Press Release

September 2006

Public's Help Sought in Antelope Wasting Case

The discovery of six partially butchered pronghorn antelope carcasses has prompted the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to seek public assistance s asking the public for information to bring the poacher to justice.

A call to the Citizens against Poaching (CAP) hotline led conservation officer Rob Brazie to the antelope carcasses at the summit of Horseshoe Bend Hill on State Highway 55. The two bucks, three does and one fawn antelope were dumped in a pile a short distance from the roadway.

Only portions of meat from each carcass had been removed, making this a game meat "wanton waste" offense. "The heads of both bucks had been removed, and black vinyl tape was discovered wrapped around the left ear of each of the remaining four antelope," Brazie noted. Additional evidence is currently being collected at the scene, but Brazie would like to visit with anyone who might know anything about the six antelope.

Persons with information regarding this case are asked to contact the Fish and Game Nampa office at 465-8465 or the CAP hotline at 1-800-632-5999, twenty-four hours a day. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.

Cool Weather Slows Sage Grouse Opener

Cool and windy weather greeted hunters on the first day of the sage grouse hunting opening weekend across southern Idaho-Sunday brought better weather and hunter success.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists in the Magic Valley region report:

The number of hunters checked on opening weekend was relatively unchanged from last year despite the weather. Sage grouse harvest decreased 19 percent from last year and was similar to the harvest in 2003 and 2004.

This year, 1,001 hunters took 672 birds. The effort required-about 5.89 hours per bird-was less than the long-term average, but more than last year. The number of grouse observed per hour also remained higher than the long-term average.

Last year, 989 hunters shot 833 birds at 4.97 hours per bird. The long term average is 2,049 hunters, 1,607 birds harvested, and 6.69 hours in the field per bird shot.

The best hunting was north of Kimama and in Shoshone Basin. The lowest success rates were from hunters checked on the Bliss-Hill City Road.

At the Southeast region's American Falls check station, 83 hunters checked in with 61 birds. That's more hunters and the most birds in the past five years-up by 45 percent from last year. But it took more effort this year, averaging 3.9 hours per bird. Last year 59 hunters took 42 birds in 3.3 hours per bird.

On the east side of Bear Lake, no hunters or sage grouse were found, but there was 3 inches of snow on the ground.

In the Upper Snake Region, 595 hunters shot 379 sage grouse at an average effort of 5.69 hours per bird. Not quite as good as last year when 627 hunters shot 463 birds, averaging 5.19 hours per bird.

Upper Snake regional biologists report that overall, sage grouse seemed to be fairly dispersed, and most hunters reported seeing fewer sage grouse than last year, but a few hunters reported seeing 100 or more sage grouse.

Fish and Game Seeks Help in Antelope Case

Six partially butchered pronghorn antelope carcasses, found along the road on Horseshoe Bend Hill, have prompted the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to ask the public for help to bring the poacher or poachers to justice.

A call to the Citizens Against Poaching hotline led conservation officer Rob Brazie to the pronghorn carcasses at the summit of Horseshoe Bend Hill on State Highway 55. The two bucks, three does and one fawn were dumped in a pile a short distance from the road.

Only parts of meat from each carcass had been removed, making this a "game meat wanton waste" offense.

"The heads of both bucks had been removed, and black vinyl tape was discovered wrapped around the left ear of each of the remaining four antelope," Brazie said. Additional evidence is being collected at the scene, but Brazie would like to talk to anyone who might know anything about the six pronghorns.

Anyone with information about this case may contact the Fish and Game Nampa office at 465-8465, or the CAP hotline at 1-800-632-5999, 24 hours a day.

Callers may remain anonymous.

Waterfowl Youth Hunt Opens

The annual youth waterfowl hunt opens Saturday and Sunday, September 30 and October 1, for hunters aged 15 and under.

Older hunters will have to until October 7 to hunt in northern and eastern Idaho and October 14 to hunt in southwestern Idaho and the Magic Valley.

The 107-day season dates for duck, geese, coots and snipe are:

¥ October 7 to January 19, 2007 - Area 1, northern and eastern Idaho.

¥ October 14 to January 26, 2007 - Area 2, southwestern Idaho and Magic Valley.

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

Youth hunters must be accompanied by a licensed hunter 18 years or older. All hunters must have a valid hunting license and a federal migratory game bird harvest information program validation, and hunters 16 years old or older must have a federal migratory bird stamp. Nontoxic shot is required to hunt waterfowl.

Daily limits are:

¥ Ducks: 7 of any kind, including not more than:

o 1 canvasback, pintail.

o 2 redheads, female mallards.

o 3 scaup, total lesser and greater.

¥ Geese: 4 of any kind, Canada, white-fronted, Ross' or snow goose, except in Fremont and Teton counties, which are closed to Ross' and snow geese.

