Press Release

September 2009

Fish and Game Seeks Information on Poached Pronghorn

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking information leading to the conviction of the persons responsible for killing and wasting two buck pronghorn antelope.

The antelope were killed around September 28 or 29 in Elmore County near the Twin Falls county line on the Flat Mesa Road near the Bell Rapids Road.

Nothing from the two animals was taken; both were left to waste.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Citizen's Against Poaching Hotline at 1-800-632-5999 or the Magic Valley Regional Office at 208-324-4359. Callers may remain anonymous and a reward may be issued for information leading to a conviction.

Access Improvements, Wolf Hunts Highlight October 6 Meeting

Idaho Department of Fish and Game will highlight recent improvements made to several popular access areas and provide an overview of Idaho's wolf hunting season at the October 6 Sportsmen's Breakfast meeting in Lewiston.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 a.m. at the Idaho Fish and Game Office, 3316 16th Street. A Dutch oven breakfast with coffee will be provided at no charge.

"We want to kick off the hunting season with this informative meeting, and we hope folks bring their questions and comments," says Clearwater Regional Supervisor Dave Cadwallader.

Reports will also be given on local enforcement activities, as well forecasts for the fall fishing and hunting seasons.

The meeting is designed to stimulate informal discussions about local wildlife issues. Sportsmen's group representatives are welcome to give reports of their group's activities as well.

The meeting will run until 8:30 a.m.

F&G Commission Raises Steelhead Limits

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Wednesday, September 30, raised the bag, possession and season limit for the fall 2009 and spring 2010 steelhead seasons in the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.

The daily limits, effective October 2 until further notice, for steelhead trout is five, of which no more than three may be 32 or more inches in total length. The possession limit is 15, no more than nine may be 32 or more inches long.

The statewide limits in the fall and spring seasons is 40 steelhead in each, but no more than 20 of those may be caught in the Clearwater River drainage in each season. Anglers who have a permit with reported harvest from the spring 2009 season may purchase a second permit to catch their fall season limit of 40 fish.

Fishery managers estimate the return of steelhead over Lower Granite Dam this fall will be considerably larger than the previous high return of about 250,000 fish in 2001. More than 155,000 fish in this large return will return are A-run hatchery fish destined for the Snake River, the Little Salmon River and in the Upper Salmon River.

Affected waters are:

Snake River

Washington-Idaho border to the Salmon River.

Salmon River to Hells Canyon Dam.

Salmon River

Downstream from Whitebird Creek.

Whitebird Creek to Little Salmon River.

Little Salmon River to Vinegar Creek.

Vinegar Creek to South Fork Salmon River.

South Fork Salmon River to Middle Fork Salmon River.

Middle Fork Salmon River to North Fork Salmon River.

North Fork Salmon River to Lemhi River.

Lemhi River to Pahsimeroi River.

Pahsimeroi River to East Fork Salmon River.

East Fork Salmon to Sawtooth Weir.

Little Salmon River

Stocking Pheasants in 2009

By Jerry Deal - Idaho Department of Fish and Game

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will continue stocking pen-reared pheasants on Southwest Region Wildlife Management Areas for the 2009 fall season.

Fort Boise, Payette River, Montour and CJ Strike wildlife management areas will be stocked throughout the season, which runs from October 17 through December 31.

Because upland game rules are set on a two-year cycle, hunters can expect no significant rule changes from last year. But there will be a few more birds available. Last year 7,635 pheasants were distributed on four regional management areas and this year 9,673 birds will be available. That includes 300 birds that will be released before the youth hunt season, which begins on Saturday, October 3, at noon and ends on October 9.

Some rules are different on areas where pen-reared pheasants are released. A WMA pheasant permit, which covers a portion of the stocking program cost, is required. The $23.75 permit allows the harvest of up to six pheasants. The daily bag limit is two birds, with four in possession after the first day of the season.

Upland game hunters also must wear at least 36 square inches of visible hunter orange above the waist during pheasant season - an hunter-orange ball-cap meets this requirement.

Complete hunting rules for pheasant and other upland species are available in a printed booklet or on line at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/rules/ug.

