Press Release

July 2006

Events at the Nature Center

Families in the Creek

It's getting hot out there! This is the perfect opportunity for the entire family to learn something new while cooling down.

Meet at the entrance to the Morrison Knudsen Nature Center at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 5, to learn about stream ecology by turning over rocks and splashing around in the Boise River. Admission is free.

Critter Care

In addition to all the wildlife you can see outside, the Nature Center is home to several critters that live inside our building.

These animals need to be fed and cared for. Learn more about each of these animals, starting at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, August 5 and 6, by following a Nature Center employee through the daily routine of caring for the kestrels, snake, and salamander.

Open to all ages and admission is free.

Ask Fish and Game

Q. When does the fall steelhead season start?

A. The fall steelhead harvest season starts in Lewiston on August 1, but only on the Clearwater from its mouth to the Memorial Bridge on U.S. Highway 12, and runs through December 31. The rest of the Clearwater above the Memorial Bridge is open from October 15 through December 31. Elsewhere, the general harvest season starts September 1 and runs through the end of December. Check the fishing rules brochure for open waters, limits and exceptions. A fishing license and a steelhead permit are required.

Bighorn Tag Lottery Raises Money for Research

The Idaho chapter of the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep this year has raised more than $104,852 for bighorn research in a lottery for one bighorn sheep tag.

In cooperation with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the foundation sold tickets for the tag, released by Fish and Game. The foundation pays for the tag and hunting license from the money raised, the rest goes to bighorn and wildlife research. This year, Mike Carpinito of Kent, Wash., bought the winning ticket.

"The Idaho bighorn sheep lottery tag is an excellent example of bighorn sheep hunters using their money to support wildlife conservation for everyone," Ray Lee, president and CEO of the national foundation. "The money raised from this tag goes to Idaho's Wildlife Health Lab to support their efforts to maintain healthy wildlife populations."

Last year the lottery raised more than $68,000.

Another tag will be auctioned at the foundation's annual convention. Money raised at the auction will go to improving sheep numbers and habitat in Idaho, particularly in Hells Canyon, which contains the largest area of ideal bighorn range in the continental United States.

Fish and Game Commissioners to Meet in Boise

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet in Boise on Monday and Tuesday, August 7 and 8.

Commissioners will conduct a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday August 7 at Fish and Game headquarters, 600 S. Walnut, Boise. Earlier in the day Monday, commissioners will participate in a workshop on the Department of Fish and Game's 2008 budget, beginning at noon.

Commissioners will convene at 8 a.m. Tuesday, August 8, to discuss migratory game bird rules, seasons and limits for firearms and falconry. Proposed waterfowl season recommendations are expected to be similar to those in 2005.

Tentative department recommendations for both duck and geese include:

¥ A 105-day season with the usual bag, including a one bird bag limit for both pintails and canvasbacks.

¥ A two-day youth hunt on September 30 to October 1 for hunters aged 15 and under.

¥ Season dates in Area 1, northern and eastern Idaho: October 7 to January 19, 2007.

¥ Season dates in Area 2 southwestern Idaho: October 14 to January 26, 2007.

Open houses to discuss the seasons and take comments will be announced by local Fish and Game regional offices.

Being Bear Aware

As summer temperatures continue to rise and natural food sources for bears become harder to find, human interactions with bears are on the increase.

As campers, backpackers and hikers venture into the woods the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking them to be mindful of their food and garbage. The same cautions apply to homeowners in bear country.

Black bears travel great distances while switching from spring to summer foods and when berries and other natural foods are scarce, human food becomes appealing. If it tastes good to people, bears will probably like it too.

Tips for around camp:

¥ Keep a clean camp. Pick up garbage and store it in a closed vehicle or in a plastic bag tied high between two trees. Store all food in a bear-resistant container, camper or vehicle, or hang it from a rope strung high between two trees. Never keep food in a tent.

¥ Don't cook near tents or sleeping areas, and don't wear the clothes you cook in to bed.

¥ Don't bury food scraps, pour out cooking grease, or leave anything that might be tasty on the ground or in the fire pit. Also, store barbecue grills or other smelly cooking gear inside your vehicle or within a sealed bear resistant container. Bears have a tremendous sense of smell, and they will come looking for an easy meal.

