Press Release

November 2007

Upland Game and Furbearer Open Houses Set

Expanding youth pheasant hunting opportunities and clarifying hunter orange requirements are just two proposals available for public comment at upcoming Fish and Game open houses.

Fish and Game staff members will host an open house from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, December 6, at Fish and Game's Nampa office, 3101 S. Powerline Road. A second open house will be from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, December 10, at Fish and Game's McCall office, 555 Deinhard Lane.

For more information, call the Nampa office at 208-465-8465 or the McCall office at 208-634-8137.

One proposal calls for beginning the youth-only pheasant season on the first Saturday in October and extending it through the following Friday.

"Recruiting new hunters is an agency priority," Fish and Game conservation educator Evin Oneale said. "This proposal will help with that effort by expanding hunting opportunities for young hunters from the current two day youth season to seven days."

A second proposal continues the youth opportunity theme by calling for an increase in Game Management Unit 38 youth controlled hunt turkey permits from 40 to 60.

"Turkey populations in this unit can sustain additional hunting pressure," Fish and Game regional wildlife manager Jon Rachael said. "The proposal also encourages new hunters to take to the field."

A third proposal refines the hunter orange requirement while hunting upland game on Fish and Game wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked. This proposal calls for a minimum size requirement of 36 square inches of visible hunter orange, such as a hunter orange hat, be worn above the waist.

"This rule is about safety in areas popular with upland bird hunters," Oneale said. "Visible hunters are much less likely to have shots come their direction and this proposal would help with that effort."

Fish and Game Sets Public Meetings on Wolf Management Plan

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has released a draft wolf population management plan for public review and comment and has set a series of public meetings on the plan.

Meetings are planned on the following dates and locations:

  • Jerome: 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, December 3, at the regional Fish and Game office, 319 South 417 East, Jerome.
  • Pocatello: 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 4, in the Wood River Room of the Student Union Building at Idaho State University.
  • Idaho Falls: 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, December 5, Fish and Game regional office, 4279 Commerce Circle, Idaho Falls.
  • Salmon: 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, December 6, at the regional Fish and Game office, 99 Highway 93 North, Salmon.
  • Challis: 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, December 10, at the Challis Middle School, 700 Main St., Challis.
  • McCall: 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 11, at the Super 8 Motel, 303 South Third St., McCall.
  • Lewiston: 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 11, at the Fish and Game office, 3316 16th St., Lewiston.
  • Coeur d'Alene: 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 12, at the Lake City Senior Center, 1916 Lakewood Drive, Coeur d'Alene.
  • Boise: 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, December 13, in the Trophy Room at Fish and Game headquarters, 600 S. Walnut St., Boise.

The plan covers how Fish and Game will monitor and manage wolves to meet the requirements of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Idaho Legislature and the governor's office when wolves are removed from the endangered species list.

Any hunting seasons and limits would be set by the Fish and Game Commission after wolves have been delisting. Delisting could occur as early as February, 2008.

Anyone interested is encouraged to review the draft plan before the meetings. The plan is available at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/apps/surveys/draftwolf/, or at Fish and Game offices.

Red Bird Canyon to Highlight December 4 Fish & Game Meeting

George B. Hatley will provide a photograph slide presentation on the history and wildlife found in the Red Bird Canyon area at the December 4 Sportsmen's Meeting in Lewiston.

The meeting will run from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, December 4, at the Clearwater Region office, 3316 16th Street, Lewiston.

A presentation will also be given on the current management of Redbird Canyon, as well as reports on the fall steelhead, big game, upland bird seasons, and significant enforcement activities.

The meeting is open to anyone interested in wildlife 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.

Nonresident Selway Elk Tags, Deer Quota Changed

During its quarterly meeting November 15, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission set new limits on nonresident Selway Zone elk tags, and changed nonresident deer quotas.

Statewide, the overall number of nonresident elk tags did not change, but the number of deer tags was increased by 1,500.

The commissioners approved a Fish and Game staff proposal to reduce the number of Selway B tags by 15 percent to 284, from 336 last year; they also capped Selway A tags at 374 - the existing level of use. The A tags had not been capped.

The recommendations included shortening the Selway Zone B tag late season to November 1 through November 11, instead of November 18. The commission will act on the season recommendation in March.

Bull elk harvest has stayed fairly steady in the Selway zone, but biologists are concerned that not enough young bulls are coming into the herds to replace big, older bulls.

The commission made no changes to quotas for other elk zones.

The overall number of nonresident elk tags in Idaho did not change. The total of A and B tags remains at 10,415 tags, with an additional 2,400 tags set aside for outfitters. That makes a total of 12,815 nonresident elk tags.

The commissioners also dropped the southeast Idaho deer quota. A separate quota on nonresident deer tags was set for several units in the southeast region following the decline in herds there after severe winter weather in the early 1990s. Recovering numbers in the region and a slowdown in demand for nonresident tags there made the separate quota unnecessary.

