Press Release

May 2007

Harvest Data for 2006 Hunts Available

Harvest information from 2006 controlled hunts is available. The data has been compiled for deer, elk, antelope, moose, mountain goat, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and California bighorn sheep controlled hunts.

The data are listed at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/apps/ch/harv.cfm. The results include numbers of permits issued, of hunters, of animals killed, and other pertinent information about how the hunt went this past season.

And there's still time to apply for big game fall controlled hunts. The deadline to apply for deer, elk, antelope and black bear is June 5.

To apply go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/ch/apply.cfm; vendors and Fish and Game offices; over the phone at 1-800-554-8685; or by mail to any Fish and Game office. The main office is: Idaho Department of Fish and Game, License Section, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707.

Wildlife Plates Help Support Nongame Wildlife Programs

Getting that camp trailer ready for the Memorial Day weekend? Idaho residents can put wildlife plates on their camp trailers as well as the vehicle that pulls them while they help support nongame programs and boating access.

More than 80 percent of Idaho's wild creatures-523 species including songbirds, water birds, raptors, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and threatened and endangered wildlife-are classified as "nongame wildlife."

In 1992, the Idaho Legislature passed the wildlife license plate bill that allowed a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's nongame wildlife program. The bluebird plate became available in 1993. The elk plate was added in 1998 and the cutthroat trout plate in 2003.

And since January 1, 2003, the Transportation Department has issued wildlife plates and some other specialty plates for towed recreational vehicles.

Wildlife plates are available at the vehicle licensing offices of every county assessor. The Idaho Transportation Department keeps 30 percent of the revenue from the purchase or renewal of wildlife plates.

The nongame program gets 70 percent of the money from bluebird plates, and 60 percent of the money from elk and trout plates - 10 percent of the money from elk plates supports wildlife disease monitoring and testing programs, and 10 percent from cutthroat plates supports non-motorized boat access.

The wildlife license plates are sponsored by the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation on behalf of Fish and Game's nongame program.

Fish and Game News Available

The Idaho Fish and Game News quarterly tabloid publication is now available at license vendors and department offices statewide.

This issue looks at the upcoming fishing season, with roundups from all seven regions of the state. It also includes updates on the Mule Deer Initiative, and a piece on the ongoing clash between deer and motor vehicles on the state's highways and byways.

It also includes a short profile of the new Fish and Game Director Cal Groen and a history of the state's fish hatcheries, marking the centennial of the hatchery program.

The 12 page publication is provided free of charge to the public.

Project WILD Workshop Offered In Sawtooth Mountains

Want to learn about predator-prey relationships, earn continuing education credits, and develop some ideas for the classroom all while enjoying the beauty of 10,000-foot peaks surrounding your classroom?

If so, you will want to attend the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's "Fast Food in a WILD World" teacher's workshop at the Sawtooth Methodist Camp June 18-21.

The two-credit class will teach participants about the unique features and roles each predator plays in our environment. Critters to be studied include cougars, wolves, bears, songbirds, birds of prey, dragonflies, snakes and weasels.

Participants will be housed in bunkhouses with community showers and all meals will be provided. The four-day, three-night class costs $185, plus $100 for the two credits from the school of your choice.

To register, contact Lori Adams, Project WILD coordinator at ladams@idfg.idaho.gov or 208-287-2889, or download a registration form at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/education/project_wild/.

Ask Fish and Game: X Hunts

Q. In 2006, I drew an elk permit in a controlled X hunt in January, and now I can't enter the X hunt drawing for next year. Why not?

A. Hunters who entered controlled hunt drawings in 2006 for X hunts in early 2007 and were drawn can't enter controlled X hunts this year. Controlled hunts 74X and 76-4X for extra antlerless elk ran Jan. 1 - 31, 2007. The license computer sees they already have a controlled X hunt tag for 2007 and won't let them apply - even though the tag they buy if they draw would be for a hunt in January 2008. But they can enter drawings for other controlled hunts.

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.

