Press Release

September 2002

Special Youth Pheasant Hunts 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 don't' have the time or lack the 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. While the youth hunts apply statewide, youth are likely to have the best success at IDFG operated wildlife management areas (WMA), where pen-raised pheasants have been purchased from private game farms for release. In the Upper Snake Region, a total of 50 birds have been ordered for release at Market Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) near Roberts, Idaho.

Just last weekend, IDFG hosted a full-scale clinic at Mud Lake WMA to help introduce youth to the exciting sport of waterfowl hunting. The clinic being planned for this Saturday, October 5 at the Market Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) will be considerably more informal. Because regulations specify that the hunt cannot start until noon on Saturday in this region, IDFG will have staff available from 9 AM to noon to give some last minute pointers and help youth hone skills by being given the opportunity to shoot at clay targets. The hunt and clinic are free, but youth must still have valid hunting licenses.

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. Unlike the youth waterfowl hunt, the accompanying adult is not required to have a hunting license. This difference is due to the fact that waterfowl are managed jointly with the Federal government as migratory species and therefore subject to different rules.

CAP Hours Expanded

Live operators are manning the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline for more hours this fall than in past years.

Operators are now on duty until 9 p.m. every weekday evening except Tuesday and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Citizens who wish to report a violation of game laws can always leave a message at the CAP phone number, 1-800-632-5999, if no operator is on duty.

Hours were extended because more Idahoans have been using the CAP system in recent years.

Citizens can report violations of wildlife laws anonymously, if they wish, and rewards can be paid anonymously.

CAP is a non-profit organization governed by an independent board of directors with funding through donations.

Wildlife Area Dedicated

By Phil Cooper, Panhandle Region Conservation Educator

Idahoans who love wildlife have a reason to celebrate.

Thanks to some long term thinking, cooperation among various government agencies and private corporations, and landowners with a desire to give back to the land: 1 ,405 acres of prime wildlife habitat are being restored and opened to the public. The new Boundary Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was officially dedicated on Saturday, September 21.

The whole concept started in January of 1999 when landowners Deon and Louise Hubbard sold a perpetual conservation easement to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The effort culminated with the official posting of the Boundary Creek WMA sign at the formal dedication.

Located on the west side of the Kootenai River Valley in Boundary County at the foot of the Selkirk Mountains, the property will be managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) to develop wildlife and fish habitat and to provide public access for hunting, fishing and other recreational pursuits. To accomplish this, development activities will focus on restoring historic wetlands, establishing native vegetative communities, and promoting compatible public recreation. Bringing the property into public ownership assures perpetual public access that was previously unavailable under private ownership.

The acquisition of the property and the preparation of a wetland restoration and long term management plan could not have been accomplished by IDFG alone. Financial and technical assistance offered by other public agencies and private organizations allowed this project to become reality.

No Youth Hunts in Southeast Region

No youth hunts are available in Fish and Game's Southeast Region.

Youth deer hunts are available in the rest of the state. The units where there is no youth deer hunt include 68, 70, 71, 72, 73, 73A, 74, 75, 76, 77, and 78.

Winter losses of fawns and adult deer in the Southeast Region (Pocatello) prevented the Fish and Game Commission from establishing youth deer hunts in that region.

Enjoying A Youth Hunt

By Harry Morse, Southeast Region Conservation Educator

Matching a young hunter to a rifle or shotgun that fits is one of the most important parts of a youth hunt.

The wrong fit usually results in young hunters getting bruised shoulders, flinching when they pull the trigger and missing the target. Worst of all, a good experience becomes a painful one. Recoil pads and shoulder pads are important to young hunters. No one wants a sore shoulder. Select a firearm appropriate for the game to be hunted and the hunter.

Youth model shotguns that fit smaller frame hunters are available at most sporting goods stores. Select a gauge appropriate for the hunter. Many young hunters start off with a 20 gauge shotgun and graduate to a 12 gauge later.

Some outgrown youth shotguns are available used and are excellent bargains.

Some rifles are also available in youth sizes. Stocks can be cut to fit smaller frame hunters and shoulder pads or recoil reduction systems are available.