The commission increased the regular deer quota to 14,000, and added 1,500 white-tailed deer tags. The changes restore the number of nonresident deer tags to the 1996 level of 15,500. The nonresident deer quota was trimmed after winter losses in the 1990s hit deer numbers in several areas of Idaho. Herds in many areas of the state have come back.

Nonresident Tag Sales Start December 1

Nonresident elk hunters looking to buy Selway B-tags for the 2008 seasons will find a slight change in how licenses, tags and permits are sold starting Saturday, December 1.

The 2008 licenses, tags and permits go on sale at 12:01 a.m. MST, December 1, except for the nonresident Selway B elk tags which go on sale at 10 a.m. MST.

The sale of these popular tags is being delayed because many license vendors and Idaho Department of Fish and Game offices will not be open at midnight. By delaying the sale timing, hunters will have an equal opportunity to buy the tags.

Nonresident hunters can buy their licenses and tags at the Lewiston Fish and Game office, any license vendor, or by credit card by calling 1-800-554-8685.

They can also buy them at the Fish and Game Website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

The Lewiston Fish and Game office, at 3316 16th Street, will be open from 8:30 a.m. to noon on December 1.

Big game hunters can find more information on the sale and purchase of tags for residents and nonresidents on pages 5-10 of the Idaho 2007 Big Game Seasons rules booklet.

Attention Turkey Hunters: Rules Change in Four Units

Earlier in November, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission changed the 2007 fall turkey season and bag limit for Panhandle Region units.

The commission has adjusted the 2007 fall turkey season and bag limits for turkey hunt Game Management Units 1, 2, 3 and 5 in the Panhandle region. The changes set the fall season bag and possession limit at five turkeys. All five may be harvested on the same day, but no more than five for the fall season.

A person may harvest as many turkeys per day as the number of valid tags that can be used in Units 1, 2, 3 and 5 during fall seasons.

The fall season is from September 15 through December 15, 2007 for all Panhandle units. The special unit tags available for Units 1, 2, 3 and 5 are $5 each, residents only.

Elsewhere, the daily bag limit is one bearded turkey per day in the spring and one turkey (either sex) per day in the fall. No more than two bearded turkeys may be taken per spring. No more than two turkeys (either sex) per fall.

Fish and Game now sells three types of turkey tags - general tag, extra tag, and special unit tag. The special unit tag is valid for the fall season from September 15 through December 15, 2007, in Units 1, 2, 3 and 5 only.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Want to find your outdoor enthusiast a gift that's always in style, never the wrong size or color, and useable every day of the year?

Go to any Idaho Department of Fish and Game regional office around the state and buy them a gift certificate for a 2008 hunting and fishing license. They make good stocking stuffers.

A gift certificate is the best way to get them their hunting and fishing license for Christmas. Adult residents age 18 and over have to buy their own license because they need to show proof of residency.

Idaho Fish and Game gift certificates can be redeemed only at Fish and Game regional offices.

Several options and price ranges are available. Lifetime licenses cost from $221.75 to $1,113.00, depending on the age of the recipient. Seasonal licenses sell from $7.25 for junior hunting to $117.25 for the Sportsman's Package.

The Sportsman's Package includes hunting and fishing licenses, tags for deer, elk, bear, mountain lion, turkey, salmon and steelhead as well as archery and muzzleloader permits. That is nearly a $70 savings over buying each item separately.

If playing a game of chance is more your style, the Idaho Fish and Game also offers tickets for Super Hunt drawings for individual deer, elk, antelope or moose hunts, and Super Hunt Combos for deer, elk, antelope and moose. The money raised from the purchase of these tickets goes to the Access Yes! program. The tickets can be purchased at any license vendor.

Super Hunt tickets cost $6.25 each; $24.95 for six, and $49.95 for 13. Super Hunt Combo tickets cost $19.95 each; $99.95 for six, and $199.95 for 13.

The drawings for the all Super Hunts will be held in 2008.

For more information, or to purchase gift certificates, stop by any Fish and Game regional office or headquarters in Boise.

Anonymous Heroes Encouraged to Call Hotline

By Tony Latham - Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Enough is enough. That may have been the thought that started the Idaho Citizens Against Poaching program back in January 1981.

After twenty years of enforcing Idaho's wildlife laws in the Salmon River country, it no longer amazes me to see how much wildlife "theft" goes on.

Another observation that is continually reinforced is the importance of telephone calls from concerned citizens that become aware of this theft.

As an example, in the fall of 2006, Fish and Game received a tip concerning a father and son duo that had been killing elk in a nearby controlled hunt and "laundering" the illegal animals by placing general elk tags on the animals. The anonymous hero in this case provided good details on the pair's past habits.

