Press Release

August 2009

Idaho Wolf Hunt is On - For Now

Fraught with uncertainty, Idaho's first regulated wolf hunt will get under way as planned, opening in the Lolo and Sawtooth wolf zones Tuesday, September 1.

Late Monday, August 31, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy of the U.S. District Court in Missoula had issued no decision on a preliminary injunction that would have returned the wolf to federal endangered species protection.

Following a three-hour hearing, Molloy took the issue under advisement. He said he would rule soon.

"By taking the issue under advisement, Judge Molloy today gives Idaho an opportunity to further demonstrate that we are and will continue to successfully manage the species," Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said Monday. "We have a sound, data-driven management plan in place, and we keep our promises. As the Idaho Department of Fish and Game implements that plan, which includes a hunting season, I am confident the judge will recognize that our sportsmen, ranchers, farmers - and indeed, all Idahoans - are responsible stewards of Idaho's wildlife, including wolves."

If the judge issues a ruling that affects Idaho wolf hunts, Idaho Fish and Game will notify hunters. Hunters are asked to check the Fish and Game Web site at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov, or call the toll-free wolf hunt information number 1-877-872-3190 before their hunt.

The injunction was sought by parties to a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to remove gray wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains from the endangered species list earlier this year.

If legal action closes the season before October 9, Idaho Fish and Game would issue refunds to hunters who bought tags and can show they didn't hunt. The wolf tag refund policy and request form are available from Fish and Game and the agency's Web site at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/wolf/.

Upland Game Seasons Opens

Fall upland hunting starts Tuesday, September 1, with seasons for mourning doves, forest grouse and sandhill cranes as well as cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares.

Hunters will find upland hunting rules and shooting times in the rules brochure at license vendors and Fish and Game offices as well as on the department Website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Shooting hours for doves and sandhill cranes are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset - check the brochure for exact times.

Dove limits are 10 daily with 20 in possession after the first day. Fish and Game has eliminated controlled hunts for sandhill cranes, selling over-the-counter tags. The limit is two birds per day and nine per season. Tags cost $15 for residents and nonresidents alike.

A federal migratory bird harvest information program validation is required for dove and crane hunting - $1.75 for residents and $4.75 for nonresidents.

The season for forest grouse, which includes ruffed, spruce and dusky (blue) grouse, also opens September 1 and runs through December 31. The daily limit is four, whether all of one or mixed species, and eight in possession after the first day. Only a valid hunting license is required for hunting forest grouse.

Seasons for cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hares runs through February 28, 2010, for cottontails (an earlier news release listed an incorrect date) and through March 31, 2010, for hares. The daily bag limit for both is eight, with 16 in possession after the first day.

There is no season on pygmy rabbits. To distinguish, note that cottontail tails are dark above and white underneath and the pygmy's tail is buffy gray with no white. The cottontail is more than a foot long, and the pygmy is less than one foot.

Contact your local regional office to determine whether pygmy rabbits are found in your hunting area.

Red Fish and Bluegrass Music

Enjoy a salmon dinner and ice cream at the 13th annual Idaho Salmon & Steelhead Days Salmon Barbecue 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, September 10, at the Idaho Fish and Game office near Municipal Park.

Salmon, donated by Fred Meyer will be prepared by Murphy's Seafood Bar & Grill, and ice cream will be provided and served by Goody's Soda Fountain and Candy Store. Proceeds go to support Salmon & Steelhead Days education programs.

Families will enjoy live music and a variety of activities such as "Gyotaku," the art of painting fish and making prints; and "Kids in the Creek" from 6 to 7 p.m. where children discover the underwater world. The Nature Center stream walk will also be open for viewing live Chinook salmon and kokanee salmon.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children's salmon and $3 for children's hot dog. Tickets can be purchased 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at Fish and Game Headquarters, 600 S. Walnut St., Boise; or 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the MK Nature Center (behind the headquarters building). Tickets are limited and sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/education/ssdays/.

Ask Fish and Game: Wolf Tag Refunds

Q. If the court cancels Idaho's wolf hunt before I get a chance to hunt, how do I get a refund for my tag?

A. The money from the sale of wolf tags goes to general wildlife management, which includes things like elk surveys and wolf research. If legal action closes the season before October 9, hunters who want a refund and can show they did not hunt, may submit a Fish and Game request form along with the original tag by December 31. The refund policy and form are available from Fish and Game and on the Website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/wolf/. Refund requests must be submitted to: Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Wolf Tag Refund Request, P.O. Box 25 Boise, ID 83707.

