Press Release

October 2002

Poaching Plague Spreads To Arco Area

ARCO - Just like the old saying, "Bad news travels fast", so it seems the poaching plague is spreading across the state as the hunting seasons unfold. While the overwhelming majority of hunters are true ethical sportsmen, a small highly visible number of unethical people with firearms continue to cause problems. This time, two bull elk were shot and left to rot around October 19, 2002 near Arco, Idaho. Conservation Officers are asking the public to provide any information possible regarding the case of these two bull elk that were shot and left to rot. According to Conservation Officer Barry Cummings, "The animals were shot about 15 miles from Howe, on the east side of the highway, near Uncle Ike Canyon." The animals were about a week old when reported to IDFG, placing the poaching on or about Saturday, October 19th. Anyone who was in the area and saw any suspicious activity should contact the CAP Hotline at 1-800-632-5999. Caller can remain anonymous and rewards are possible.

Elk Poaching Help Sought

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking information in a case involving the shooting, leaving and wasting of two bull elk seven miles east of Moscow. The elk appeared to have been shot on the early morning of Saturday, October 19. The carcasses were found next to each other in a CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) field south and east of the intersection of Wallen and Larson roads. Anyone having knowledge about this crime or other wildlife-related violations is encouraged to contact the local sheriff's office or Fish and Game office, or the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) Hotline at 1-800-632-5999. Callers can remain anonymous, and rewards are available through CAP.

Nonresident Elk Tags Sold

Idaho's nonresident elk tags have all been sold for 2002, according to Fish and Game license section supervisor Craig Wiedmeier . A total of 14,000 tags were available to nonresidents this year. More than 200 of them were purchased as second tags, under rules set by the Commission last year. Earlier in October the Commission removed the quota on Panhandle tags, making several hundred tags available as regular zone elk tags. They sold out quickly. Tags and licenses for 2003 will go on sale December 1.

Remember Harvest Report

With the start of big game seasons, hunters need to remember that they are required to file harvest reports. All deer, elk and antelope hunters are issued a harvest report form with each tag purchased. Hunters must submit the completed form within 10 days after taking an animal of any of these species, or within 10 days of the end of the season for which their tag was valid. The report this year is required of both successful and unsuccessful hunters for deer, elk and antelope. Anyone who bought one of these tags must report, even if they did not hunt. By closely scrutinizing the big game harvest and analyzing such things as the total harvest, the ratio of male/female and the age structure of animals that hunters check in, biologist are able to estimate how the populations are responding. Adjustments in season structure and length can be made depending on the estimated trends and desired levels. Successful hunters who fail to report are not only in violation of Idaho law, they also jeopardize the abilities of wildlife managers to monitor local game populations. The goal of local managers is to provide as much elk hunting opportunity as possible. Good information is critical to achieving that goal.

Turn in Your Harvest Report on Time and Win!

Brooke Olson, 13, who lives in Meridian, Idaho, took a big bull elk this year in Owyhee County. The Owyhee hunt is extremely hard to draw into, but Brooke got in with a supertag she won for turning last year's harvest report in on time. Ten supertags are drawn each year from the list of hunters who turn in the report on time. Winners choose whether they want deer, elk or antelope and then can hunt in any open season for that species until they harvest.

Ask Fish and Game

Q. I'm a senior and have a senior deer tag. Can I use it in a junior hunt? A. No. The confusion comes from the fact that tag price lists show Jr./Sr./DAV, for Junior, Senior, Disabled American Veteran, on the same line. They are grouped that way because they are priced the same.

IDFG Seeks Help In Solving Double Bull Elk Poaching

MOSCOW - The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking information on the individuals that were responsible for shooting, leaving and wasting two bull elk seven miles east of Moscow. The elk were thought to have been shot the early morning of Saturday, October 19. Both carcasses were found next to each other in a CRP field south and east of the intersection of Wallen and Larson roads. Anyone having knowledge about this crime or other wildlife-related violations are encouraged to contact their local sheriff's office, Fish and Game Office in Lewiston, the local conservation officer at 1-208-883-0124 or the Citizens Against Poaching Hotline at 1-800-632-5999. Callers can remain anonymous, and rewards are available.

November Breakfast Meeting Scheduled

LEWISTON - The Idaho Department of Fish and Game encourages wildlife enthusiasts to attend the November breakfast meeting scheduled at the Helm Restaurant in Lewiston for Tuesday, November 5, beginning at 6:30 a.m. Fish and Game employees will report on the progress of the fall steelhead season, big game and upland game seasons, enforcement activities and other programs. Management options for Idaho's trophy species and wild turkey will be discussed as well. 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. Sportsmen's group representatives are encouraged to give reports of their group's activities. 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.