Fishing Season Opens

The traditional opening of fishing season, and the official launch of summer in Idaho, is Saturday May 26.

Unless listed under regional exceptions in the rule book, fishing is open on Idaho rivers and streams from May 26 through November 30. Most lakes and reservoirs and ditches and man-made canals are open year round.

Family Fishing Waters are also open year round with simplified rules to provide family-oriented fishing opportunities. These are 79 user-friendly waters selected to provide a great fishing trip for families, children and first-time anglers.

The simplified rules include a limit of six trout or bass, no limit on other species or on length and standard fishing gear. To find Family Fishing Waters near you check the fishing rules brochure or the Internet at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/fish/family/.

For details on specific locations or your favorite fishing hole, check with local Fish and Game offices or the fishing brochure, available free at license vendors, or visit the Fish and Game Website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Anglers, to avoid the last minute rush, don't forget to buy a fishing license before the Memorial Day weekend. A regular fishing license costs $25.75 and a junior license costs $13.75. Everyone age 14 or older must have fishing license.

Don't forget to ask permission to cross or fish from private land. And be careful of fast-moving waters.

Public Comments Sought for Fishing Rules

Anyone who wants to provide comments to help shape the 2008-2009 fish rules may attend one of three upcoming open house meetings in the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's Southwest Region.

These open houses are the first of several rounds of meetings that will culminate in the Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopting fishing rules this fall.

Open houses are scheduled in:

  • Boise: From 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 24 in the trophy room at Fish and Game headquarters, 600 S. Walnut.
  • Weiser: From 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday May 30 at the Weiser High School Library, 690 W. Indianhead Road.
  • McCall: From noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday May 30 at the Fish and Game office, 555 Deinhard Drive.

The focus of these meetings will be southwestern Idaho, but comments on any fisheries program in the state are welcome.

"This round of meetings is designed for folks to come to us with ideas and opinions," Fish and Game southwest region fisheries manager Jeff Dillon said. "We have no proposals at this stage; these scoping meetings help keep us aware of the issues out there so we can see where rules changes might be needed or desired by the public."

Using public comments and suggestions from its own staff and from other agencies, Fish and Game will develop a list of proposed fish rule changes. A second round of public meetings this summer will allow the public to comment on specific fishing rule proposals.

Proposed 2008-2009 fishing rules would be presented to the commission during its November meeting in Sandpoint.

Persons unable to attend an open house may provide comments by contacting Jeff Dillon at Fish and Game's Nampa office at 208-465-8465; or Dale Allen at the McCall office at 208-634-8137.

Extra Hunting Opportunities Available in Salmon

Looking for a chance to fill your freezer next winter? Would you like an extra antlerless deer hunting opportunity? Then it's time to fill out an application for a white-tail or mule deer controlled hunt.

Controlled hunt applications for deer, as well as for elk and antelope, will be accepted at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game until June 5.

"Deer can cause problems for landowners by eating up their pastureland, cropland and haystacks," said Bret Stansberry, landowner-sportsman coordinator at Salmon Region Fish and Game. "During hard winters, there are also many more deer-vehicle collisions along major highways."

Controlled hunts can keep problems under control, but only if there are enough applicants.

To encourage more hunters to apply in the Salmon Region, applicants will be eligible for both a regular deer tag and a controlled hunt. Hunters are not required to have written permission from landowners before applying, but Stansberry suggests contacting landowners first.

"You don't want to wait until after drawing a tag to try to get permission to hunt on private land," he said.

Controlled hunts will occur between September 1 and December 31 throughout the Salmon Region except in Units 27 and 36. Landowners with depredation problems are encouraged to tell family, friends and neighbors that they can apply at any Fish and Game license vendor, mail in or drop off their applications at any Fish and Game office, or go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/apps/ch/ to apply online.

Hunters can also apply by phone.

For information or landowner contacts, contact Bret Stansberry at 208-756-2271.

Anglers Asked to Comment on Fishing Rules

Do you want to see increased brown trout harvest on Silver Creek?

