Press Release

November 2008

Sportsmen's Breakfasts Scheduled for Rupert, Hagerman

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will host two Sportsmen's Breakfasts to present information on a proposed fee enhancement package for this year's legislative session.

The first will be December 4 at the Wayside Restaurant in Rupert, on Highway 24 off the Interstate 84 exit; the second will be December 18 at the Snake River Grill off Highway 30 in Hagerman. Both programs will begin at 7 a.m. with time for sportsmen's questions on the proposal or any other Fish and Wildlife topics of interest following a short video and presentation.

The proposed fee enhancement package is asking for a 20 percent over-all increase to help cover rising costs in operations. However, not all products will increase by 20 percent. Highly sought after permits or licenses such as bull elk or salmon and steelhead permits will increase by 30 to 60 percent, with general combination licenses only increasing by 11 percent or $3.50.

Groups or clubs interested in learning more can call Kelton Hatch to set up a time for a presentation for their group on the proposals fee package.

For more information go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/about/history_funding/RevEnhance/08revE..., or call the Magic Valley Regional office at 208-324-4359.

Comments Sought on Trophy Species Seasons

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game wants to hear from hunters about proposed changes to the 2009-2010 moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat seasons.

The public will have opportunities to meet with biologists to review data and make recommendations at regional meetings.

In the Clearwater Region, hunters may visit with Fish and Game personnel about the proposed season changes and provide their written comments at a Sportsmen's Breakfast meeting at 6:30 a.m. December 2 at the Lewiston Fish and Game office, 3316 16th Street.

An open house meeting will follow from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Proposed changes for the Clearwater Region include:

  • Decrease the number of moose permits in most game management units and reconfigure the current "partial" unit area boundaries in Units 16A, 17, 19 and 20 and make them each unit-wide hunts.
  • Decrease the number of sheep permits in most units, and combine the two hunt areas in Unit 20 into one single hunt area.
  • No proposed season changes for Mountain Goat.

In the Upper Snake Region, Fish and Game plans an open house meeting from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 9, at the regional office, 4279 Commerce Circle, Idaho Falls. This open house will provide opportunity for biologists to share information and take public comments on the proposed season changes.

Anyone unable to attend this meeting may stop by the Fish and Game regional office from now until December 12 to pick up a copy of the proposals and a comment sheet. Comments also may be sent via e-mail to dmeints@.idfg.idaho.gov. All comments should be turned in to the Fish and Game Upper Snake regional office by 5 p.m. Friday, December 12.

In the Upper Snake Region proposals include:

New Fishing Hole for Filer to Open

Youths in the Magic Valley have a brand new fishing hole thanks to a cooperative effort between the Twin Falls Canal Co. and Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The public is invited to a grand opening from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, November 28.

The new ponds are about 4.5 miles north of Filer on the 2300 East Road, on the east side of the 4350 North and 2300 East intersection. From Twin Falls, take the Poleline Road West toward Filer and turn right on 2300 East.

The ponds were built by the Twin Falls Canal Co. as part of a project to improve water quality in irrigation return drains. The canal company is allowing public access and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to stock fish.

"Developing urban fisheries is a priority of the Idaho Fish and Game," said Doug Megargle, fisheries manager in the Magic Valley Region. "These ponds are going to be a great addition for area anglers."

The newly named "Filer Kids Ponds" is actually two ponds - one smaller pond for kids age 12 and under and a larger pond to the north open to all anglers.

The canal company is requesting only children 12 year old or younger use the smaller pond as part of the public access condition. The daily bag limit is six trout any size.

"High gas prices and busy families have forced many folks to seek fishing opportunities that are close by; we hope this new fishery will make it easier to get the family out fishing," said Scott Stanton, regional fisheries biologist.

Fish and Game biologists, canal company employees and members of the Magic Valley Fly Fishermen will be on site from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. November 28 lending fishing rods and bait and providing hot dogs while supplies last.

The Fish and Game will stock about 2,000 trout, 8 to 15 inches long, for the event.

"There'll be some big trout in there for the grand opening day," said Joe Chapman, Hagerman State Fish Hatchery manager.

Bitterroot Survey Finds No Grizzlies - Yet

Preliminary results of an ongoing state and federal effort to monitor for grizzly bears in the northern Bitterroot ecosystem of Idaho and western Montana produced no photographic evidence of grizzly bears in the area.

But test results on hair samples won't be available until next spring.