¥ If you see a bear, watch it from a distance and leave it alone. Black bears are not usually aggressive, but the danger may increase if a bear loses its fear of humans.

¥ Black bears are excellent tree climbers.

Tips for homeowners to avoid most conflicts with bears:

¥ Keep garbage in bear-proof containers. Keep garbage in a closed building until the morning the garbage will be picked up.

¥ Empty and remove bird feeders during the summer months. Songbirds are able to forage on food provided by nature. Bears find bird feeders an easy food source.

Register for Hunter Education Classes Soon

With hunting season just a few weeks off, time is running short for would-be hunters to take a hunter education class.

In the Magic Valley, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is offering classes in Twin Falls, Filer, Buhl, Rupert, Jerome, Hailey and Kimberly. Most classes begin within the next two weeks, and seating is limited so students are urged to register as soon as possible.

Classes are available in all regions of the state.

Anyone born after January 1, 1975, must complete a hunter education course to buy an Idaho hunting license or show proof that they previously held a valid hunting license in Idaho or another state.

Hunter and bowhunter education classes are available as a home study course and on the Internet, but all hunters also must participate in a field day to complete the course.

Students interested in registering for a class are asked to stop by their local Fish and Game office. Registration requires an address, phone number, date of birth, and social security number for each student. The cost is $8 per student.

Students aged from 10-17 years old completing the class will receive a free small game hunting license for this year's hunting season. Students 12 and older wishing to hunt big game this fall must upgrade to a junior hunting license. Cost for the upgrade is $3.75 at any Fish and Game office.

But don't wait for the season to start, classes are filling up and the hunter education volunteers would rather be out hunting when the season opens.

For more information, call 324-4359 or any regional Fish and Game office or check online at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/education/hunter_ed/.

Eastern Idaho Aspen Communities Declining

Aspen have declined by an estimated 65 percent over the past 100 years

The Eastern Idaho Aspen Working Group is forming to learn more about the decline of this important habitat area and what might be done to reverse this trend.

A symposium is set for August 10 and 11 to kick off the group's efforts. The public is invited.

August 10, 6:30 to 9 p.m.: Presentations by Dr. Dale Bartos and David Burton on aspen ecology and what the scientists know about aspen declines will be at the Upper Snake regional office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, 4279 Commerce Circle in Idaho Falls.

August 11, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Tour of eastern Idaho to examine aspen communities, meet at the Upper Snake Fish and Game office. Box lunches will be available if arrangements are made in advance.

Bartos is an ecologist with the Rocky Mountain Research Station's Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Logan, Utah. Bartos has been noted for his accomplishments in range management and restoration of aspen forests over his career, which began in 1972. He is a recipient of the "Outstanding Achievement Award" from the Society for Range Management.

Bartos holds bachelors and master's degrees from Fort Hays State University and a doctorate in range science from Colorado State University.

Burton is the principle investigator for the Aspen Delineation Project, a collaborative effort of the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Region, the California Department of Fish and Game, and the California office of the Bureau of Land Management. The Aspen Delineation Project helps agencies identify, map, treat and monitor aspen habitats. In recognition of his efforts as a volunteer on the Eldorado National Forest, Burton was awarded the 2002 Chief's Volunteers Program National Award.

To attend, contact Wendy Lowe at 208-523-6668, or by email at: wendy@p2-solution.com

Wolf Control Actions Authorized

In response to several livestock depredation incidents in July, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has authorized several wolves to be removed.

Under federal rules that changed in 2005 and an agreement between Idaho and the federal government signed in January, Idaho took over day to day management of reintroduced wolves in Idaho protected under the Endangered Species Act. That includes authorizing the lethal control of wolves to protect domestic livestock.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services carries out the control action at the request of Idaho Fish and Game.

On July 22, Wildlife Services captured and killed a black, sub-adult, female wolf of the Steel Mountain pack. Traps remain set, with the hope of removing another three individuals from this pack.

On July 24, Wildlife Services confirmed that wolves had killed five lambs on Trapper Creek about 40 miles northeast of Idaho City on the Boise National Forest. After consulting with Idaho Department of Fish and Game, officials were unable to determine which, if any, of five nearby packs were responsible for the depredation. Fish and Game authorized killing one uncollared wolf. Traps were set, and on July 28, Wildlife Services captured and killed a gray, sub-adult male wolf, completing this control action.

