Press Release

November 2002

2003 Licenses Go On Sale December 1

Hunters and anglers who want to beat the rush can buy Idaho licenses beginning December 1.

Licenses for both residents and nonresidents go on sale December 1. Resident deer and elk tags are not available until August 1, but hunters can pay now for a tag and will be given a receipt that can be redeemed when tags do go on sale August 1. (The receipt does not guarantee a specific tag, however.)

Licenses and tags for 2003 cost the same as this year's except for some reductions in nonresident youth fees.

New licenses are required each year on January 1. The federal waterfowl stamp, however, remains valid through the waterfowl seasons that continue into January in Idaho.

Give a License

Licenses for a full year, or a lifetime, of fishing and hunting make a welcome gift, available from Fish and Game offices in the form of a gift certificate.

Hunting and fishing licenses for the year 2003 go on sale December 1. The actual license can be purchased for minors but, for adults, the gift must be in the form of a certificate because state law requires purchasing in person. Hunters born January 1, 1975 or later must have completed hunter education and have a certification number before a hunting license will be issued.

No changes in fees for licenses or tags are anticipated in 2003 except for some reductions for nonresident youths. All gift certificates must be redeemed at Fish and Game offices, not at private vendors.

Lifetime licenses ensure against the potential of future rate increases and can be less expensive than annual licenses, depending on age. A lifetime license remains in effect even if the holder moves out of Idaho so that the licensee is treated as a resident in controlled hunt draws and tag quotas. (Tag prices may increase, however, and nonresidents who hold an Idaho lifetime license pay nonresident tag fees.) Lifetime licenses are available only to persons who are Idaho residents at the time of purchase.

Many Idahoans prefer to buy licenses for the coming year before January 1 in order to avoid lines at Fish and Game offices or vendors.

Ask Fish and Game

Q. I've heard that my kid (I am not a resident of Idaho but I hunt there every year) will be able to hunt for the same cost as an Idaho youth next fall. Is that true?

A. Yes, in the restructuring of rules and costs for young hunters, nonresident youths from 12-17 will pay the same junior prices as residents pay in 2003. Youths must be accompanied and mentored by the adult holder of a valid Idaho license.

Deer And Elk Surveys Underway

LEWISTON - The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be conducting aerial surveys of deer and elk populations in the Clearwater region in big game management units 11 and 11A during December. After completion, IDFG plans to survey portions of big game management units 13, 14 and 18. Results of these surveys will provide information from which management decisions will be based for determining future hunting seasons.

The flights are scheduled to cover the same units at the same time every year to make the information gathered comparable from year to year. The goal is to compare population trends, and age and sex ratios. A helicopter flying low and slow over some of the most remote areas of the state is the most efficient tool for gathering big game herd information.

IDFG surveys Idaho's big game herds mostly during winter months when the animals are congregated on lower elevation winter ranges. The winter months also bring two requirements needed to conduct accurate surveys, clear weather for good visibility and snow covering that aid in locating and identification of species.

Fish & Game Sets Open House for New Turkey and Trophy Species Rules

The Department of Fish and Game will sponsor a public open house on Tuesday December 3, 2002 from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM at the Magic Valley Region Office (868 E. Main, Jerome) to collect input on 2003 turkey seasons and 2003-2004 moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat seasons. Additionally, information on a new program called Access Yes, designed to increase access to private lands for hunting and fishing, will be available for comment.

Turkey numbers in Unit 54 have continued to increase in numbers allowing additional hunting opportunity for youth and adult hunters alike. It is proposed to have three back-to-back 2-week hunts with four permits in each. The first hunt would be for youth only- 15 years and younger. This change would double the number the permits offered in 2002.

Changes being considered for trophy species include increasing the numbers of moose permits in Hunt 44 from two to four and reopening a bighorn sheep hunt with two permits in the Jarbidge and Bruneau canyons. No changes in mountain goat hunting in the region are being considered this year.

Access Yes is a new program being considered that would provide cash payments to selected landowners to secure hunting access on private land.

