Press Release

August 2007

Carpenters Nail Goose Poachers

Two Treasure Valley men have pleaded guilty to shooting two geese out of season, from a vehicle and within Eagle city limits on July 17.

Three months before goose season opened, Scott Michael Ewing, 24, of Meridian and Todd Allen Campbell, 34, of Eagle were driving through an Eagle subdivision when they saw a group of geese.

According to an Idaho Fish and Game enforcement report:

"We saw the geese. Scott got excited," Campbell said in his statement to Fish and Game District Conservation Officer Bill London.

Ewing asked him to get his .22 caliber rifle from the back seat. Campbell got his rifle, loaded it and gave it to Ewing, who took it, pointed it out the pickup window and fired two shots at the geese from the front seat of the pickup, killing two geese.

"I handed him the gun," Campbell said. "He barked off a couple rounds and he got one."

Ewing later admitted that he knew the hunting season for geese was closed, and that he knew he shot within the city limits.

"The moment's there, you're all pumped up about it your adrenaline is going and you just do it," Ewing said. "You don't think about it you just do it."

A framing crew was working on a house about 150 yards away, and another man was about 100 yards away working on a water pump. Occupied houses were only 200 yards away. The carpenters and a local developer approached Ewing and Campbell to confront them.

Campbell realized the two were in trouble.

"We got kinda scared, and we got outta there," Campbell said.

One of the carpenters followed the poachers and wrote down the license plate of the red club-cab GMC diesel pickup. He called the Ada County Sheriff's office.

Two deputies responded and began to interview witnesses and collect evidence. The deputies called Idaho Department of Fish and Game. London, with crime scene work completed by the deputies, went about locating the poachers.

Fish and Game Seeks Comment on Proposed Rule Changes

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is proposing changes to fishing rules for the 2008-2009 fishing seasons.

Interested anglers will be able to comment on the proposed fishing rules, which would affect rules statewide and rules for regional waters, until October 5. A questionnaire that includes summaries of statewide and regional proposed changes is available on-line at Fish and Game's website, http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/public/.

The questionnaire also will be mailed to a random sample of 900 fishing license holders statewide. In addition, public meetings also are planned at regional Fish and Game offices.

Statewide proposals include changes in the legal sizes of crayfish traps, seines, and cast nets; changes in sturgeon fishing equipment requirements, and new restrictions on the use of live bait. The proposed rules include a change in the general bass limit north of the Salmon River to six bass any size and creates a year-round season.

For proposed regional changes, contact regional Fish and Game offices. A complete list of all proposed rules is available online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/public/.

Ask Fish and Game: Federal Duck Stamps

Q. Where can I get a duck stamp; do I still have to go to the post office?

A. This season, Idaho hunters will be able to hunt waterfowl with an electronic federal duck stamp receipt through the IWILD terminal. They no longer have to wait for the physical duck stamp to arrive in the mail. But the receipt will be valid for only 45 days - plenty of time for the stamp to arrive. The receipt can be used to hunt waterfowl in Idaho and other states as long as the hunter has the appropriate licenses and other permits to hunt in that state.

Coeur d'Alene Kokanee Fishery Closes

Low kokanee numbers have again prompted Idaho Fish and Game officials to close the kokanee fishery on Coeur d'Alene Lake.

The fishery will close Tuesday, September 4, and remain closed through December 31.

Recent trawling results show the number of adult kokanee destined to spawn this fall was similar to last year's low numbers.

"Our estimate for three-year-old kokanee was 34,250 fish in 2007 while in 2006 we counted 33,890 fish," said Ned Horner, regional fishery manager. "This is a conservation closure so we can save enough spawners to produce a decent offspring for 2008."

Most kokanee spawn along only two miles of shoreline in the Higgins Point to Beauty Bay area starting in November, and they become increasingly more vulnerable to harvest as they concentrate in the north end of the lake.

Kokanee trawling revealed increased numbers of younger kokanee age classes.

But results also showed that predation by Chinook and possibly other predators still is significant.

Two-year-old kokanee numbers increased to an estimated 136,100 fish this year from about 91,000 fish in 2006. First year kokanee numbered 2.36 million in 2007 and are poised to help the population recover if predation can be reduced.

But the 90 percent drop from 1.5 million one-year-old fish in 2006 to only 136,100 two-year-old fish in 2007 shows that predation on young kokanee is still significant.

In addition to the kokanee closure, Fish and Game will be doing other things to restore the kokanee fishery. Fishing rules on kokanee and Chinook next year will be similar to the 2007 rule, with a combined limit of six kokanee and Chinook.

Chinook numbers will also be limited to help reduce predation on kokanee. No hatchery Chinook will be stocked in 2008 and none were stocked in 2007. Wild Chinook spawning will also be limited to 75 redds.