On July 25, a group of cowboys in Copper Basin shot several times toward a large, dark gray wolf in a pasture close to their livestock, and successfully harassed it from the area. On July 27, Wildlife Services during an aerial control action, shot one black adult or sub-adult wolf in Copper Basin. Trappers also captured and collared a gray male pup that morning.

Idfg Hosts Open House On Proposed Waterfowl Seasons

IDAHO FALLS - When it comes to the setting of waterfowl seasons a host of agencies and even countries are involved in the process. Decisions must be made that will be fair to both sportsmen and migrating waterfowl. The Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) will be hosting an open house at the regional office at 4279 Commerce Circle in Idaho Falls from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Friday, August 4th to hear what sportsmen have to say about duck & goose hunting.

In the case of Idaho, the Pacific Flyway Council is responsible for determining the general limits for each species and the maximum days that each species can be hunted. It is then up to state wildlife agencies to put flesh on skeleton by way of actual dates and season lengths. Currently, a 107-day duck and goose season is being recommended. As in the past, two of the 107 days will be set-aside for the annual youth hunts. The youth hunts are being proposed to start one week later than last year to allow for collection of more avian flu samples before the season starts. The youth hunt is scheduled for October 30 - September 1.

Proposed season for Area 1 (North/East) is October 7 - January 19. For Area 2 (Southwest) the proposed season is October 14 - January 26. Goose will again have a 4-bird bag limit. Ducks will remain the same, with a 1-bird bag limit for both pintails and canvasbacks. The Idaho Fish & Game Commission will make their final decision at their August 8th meeting.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting Daryl Meints at the Idaho Department of Fish & Game at 525-7290 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-3529(TDD). E-mails comments can also be sent to dmeints@idfg.idaho.gov The deadline for all comments is 5:00 P.M. on August 4, 2006.

Wildlife Benefits from Volunteers

By Matt Bruns

On July 15th the roar of chainsaws could be heard on the Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area (CMWMA) south of Lewiston while a dozen Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) volunteers worked in the hot, summer sunshine to remove lodgepole pine trees from a shrinking, grassy meadow.

After eight hours of hard labor, approximately five acres of native meadow habitat had been restored. As a result, the area's abundant deer and elk gained an additional place to forage, and twelve dedicated volunteers gained greater ownership and appreciation for Idaho's wild places.

Volunteers, such as those from RMEF and other conservation organizations, are making a real on-the-ground impact, benefiting Idaho's wildlife.

On the CMWMA, lodgepole pine trees were being removed from an area that had previously been open meadow habitat. Time, fire suppression, and absence of cattle grazing in the area had allowed the lodgepoles to grow in places where they had not previously been as recent as 15 years ago. Deer, elk and other wildlife species depend on meadows for nutritious grasses and forbs as well as a place to have and raise their offspring.

Left unaltered, the lodgepole pine trees would have eventually grown large and continued to spread, closing off the meadow's light source. The plant community would shift from open grassland/shrub to mature forest. While this habitat change would benefit species that depend on mature forests, it would hurt species such as deer and elk that depend on early succession plant communities like meadows.

Waterfowl Season Open House - Jerome

JEROME - Waterfowl hunters have a chance to comment on proposed 2006-2007 duck and goose seasons August 2, at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Magic Valley Regional Office at 319 South 417 East, Highway 93 Business Park (2.5 miles north of the Flying J).

The open house will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fish and Game biologists will be on hand to visit with the public to discuss the tentative 2006 season framework proposed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The proposed framework is similar to last year with a potential 107 day duck and goose season. Bag limits could also remain similar to last year where hunters could harvest seven ducks and four geese.

The biggest change may include a full 107 day season for pintails and canvasback with a one bird bag limit. Scaup season dates are still uncertain. Most likely there will be a reduced bag limit and a shortened season.

Tentative season days would be;

- Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, for the youth hunt

- Oct. 7 to Jan. 19, season for northern and eastern Idaho

- Oct. 14 to Jan. 26, for southwestern Idaho

The open house format allows visitors to attend anytime during the session.

Using the US Fish and Wildlife Service framework and comments from sportsmen across Idaho, Fish and Game biologists will develop final waterfowl season recommendations that will be presented to the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game Commission on Aug. 8.

Input can also be provided over the telephone by calling 324-4359.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by calling Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-3529 (TDD).