The exact release times and dates are not 1 to give everyone a fair chance of harvesting a pheasant. On busy management areas, such as Fort Boise and Montour wildlife management areas, most birds are harvested within a day or two of being released. On C.J. Strike Wildlife Management Area, some stocked birds usually survive a little longer, but hunters will have to work the heavy cover to find them.

Youth Shotgun Clinic Planned

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game and competitive shotgun shooter Mari McStay of Willow Creek Ranch are working to offer a free shotgun-shooting clinic to youth hunter education graduates ages 10-17.

The clinic will start at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 17, at the Willow Creek Ranch, 1250 East Highway 20, Fairfield. From the Highway 75 and 20 junction go west 12.5 miles on Highway 20. Shooting will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude by 3 p.m. Lunch will be provided by Idaho Fish and Game.

Each student will be given instruction on shotgun skills, range rules and individualized shooting instruction. Shotguns, ammunition and clay bird targets will be provided by the sponsors.

Space is limited so participants are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. Register by calling the Regional Fish and Game Office at 324-4359. Parents or guardians must complete a parental permission form before the student may attend.

Fish and Game Thanks Volunteers

The Idaho Department of Fish & Game would like to thank Crop Production Services for volunteering their time on an important wildlife project.

Employees of the Wendell branch applied a much needed coat of paint to a Fish and Game elk feed shed near Featherville. The shed stores feed pellets which are used to supplement elk diets in difficult winters.

This marks the third year that Crop Production Services, formerly Western Farm Service, employees have helped keep Fish and Game feeding facilities in good condition. Staff members of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Magic Valley Region, greatly appreciate their assistance.

Youth Shotgun Clinic Planned

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game and competitive shotgun shooter Mari McStay of Willow Creek Ranch are working together to offer a free shotgun-shooting clinic to youth hunter education graduates ages 10-17.

The clinic will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, October 17, at the Willow Creek Ranch, 1250 East Highway 20, Fairfield. From the Highway 75 and 20 junction go west 12.5 miles on Highway 20. Lunch will be provided by the Department of Fish and Game.

Each student will be given instruction on shotgun skills, range rules and individualized shooting instruction. Shotguns, ammunition and clay bird targets will be provided by the sponsors.

Space is limited so participants are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible. Register by calling the Regional Fish and Game Office at 324-4359. Parents or guardians must complete a parental permission form before the student may attend.

Southeast Region Hunting Forecast

By Toby Boudreau - Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Deer:

The forecast for mule deer hunting in the Southeast Region is a mixture of good and bad news.

The good news is that a fair number of deer made it into the three-year-old age class, and even some have made it into the four-year-old age class. These bucks should be more than 24 inches; antler growth appears to be better than average due to our wet spring this year that produced abundant forage early. People who are already seeing some of these deer are optimistic for the hunting season.

The bad news is that we again suffered low fawn survival, 32 to 38 percent, despite the relatively mild winter. This lower survival of fawns is because mule deer does came through the harsh winter of 2007-2008 with lower body fat reserves. This lead to lighter fawns being born during spring 2008, fawns which then grew at slower rates because of lower plant production from that summer's drought. During the summer of 2008, no measurable rainfall fell between early June and Labor Day weekend in much of the Southeast Region. Hard winters combined with dry summers are the conditions that really suppress mule deer populations.

This lower fawn survival translates into fewer two-point bucks on the hill, since most yearling bucks are two points. Our two-year-old age class - small four-points and three-points - will also be weak from the low survival during the 2007-2008 winter.

There is no doubt that people will go out and see harvestable deer this fall and some nice deer will be taken. The overall numbers should be about equal to last year, with a slightly higher number of mature bucks.

Hunters should also be aware that there are a few bucks wearing radio collars in the region. It is legal to take these animals, but we would like to get collars back so we can re-use them in our on-going mule deer research projects.

Garwood Named Conservation Officer of the Year

Monday, September 21, Senior Conservation Officer Lee Garwood of Hailey was named the Shikar-Safari Club International wildlife enforcement officer of the year.

Garwood has been an Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer for nearly 20 years. He is stationed in the Wood River Valley of south-central Idaho which includes the affluent tourist mountain communities of Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley.

"Lee's relentless loyalty to his community and the natural resources in the area bring great credit upon himself, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and the great state of Idaho," Fish and Game enforcement Chief Jon Heggen wrote in his nomination letter.