Sight In that Favorite Rifle

With hunting seasons just around the corner, big game hunters around the region are asking themselves the same question: Does my rifle shoot straight?

That question can be answered on Saturday, September 8, at the annual Sight In event at Black's Creek Rifle Range, 2420 E. Kuna-Mora Road east of Boise. From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., qualified experts will help participants get their favorite hunting rifles, centerfire or black powder and hunting handguns zeroed in on the bull's eye.

Cost per shooter is $7, and shooters may bring as many firearms as need to be sighted in. There is no cost for nonshooters.

The Sight In event is sponsored by the Treasure Valley chapter of the Idaho Hunter Education Instructors' Association and serves as the chapter's primary fund raising event for the year.

For more information, contact Mark Pinney at 208-378-4578.

Comment on Fishing Rules: Pocatello

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is proposing changes to fishing rules for the 2008-2009 fishing seasons.

Interested anglers will be able to comment on the proposed fishing, which would affect rules statewide and rules for regional waters, until October 5.

An open house will run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. September 18 at the Southeast Idaho Regional Fish and Game office at 1345 Barton Road in Pocatello.

Comments also may be made to regional fishery manager, Dick Scully, or Regional Fishery Biologist, David Teuscher, by phone 232-4703 or at the Pocatello Fish and Game office between now and October 5.

In addition, a questionnaire will be mailed to a random sample of 900 fishing license holders statewide. The questionnaire will also be available at the Fish and Game booth at the Eastern Idaho State Fair in Blackfoot the first week of September.

Interested anglers also will be able to complete a questionnaire on-line at Fish and Game's website, http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/public/.

Statewide proposals include changes in the legal sizes of crayfish traps, seines, and cast nets; changes in sturgeon fishing equipment requirements, and new restrictions on the use of live bait. The proposed rules include a change in the general bass limit north of the Salmon River to six bass any size and creates a year-round season.

Proposed Southeast regional changes include:

Forest Fires Force Emergency Hunting Season Changes

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Friday, August 31, adopted emergency season changes to some elk and bighorn sheep hunt areas within the Selway and Middle Fork wilderness areas that are closed to human entry.

Forest fires and associated closures during 2007 have been more numerous and larger than normal. Some closures may affect hunters' access to some early season elk and bighorn sheep hunts.

It is unknown when fires will subside and when fire closures will be lifted. Idaho Fish and Game staff members have recommended emergency changes to a few elk and bighorn sheep hunts to provide hunters with additional flexibility to participate in 2007 hunts.

Commissioners and Fish and Game have heard from numerous hunters and several outfitters concerned about this year's fires.

The staff recommendations would provide greater hunter flexibility through lengthened seasons. Some recommendations are designed to minimize potential congestion caused by overlapping seasons, and to provide equity among different tag holders.

Regional Fish and Game staff members have been consulted, and they determined the proposed one-time emergency changes will not have long-term biological effects on wildlife populations.

For details on specific season changes, go to Fish and Game Website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/rec_add/

Fish and Game Changes Some Sage-Grouse Seasons

Sage-grouse seasons will open on September 15 in most of the state as scheduled, with two key changes.

Idaho Fish and Game has been assessing the effects of the large range fire in southeastern Owyhee County and of West Nile virus on the sage-grouse seasons in Owyhee County and statewide.

The Murphy Fire burned more than 460,000 acres, including important sage-grouse habitat in eastern Owyhee County. In response, Fish and Game has closed the season east of the Bruneau River in Owyhee County. The western part of Owyhee County will be open for sage-grouse hunting.

Lek counts this year were less than half the five-year average in the Magic Valley north of the Snake River. The cause of the decline is unknown but may be related to West Nile virus. The area north of the Snake River, including all areas open to sage-grouse hunting in Elmore, Camas, Jerome, Gooding, Lincoln, Minidoka and Blaine counties, the season will open September 15 and run seven days. The limit is one bird per day and two in possession.

Monitoring has not recorded any sage-grouse deaths from West Nile virus in Owyhee County and only one on the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. Last year, an outbreak of the virus in these areas prompted Fish and Game to close the sage-grouse season in Owyhee County.

That part of Owyhee County will reopen this year.

Hunters are encouraged to check the 2006-2007 Upland Game rule brochure for sage-grouse season dates and bag limits. The two changes listed above will not be 1 in the rule book.

Brownlee Chukar Count Nears Record Low

Hot, dry weather with fewer insects probably led to the poor survival rate of chukar chicks that showed up in the August 30 aerial count near Brownlee Reservoir.

No survey will be conducted this year in the Clearwater Region where a massive wildfire burned through the survey area. The annual survey will be conducted next summer in that region.