Using the information, Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers were able to arrest the two with illegally killed elk and deer. Officers issued numerous charges and as a result, Donald and Michael Light of Sacramento received fines and civil penalties totaling $7,775; Donald light spent 43 days in jail and his son Michael spent 38 days. Neither will be able to hunt for well over a decade.

This is just one example of the many "enforcement tips" that the conservation officers in the Salmon Region received and acted upon during the fall of 2006.

Make the call this fall. The Citizens Against Poaching 24-hour hotline number is 1-800-632-5999. Callers may remain anonymous.

Tony Latham is a conservation officer in the Salmon Region.

Nature Center Plans Holiday Bird Seed Sale

The Morrison Knudsen Nature Center's Holiday Bird Seed Sale takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, December 1.

Stock up on winter bird seed and find that special gift for the outdoor person on your list. Purchase premium bird seed from gift size samples to 40 pound bags. Other items for sale include quality bird feeders, nature books, apparel, jewelry and children's gifts.

Audubon Society experts will be on hand to answer birding questions. For more information on bird feeding, attend the "Bird Feeding 101" workshop at 10 a.m. in the Nature Center auditorium.

All proceeds from the sale benefit Nature Center educational programs. The sale is presented by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's Nature Center, Bird House and Habitat, Golden Eagle Audubon Society and Wild Birds Unlimited.

For questions please call the Nature Center at 334-2225.

Fish and Game Commission Adopts Fishing Rules

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission, during its quarterly meeting November 15, adopted proposed 2008-2009 fishing rules, without changing current Silver Creek rules.

New fishing rules include statewide 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 rules also include a change in the general bass limit north of the Salmon River to six bass any size and creates a year-round season.

The commissioners set nonresident deer and elk tag quotas, adding white-tailed deer tag quota of 1,500. The addition would bring total nonresident deer tags to the 1996 level of 15,500 deer tags. They dropped the southeast deer tag.

The recommended outfitter set-aside - 2,400 elk tags and 1,985 total deer tags or 1,900 regular deer - was approved. But the number of A and B tags in Selway elk management zone was reduced, and the season was cut by one week.

The commissioners also approved land actions funded by mitigation money from the federal Bonneville Power Administration.

The commission changed the turkey season to clarify that five turkeys may be taken in one day in game management units 1, 2, 3 and 5. The new language will be incorporated into the next rules brochure.

Commissioners also approved releasing a new mule deer management plan and a wolf population management plan for public review and comment.

Five-Turkey Rule Clarified

Turkey hunters in Units 1, 2, 3, and 5 in the Panhandle of Idaho are allowed to take five birds per day.

Meeting in Sandpoint November 15, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted an addition to the current turkey rules language making it clear that the five turkeys allowed in those units can be taken all in the same day. Otherwise, a one bird per day rule would apply.

Five turkeys per day may be taken through the December 15 end of the season. Hunters still may only take a total of five birds in the season.

Earlier in the year, the commission approved rules permitting taking five wild turkeys in the four Panhandle units in the fall season beyond the two birds that may be bagged in the rest of Idaho. The tag price was set at $5 for three tags; the other two birds can be taken on tags at the regular general and extra tag prices. Commissioner Tony McDermott of Sagle, sought this action in response to complaints in the Panhandle about a burgeoning turkey population that has been affecting agricultural landowners.

Roads and ATVs Increase Buck Vulnerability

By Jake Powell, Idaho Department of Fish and Game

The buck picked up his head and looked back down the canyon toward the road.

Something had piqued his interest.

And then I heard it - the faint rumbling drone of an ATV as it negotiated the four-wheel drive road in the valley bottom. The buck heard it before I did; I was watching him through my spotting scope, him and his three companions as they fed in a high basin. But he quickly resumed picking at the ceonothus bush in front of him, unconcerned with the road hunters two miles down the mountain, well below his Sawtooth Mountain hangout.

The buck must have known from experience that he and his cohort were safe from hunters in the bottom, who rarely ventured off the road or away from their ATVs. As I watched these bucks and several other groups of deer, in addition to countless elk on opening morning of deer season last week, I felt extremely fortunate that we still have country wild enough and with few enough roads to provide security bucks like these need to grow big and old.

Buck vulnerability - or how susceptible a buck is to harvest during the hunting season - is not a new concept. Many situations lead to increased vulnerability, including habitat fragmentation, decreased hiding cover, liberal seasons, hunting during the rut, advances in weapon and equipment technology, and gentle terrain.

But the most significant factor leading to increased vulnerability is growing density of roads open to traffic. More roads mean more hunters, which mean less chance for a buck to make it through the hunting season.

In heavily roaded areas, bucks have little chance to escape hunting pressure and have little chance to grow old. In areas with few roads, bucks can elude hunters and have a better chance of reaching maturity. It's that simple.