Bob Hitchcock of Shikar-Safari Club International said he is always impressed with the quality of officers Idaho has each time he presents these awards.

Conservation officers represent Fish and Game in their communities, whether on duty or not. They are almost always the first contact on wildlife issues in the smaller communities throughout the state, and Garwood has always represented the department in a very professional manner.

Garwood also is a field training officer, teaching, coaching, and mentoring new recruits as they begin to develop a foundation for their careers in wildlife law enforcement.

Every day, Garwood handles calls about urban wildlife issues, including big game animals in subdivisions, black bears in bird feeders and campgrounds, moose among the willows and homes along the Big Wood River, nuisance red foxes, beaver consuming landscaping, and a variety of other incidents in and around the area.

This past winter wolves have become a highly charged political issue in the Wood River Valley.

The Wood River Valley winters numerous elk, and some of the elk concentrations are the result of private feeding operations. This winter the Phantom Hill wolf pack moved into residential parts of the Wood River Valley killing elk in or near subdivisions.

Fish and Game Puts Three Plots Up For Sale

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has put three plots of surplus land up for sale.

One is a two-acre plot in Dixie, about 22 miles north of Mountain Home and near Anderson Ranch Dam. The second is about 6.3 acres on the west bank of the Payette River near Gardena, just north of Horseshoe Bend.

Both properties will be sold at auction on December 3 at the Idaho Fish and Game headquarters office, 600 S. Walnut in Boise.

The Gardena property, appraised at $125,000, will go on sale at 1 p.m.

The Dixie property, appraised at $60,000, will go on sale at 2 p.m.

A third property, about one acre eight miles north of Orofino valued at $24,000, will go on sale at 1 p.m. December 10 at the Lewiston Fish and Game office.

Bidders must submit an earnest money deposit, and the minimum bid for each property is the appraised value.

The plots have been declared surplus by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission and approved for public auction by the Idaho Land Board.

Information about the land is available from the Idaho Department of Lands at: http://www.idl.idaho.gov/bureau/RealEstate/landsale_index.html.

Fish and Game Fined for Spill at Grace Hatchery

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has agreed to pay $14,000 to the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency to settle alleged federal Clean Water Act violations at the Grace Fish Hatchery near Pocatello.

In December of 2007, Fish and Game informed EPA that spilled disinfectants at Grace killed all of its fish, many of which were washed downstream into Whiskey Creek. EPA reviewed Grace's history and found Fish and Game had also exceeded the monthly limit for total suspended solids in early 2004. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit that allows Fish and Game to operate Grace requires:

  • Correct use of disinfectants.
  • No discharge of nuisance levels of dead fish.
  • Levels of reported total suspended solids and other pollutants to be below levels named in the permit.

Fish and Game's response has included collecting dead fish along Whiskey Creek after the chemical spill, creating a staff manual explaining correct chemical use and educating all Fish and Game hatchery staff on the requirements of the discharge permit.

It is extremely important that hatcheries follow disinfectant label directions to protect the environment as well as themselves, said Kim Ogle, discharge permit compliance manager in Seattle.

"EPA could not ignore the release of disinfectants at levels sufficient to kill all hatchery fish and the release of many of those fish downstream to Whiskey Creek," Ogle said. "On the other hand, we are pleased that Fish and Game alerted EPA shortly after the spill and responded to this penalty action by educating its staff to better ensure that Fish and Game understand and follow the requirements of the permit."

The discharge permit program, a key part of the federal Clean Water Act, controls water pollution by regulating sources that discharge pollutants to waters in the United States.

Ask Fish and Game: Legal Shot

Q. What kinds of shot are legal for waterfowl hunting? Is lead shot still legal for any kind of waterfowl?

A. Lead shot is illegal for all waterfowl hunting, including ducks, mergansers, geese and coots. Hunters may not hunt waterfowl while in possession of shot other than nontoxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The shot must be 0.2 inches - T size - or smaller. Only steel shot or steel shot with coating of less than 1 percent of copper, nickel, zinc chromate or zinc chloride; or shot made from bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer, tungsten-matrix, tungsten-nickel-iron, tungsten-iron-nickel-tin, tungsten-tin-bismuth, tungsten-tin-iron, tungsten-iron-copper-nickel, or tungsten-bronze, is on the list of approved nontoxic shot.