Hunters still have one last possibility to make the Thanksgiving turkey a wild one. The Clearwater Region still has tags left over from controlled hunts in Units 8, 8A and 10A. Residents can purchase the leftover tags at any vendor for $25. The nonresident price is $74.50. Besides bagging a Thanksgiving turkey, this is an opportunity to reduce some nuisance turkey problems in these units. In the turkey brochure, the dates for the hunt were printed differently on the map versus season date page. The dates for the hunt for this year are: November 15 to December 10.
Comments on proposed turkey hunting seasons for 2003 and on the idea of securing hunting access with cash payments to selected landowners can be posted electronically on the Fish and Game Internet web site. Those comment forms can be found in the "What's News" or hunting sections of the Fish and Game site at www2.state.id.us/fishgame on the Internet. Turkey season and access program comments are also being taken during public open house events in all seven Fish and Game regions. Schedules will be 1 locally around the state. Some regions will include discussion of moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goat seasons in the open houses.
It promises to be a great season for both steelhead anglers and Steelheads hockey fans, so what could be finer than sharing the spotlight? That's the idea behind "Idaho Wildlife Night" Friday, November 22 when Fish and Game and the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation join the Idaho Steelheads hockey team for a "wild night" of hockey. The Steelheads will be welcoming the Taylor Cup Champion Fresno Falcons to the Bank of America Centre. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the puck drops at 7 p.m. The evening will highlight Idaho's wildlife license plates. The first 2,500 fans in the door will receive a free refrigerator magnet of the new cutthroat license plate. This new design will be available in early 2003 joining the elk and bluebird series of wildlife plates. A portion of the funds generated by the plates goes to support wildlife and wildlife habitat. Also on "Idaho Wildlife Night," hockey mascot "Bonk" will be facing off with Fish and Game's fishy mascot, "Fins," a skating steelhead trout. And wildlife supporters will be turning out in big numbers to support hockey and Idaho's wildlife. Tickets may be purchased at the Bank of America Centre Box Office or at any Select-A-Seat outlet by calling 331-TIXS (8497), or by logging on to www.idahosteelheads.com.
Q. Does my 2002 hunting license expire before duck season ends? Do I need a new federal waterfowl stamp? A. Yes, you need a new Idaho hunting license come January 1, 2003, but your federal waterfowl stamp is valid through the end of the current waterfowl season.
Because it's not too early to be thinking about next year's turkey hunting seasons, the public is invited to attend an upcoming open house to discuss the topic. On Tuesday, November 26, Fish and Game will host two open houses to gather public input regarding proposed changes to 2003 turkey hunting seasons and the newly unveiled Access Yes! program. Population information for trophy species (moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat) will also be available for public review. Fish and Game's Nampa office at 3101 S. Powerline Road and the Forest Service Ranger District office in Council (500 E. Whiteley) will serve as open house locations. Fish and Game staff will be on hand, and interested persons can attend anytime between 4:00 and 7:00 pm. Department proposals would standardize the general spring wild turkey season for all of western Idaho (April 15 through May 25), and also standardize the period during which the second spring tag is valid (May 1 through May 25). A fall general hunt is also proposed for southwest Idaho to replace the current controlled hunt in units 22, 23, 24, 31, 32, 32A, 33 and 39. "We're proposing the change in the fall season because turkey populations continue to grow in southwest Idaho," Fish and Game wildlife manager Jon Rachael said. "Because of that growth, we'd like to expand hunter opportunity in the area. Now what we need is public input regarding this proposal." Hunters can peruse all the turkey season proposals via the Fish and Game website (www2.state.id.us.) and also provide written comment regarding the proposals on the web site. The comment period ends December 6. Access Yes! is a new program designed to improve hunter access to private lands. Open house attendees will be asked for their preference regarding funding for this program. As with turkey season proposals, Access Yes! information and comment forms are available on Fish and Game's web site.