If you are interested in learning more or commenting on these proposals, you may call the Jerome Fish and Game Office at 208-324-4359. A comment form is also available on the Department's website at: www2.state.id.us/fishgame.

IDFG Breakfast Forum At Helm Restaurant

LEWISTON - Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to the monthly Idaho Department of Fish and Game breakfast at the Helm Restaurant in Lewiston, Tuesday December 3, at 6:30 a.m.

The meeting agenda will include reports on the upcoming urban goose hunt, steelhead season, big game check station results, enforcement activities and the new Access YES Program. Local outdoor groups are also invited to give reports of their current activities.

The breakfasts are held the first Tuesday of each month at the Helm restaurant in Lewiston. They are open to anyone and are designed to stimulate informal discussion about wildlife issues in the Clearwater Region. The breakfasts run until 9:00 a.m., with coffee provided by Fish and Game.

New Chief, New Name

Fish and Game director Steve Huffaker has appointed Roger Fuhrman to head the Bureau of Communications, formerly Information and Education.

Fuhrman has served as the department's Intergovernmental Policy coordinator for the past two years.

In making his announcement about filling the post, Huffaker said he was changing the name of the bureau to make it clear to the public that Fish and Game needs to reinforce the message that the department is involved in two-way communication, not a "one-sided process."

"Changing the bureau name signals that we are serious about engaging hunters, anglers, wildlife lovers, elected officials, interest groups and the general public in a discussion about the needs of fish and wildlife," Huffaker said.

IDFG Shines Light Of Justice On Dark Practice Of Spotlighting

IDAHO FALLS - To many criminals, darkness provides a cloak to conceal their illegal activities, for others darkness itself is what makes their activities illegal. Driving around at night with a loaded firearm and shining a spotlight, headlights or any other artificial light to spot wildlife is considered spotlighting or jacklighting. No matter what the name, it's illegal for big game! In just the last three weeks, Upper Snake Region Conservation Officers have cited 26 individuals for this clandestine violation.

According to Regional Conservation Officer John Hanson, "This spotlighting thing is really something! We've got people out there with everything from .22's and shotguns, all the way up to high-powered hunting and assault-style rifles!" While 26 citations have been issued, officers actually made many more contacts with people driving around after dark using spotlights who did not have firearms. Unfortunately, many of the individuals cited were holders of valid hunting licenses; but this criminal action removes them from the realm of responsible sportsman hunters and firmly classifies them as lawbreakers

Firearms and spotlights used in allegedly illegal activities are often confiscated by IDFG as evidence for court; IDFG does not sell items connected to illegal activities, as is the case with some federal law enforcement agencies. IDFG is not allowed by state law to sell firearms forfeited in court; often they are used as teaching aides for hunter education classes. The actual disposition of items confiscated by IDFG is up to the discretion of the judge.

Youth Goose Hunt Planned In Lewiston

LEWISTON - In efforts to recruit youth into the sport of hunting and to reduce conflicts with the abundant resident Canada goose population, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will host a youth goose hunt on Friday, December 27.

IDFG will accept names of young hunters, ages 12-17, for the special hunt until December 6.

The hunt will take place in the Lewiston/Clarkston Valley normally closed to hunting, and personnel from IDFG will supervise the youth.

"Last year's youth hunt was very successful and a lot of fun," said Regional Wildlife Biologist Miles Benker. "All the kids had a blast and each harvested a goose or two."

Youth can apply individually, but will grouped with three other youth during the hunt. All youth are expected to be properly camouflaged.

Youth successful in the drawing must meet the following requirements:

  • Possess an Idaho hunting license
  • Federal Migratory Game Bird Harvest Information Program Validation
  • Federal Migratory Bird Stamp for hunters 16 years or older

An IDFG safety officer will supervise the young hunter groups at each site from a half-hour before sunrise until 2:00 P.M. Special arrangements will be made for disabled hunters.

For more information, interested hunters can call the Clearwater Region Office at 208-799-5010.

Kokanee Egg Take Underway On Granite Creek

Sometime around the first of November, kokanee salmon begin to show up at Granite Creek on Lake Pend O'reille in preparation for spawning. Shortly thereafter, Idaho Fish and Game employees and volunteers begin to show up to gather eggs for the kokanee hatchery program.