Limits Back on at Magic Reservoir

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will reinstate general daily bag and possession limits on Magic Reservoir effective Friday, October 25, 2002. This is a change from the previous order to remove the bag limits until November 30, 2002. "This rule change is somewhat unusual, but we feel it will allow for a quicker recovery of the fishery with the improving water conditions" said Chuck Warren, Magic Valley Regional Fishery Biologist. This change is ordered because water conditions have improved in Magic Reservoir allowing some trout to survive the reservoir drawdown. These fish are expected to survive through the winter and into next year's fishing season. Additionally, once bag limits are reinstated, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game can resume stocking rainbow trout. Rainbow trout that were destined for several drought-impacted waters have not been stocked. These trout have been held in Idaho Fish and Game hatcheries for several months and need to be planted before winter. Most of these trout will be put into reservoirs where they will provide fishing opportunities for winter and spring anglers. Approximately 15,000 8-11 inch-long trout will be stocked into Magic Reservoir in the next couple of weeks. Other waters likely to receive extra rainbow trout include Anderson Ranch Reservoir, Mountain Home Reservoir, and Lake Walcott. There are still no bag limits on Mormon, Roseworth, Thorn Creek, Fish Creek and Little Camas Reservoirs until November 30, 2002. On December 1, 2002 these waters will also return to standard harvest limits. "It's important to remember fishing regulations return to normal in December. Overharvest violations were common last year, and citations were issued," said Doug Megargle, Regional Fishery Manager. Anglers who continue to overharvest in December are reducing next year's fishing opportunities for others.

Moose Poached in Agency Creek

On October 6, 2002, Fish and Game received a call regarding a dead bull moose in Agency Creek. According to the caller, she and a friend had been deer hunting in the Agency Creek drainage when they came upon a bull moose lying down just off the road. They threw several rocks at the animal and when it did not react, determined that it was dead. According to the caller, the moose was still warm when they found it. Responding to the report, Conservation Officers arrived at Agency Creek and found the moose lying on its right side approximately 50 yards off the road. It had been shot twice, once in the hindquarters and once in the neck, and was still warm indicating that it had been killed within the past few hours. Forensic investigation by the officers revealed that the animal had been shot first in the hindquarters while it was standing. A blood trail showed that the moose had moved approximately ten yards from where it was first shot when it lay down and was shot again, this time in the neck. Further necropsy of the bull showed the 1_ year old animal to have been in excellent condition. The animal had been left, ungutted, where it fell. The recovery of forensic evidence at the scene as well as information collected during interviews has led to the arrest of a suspect for the illegal take of a moose, one of Idaho's trophy wildlife species. The illegal taking of any moose is considered a felony in Idaho. Furthermore, it is considered a flagrant offense, one in which the judge can revoke the violator's hunting privileges for their lifetime. Besides a permanent revocation of his hunting license, the suspect may receive a civil penalty of $10,000 and fines of as much as $50,000. He may also serve up to five years in the penitentiary. In addition, the suspect is also facing four misdemeanor counts involving an overlimit of deer that was discovered as part of this investigation.

Sage Grouse Hunt Shows Some Encouraging Signs

Reports from sage grouse hunt check stations show some promising signs for a bird that has suffered serious declines. Hunters in most popular sage grouse hunting spots reported seeing more birds than they did last year and more juvenile birds showed up in hunters' bags, indicating improved success in nesting and rearing last spring. At a southeast Idaho check station that had not been run since 1995, the number of hunters had declined from 122 in 1995 to 37 this year, but birds taken per hunterÑ0.3Ñwas the same and hours hunted per bird in the bag was actually down from 15.5 to 13.5. Hunters who went to areas of old burns in the desert found virtually no birds while those who hunted remaining sagebrush areas along the Minidoka-Arco Road and around Big Butte did well. The last time a check station was run in the area, the limit was three birds; this fall the limit was one. In the Magic Valley, hunter success stayed the same as in 2001 and 2000 at an average of 0.51 birds per day hunted and hours hunted also stayed about the same. Hunters reported seeing more birds than they did in 1997 and 1998. The number of hunters was up in the Magic Valley from 874 last year to 1,034. Harvest went from 479 to 544. Juvenile birds per 100 females was up from 160 to 194, nearer the long-term average of 201. Hunting effort in areas where the limit was one sage grouse was extremely low. Hunters appeared happiest in the southwest where many said they had seen far more birds this fall than they had in a long time. Both hunter numbers and birds taken were up, but the birds per hunter was about the same as last year at one per hunter. Hours hunted per bird were down from last year 5 to 5.5.

Deer, Elk Openers Show Mixed Results

Deer hunting in southeast Idaho appears to be worse than the already low pre-season expectations, but early check station information in other areas of Idaho indicate big game hunting is about the same as last year. Game managers in southeast Idaho had predicted that deer hunters would have a tough time this fall because drought and harsh winter conditions severely reduced numbers of deer that would have been yearlings this fall. Young deer make up a large portion of the harvest in most hunting seasons. Early check station results indicate that other parts of the deer population were hit harder than anticipated. Elk numbers continue to be strong in the southeast. Despite warm, dry hunting conditions in most of the rest of the state, hunter success seemed to be about the same or better than last year. Hunter numbers and harvest in the southwest are difficult to compare to last year because of elk season date changes but hunter success rates ran slightly ahead of those in the 2001 season. Body condition observations indicate deer in the southwest, especially fawns, may not have the weight and body fat biologists would like to see. Body weight and fat is not far below the long-term average, however. Early indications in the Clearwater Region point toward improved hunting. The first three days at the Kooskia check station showed hunter success rising from 10.3 percent last year to 22.3 percent. The biggest increase came in the elk hunts where 21 came through the station this year, compared to seven last year.