Youth Pheasant Hunting Clinic Scheduled Near Deary

Area hunters between the ages of 12 and 15 will have an opportunity to participate in the Youth Pheasant Hunting Clinic scheduled for September 26.

The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Troy-Deary Gun Club and on private land west of Deary.

"This will be a great opportunity to introduce young hunters to the sport of pheasant hunting," says Jay Roach, North Idaho Chapter president of Pheasants Forever. "The goal is to make hunting a fun priority among all the other activities that vie for a teenager's time."

Along with the pheasant hunt, youths will learn about wildlife conservation, dog handling, and they will be able to hone their marksmanship skills, shooting sporting clays. There will be special emphasis on safety, ethics, sportsmanship and the hunting tradition.

The clinic is free and intended for first-time hunters who have already completed a hunter education course and hold a valid 2009 Idaho hunting license. An adult supervisor must accompany each young hunter throughout the clinic.

Advance registration is required and space is limited to 25 youth. To learn more or to register, contact the Clearwater Region Fish and Game office at 208-799-5010 no later than 5 p.m. Friday, September 18.

Sponsors include the Pheasants Forever, Troy-Deary Gun Club, Flying B-Ranch, Idaho Fish and Game, Snake River Gun Dog & Sportsmen's Association, and Clearwater Point Dog Club.

Wolf Tags Went on Sale Monday

Hunters already were waiting when Idaho Fish and Game started selling wolf tags at 10 a.m. Monday, August 24.

The first ticket at the Fish and Game headquarters was sold to John Dennis of Kuna. But the very first ticket, Monday morning, was sold to Adrienne Peterson at Jim's Pawn Shop in Middleton.

A hunter may buy only one tag at a cost of $11.50 for residents and $186 for nonresidents. A tag is good for one wolf, which may be taken in any one of the 12 wolf hunt zones in Idaho.

Fish and Game had sold 1,825 wolf tags in the first hour. By mid-afternoon Monday, about 4,000 tags had been sold.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission earlier in August set a statewide wolf hunt limit of 220 wolves. When that number, spread over 12 wolf zones, is reached the hunt will end. There is no limit on the total number of tags sold.

Hunters can buy those tags at any Fish and Game office, license vendor, by telephone at 800-554-8685, or online at https://id.outdoorcentral.us/. The process is the same as buying a license or big game tag for other species, including deer, elk, black bear or mountain lion.

The hunter must have a valid 2009 Idaho hunting license to buy a tag. A printed brochure containing the 2009 wolf hunting rules and seasons is available from license vendors. The rules also are available on the Fish and Game Web site at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/wolf/.

Because of potential legal action, however, some hunters may be unable to hunt wolves for which they bought tags in Idaho. A request for an injunction has been filed with a U.S. District Court in Montana. If granted, the injunction would block the wolf hunt in Idaho.

The timing is still unknown.

Leftover Controlled Hunt Tags Go On Sale Tuesday

Controlled hunt tags not issued during the regular drawing for deer and elk will go on sale statewide August 25.

Tags will go on sale at 10 a.m. Mountain Time and 9 a.m. Pacific Time. Tags are available for 547 deer, 295 elk and 69 January 2010 elk X-hunts as well as 55 fall turkey tags. There are no leftover tags available for antelope or bear.

Hunters must have a 2010 license, available December 1, to buy tags for the January 2010 hunts.

Leftover tags will be available statewide at Fish and Game offices, license vendors, by telephone at 800-554-8685, or online at https://id.outdoorcentral.us/. A list of these leftovers is posted on the Fish and Game Web site: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/.

Hunters who have already been drawn for a controlled hunt are not eligible for one of these leftover controlled hunts for the same species. A hunter who has purchased a tag for a controlled hunt can't buy one of the unclaimed tags for the same species, unless one of the tags is an "X" tag.

Super Hunt Winners Announced

Winners in the second of two Idaho Super Hunt drawings were picked Monday, August 17.

One Super Hunt Combo ticket was drawn that entitles the winner to hunt for one each elk, deer, antelope and moose. Seven other winners were picked for single species with tags for two elk, two deer and two antelope hunts as well as one moose hunt.

Winners may participate in any open hunt this fall, following the rules for the hunts they choose, for example, archery-only or muzzleloader-hunts.

The official winners in the August 17 drawing are:

Super Hunt Combo:

- Larry Lansdowne, Boise.

Deer:

- Richard Ruth, Boise.

- Carl Rey, Meridian.

Elk:

- Ramon Lizaso, Boise.

- John Silva, Anderson, Calif.

Pronghorn:

- Donald Colter, Boise.

- Doug Howard, Castleford.