IDAHO FALLS - IDFG is planning for sportsmen's futures today! On Friday, November 22 the Upper Snake Region of IDFG will be hosting an open house at Eastern Idaho Technical College in Idaho Falls to discuss proposed moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and turkey hunting regulations for next year. Additionally, the Department will be discussing and seeking public comment on a new access program. The meeting will take place at the EITC cafeteria and run from 7:00 PM until 9:00 PM. When it comes to proposed changes, Regional Wildlife Manager Brad Compton says, "When it comes to trophy species regs we aren't proposing much, just tweaking things; but for turkeys we are proposing some changes that hunters should really like." The changes Compton refers to are an expansion of hunting turkey opportunity throughout the region due to a successful ongoing turkey transplanting program. For Compton, who was recently promoted to statewide big game manager, this will be his last meeting as regional manager in Idaho Falls. Because access to hunting opportunities is shaping up to be a major problem nationwide in the future, the Idaho Fish & Game Commission has charged the Department to work with the public to create a program to help insure access for sportsmen. The new program is entitled "Access Yes" and centers on payment or other forms of compensation to landowners for allowing sportsmen to utilize their property. Comment is being sought not only on the access program itself, but the method that the program should be funded. Depending on the final plan, the program could cost anywhere between $500,000 and $1.2 million to run. Details concerning the proposed program will be available at the open house.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has scheduled two public meetings in the Panhandle Region. Proposals for turkey hunting regulations for the 2002 hunting season, moose seasons for 2003-2004, and a new program called "Access Yes" will be discussed. Both meetings have been scheduled for November 21 at 7 pm. Meetings will be held in Coeur d'Alene and St. Maries. The Coeur d'Alene meeting is scheduled for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Regional Office, 2750 Kathleen Ave. The St. Maries meeting will be held at the Avista Building. More opportunity to hunt wild turkeys and more consistency in the rules will be the result if Fish and Game regional proposals find favor with the public. Highlights of proposals for 2003 turkey hunting seasons include eliminating the spring controlled hunt in the Panhandle and opening the general season on April 15, as is the opening for other regions. All spring general seasons statewide would open April 15. The controlled hunt in the Panhandle was needed to help turkey flocks and the landowners who fed them through the winter as turkeys were established in the region. Turkey numbers are much higher now and the populations spread across the region, making the controlled hunt an unnecessary restriction. A general fall is proposed in the Panhandle, Clearwater, Southwest and parts of the Southeast Regions. The second turkey tag would be valid for spring hunts starting May 1 (two weeks earlier than in 2002) and would be valid for all fall hunts as well. Information on tags in the new turkey rules will be made easier to understand. Tags will be simplified but the total numbers of tags individual hunters may hold will remain the same. Tags for junior and disabled veteran hunters will be lowered to a cost of $9.75. The Panhandle moose season proposal calls for no additional bull permits, but cow permits could be made available for a small portion of the region.
Six Boundary County juveniles were charged last week in two separate poaching incidents. On November 4, a landowner in Paradise Valley south of Bonners Ferry reported that three subjects were trespassing on her property and that they had shot several turkeys in the same field her cattle were in. She contacted Conservation Officer Greg Johnson about the matter and provided a license number of the vehicle. The resulting investigation by Johnson led to charges being filed against three area juveniles for trespassing on private property to hunt, and for taking turkeys during closed season. During the investigation, Johnson also found evidence indicating that two of the suspects had been involved in the spotlight shooting of a deer shortly after the trespass and turkey poaching incidents. A second investigation led to charges against one of the suspects for taking a deer with the aid of artificial light. Another individual was charged with aiding in the offense. In a separate, unrelated incident, three other male juveniles were apprehended in the Curly Creek area for allegedly spotlighting and shooting a large 5-point whitetail buck. An alert landowner also reported this incident. The landowner heard a shot after dark on Saturday evening, Nov. 9. The landowner recorded the license plate of a suspect vehicle and reported it to the Boundary County Sheriff's Department. Fish and Game Officer Greg Johnson and a Boundary County Deputy Sheriff responded to the call. They found the three suspects looking for a deer that they allegedly shot after dark with the aid of a spotlight. Johnson eventually found the mortally wounded buck. One suspect was charged with unlawfully taking the deer with the aid of a spotlight. The other two were charged with aiding in the violation. Spotlighting big game is a flagrant misdemeanor in the state of Idaho and can result in loss of hunting privileges for up to life for anyone convicted of the violation.
