Press Release

May 2007

Ask the Conservation Officer (CO)

by Gary Hompland, Regional Conservation Officer

Question: "My ten-year old daughter just completed a fantastic hunter education class and now possesses the graduate hunting license. We also raise trailing hounds and she would like to go along with me on my next bear hunt. Since she and I are training a hound for her, can she handle this dog while with me trailing a black bear?"

Answer: The short answer is she can accompany you on your next bear hunt, but she may not be in control of any dogs. This is a technicality and I will do my best to explain.

Relatively recent legislation allowed your son or daughter to obtain a free Youth Hunter Education Graduate Hunting License after successfully completing the Department sponsored hunter education class. Her graduate hunting license allows her to hunt only upland game, waterfowl, and unprotected species when accompanied by a licensed mentoring adult. Your daughter is not allowed to purchase the next class of hunting license; a junior hunting license, until she is 12 years old.

The hound hunting rules for black bear and mountain lion require the owner or person in control of the trailing dogs to possess a hunting license, a hound hunting permit, and bear tag.

Commission rules prohibit permits and tags to be issued on the graduate hunting license. A junior hunting license holder may purchase a hound hunting permit and bear tag subsequently allowing them to control trailing dogs.

The Commission rules were not intended to discriminate against young hunters but instead to encourage them to accompany mentoring adults. I'm sorry your daughter cannot handle her own dog, but I would certainly encourage her to accompany you on your hunt.

Reference Idaho Codes 36-406(i), 36-409(g), IDAPA 13.01.15100 and 13.01.15200.

Anglers Interested in More Year-round Fishing

Every two years the Idaho Department of Fish and Game sets new fishing rules.

The first step to that process is called "scoping." During scoping, biologists meet with the public to share information and ideas about various fisheries and point out areas where department staff members see a need for rule changes. At the same time, they ask to hear from interested anglers about where they would like to see changes.

Scoping is an ongoing process that doesn't just occur during the formalized scoping meetings, regional fishery manager Jim Fredericks said.

"We speak with individuals and organizations on a regular basis, so we're constantly getting feedback and ideas from anglers," he said. "Much of our input is informal, but we hold formal scoping meetings as well."

Some rule change cycles come and go without the public or Fish and Game seeing a big need for changes. In others, biologists present several instances where they believe changes are necessary.

This year, the ideas came mostly from the public. In the recent meetings and comment period, several anglers from around the Upper Snake Region had one suggestion: Open more water to year-round fishing.

Fredericks thinks that's not a bad idea. The current stream season runs from Memorial Weekend through November 30.

"When you really look at it, snow, ice and access limit fishing in many rivers from December through March anyway," he said. "So year-round fishing mainly increases effort in April and May."

Historically, many fisheries were closed in those months to protect spawning fish.

"Ten or 20 years ago, anglers were much more into harvest, so more protection was necessary," he said. "But because of the change in attitudes, our experience and that of other states shows that year-round fishing creates opportunity without compromising the resource."

Go Fish, No License Needed

The one day each year that a fishing license is not required for anyone is Free Fishing Day.

This year June 9 is the only day that a fishing license is not required to fish. To go fishing on any other day, anglers will need to buy a fishing license. Idaho resident children under age 14 never need a fishing license.

Remember, all other fishing regulations still apply. Be sure to check the regulations for the area you intend to fish.

Never been fishing? No problem. Fishing events, sponsored by Idaho Department of Fish and Game regional offices, are planned all around the state. Fishing rods are usually provided, as well as some basic instruction on how to fish.

For more information about regional events contact local Fish and Game offices or visit the Fish and Game Website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/.

Super Hunt Deadline Approaching

The deadline to enter the first of this year's Super Hunt drawings is Thursday, May 31.

Entries received at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game headquarters by Thursday will be included in the June 15 drawing for the first Super Hunt and Super Hunt Combo. Tickets will be drawn for eight elk, eight deer, and eight antelope hunts as well as one moose hunt.

One Super Hunt Combo ticket will be drawn that entitles the winner to four hunts - one each for elk, deer, antelope and moose.

The winners may participate in any open hunt in the state, and any animal they shoot will be in addition to any other tags or controlled hunts the hunter may hold. All other rules of those hunts apply.

The deadline is August 10 for the second drawing on August 15, when another Super Hunt Combo ticket and tickets for two elk, two deer, and two antelope hunts along with one moose hunt will be drawn.

Tickets entered in the first drawing will not be entered in the second drawing.

A single ticket costs $6.25. Tickets are available at license vendors, all Fish and Game offices. On the Internet at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov, click on the Super Hunt logo, or call 800-824-3729 or 800-554-8685.

Forms also are available on the Fish and Game Website and in the hunting rules brochure to order tickets by mail. But tickets must be filled out and mailed back and received at Fish and Game by the deadline. Mail entries to: IDFG License Section, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707.

Hunters File Harvest Reports, Win Tags

Ten lucky hunters have each won Super Hunt tags for 2007 deer, elk, and pronghorn antelope hunts.

The winners were drawn at random from among the 110,000 hunters who filed their mandatory harvest reports before February 1 as an incentive to file reports promptly.