Moose:

- Robert Downing, Hayden Lake.

Money from the sale of tickets for the Super Hunt-described as "the hunt of a lifetime"-supports the Access Yes! Program, which compensates landowners to provide hunter and angler access to or across private land.

For information about this program contact local Fish and Game officials or visit the Website at:

http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner/accessyesguide.aspx.

Fall Chinook Season Opens September 1

The fall Chinook salmon harvest season on the Snake River between Lewiston and Hells Canyon Dam opens Tuesday, September 1, the same day Snake River steelhead harvest season opens.

It will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until October 31 or until further notice.

Fishery managers predict the largest fall Chinook salmon run in four decades - they expect more than 28,000 fall Chinook to cross Lower Granite Dam on their way back to Idaho. Most of them are headed for the Snake River above the mouth of the Clearwater River.

The daily limit is one adult or jack fall Chinook, and three in possession. Anglers may keep only fish with a clipped adipose fin, evidenced by a healed scar, and they may keep 40 salmon for the year, including spring, summer and fall Chinook.

All salmon and steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be immediately released unharmed back to the water.

Fishing rules are the same as those for steelhead. Anglers may use only barbless hooks no larger than five-eighths inch from the point to the shank. When the daily, possession or season limit is reached, the angler must stop fishing for salmon, including catch-and-release.

It is unlawful to take or fish for salmon and steelhead by snagging. Salmon and steelhead caught in a legal manner must be either released or killed immediately after landing.

Anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license and salmon permit in possession to fish for salmon. A salmon permit for the spring or summer season still is valid; for anglers who didn't keep theirs, replacement permits are available for $7.25 for residents and $8.25 for nonresidents.

The Snake River will open to fall Chinook in four sections:

The Peregrine is Back

Many of the people and organizations who participated in the recovery of the peregrine falcon marked the 10th anniversary Thursday, August 20, of the bird's removal from the federal endangered species list.

Officials from Idaho Fish and Game and The Peregrine Fund, located at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, gathered at the MK Nature Center to mark the milestone in the bird's recovery and the change of status under Idaho law.

"We are proud to be part of this unprecedented conservation success," said J. Peter Jenny, president and CEO of The Peregrine Fund. "This is further proof that, with dedication and commitment, an endangered species can be pulled back from the brink of extinction."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took the peregrine off the endangered species list in 1999.

Meeting in July, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted a Fish and Game proposal to reclassify the peregrine falcon as a protected nongame species in Idaho. After legislative review and approval, the new status would take effect next spring.

"We think the bird is sufficiently recovered to warrant reclassification from a state threatened species to a protected nongame migratory bird," Fish and Game biologist Rex Sallabanks said. "We also felt that since the bird had been delisted at the federal level 10 years ago, it was time to bring the state of Idaho in line with the federal classification."

Once a rare sight, peregrine falcons teetered on the brink of extinction. But they have made a stunning comeback - with some human help. A ban on the use of the pesticide DDT, captive breeding and reintroduction programs, and the protection of nest sites have helped bring the bird back.

Falcons are sensitive to DDT, which results in thin and fragile eggshells. By 1970, the species was wiped out east of the Mississippi and down to 39 known pairs in the West.

Idaho Salmon and Steelhead Days

The annual Idaho Salmon and Steelhead Days, September 9 through 11, celebrate the biology, history and economic and cultural significance of salmon and steelhead.

During the three day event, as many as 2,000 fifth-graders participate in hands-on outdoor activities.

A salmon barbecue is from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, September 10. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and a hot dog meal for children is available for $3.

All barbecue activities are family friendly and include live music and gyotaku fish painting. The Nature Center stream walk will be open for viewing live Chinook salmon and kokanee salmon. Tickets are limited and sold on a first-come, first-serve basis.

All events are at the Idaho Fish and Game at 600 S. Walnut St., Boise.

The salmon dinner is donated by Fred Meyer and prepared by Murphy's Seafood Bar & Grill chefs. Dessert is donated by Goody's Soda Fountain & Candy Store.

Barbecue tickets are available at:

  • The MK Nature Center, 600 S. Walnut St., Boise, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. weekends.
  • Idaho Fish and Game Headquarters, 600 S. Walnut St., Boise, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For volunteer information contact Cass Meissner 208-287-2901 cass.meissner@idfg.idaho.gov.

Ask Fish and Game: Waterfowl Regulations

Q. When can I pick up my 2009 waterfowl regulations?

A. The waterfowl rule brochure has been updated with new seasons approved by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission in mid-August. The brochure has been sent to the printer and is expected to be available by the end of the month.