Smaller calibers such as .243 and lighter loads in bigger calibers are youth hunter friendly.

Make sure the young hunter has a chance to practice with the firearm they are going to hunt with before going hunting. Shooting at a few cans or clay pigeons the day of the hunt does not do it. Kids need several experiences shooting to gain confidence and learn the basics of mounting a gun to their shoulders, sighting and shooting flying targets.

Clothing

Sore feet or cold feet ruin a hunt. Kids need warm socks and appropriate footwear. Many kids wear tennis shoes in the middle of winter to school. But they don't walk miles across uneven terrain, through water and then sit and wait for game while their feet freeze at school.

Jeans are not good hunting pants. Wool blend pants can be less expensive than jeans and keep a young hunter warm. I have bought used wool pants at thrift stores for under $10 that work great.

Ask Fish and Game

Q. How much hunter orange am I required to wear while hunting in Idaho?

A. You are strongly encouraged to wear as much as you need to make yourself visible to other hunters afield, but there is no law in Idaho that requires you to wear hunter orange at any time.

Youth Pheasant Hunts This Weekend

A special youth hunting season for pheasants will be open statewide this weekend, Oct. 5 and 6. In the southern areas, two and three, the season opens at noon on Saturday, unlike northern Area 1, where it opens one-half hour before sunrise. Regular pheasant seasons will open Oct. 12 in northern Idaho and Oct. 19 in southern Idaho.

The youth hunting season is open to all licensed hunters age 15 or younger. All youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older. One adult may accompany several youngsters. The adult is not allowed to hunt pheasants.

The limit in these seasons is three cock pheasant per day, with six allowed in possession after the first day. Some Wildlife Management Areas will have pheasants stocked for these hunts. Check with regional Fish and Game offices.

Surprise Encounter With Grizzly Bears Underscores Need For Appropriate Precautions

ISLAND PARK - Most sane people don't go looking for trouble, trouble just has a way of happening. Last Saturday, September 26, three hunters weren't looking for trouble when they went to help a friend retrieve some elk hind quarters that had been left behind, but they certainly found trouble of the grizzly bear variety. The hunters startled a female grizzly bear and her two two-year old cubs that had been feeding on the gut pile of the legally hunted elk. Surprising a feeding grizzly bear is not a good thing to do, surprising a feeding sow with cubs is an even more unfortunate turn of events. The scene that resulted is one that neither the hunters nor the bears are soon to forget.

The hunters were at the head of Cooney Creek on the side of Bishop Mountain near the West End of Island Park Reservoir in Unit 60. They were in the woods to retrieve the remainder of the meat from an elk taken earlier in the day when they startled the sow and she ran off into the woods. Unfortunately, the mother bear quickly circled around and charged the three archers. Armed only with bows and arrows, the archers attempted to keep the bear at bay by striking out at her with their compound bows. In the excitement that ensued, one of the archers was able to knock an arrow and let off a shot at the adult bear from a distance of approximately seven yards. The hastily placed shot succeeded in driving the bears off and allowed the archers the opportunity to vacate the scene. Once safely away, the hunters contacted IDFG officers who accompanied the archers at first light the next day to investigate the scene.

Archers With A Sense Of Ethics And A Cell Phone Help Idfg Nab Elk Poachers

ISLAND PARK - In Idaho, like most of the U.S., hunting is rarely if ever done as a matter of survival. Thanks to modern agriculture and technology the time we spend hunting is counted towards enjoyment, not averting starvation. Today, hunting is considered a sport and as with all sports it has rules and a code of conduct. Those who break the rules are poachers and threaten to destroy opportunities for legitimate sportsmen. What could have been just another unsolved poaching was turned into a victory for sportsmen's ethics when some archers in the Island Park area sensed something was not quite right and took the time and effort to track down info to help IDFG make a case.