The winners are allowed to choose deer, elk or pronghorn. The permit allows them to hunt during any open season in the state for that species. Other hunt rules still apply.

In 2006, 159,000 hunters bought 240,000 tags for deer, elk, and pronghorn.

Hunters are requires to report on each of these tags by 10 days after harvesting, or 10 days after the close of the season.

Filing reports by early January each year allows Fish and Game to analyze the results sooner and make the results available for biologists in determining necessary changes to hunting seasons for the coming fall.

This year, Fish and Game will be working on additional incentives to encourage hunters to use the Internet to promptly file their harvest reports - the Internet is faster, less expensive for Fish and Game to process and is more accurate. It requires hunters to fill in all the relevant sections of their report, and is the only method which allows hunters to receive a confirmation that their report has been filed.

Reports filed on the Internet have increased from 22 percent to 45 percent in the past four years.

Cambridge Conservation Officer Honored

Senior Conservation Officer Rusty Anderson was honored Wednesday evening May 23 as the 2007 Shikar-Safari Club International "Wildlife Officer of the Year" for Idaho.

Anderson has worked for Idaho Fish and Game for nearly nine years, starting his career as a wildlife technician in the Magic Valley Region. He later became a conservation officer in Stanley, and now lives in Cambridge.

Not long after moving to the area, Anderson encountered a sign, "Fish and Game is not welcomed."

Anderson took steps to meet the sign's creator. Soon after, a relationship was developed that resulted in the removal of the sign. His work with youth, landowners and the public turned around the image of Idaho Fish and Game in the community.

His co-workers and supervisors describe him as a "bulldog" while pursuing wildlife criminals, but someone with a passion for youth and his community.

Anderson's ability to build trust with the public and landowners helped him develop the right information to track down and stop three major poaching rings in the Cambridge area during the past few hunting seasons.

His work resulted in more than 60 big game and upland game violations involving 20 key violators, and his attention to detail and thoroughness insured successful prosecution on all three cases.

A co-worker notes the relationship and partnership he has developed with hunters and anglers to insure the future of Idaho's fish and wildlife legacy.

After being checked by Anderson, one Hells Canyon angler wrote:

"I would like you to know what a great job Mr. Anderson is doing protecting salmon. I was recently checked for a license and salmon tag in the presence of my young son. After I explained what Mr. Anderson's job was, my son thought that was probably the best job a [person] could have. He plans on pursuing a career in wildlife management."

Fish and Game Plans Summer Workshop for Teachers

If you are already a WILD teacher-one who has taken a Project WILD workshop sponsored by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game-then you have what it takes to go "wild" for Fish and Game's newest summer workshop.

Come join us this summer for "WILD About High Deserts." This workshop will run from July 16 through July 20 at Camp Taylor on Scout Mountain only 12 miles from Pocatello.

There, in a gorgeous mountain setting, educators will learn about the amazing beauty and fragility of the high deserts that surround us. They will also learn of the fantastic animals that live in Idaho's deserts, and the challenges they face in their unique environment.

This summer workshop will include presentations, activities and other information tools that teachers can take back to the classroom. Experts will present programs on the high desert ecosystem, sage grouse, mule deer, elk, pygmy rabbits, coyotes, snakes, cutthroat trout, fire ecology and much more.

Participants will spend an afternoon in the high desert at the Portneuf Wildlife Management Area searching for reptiles and kangaroo rats, and setting live traps for other fascinating high desert creatures. Imagine visiting the Bear Lake Refuge for an informational tour, learning to use radio telemetry equipment to track mule deer, and setting up nets to catch bats right in camp.

In addition, participants will receive a variety of educational materials for the classroom, including activity guides, posters and DVDs.

"Project WILD is a wonderful instrument Fish and Game uses to help educators get the students they teach connected to the outdoors and to Idaho's wildlife resource," said Jennifer Jackson, regional conservation educator for Fish and Game's Southeast Region. "If we can educate youth early on, they not only grow up with a love and appreciation for wildlife, they will be better stewards of the resource."

Wolf Report: Rancher Shoots Wolf

A rancher shoots a wolf on private land, dog owners try to shoot wolves that killed three dogs, and federal hunters fail to finds wolves that may have killed a calf.

On May 16, a rancher near Leadore called federal officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services to report that six lambs had been killed in a pasture near his house the previous day.

The rancher had heard a wolf howl near his home early on the morning of the 16th. He hurried outside with his rifle and shot a wolf that was among the rest of his sheep.

A Wildlife Services employee investigated and confirmed wolf depredation on the six lambs.

The rancher also contacted Idaho Fish and Game, and a local conservation officer investigated the shooting. Wildlife Services will continue to monitor this situation. The investigation revealed that two neighboring ranches also have recently lost a cow, four calves and five sheep to suspected wolf predation.

These ranchers were provided information on the 10(j) rule and cell phone numbers of local Wildlife Services employees.

In a separate incident, a rancher near Ellis reported seeing two wolves, a black and a light-colored wolf, in among his neighbor's cows in the same area where wolves had killed a calf about three weeks earlier.