The Bitterroot Subcommittee of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee initiated the survey after a black bear hunter mistakenly killed a grizzly bear in Kelly Creek in September 2007. The survey area included Kelly Creek, a large area of the Clearwater and St. Joe River drainages and adjacent areas along the Montana-Idaho state line.

Sampling ran from July 7 to September 6. Automatic cameras were placed at 51 of 68 lure sites, collecting 408 photos of animals, including 84 black bears, five coyotes, 22 marten, seven wolves, one mountain lion, 177 deer, 33 elk, and 54 moose.

The survey also will analyze DNA from 420 bear hair samples left on a single strand of barbed wire at each of the 68 lure sites, where scent lure was used to attract animals in remote, off-trail areas.

Because the area surveyed is so large, the survey can document the presence of grizzly bears only if they are detected in photos or through DNA samples. But the survey cannot confirm absence of grizzly bears in the area.

Recreationists are encouraged to report potential grizzly bear sightings in the Bitterroot Mountains by contacting their local U.S. Forest Service office; or Idaho Fish and Game; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 406-243-4903. Forms are available at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/apps/grizz_report to report online.

For information contact Chris Servheen, with the Fish and Wildlife Service at 406-243-4903 or Dave Cadwallader, with Idaho Fish and Game at 208-799-5010.

Super Hunt Fees Simplified

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has changed the price of Super Hunt and Super Hunt Combo tickets.

The change will do away with packages of tickets and simplify sales for the fundraising drawings. Instead, the first ticket will cost $4.25 plus $1.75 vendor fee for a total of $6. Each additional ticket purchased at the same time will cost $4 each.

The Super Hunt Combo tickets will work the same way. The first ticket will cost $18.25 plus the $1.75 vendor fee for a total of $20. Each additional ticket purchased at the same time will cost $16.

The change will allow electronic ticket sales, which will eliminate the need for filling in tickets by hand, and will allow the purchase of any number and combination of Super Hunt and Super Hunt Combo tickets.

The new prices will take effect as soon as license software is updated and testing is complete in the next few weeks. Fish and Game will continue to accept ticket orders under the existing system until the transition to the new price structure is complete.

So what's a Super Hunt?

It is a fund-raising drawing for 40 big game tags. Tags for elk, deer, pronghorn and moose hunts are handed out in two drawings.

The first drawing is in June when tickets will be drawn for eight elk, eight deer and eight antelope hunts as well as one moose hunt. One Super Hunt Combo ticket also will be drawn that will entitle the winner to hunts for one each elk, deer, antelope and moose.

The second drawing is in August with tickets for two elk, two deer, two antelope and one moose along with another Super Hunt Combo.

Winners can participate in any open hunt in the state for deer, elk, pronghorn or moose, including general and controlled hunts.

Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Video

Video is now available from the recent Idaho Fish and Game Commission meeting when commissioners directed the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to pursue wolf hunting seasons in the fall of 2009 if they are removed from the endangered species list, and ways to control wolves in areas where wild deer and elk herd numbers are depressed.

To view the video, go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves/, and click on the link "Commission Adopts Wolf Directives."

Nature Center Bird Seed Sale to Benefit Education

The Morrison Knudsen Nature Center will host its third annual bird seed sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, December 6.

Assorted types of locally-preferred bird seed will be available in small to large bags. Bird and related gift items, books and pocket bird guides also will be available in festive holiday packaging. Nature Center staff will be available to help with seed selection and for education.

In keeping with the Idaho Department of Agriculture's efforts to stop the spread of noxious weeds, this year's sale features safe, noxious weed-free seed. All of the products sold at this year's sale have been carefully selected to minimize the potential for spreading unwanted weeds.

Proceeds from the event will help fund educational programs at the MK Nature Center. For more information regarding this event contact Cass Meissner at 208-287-2901 or email at cmeissner@idfg.idaho.gov

Ask Fish and Game: Next Year's Tags

Q. When can I buy a hunting license and tags for next year?

A. Nonresidents can buy licenses, deer and elk tags beginning Monday, December 1. Residents also can buy 2009 hunting licenses starting Monday, and they can buy a receipt for deer and elk tags, which don't go on sale until after deer, elk and pronghorn controlled hunt drawings. Hunters can redeem the receipt for a deer or elk tag after the controlled hunt drawings in July so those whose names were drawn don't have to exchange their general season tags for controlled hunt tags at a Fish and Game office. Instead the controlled winners are simply issued a controlled hunt tag at any license vendor. The rest are issued general season tags.

