Press Release

September 2002

Safety First in the Turkey Woods

With September 15 fall turkey seasons underway in much of the state, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game encourages turkey hunters to remember that safety should always come first, but hunting tactics need to change for fall hunting. During the fall, hunters will hear little or no gobbling, and gobblers collect into small flocks, while hens and young of the year are together in larger flocks that may contain 30 birds. It is not unusual to find two to three hens together with all their young. The basic hunting strategy is to find and break up a flock, scattering them in all directions. Hunters then wait as near as possible to the spot where the flock was first encountered. Young birds will usually return within an hour while an old gobbler may take three to four hours to come back. The sounds and sight of dozens of turkeys returning to you from all directions can be as exciting as calling in a spring gobbler. However, the fall turkey season has the potential to be more dangerous than the spring because either sex may be hunted. Therefore, less emphasis is put on positive identification. Fall turkey hunters also share the woods with thousands of camouflaged archery enthusiasts. IDFG encourages hunters to follow the basic rules of safe turkey hunting:
  • Never identify a turkey by sound or movement. Be 100 percent certain you see the bird clearly before attempting to shoot.
  • Never wave, whistle, or make turkey calls to alert an approaching hunter to your presence. Always shout to reveal your presence to an approaching hunter.
  • Pattern your shotgun, learn its effective range, and learn to accurately judge distances. Always shoot at the head and neck and remember that 30 yards is about the limit for a clean kill.
  • Never wear red, white, blue, or black in the turkey woods.

CWD Information Available

Information for hunters on Chronic Wasting Disease is available now from Idaho Fish and Game. A brochure on the rare disease that has affected deer and elk in some other states may be viewed now at http://www2.state.id.us/fishgame/ on the Internet. A print version will be ready soon for distribution at license vendors and Fish and Game offices. The disease has not been found in Idaho but the brochure explains what the department is doing to prevent its coming to this state and how hunters can help in that prevention effort.

Ask Fish and Game

Q. Can I legally use a .22 to shoot forest grouse or is it shotgun-only? A. Forest Grouse represent an exception to the rules governing hunting of most game birds. Forest grouse may be taken legally with shot, rimfire, centerfire or muzzleloading firearms as well as with bow and arrow. Rocks and sticks are allowed for forest grouse. Unlawful are traps, snares, nets and crossbows. The reason for the liberal rules about taking forest grouse is that the birds are traditional camp food for big game hunters. Big game hunters often do not want to fire a loud firearm in their hunt area.

Anglers See More Unclipped Hatchery Steelhead

Not every steelhead with a full adipose fin is a wild fish but anglers must let them go anyway. Steelhead anglers need to remember that only adult steelhead with a missing adipose fin are legal for harvest. The adipose fin clip allows a selective fishery, targeting hatchery fish reared for harvest. Until recently, almost 100 percent of Idaho's hatchery steelhead had their adipose fin clipped when they were small fish in the hatchery. These fish are still being produced to provide harvest fisheries. Since 2000, some hatchery fish have been used experimentally to test the ability of hatchery fish to boost natural populations of steelhead in selected streams where native steelhead do not occur. For this reason, some hatchery steelheads' adipose fins are purposely not clipped, and therefore are not legal to harvest even though they are otherwise recognizable as hatchery fish. This important distinction has caused some discontent among anglers because "they know" the steelhead they just caught is a hatchery fish and believe they should be able to take it home. This is a small, but noticeable shift in the hatchery management program. The Little Salmon River near Riggins, and the South Fork Clearwater River near Grangeville are the primary recipients of the unclipped steelhead.

Sage Grouse, Quail, Partridge Seasons Begin

Hunting seasons for sage grouse, quail and partridge begin September 21. Hunters will find some changes in seasons this fall including the first quail season opening in the Panhandle Region. The Curlew National Grasslands in southeast Idaho have been closed to sage grouse hunting this fall because of declining populations. Other changes for this year are noted on page 8 of the upland game proclamation booklet. Hunters should refer to the booklet for rules governing the species and areas that interest them. Booklets are available at Fish and Game offices, license vendors and on the internet at www2.state.id.us/fishgame Populations of chukars are expected to be well above long-term averages south of the Salmon River but appear to have been reduced by cool, wet weather north of the Salmon. Gray partridge and quail are not subject to the same kind of surveying methods used for chukars but numbers usually reflect the same trends. Hunters are reminded that they need a permit for sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse hunting. Sharp-tailed grouse season runs through the entire month of October.