He called Wildlife Services on May 15. Idaho Department of Fish and Game already had authorized the removal of three wolves in the area. A federal fixed-wing aerial hunting crew flew over the area but didn't see any wolves.

Also on May 16, Wildlife Services investigated a complaint of wolves killing three pet dogs a few miles east of Pinehurst. The dog owners also were concerned about their safety because a black wolf had been seen near their property several times during the past few weeks.

Ask Fish and Game: Bass Limits

Q. What is the limit on bass, and is it the same for largemouth and smallmouth?

A. In Idaho, largemouth and smallmouth bass are lumped together simply as bass in the rule book. The bag limit and size restrictions depend on the water. For general rules waters, the limit is six bass, none under 12 inches. In quality bass waters, no bass may be kept until after July 1, and after that the limit is two, none between 12 and 16 inches. In waters managed for trophy bass, the limit is two fish, none under 20 inches. Check the rules brochure for the water you want to fish. If that water is not listed under "exceptions," then the general bass rule applies.

Salmon Season Closes on Some Rivers, Stays Open on Others

The spring Chinook salmon season closes Wednesday, May 30, on the mainstem Clearwater River from the railroad bridge at Lewiston upstream to the Cherrylane Bridge, and on the North Fork below the Dworshak Dam.

Fishery managers estimate that the harvest target for the recreational fishery share of surplus Dworshak National Fish Hatchery adult Chinook salmon has been met.

In addition, the season closes on the Lower Salmon River-Hammer Creek one hour after sunset on Saturday, June 2. This section stretches from the Hammer Creek boat ramp upstream to the Time Zone Bridge. This section is being closed because the harvest target of hatchery spring Chinook adults bound for Rapid River Fish Hatchery is expected to be met.

The good news is that fishing remains open until further notice on these waters:

  • Upper Snake River: From the Dug Bar boat ramp upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
  • Upper Mainstem Clearwater River: From the Orofino Bridge upstream to the Kamiah Bridge.
  • South Fork Clearwater River: From its mouth upstream to the confluence of American and Red rivers.
  • Little Salmon River: From a posted boundary at the mouth of the Little Salmon River upstream to U. S. Highway 95 bridge near Smokey Boulder Road.
  • Lochsa River: From its mouth upstream to the Twin Bridges immediately upstream from the confluence of Crooked Fork and Colt Killed creeks.

Fishery managers will continue to evaluate the fishery on a weekly basis to assess the hatchery run sizes and achievement of harvest targets.

Fishing will be permitted from a half hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset, local time. Chinook anglers will be allowed to keep one fish daily, have three in their possession and keep 10 for the season.

Salmon Season Continues Another Four Days

LEWISTON - Salmon anglers will get another four days of fishing, Friday, May 25 through Monday, May 28, in all waters now open to salmon fishing in Idaho.

Fishery managers are informing anglers that this will be the final four days of salmon fishing in the lower Clearwater River and North Fork Clearwater River fisheries. Fishery managers estimate that the harvest target for Dworshak Hatchery will be met by Monday of the Memorial Day weekend.

"One of the goals of the 2007 Clearwater River salmon fishery framework was to provide salmon fishing through the Memorial Day weekend," Clearwater regional fishery manager Ed Schriever said. "We are pleased that salmon fishing will continue through Monday."

Continued fishing in the Clearwater River from the Orofino Bridge to the Kamiah Bridge, the South Fork Clearwater, Lochsa River, Salmon River and Little Salmon River beyond Memorial Day will be evaluated on May 29th.

Commission to Study Rising Costs of Stocking Pheasants

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission agreed to study options and to decide at the July meeting what to do about the rising cost of stocking game farm pheasants.

The commissioners agreed to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's recommendations on the pheasant stocking budget during their recent quarterly meeting in Sun Valley.

Options for the stocking program on department wildlife management areas include increasing permit fees, changing fee structure, stocking upland birds other than pheasants or discontinuing stocking at some areas. Rooster pheasants cost $6.92 each when the program began, but the price has risen to more than $15.

Any change would not take effect in the 2007 season.

The Sun Valley session began with a mule deer workshop during which commissioners sought information from Fish and Game wildlife bureau chief Jim Unsworth, the director of the Utah Division of Wildlife and a Wyoming commissioner. The session was attended by about 15 hunters.

The Commission agreed to recommended changes in turkey hunts in the Panhandle Region.

For the fall 2007 wild turkey hunt, hunters in Units 1, 2, 3 and 5 will be able to buy up to three turkey tags at $5 each including vendor fee, in addition to the two tags they could have in any Idaho turkey season. The season will be extended to December 31. High populations and landowner complaints prompted the changes.

Sandhill crane and dove seasons will be about the same as last year's, with the addition of Jefferson and Bonneville counties to the hunting zone. Hunting has not adversely affected populations, hunters remain interested and agricultural damage is reduced by hunting cranes. No early goose seasons will be open.

The Commission also adopted:

- The department's 2008, $74.1 million budget as approved by the Legislature.

- The department's recommended Lost River Whitefish Management Plan.