills and pheasant hunting techniques.

The clinic is open to young people 12 to 15 years of age. Every youngster who signs up must have already completed hunter education and hold a valid hunting license. Possession of a WMA pheasant permit has been waived for the duration of this special hunt. A sponsor who is at least 18 years of age must also be willing to accompany the youth throughout the hunt. Some shotguns will be available for use, but it is strongly encouraged that youth bring a shotgun from home if one is available.

Response in past years to this same event has been so positive that advance registrations are required. Youth wishing to participant must contact the regional IDFG Office no later than 5:00 P.M. on Thursday, October 4. Detailed information about the clinic will be provided to those who register in advance, no walk-ins will be accepted to the clinic. Registrations can be made by calling 525-7290.

Youth Pheasant Hunt, October 6 & 7

October 6 and 7 have been designated as "Youth Pheasant Season" across Idaho. On those days young hunters, ages 12 - 15, can pursue the wily ring-necked pheasant and sample the joys of fall bird hunting. This special season will open at noon on Saturday, October 6.

All youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult eighteen years or older. If you are a seasoned veteran of upland bird hunting, this is a great opportunity to become a mentor for some potential new recruits to our sport.

The daily bag limit will be one rooster per hunter, and the possession limit on Sunday is two cocks. Young participants need only their current Idaho hunting license. They do not need any other stamps, validations or permits.

The Department of Fish and Game will release gamefarm pheasants, before the noon opener on the 6th, at a few locations in the Magic Valley Region. One area will be the Niagara Springs Wildlife Management Area on the Snake River, south of Wendell. Birds will also be released in the Bell Rapids area, west of Hagerman, at several public (Bureau of Land Management - BLM) wildlife tracts. At this time, those sites have not been selected. Youth hunters may check later with the Department before October 6 to determine which tracts were planted. Free maps are available at the Jerome Regional Office and regional BLM offices that show all public wildlife tracts in south central Idaho.

Fish Salvage Policy in Irrigation Canals

Magic Valley Region canal companies recently announced they would be shut off and out of water in mid-October. Whenever irrigation canals are dewatered, they are opened for public fish salvage. Anyone taking fish must have a valid Idaho fishing license and may only use certain techniques for salvage. Legal methods include rod and reel, snagging, spearing, archery, dip nets, seines, and bare hands. It is illegal to use electricity, toxic chemicals, explosives or firearms.

There are no bag or possession limits, size or species restrictions under salvage conditions. Many irrigation canals run through private property, and salvagers must have landowner permission to enter.

For more information, contact the Magic Valley Region Fish and Game office in Jerome at 324-4359, or your local irrigation district office.

Virus Slows HQ Services

Complications of the Nimda computer virus slowed some services normally provided by Fish and Game headquarters last week.

The virus, which has interrupted computer networks worldwide, hit Fish and Game computers Tuesday. Despite night-and-day efforts by computer specialists, the sophisticated virus had not been completely eradicated at the Boise headquarters by late Friday.

Point of Sale Machine (POSM) sales of licenses, permits and tags were not affected. The license sales machines are on a completely different and separate system. Internet sales of licenses and tags were not affected

Accounting systems and other services that affect the operations of the department were slowed or halted by the problem. E-mail service including response to questions from the public, normally dozens of messages each day, has been halted since the virus attacked.

Dirt Moves at Winchester Dam

Construction work began at Winchester Dam in the Clearwater Region recently.

Rebuilding the dam and road at Winchester State Park has been planned since the dam was found inadequate by safety authorities. The project was part of the package when the Idaho legislature approved higher resident Fish and Game license fees in 2000. About $250,000 will fund the project.

The 104-acre Winchester Lake is part of a popular fishing and camping area for Idahoans in the region and for travelers.

When work is done, visitors will see a substantially different looking dam that will be capable of handling a 500-year flood. Currently, flood waters can top the road at the dam.

Fishing will improve in the lake because a new flume and siphon will allow holding the pool at desired levels.

Work is being done with the cooperation of the Idaho Department of Transportation and is expected to be completed in about a month and a half.

Ask Fish and Game

Q. Can I hunt coyotes in Idaho?

A. Yes. Coyotes are classified as predators in Idaho law, and there is no restriction on killing them. You do need a valid Idaho hunting license.

Ask Fish and Game

Q. Can I use liquid salt or other "INVISIBLE" bait for deer or elk?

A. Many hunters make the mistake of thinking they can use salt water, for example, to attract deer or elk. Whether you can "see" an attractant or not is irrelevant. The regulation states it is unlawful to hunt "any game animal/bird by means of baiting with grain, salt in any form (liquid or solid), or any other substance (except liquid scents) to constitute an attraction or enticement, with the exception of applicable rules for the black bear baiting permit. The phrase "except liquid scents" DOES mean you can use items such as commercial deer scent, such as BUCKRUT or DOE-IN-HEAT. These are smell attractants to be distinguished from food items.