Ask Fish and Game

Q. I noticed in the regulations that the "junior hunting license" is for hunters aged 12 through 17. I bought my junior hunting license when I was still 17 last spring. I just turned 18 and want to go hunting. Do I have to get a new adult license to hunt this fall? A. No. The junior license you purchased is good through Dec. 31, so you can still use it, even though you are now 18. Your tags will be junior prices, also.

Successful Or Not - All Hunters And Anglers Must Stop At Check Stations

LEWISTON - The Idaho Department of Fish and Game reminds all hunters and anglers, successful or not, that they must stop at all check stations they encounter. "Whether they're successful or not, they are required to stop," said Mark Hill, District Conservation based in Lewiston. "It takes just a few minutes and the information collected is critical in future management of wildlife." Each year, many hunters and anglers fail to stop at check stations because they were not successful on that specific trip. Most see the signs, but think they don't apply to them and continue on the way home. However, failure to stop is breaking the law and a citation can be issued. IDFG operates two types of check stations, with management stations being the most often utilized. Here, biologists interview hunters and anglers to determine harvest rates and distribution of hunters or anglers. Biological information is also collected to evaluate the age, size and physical condition of the harvested game. Impromptu enforcement check stations are usually conducted on less traveled roads and may be set up at any time of day or night. Here, conservation officers interview hunters and anglers to check for law compliance. Besides the collection of critical information, check stations provide an opportunity for exchange between the public and the Department. This may include information on illegal activities, observations on habitat or road conditions, or suggestions for changes in management. The public is also encouraged to ask why certain regulations or management have been implemented.

ASA's To Be Utilized To Apprehend Unlawful Hunters

LEWISTON - The Idaho Department of Fish and Game reminds hunters that in areas where the Department receives complaints of spotlighting or other suspicious activity, enforcement officers will utilize artificial simulated animals, also know as ASA's, which are life-like specimens of deer, elk, and other game species, to apprehend unlawful hunters. The use of such tools has been upheld in the court systems across the country as a legitimate method of apprehending violators and has aided in reducing illegal hunting activities. At least 30 states and several Canadian provinces have been utilizing ASA's since the late 1980's. Aside from the inherent danger in shooting from a vehicle or road, road hunting for wildlife brings to question the ethical behavior of some hunters. Even though the vast majority of hunters conduct themselves ethically and abide by the laws, those that do not continue to perpetuate a negative image for hunters. "Road hunters are the visible minority. They are what everyone sees, and many of their activities are bad for the image of all hunters," said Regional Conservation Officer Dave Cadwallader of Lewiston. Many of the citations issued to road hunters who violate game laws include spotlighting, trespassing, shooting from a motorized vehicle, shooting across the road and waste of game. The penalties for shooting an ASA can include a mandatory license revocation, fine up to $1000 and-or jail sentence up to six months.