The Brownlee count, conducted by helicopter each year on the same 12-square-mile block, found 506 chukar in 70 groups for a 42 bird per square mile average. Groups averaged 7.2 birds. The 10-year average is 1,412 birds in 112 groups with 117.7 chukars per square mile and 12.6 birds in each group.

Last year the count was 858 chukar in 139 groups with 71.5 birds per square mile.

The worst count in the 23 years it has been conducted came in 1993 after the harsh winter of 1992-1993. That year the count was only 211 chukar in 24 groups, 17.6 birds per square mile.

Chukar chicks, as is the case with most upland birds, depend heavily on high-protein insects in the first weeks of life. When conditions, such as drought, limit insects, chukar and many other young birds fail to thrive.

When conditions are good, chukar have a high reproduction rate and can recover numbers quickly. After the record-low 1993 count of 211 birds, the 1994 count showed 1,056 chukar.

Comment on Fishing Rules: Magic Valley

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has scheduled an open house to gather public comments on proposed changes in the fishing rules for 2008-2009.

The meeting is set for 6 to 8 p.m. September 11, in rooms 301-302 at the Community Campus, 1050 Fox Acres Road in Hailey, Idaho. The meeting will provide the public an opportunity to comment on proposed statewide and Magic Valley regional fishing rules changes.

Statewide proposals include changes in the legal sizes of crayfish traps, seines, and cast nets; changes in sturgeon fishing equipment requirements, and new restrictions on the use of live bait. The proposed regulations include a change in the general bass limit north of the Salmon River to six bass any size and creates a year-round season.

Magic Valley regional proposals include proposed changes for Silver Creek and Lime Creek.

The Silver Creek proposals include establishing a six fish daily bag limit for brown trout and catch-and-release rules for rainbow trout throughout the entire Silver Creek drainage, including all tributaries, and eliminating the boat restrictions, including the float tube only rules.

All tackle and fishing method exceptions will remain.

The proposals also would eliminate the two-fish daily trout bag limit on Lime Creek. The stream would revert to general regulations allowing a six-fish daily trout bag limit.

Directions to the meeting can be found after Thursday at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/fish/reports/magic_valley.cfm. Those unable to attend the meeting can provide comments on the internet, email (MVFishery@idfg.idaho.gov), phone (208-324-4359) or stop in at any regional office.

Comment on Fishing Rules: Panhandle

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is proposing changes to fishing rules for the 2008-2009 fishing seasons.

A series of public meetings have been set to gather comments on proposals that would affect rules statewide and rules for specific waters in the Panhandle Region.

Meetings run from 7 to 9 p.m. at these locations and dates:

  • Coeur d'Alene: Tuesday, September 4, at Idaho Fish and Game, 2885 Kathleen Ave.
  • St. Maries: Tuesday, September 11, at Avista building, 528 College St.
  • Bonners Ferry: Wednesday, September 12, at County Extension Office, 6447 Kootenai St.
  • Sandpoint: Tuesday, September 18, at Federal Building 1500 Hwy 2.
  • Kellogg: Wednesday, September 19, Avista building, 120 N. Hill St.

Statewide proposals include changes in the legal sizes of crayfish traps, seines, and cast nets; changes in sturgeon fishing equipment requirements, and new restrictions on the use of live bait. The proposed regulations include a change in the general bass limit north of the Salmon River, which removes length limits and creates a year-round season.

In the Panhandle Region, changes are proposed for a specific group of waters managed under "quality bass management" regulations. These waters would have a year-round season with a six bass limit. However, in the proposed quality bass areas, only two of the bass harvested could be largemouth bass. All largemouth bass would have to be a minimum of 16 inches in length.

Changes are proposed in the winter stream season to allow catch and release fishing for trout in the Little North Fork Coeur d'Alene River, North Fork Coeur d'Alene River, South Fork Coeur d'Alene River, Spokane River, St. Joe River, and the St. Maries River.

Other regional proposals include:

Coffee at Fish and Game Meeting on September 4

Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to a Coffee at Fish and Game Meeting on Tuesday, September 4.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 a.m. at Fish and Game's Clearwater Regional office, 3316 16th Street in Lewiston.

A number of topics will be discussed, including forecasts for the fall steelhead, big game, upland bird seasons, as well as the wildlife depredation program and significant enforcement activities. The recent Chimney Creek Fire on the Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area and its effect on local wildlife will also be discussed.

"These are very informative meetings, and we hope local hunters and anglers bring their questions and comments," said Dave Cadwallader, Clearwater Region supervisor.

The meeting is open to anyone and is designed to stimulate informal discussion about wildlife issues in the Clearwater Region. The meeting will run until 8:30 a.m., with coffee and donuts provided by Fish and Game.