The program provides a supply of eggs for the Cabinet Gorge Hatchery, the largest kokanee hatchery in the world. The hatchery was built with funds from the Bonneville Power Administration and Avista Corp., as mitigation for fish and wildlife habitat lost when the Cabinet Gorge Dam was built on the Clark Fork River in 1952.

The dam blocked all upstream fish migration into 90% of the drainage, thus preventing spawning by a segment of the populations of bull trout, kokanee and rainbow trout in Lake Pend O'reille. The resulting lack of tributary spawning habitat, the loss of shoreline spawning habitat through fluctuating water levels, the loss of fish downstream in flood years, and predation by trout and char (rainbow trout, lake trout, bull trout) all make the hatchery program more important in the IDFG's efforts to restore kokanee populations in Pend O'reille Lake.

A temporary weir and trap are set up at Sullivan Springs on Granite Creek to capture kokanee ascending the stream to spawn. The trapped fish are collected, their eggs and milt are stripped and the eggs fertilized to hatch and rear kokanee at the Cabinet Gorge Hatchery.

The goal of the artificial spawning operation is to generate 10 million eggs annually, however, that goal is seldom reached.

After rearing, offspring of the operation are released in several locations in the Pend Oreille drainage.

Volunteers play a major role in egg collection for the kokanee project. Two to five volunteers assist Fish and Game employees each day that eggs are taken.

Youth Goose Hunt Planned In Lewiston

LEWISTON - In efforts to recruit youth into the sport of hunting and to reduce conflicts with the abundant resident Canada goose population, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will host a youth goose hunt on Friday, December 27.

IDFG will accept names of young hunters, ages 12-17, for the special hunt until December 6.

The hunt will take place in the Lewiston/Clarkston Valley normally closed to hunting, and personnel from IDFG will supervise the youth.

"Last year's youth hunt was very successful and a lot of fun," said Regional Wildlife Biologist Miles Benker. "All the kids had a blast and each harvested a goose or two."

Youth can apply individually, but will grouped with three other youth during the hunt. All youth are expected to be properly camouflaged.

Youth successful in the drawing must meet the following requirements:

  • Possess an Idaho hunting license
  • Federal Migratory Game Bird Harvest Information Program Validation
  • Federal Migratory Bird Stamp for hunters 16 years or older

An IDFG safety officer will supervise the young hunter groups at each site from a half-hour before sunrise until 2:00 P.M. Special arrangements will be made for disabled hunters.

For more information, interested hunters can call the Clearwater Region Office at 208-799-5010.

Birders Needed For Thanksgiving Day Count

LEWISTON - The annual Thanksgiving Bird Count is fast approaching and once again, bird watchers are needed to collect information on their feathered friends.

The count lasts for only one hour on Thanksgiving Day, and counters can tailor the time to fit their busy holiday schedule. The count is made in a count circle chosen by the counter. The circle can be considered a cylinder, since all birds seen on the ground or water, in vegetation or flying over or through the circle should be counted. Individual birds are to be counted only once during the hour, and flocks should be estimated or counted with the highest number at any one time used.

Count circles are usually located around whatever attracts birds--feeders, baths, cover, etc. Most participants establish a count area visible from a comfortable indoor spot near a window. Some even select water areas or choose a favorite birding area and make it an outdoor event. The same count circles should be used each year, and participants are asked to send in reports even if they didn't observe any birds. .

Not as well know as the Christmas Count or Breeding Bird Surveys, the Thanksgiving Bird Count was begun in 1966 by Dr. Ernest Edwards and the Lynchburg Bird Club of Virginia. It has grown across the nation, with 448 participants conducting 452 counts in the eleven Western states and Alaska. Most numerous were House Sparrow, House Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, Black-capped Chickadee and European Starling.

Bird enthusiasts can pick up report forms at the Idaho Fish and Game Office located at 1540 Warner Avenue in Lewiston, by visiting www.palouseaudubon.org/, or by contacting Tom Weber, Palouse Audubon Society, at (509) 334-3817.