Think Safety First, But Different Tactics For Fall Turkeys

LEWISTON - With September 15 the beginning of the general fall turkey season in much of the state, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game encourages turkey hunters that safety should always come first, but their fall hunting tactics may need to change. During the fall, there is little or no gobbling activity and gobblers are in small flocks, while hens and young of the year are together in larger flocks that may contain 30 birds. It is not unusual to find two to three hens together with all their young. The basic hunting strategy is to find and break up a flock, scattering them in all directions. Hunters then locate themselves and wait as near as possible to the spot where the flock was first encountered. Young birds will usually return within an hour while an old gobbler may take three to four hours. The sounds and sight of dozens of turkeys returning to you from all directions can be as exciting as calling in a spring gobbler. However, the fall turkey season has the potential to be more dangerous than the spring because either sex may be hunted. Therefore, less emphasis is put on positive identification. Fall turkey hunters also share the woods with thousands of camouflaged archery enthusiasts. IDFG encourages hunters to follow the basic rules of safe turkey hunting:
  • Never identify a turkey by sound or movement. Be 100 percent certain you see the bird clearly before attempting to shoot.
  • Never wave, whistle, or make turkey calls to alert an approaching hunter to your presence. Always shout to reveal your presence to an approaching hunter.
  • Pattern your shotgun, learn its effective range, and learn to accurately judge distances. Always shoot at the head and neck and remember that 30 yards is about the limit for a clean kill.
  • Never wear red, white, blue, or black in the turkey woods.

Commission Meets October 3-4

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet in Pocatello October 3-4 with a public hearing and open house set for 7 p.m. October 3. The session will be held at the Holiday Inn beginning at 8 a.m. October 3. The first item will be a report on the status of big game by wildlife bureau chief Jim Unsworth. Other subjects on the Commission agenda include a briefing on a recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a case involving an Arizona rule that restricted nonresident hunters to 10 percent participation in some big game hunts. The Arizona rule was held to be unconstitutional. Commissioners will hear what the implications of this ruling is for Idaho's rules restricting nonresidents to 10 percent in controlled hunts. The Commission will also be presented with an action plan for dealing with chronic wasting disease. Nonresident deer and elk tag quotas and outfitter setasides are also on the agenda along with proposals for implementing the new law allowing 10-year-olds to take hunter education courses and hunt small game. An addition to the Coeur d'Alene Wildlife Management Area through a gift to Fish and Game will be presented to the Commission. Also, representatives of the Fish and Game Advisory Committee will ask for the release of special hunt tags to be used to raise funds for a program to increase hunter access to private lands.

Volunteers Sought for Boise RiverSweep

The Boise RiverSweep, scheduled for Saturday, September 14 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm is still in need of volunteer help. The large-scale effort - more than 50 river miles are slated for cleanup - will require dozens of volunteers. For more information regarding the cleanup effort, contact Dennis Hardy at 465-8465. Participating organizations include the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Ducks Unlimited, Idaho Rivers United, Boise City, Boy Scouts of America, Partners for Clean Water and radio station The River 94.9. Trash bags and other materials have been donated by the Fly Fishers of Idaho, BFI has donated employee time and equipment to haul garbage to the landfill, while Canyon and Ada County will pay the landfill tab. Volunteers will need to bring work gloves and a great attitude. "The effort is more than simply cleaning up the river although that's obviously important," Fish and Game utility craftsman Dennis Hardy said. "It's also about demonstrating that there are those who care about this river and want to make it a better place to hunt, fish, boat and otherwise recreate." River cleanup from the Glenwood Bridge downstream to the Snake River near Parma will be the responsibility of Fish and Game and Ducks Unlimited. "It's a long stretch of river and we'll need all the help we can get to adequately clean it," Hardy noted. For the convenience of volunteers, three rendezvous points have been established along this stretch of river: the Eagle Hatchery at Eagle Island off of Linder Road, the Star Road bridge, and the Martin Access point at Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area. "Team leaders will be at these three sites throughout the cleanup effort to register volunteers and help them get started," Hardy said. "So whether you check in at 9:00 or noon, we'll be able to plug you in somewhere." Maps and directions to each rendezvous site can be found on the web at this address: http://www.cityofboise.org.

Upper Clearwater No-Motor Rule Begins September 15

OROFINO - Boat anglers who fish the Clearwater River above Orofino are reminded that the "No-motors" rule goes into effect September 15, 2001 through April 30, 2002 from the Clearwater River Bridge at Orofino upstream to the mouth of Clear Creek at Kooskia. Anglers may not use motorized watercraft while fishing for steelhead, trout, or any other species in the popular stretch of river. Driftboats and other non-motorized craft are allowed. The "No-motors" rule is upholding the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's policy of providing a varied fishing experience on the stretch of river.