¥ Coots: 25.

¥ Common snipe: 8.

Possession after first day of season:

¥ Ducks: 14 of any kind, including not more than:

o 2 canvasbacks, pintails.

o 4 redheads, female mallards.

o 6 scaup, total lesser and greater.

¥ Geese: 8 of any kind, except in Fremont and Teton counties, which are closed to Ross' and snow geese.

¥ Coots: 25.

¥ Common snipe: 16.

Most Fire Restrictions Lifted

Wildfires still burning in Idaho's backcountry may block access to some hunt units.

But most fire fighting efforts on the large Boise National Forest wildfires are nearly complete. Some mop up and rehabilitation work still is being done.

Most travel restrictions have been lifted except for two roads and four trails in the Red Mountain fire area. For details and regular updates go to http://www.inciweb.org or http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/boise.

Hunters and others traveling in the areas, however, should be alert for hazards such as snags, rehabilitation personnel working in the area and other fire related traffic. Anyone heading into the backcountry, is advised to check with local county sheriffs or Forest Service Ranger District offices before heading out. For more information and maps of Forest Service closures and hunt units go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/news/fire/.

For road closure updates contact:

¥ Boise County Sheriff at 208-392-4411.

¥ Valley County Sheriff at 208-382-7150.

¥ Elmore County Sheriff at 208-587-2121.

Wolf Report: Update

The Lick Creek wolf pack is in trouble; over the past three weeks, pack members have killed 43 sheep.

Most recently, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services confirmed on September 13 that pack members had killed nine ewes near Bear Saddle on Rapid River. Pack members around the end of August killed 34 sheep. The producer still is missing many more that are presumed dead.

Idaho Fish and Game has authorized the removal of up to five un-collared wolves from the Lick Creek pack.

Elsewhere in the past week, other wolves killed 20 sheep and injured five more. State officials have authorized the removal 13 wolves. Wildlife Services has killed three wolves so far, and planned on removing up to 10 more, including up to five Lick Creek pack members.

Between January 1 and September 15, federal and state agents have killed 26 wolves in Idaho, and another nine wolves have been killed by ranchers under the 10j rule. A total of 19 cattle and more than 120 sheep have been confirmed killed so far this year.

But those are only a small part of the domestic livestock that die in Idaho every year. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, most livestock in Idaho die from causes other than predators. And most of those killed by predators are killed or eaten by coyotes, which killed 70 percent of the 7,400 lambs lost to predators in 2005.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reports that in 2005, coyotes killed about 1,000 sheep and about 5,100 lambs. Domestic dogs killed about 300 lambs-the same number as killed by wolves. Both also killed about 200 sheep each. Bears killed about 500 lambs and 400 sheep, while mountain lions killed 400 lambs and about 100 sheep.

Overall, predators accounted for about 32 percent of 23,000 lamb deaths, and about 28 percent of about 9,000 sheep deaths-other causes included weather, disease, lambing complications and old age, the Statistics Service reports.

Ask Fish and Game

Q. If I bought a sportsman's pack, do I still need to get a sage grouse and sharp-tailed grouse validation to hunt sage and sharp-tailed grouse?

A. Yes. Though the Sportsman's Package includes a resident adult combination fishing and hunting license plus tags for deer, elk, bear, mountain lion, and turkey as well as salmon, steelhead, archery and muzzleloader permits, it doesn't include the sage and sharp-tailed grouse permit validations. Anyone hunting sage or sharp-tailed grouse must buy the proper permit validation on their license.

The Busy Season Has Arrived

By Jay Crenshaw

This is quite a busy time of year for Idaho hunters. Many have changed gears from summer pursuits and have been taking advantage of the great fall weather since the 2006 seasons opened.

Upland game bird hunters are already afoot. Forest grouse hunters have reported success in the higher elevations since the season opened on the first of September. And September 16th was the beginning of the quail, chukar, and gray partridge seasons. However, pheasant hunters must wait for October 14 before they can get out the dogs and bag a rooster or two. Even turkey hunting enthusiasts have had opportunities to hone their skills at calling in a gobbler or hen since the fall season opened on September 15.

Big game seasons are also in full swing. Those lucky enough to draw a moose, bighorn sheep, or mountain goat permit have been scouring the hills for their prey since the end of August, and many have had success. There have been a couple of dandy bighorns checked in at the IDFG regional office in the past two weeks. For those not yet successful, time still remains as sheep hunts stay open until mid-October and goat and moose hunts run into November.

Early season archers pursuing deer and elk in the Clearwater Region have just wrapped up their hunts, as have rifle hunters participating in the September backcountry hunts. But for many, big game hunting opportunities are just beginning.