Commission to Meet in Pocatello September 30 - October 2

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet in Pocatello September 30 - October 2. The meeting will be held at the Ameritel Hotel, 1440 Bench Road on October 1 and 2, beginning at 8:00 a.m. each day. A public hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m. September 30 in the Wood River Room of the Student Union Building, 741 South Seventh Street.

The commission will meet with biologists in a big game workshop October 1 and hold its business meeting October 2. It will also consider a refund policy for hunters unable to hunt this fall because of travel or other restrictions imposed as a result of the terrorist attack September 11.

Other items on the agenda include approval of fishing rules for 2002-2003. The draft that has been out for public comment are geared toward making fishing rules less complicated, and establishing "family fishing waters" with liberalized limits and rules.

The commission will also set nonresident deer and elk tag quotas and quotas on elk tags in zones with caps; and will hear reports on the steelhead run, a bighorn sheep study and the mountain lion management plan.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt September 22-23

Young waterfowl hunters and their mentors have their own special hunt September 22-23 in Idaho.

Hunters ages 12 through 15 are eligible. They are to be accompanied by at least one adult per youth hunter, 18 or older, who is not authorized to shoot. A hunting license and the federal migratory game bird harvest information validation ($1.50) is required by a federal waterfowl stamp in not necessary.

Ducks including mergansers, geese, snipe and coots are legal in this special hunt. All limits and regulations apply as in the regular season.

These special waterfowl hunts have been authorized in Idaho by the Fish and Game Commission for several years so that young hunters can have the full attention of adult mentors as they learn the skills and traditions of waterfowl hunting.

Waterfowl Rulebook Ready

The 2001-2002 Idaho waterfowl seasons rules booklet is available now.

The new booklet can be found at license vendors, Fish and Game offices, and on the internet at Waterfowling begins with a special youth-only hunt September 22-23 and the regular season starts on October 6 for both ducks and geese.

Waterfowl hunters will find few changes from last season. Limits are the same at seven birds, but in this season, no canvasbacks are allowed. Hunters should consult the regulation booklet closely for seasons and limits in the areas they intend to hunt.

The booklet also contains full-color illustrations of the species of ducks available in Idaho to make identification easier. Legal shooting hours are listed on separate pages.

Electrically-powered decoys continue to be legal in Idaho following recent action by the Fish and Game Commission. Hunters traveling to other states for waterfowl should check regulations on powered decoys. Such decoys have been banned in Washington and restricted in California.

ATV Brochure Available

By Phil Cooper, Panhandle Region Conservation Educator

Everybody has an opinion about all terrain vehicles (ATVs). Those opinions are strongly held. People either love them, or hate them. The increasing use of ATVs for hunting has resulted in growing conflicts between those who have and use ATVs and those who do not.

The Idaho ATV Association and several resource management agencies in Idaho recently got together and developed some guidelines for hunters who use ATVs. The effort is an attempt to minimize impacts upon the land, and reduce conflicts that are arising among those who use public lands.

The resource management agencies involved include the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, the Idaho Department of Lands, the Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service. The group just released a publication entitled "Hunting and ATVs: Responsibility or Regulation". The publication is available free from any of these organizations.

Since 1995, the number of ATVs in Idaho has increased three fold. There are now over 33,000 ATVs registered in the state. Hikers, horse enthusiasts, campers, rock climbers, anglers, and mountain bikers are also growing in number and all recreational users of public lands are being asked to minimize their impacts on the land. When it comes to ATVs, however, misuse by only a few can cause a tremendous amount of damage to the land and to relations among those using the land. Operating ATVs in closed areas, operating without exhaust and emission controls, driving through wetlands or during wet seasonsÑeach contribute to strained relations and degraded habitats.

Sage Grouse, Yes! Sharp-Tailed, No!

IDAHO FALLS - As Eastern Idaho once again prepares for the annual sage grouse opener, it is critical that sportsmen are sure of their targets before they squeeze the trigger! Once again this year, the opening of sharp-tailed grouse is delayed until October first because of concern that the birds could be vulnerable to hunting pressure while gathered at leks to perform mating rituals. Leks are large clear flat areas where many species of grouse congregate to select mates. Sage grouse gather on leks in the spring, but sharp-tailed grouse gather on the leks in the fall, hence the separate seasons.

Sage grouse season runs from 9/15/01 - 09/21/01 for the majority of the Upper Snake Region. Sharp-tailed season is longer and runs from 10/01/01 -10/31/01. Both species have areas within the Upper Snake Region that are closed for hunting. Most sportsmen are aware that the INEEL has always been closed to hunting, but adjacent areas have also been closed to assist in research efforts to monitor bird movement and survival. Regulations detailing seasons and hunt boundaries are free and available at any license vendor or regional office. Bag limits for sage grouse remain at one per day, with a possession limit of two after the first day. Sharp-tailed limits are two per day, with a bag limit of four after the first day.