That's just one of several fishing rule proposals submitted to the Magic Valley Region for consideration in the 2008-2009 fishing rules.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking for angler comments at an open house from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 31 at the Magic Valley Regional Office, 319 South 417 East at the Highway 93 Business Park, two miles north of the Flying J.

"This is an important part of the public rules process" said Doug Megargle, regional fisheries manager in the Magic Valley. "Not only do we get to discuss the fishing rule proposals, but we also get to visit with the anglers to find out what they would like us to do to make fishing better in the Magic Valley and across the state."

Other regional proposals to be discussed include:

- Dropping the Ôno fishing from rafts or boats: float tubes permissible' rule on Silver Creek.

- Adopting a general bag limit of six trout on Lime Creek.

Statewide proposals:

- Removing bull frogs from the game fish species list.

- Increasing the legal size of crayfish.

- Prohibiting the import of live aquatic organisms - leeches, salamanders, crayfish, etc. - into Idaho without a proper permit.

For information on the open house, call 324-4359. Comments may also be submitted by phone at 208-324-4359 or by e-mail at MVFishery@idfg.idaho.gov.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting the Magic Valley Regional office at 324-4359 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-2529 (TDD).

Fish and Game Commissioners to Meet in Sun Valley

An exploding turkey population in northern Idaho and the rising cost of raising pheasants for upland bird hunters are among the issues the Idaho Fish and Game Commission will take up May 16 through May 18 at the Sun Valley Resort.

The commissioners' three-day meeting includes a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16.

Commissioners will consider rules for sandhill cranes and doves, upland game birds and animals, falconry, furbearers, and the department's 2008 budget.

With the anticipated increase of 32 to 69 percent in the per-bird cost of pen-raised pheasants stocked on nine wildlife management areas, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will present a recommendation to seek public comment on reducing stocking rates or raising the cost of hunting stocked pheasants on wildlife management areas.

The commissioners are also expected to consider proposed changes to turkey rules in the Panhandle Region that would drop the price of turkey tags and raise the limit in that region.

The commissioners will consider department recommendations to:

- Extend the September 15 through October 31 turkey season in the Panhandle Region-except in Farragut State Park and the Farragut Wildlife Management Area-to December 15.

- Create a fall general season turkey tag valid for units 1, 2, 3 and 5 for $5, including the vendor fee. Hunters would be able to buy up to five tags.

- Increase the bag limit to five turkeys, either sex, in units 1, 2, 3 and 5 for the 2007 fall season.

Commissioners also will hear an update on wolf management and plans for hunting seasons after wolves are removed from endangered species status, and a summary of legislative actions.

Friday morning commissioners will hear an update on the spring Chinook season, which opened May 11. And they will hear about the timeline for developing fishing rules for 2008-2009.

Leave Baby Animals Alone

The end of May and the beginning of June is the peak fawning and calving season for Idaho's deer, elk and antelope.

With campers and other outdoors enthusiasts heading out to the woods, well-meaning folks often find baby birds and other animals that seem to be abandoned. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking people to leave them alone.

"We have people calling us or bringing baby animals to the office every year," said Regan Berkley, Fish and Game regional wildlife biologist for the Magic Valley Region. "Even though their intentions are good, it isn't the best thing for the animals."

Mother animals often leave their young as they forage. If they return to their young to find people milling around, they will often leave the area and come back when the people are gone. If people have taken the baby animal, the mother will return to find their baby gone.

"If people bring young animals into the office we don't have many options," Berkley said. "We can attempt to return them back to where they were found, and hope their mother finds them, or we can see if any area zoos want them.

"During early summer, the baby is simply too young to survive on its own," she said. "Placing the animal in a zoo also doesn't always work, because zoos don't always have space for additional animals, particularly at this time of year."

If the animal is successfully placed in a zoo, it means the animal is removed from the wild forever. If neither returning the animal to the wild nor sending it to a zoo are good options, biologists have to consider whether euthanasia is the most humane thing to do.

"Basically, the only really good option is for the baby to stay in the wild in the first place," Berkley said.