Public Meeting Set on Farragut Shooting Range

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has scheduled a public meeting to discuss the Farragut Shooting Range.

The meeting date is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.Monday, December 1, at the Bayview Community Center in Bayview.

Panhandle Regional Supervisor Chip Corsi will discuss the status of the range, recent improvements, anticipated timelines for completing improvements, and measures taken to meet the requirements for reopening the range as provided in a 2007 court order.

A portion of the meeting will be set aside for dialogue between meeting participants and Fish and Game.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting the Fish and Game Panhandle Region office at 208-769-1414 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-2529 (TDD).

Steelhead Stocked in the Boise River

Anglers lined the Boise River near the Parkcenter Boulevard bridge, shoulder to shoulder, in anticipation as Idaho Fish and Game released another 300 steelhead into the Boise River Thursday afternoon, November 13.

Fish and Game managers plan to release another 300 in the river Thursday, November 20, from the Glenwood Bridge to Barber Park.

Steelhead are returning to the Oxbow Hatchery as forecast, and Idaho Fish and Game managers released the first 300 into the river on Thursday, November 6. Trapping at Oxbow began Monday, October 27.

Besides a 2008 fishing license, anglers hoping to tangle with one of the 4- to 10-pound hatchery steelhead need a $12.75 steelhead permit. Barbless hooks are not required for Boise River steelhead angling.

All steelhead stocked in the Boise River will lack an adipose fin - the small fin normally found between the dorsal fin and the tail. Boise River anglers catching a rainbow trout longer than 20 inches that lacks an adipose fin should consider it a steelhead.

Any angler without a steelhead permit who catches a steelhead must immediately return it to the water. Anglers may take three steelhead on the Boise River per day; they may have nine in possession and 20 for the fall season.

The fish are A-run hatchery steelhead, returning to the Idaho Power Co.'s Oxbow Hatchery fish trap below Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River. Many of the returning steelhead will be used as broodstock for the ongoing steelhead hatchery program at Oxbow Hatchery as part of Idaho Power Co.'s mitigation program.

"We're confident that this year's hatchery steelhead run will easily allow Oxbow Hatchery personnel to fill broodstock needs," Fish and Game anadromous fish coordinator Sam Sharr said. "Any additional hatchery fish returning to the fish trap will be divided equally among Idaho Fish and Game, the Nez Perce Tribe and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife."

Public's Help Sought in Moose Poaching Case

Fish and Game is asking for help from the public with the poaching of a bull moose, shot and left to waste in a grassy meadow near Deadwood Reservoir sometime around October 15.

The moose carcass was discovered near the mouth of Goat Creek on the Deadwood River, just north of Deadwood Reservoir. Based on carcass decomposition, Fish and Game conservation officer Ben Cadwallader estimates the animal was shot and left during the first week of elk season in the Sawtooth Zone. There is no moose season in the area where the animal was found.

The moose was intact when discovered; most poaching cases involve the removal of choice pieces of meat or antlers. Cadwallader collected evidence at the scene, but would like to talk to any other hunters who might have been camping in the area.

"There was a large hunting campsite directly across the river from where the moose was found," Cadwallader said. "I'd particularly like to visit with these folks about this case."

Citizens Against Poaching is offering a reward for information in the case and callers may remain anonymous. Anyone with information may contact the hotline at 1-800-632-5999, 24 hours a day. Or they may contact Fish and Game.

Volunteers Needed to Collect Sagebrush Seed

Idaho Fish and Game is looking for volunteers to collect sagebrush seed again this fall for use in ongoing wildlife habitat restoration across the region.

Collection will take place on Saturdays in November and early December, beginning November 15.

While range fires were not as common or widespread this summer as in summers past, shrub land restoration remains a priority for the Southwest Region Volunteer Program. The seed collected this year will be used to grow seedlings for future plantings and will be available to distribute across recently burned areas.

Sagebrush seed is the focus of this effort; the native shrub is an important winter food source for mule deer and pronghorn, and also provides food and cover benefits for a variety of other wildlife, including sage-grouse. Like other deep-rooted plants, sagebrush helps stabilize soils and reduce erosion.

The foothills north and east of Boise will be the focus of this year's seed collection efforts.

"Bring your family and friends along," volunteer coordinator Michael Young said. "This is a great excuse to get outside and enjoy the outdoors during the shortest days of the year."

To register or learn more, contact Young at 327-7095 or email myoung@idfg.idaho.gov.