On September 15, some archers hunting in the Island Park Zone near the Yellowstone National Park Boundary heard gunshots in an area that was only open to bowhunting for deer and elk. After observing some suspicious activity, they sensed a wildlife violation might have occurred, and the sportsmen took advantage of the ease of communication provided by modern cell phone technology and promptly called IDFG's Citizen's Against Poaching (CAP) Hotline. Information regarding the possible violation was forwarded to Conservation Officer Ryan Hilton of Idaho Falls and District Conservation Officer Doug Petersen of Driggs, who were already involved in other poaching cases and could not immediately investigate the report. The fact that the area involved was open to firearms for black bear and forest grouse hunting made the investigation interesting, but did not hinder the officers from completing the case in near record time. The fall hunting season is expectedly one of IDFG's busiest times of the year. Officers are forced to work long hours and juggle a number of cases all at once. Patrol districts for individual officers cover hundreds of square miles and assistance from the public is a crucial tool in protecting the State's wildlife.

Youth Pheasant Hunt Opens Oct. 5

The Youth Pheasant Season opens at noon on Saturday, October 5, 2002 in the Magic Valley Region. This special season is open for two days (October 5 and 6) statewide for all licensed hunters 15 years of age or younger, resident and non-resident alike.

All youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older, but the adult does not have to be a licensed hunter. One adult may take more than one youth hunter into the field that weekend. The daily bag limit is three roosters, and the possession limit after the first day six roosters.

A minimum of 50 adult rooster pheasants will be stocked at the Niagara Springs Wildlife Management Area (NSWMA) in Gooding County prior to the youth hunt opener. Young hunters participating in this Youth Pheasant Season and hunting on any Idaho Department of Fish & Game wildlife management areas are not required to purchase the special pheasant permit. However, beginning this fall adult hunters will be required to purchase these permits for Niagara Springs WMA. These permits have not been required in the past on this WMA.

The Department releases gamefarm rooster pheasants on nine wildlife management areas in southern Idaho. Hunting for pheasants on these wildlife management areas during the regular pheasant season requires the special WMA Pheasant Permit. Hunters over the age of 17 must have a valid WMA Pheasant Permit in possession while hunting pheasants on these lands.

In this region, Niagara Springs is the only WMA where pheasants will be released. When a pheasant is harvested on a WMA, the hunter must enter the month and date of harvest in the space provided and enter the location code (Niagara Springs WMA is code 09). Each $21.50 permit is valid for a total of six roosters; multiple permits may be purchased.

October Breakfast Meeting Scheduled

LEWISTON - The Idaho Department of Fish and Game encourages wildlife enthusiasts to attend the October breakfast meeting scheduled at the Helm Restaurant in Lewiston for Tuesday, October 1, beginning at 6:30 a.m.

Fish and Game employees will report on the upcoming steelhead and big game seasons, upland bird prospects, enforcement activities and other programs. Sportsmen's group representatives are also welcome to give reports of their groups activities.

The informative breakfast meetings are open to anyone with fish and wildlife-related questions, and are designed to stimulate informal discussions about wildlife issues in the Clearwater area. The meetings are generally held the first Tuesday of each month at the Helm Restaurant, with coffee provided by Fish and Game.

Individuals with disabilities may request special accommodations by contacting Mike Demick at IDFG, 799-5010, prior to the meeting.

Lots Of Fun & Free Waterfowl Activities Planned For Youth On Saturday, Sept. 28th

MUD LAKE - Even though the great outdoors are always available for everyone to enjoy, each year in America one day is set aside as National Hunting and Fishing Day. This year that day has been set as Saturday, September 28th. But in addition to being National Hunting and Fishing Day, it is also the day that Idaho has set aside to honor sportsman conservationist Jack Hemingway, late son of famous author Ernest Hemingway. Though not nearly as famous as his father, Jack Hemingway gave large portions of his life to working with and for Idaho's wildlife.

In order to honor his efforts, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) has worked with Governor Dirk Kempthorne to proclaim this September 28th as Jack Hemingway Day. As part of statewide efforts to honor this auspicious day, the Idaho Fish & Game Commission has set aside September 28 & 29 as special youth waterfowl hunting days. To help young persons get started with the exciting sport of waterfowl hunting the Upper Snake Region of IDFG will be conducting a free youth waterfowl clinic at Mud Lake Wildlife Management Area. Mud Lake WMA is located north of Highway 33 at Mud Lake, Idaho. The clinic will be held at the North Boat Ramp and will run from 9:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M.