Island Park - For the second year in a row, multiple state, federal, and tribal agencies, along with an international wildlife group are working together to help promote the continued success of the ongoing trumpeter swan recovery efforts. This year, citizens are being asked to help out by reporting trumpeter swans that have been marked and then released. The project is formally titled "Winter Translocations of Trumpeter Swans in Southeast Idaho," and it has been designed to test the effectiveness of trapping and relocation of immature trumpeter swans, that are called cygnets. Wildlife Biologist Laurie Hanauska-Brown of IDFG is spearheading the project. Along with IDFG, other state and federal agencies include: Idaho Parks & Recreation (IDPR), the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). The Shoshone-Bannock Tribe is also involved, as is the international wildlife organization, the Trumpeter Swan Society. The reason that this study was undertaken is that while the trumpeter swan populations nationwide have made tremendous comebacks, the intermountain population has focused as their primary wintering grounds the Henry's Fork River in and around Harriman Sate Park. Depending on winter conditions and the number of birds, if left unchecked, a harsh winter could result in a potentially serious situation for either the birds or the aquatic habitat of the world-famous trout fishery on the Henrys Fork.
LEWISTON - - Trappers who take a river otter this season are reminded that they must present the entire skinned carcass and pelt to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at the regional office in the region in which the animal was taken within 72 hours of harvest. In the past, only pelts were required to be checked by IDFG. Trappers can keep the pelt after a harvest report is completed and pelt tag is attached. Data from the carcass will be used in the Department's efforts to obtain approval for CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Treaty pelt tags. The CITES Treaty was passed in 1973 for the purpose of regulating the trade of endangered and potentially threatened species. The mandatory reporting of certain harvested wildlife is common in most states, with Idaho hunters required to check all otter, bobcat, black bear and mountain lion harvest. Additionally, bighorn sheep are required to have a numbered metal pin inserted into the horns of both legally harvested animals and collected bighorns. Hunters must also check-in trophy species such as moose and mountain goat. Trappers unable to comply with the otter tagging requirements due to special or unique circumstances must report their catch and make arrangements for tagging at the proper regional office. Otters not registered or presented to IDFG personnel within 72-hours are subject to confiscation. The Clearwater Region otter harvest quota is 15. The season will close in each region 48-hours after the harvest quota is reached. Trappers will be allowed to keep otters within this 48-hour period provided their personal quota of 2 has not been reached. Any otters trapped and brought in 48 hours after the quota is met must be for a $5.00 reward.
LEWISTON - - Turkey hunters looking to harvest a Thanksgiving bird have one last shot at over 380 leftover fall turkey controlled hunt permits available at all Idaho Fish and Game offices and license vendors statewide. The permits are valid in management units 8, 8A and 10A from November 15 to December 10, 2002. Some landowners in these units have reported damage to crops and other property and have requested that bird numbers be reduced in certain areas. In addition to translocating birds to other areas, hunting is a tool that can be used to regulate numbers in response to landowner concerns. A valid Idaho hunting license must be presented in order to purchase a leftover permit, and applicants must submit the appropriate application fees, permit fees and tag fees. Nonresidents may also purchase the permits and will not be restricted to the 10 percent quota that applies during the regular permit drawing.
Island Park - For the second year in a row, multiple state, federal, and tribal agencies, along with an international wildlife group are working together to help promote the continued success of the ongoing trumpeter swan recovery efforts. This year, citizens are being asked to help out by reporting trumpeter swans that have been marked and then released. The project is formally titled "Winter Translocations of Trumpeter Swans in Southeast Idaho," and it has been designed to test the effectiveness of trapping and relocation of immature trumpeter swans, that are called signets. Wildlife Biologist Laurie Hanauska-Brown of IDFG is spearheading the project. Along with IDFG, other state and federal agencies include: Idaho Parks & Recreation (IDPR), the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). The Shoshone-Bannock Tribe is also involved, as is the international wildlife organization, the Trumpeter Swan Society. The reason that this study was undertaken is that while the trumpeter swan populations nationwide have made tremendous comebacks, the intermountain population has focused as their primary wintering grounds the Henry's Fork River in and around Harriman Sate Park. Depending on winter conditions and the number of birds, if left unchecked, a harsh winter could result in a potentially serious situation for either the birds or the aquatic habitat of the world-famous trout fishery on the Henrys Fork.