With the opening of the deer and elk rifle season for most of the Clearwater Region units rapidly approaching on October 10th, many hunters are in the planning stages of determining how they might best out-fox their quarry.

Special Youth Waterfowl Hunt Set For Sept. 30 & October 1

IDAHO FALLS - Even though adult waterfowl hunters need to wait until the 7th of October for the start of the general waterfowl season in the Idaho Falls area, the Idaho Fish & Game Commission has once again provided a special opportunity to help introduce young people to the exciting sport of waterfowl hunting by setting aside next Saturday and Sunday, September 30th and October 1st, for the annual statewide youth waterfowl hunt for those licensed hunters 15 and younger.

A nationwide trend of declining young hunters has prompted wildlife management agencies across the nation to try new ideas to help encourage young people to get involved in the exciting sport of waterfowl hunting. The idea of special youth-only hunts was adopted as a way to get young people out when there would be less competition with experienced adult hunters and the birds would be less weary. Thanks to a change in law four years ago, it is legal now for 10 and 11 year olds who have successfully completed hunter education to also hunt waterfowl. Federal waterfowl stamps are not required for the ages included in this special hunt, but youths must have the special HIP migratory game bird harvest validation that cost $1.75. Federal regulations require stamps for anyone 16 and older. Each youth taking part in the special hunt must be accompanied by someone 18 years or older who is a licensed hunter. The adult is there to solely help the young person learn to hunt and is not legally able to hunt during this event.

Ask the Conservation Officer (CO)

by Gary Hompland, Regional Conservation Officer

Question: "The Twin Falls area has a real gem with the stream in Rock Creek Canyon. Are there any trout in it and how's the fishing?"

Answer: Rock Creek is a nice tributary stream to the Snake River that flows through Twin Falls. It contains hatchery supplemented rainbow and German brown trout.

Historically, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game stocked fingerling German brown trout in Rock Creek after the spring high water flows.

In recent years stocking of hatchery catchable rainbow trout has been completed by the College of Southern Idaho's aquaculture program.

According to Terry Patterson, the head of CSI's aquaculture program, they stock approximately 5,000 8- to 11-inch rainbow trout in Rock Creek annually. He said they stock in late summer and early fall after stream flows have stabilized and water quality has improved. Places they stock fish include: the Victory Bridge, the Highway 30 Bridge, and at Rock Creek Park.

The CSI aquaculture program has also provided hatchery trout for several local fund raisers.

Patterson said he appreciates being able to teach CSI students how to raise and handle fish in the hatchery as well as transport them to areas where the public has an opportunity to catch them.

As far as "How the fishing is in Rock Creek" it's great! Fishing is always great! It's the catching that is sometimes lacking!

If you have any further questions you may call the Magic Valley Regional Office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at (208)324-4350 or e-mail us at the Fish and Game web site at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Hunting Private and Public LandÑKnow Before You Go

By Mike Demick - Idaho Department of Fish and Game

As the fall hunting season approaches, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game gets hundreds of calls about public land access.

Many hunters want information about public land boundaries, maps, access and camping information.

Except for wildlife management areas around the state, Fish and Game manages little land. But several other state and federal agencies govern Idaho's public lands. Each of these agencies has specific rules and regulations and can furnish detailed maps showing access roads, trails and camping areas.

While a lot of public land is available to hunters, some of the best hunting areas are on private land. These lands play a key role in wildlife conservation because many species of wildlife utilize private land habitat for much of the year.

Idaho's wildlife belongs to all residents, but everyone should respect the landowner's rights and always ask first to hunt and fish on private property.

In fact, it is against the law for any person to enter privately owned land to take any wildlife by hunting, fishing or trapping without first obtaining permission from the landowner. A violation of this law could result in the loss of hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges for up to three years.

Trespass violations are costly, not only in terms of money and time, but also in terms of future opportunity. Many landowners, frustrated with trespassing hunters have permanently closed their property to hunting by anyone. So this fall, be responsible and respect private property owners by always asking them for permission.

Responsibility, of course, is an important attribute of good hunting. But each year Fish and Game is confronted with landowner complaints related to hunters who exhibit irresponsible behavior when hunting near or within private lands.

Waterfowl Regulations Available

The printed version of Idaho waterfowl hunting regulation for 2006-2007 are available at Idaho Department of Fish and Game offices and hunting license vendors across the state.

The regulations also are available at the Fish and Game Website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/rules/wf/.

The 107-day season for duck, geese, coots and snipe dates are:

¥ October 7 to January 19, 2007-Area 1, northern and eastern Idaho.

¥ October 14 to January 26, 2007-Area 2, southwestern Idaho and Magic Valley.

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

All hunters must have a valid hunting license and a federal migratory game bird harvest information program validation, and hunters 16 years old or older must have a federal migratory bird stamp. Nontoxic shot is required to hunt waterfowl.