Press Release

October 2009

Bear Safety Education & Outreach Efforts Recognized

At the upcoming Yellowstone Grizzly Coordinating Committee in Jackson, Wyoming, the Idaho contingent will be recognizing the education and outreach efforts of local groups and media who have worked to promote a bear smart mentality through education campaigns, media outreach, and on the ground projects.

"These individuals, groups, and media outlets all understand that bears and humans can live safely together if the information about how to do so is made available in a manner that is clear and understandable," said Gregg Losinski, regional conservation educator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Idaho Falls.

The groups receiving a plaque with a grizzly bear track cast and recognition plate are:

  • The North Fork Club in Island Park.
  • Elizabeth Laden and The Island Park News.
  • Joyce Edlefsen and The Rexburg Standard Journal.
  • The Grizzly Bear and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone.
  • "Elizabeth Laden and the Island Park News have worked not only with Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service, but the Center for Wildlife Information and community groups to spread the word about bear safety," Losinski said.

    Recently, the Island Park News teamed up with bear spray producer Counter Assault to distribute free cans of bear spray and to teach how to use it properly. Materials provided free from CWI have served as the constant centerpiece for all programs in the area.

    "Local newspaper writer Joyce Edlefsen has gone out of her way to help us reach the public about safely living and recreating in bear country through in-depth research in the writing of her bear-related stories," Losinski said.

    Fish and Game to Stock Steelhead in the Boise River

    Forget the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner this year; fresh, smoked steelhead might be on the menu after the big fish are released into the Boise River over the next few weeks.

    If steelhead return to Oxbow Hatchery on the Snake River as forecast, Fish and Game anticipates stocking 300 or more of the big fish in the Boise River from Glenwood Bridge to Barber Park the afternoon of Thursday October 29.

    Should the run remain strong, additional fish may be released in subsequent weeks.

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

    Besides a fishing license, anglers hoping to tangle with one of the 4- to 10-pound hatchery steelhead need a $12.75 steelhead permit, good for 40 fish.

    Though required in other steelhead waters, 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 immediately behind the dorsal fin. Boise River anglers catching a rainbow trout longer than 20 inches that lacks an adipose fin should consider the fish a steelhead. Any steelhead caught by an angler not holding a steelhead permit must immediately be returned to the water.

    Steelhead limits on the Boise River are three fish per day, nine in possession, and 40 for the fall season.

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

    Fall Chinook Harvest Season Closed

    Salmon fishing in Idaho will be over for the year when the fall Chinook harvest season on the Snake River ends Saturday, October 31.

    The season opened September 1 on the Snake River between Lewiston and Hells Canyon Dam. As of October 18, anglers had caught 105 marked adult and 514 jack fall Chinook in the Snake River, for a total of 619 fish. Hatchery-origin fish are marked with a clipped adipose fin.

    This year more than 15,000 adult fall Chinook and more than 40,000 jacks crossed Lower Granite Dam, most of them returning to the Snake River upstream of Lewiston. The adult return is lower that the pre-season forecast, but the jack return is the largest ever counted at Lower Granite Dam.

    The fall Chinook run in the Snake River was protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in 1992.

    F&G Commission to Meet by Phone

    Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet via a telephone conference call at 8 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time, Thursday, October 29.

    The call will be taken in the director's office at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game office, 600 S. Walnut Street, Boise.

    The commissioners will consider the ratification of rules and a Dionne Marsh land acquisition and conduct an executive session.

    The meeting is open to the public.

    Grizzly Bear Managers to Meet In Jackson

    Yellowstone ecosystem grizzly bear managers plan to meet in Jackson, Wyo., to discuss what needs to be done to continue recovery.

    The Yellowstone Grizzly Coordinating Committee will meet Wednesday and Thursday, October 28 and 29, at the Snow King Resort in Jackson. The meeting will run from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday October 28. It will resume at 8 a.m. Thursday and conclude by noon. Both sessions are open to the public with time for public comments.

    The coordinating committee is made up of managers from the state and federal agencies responsible for the decades-long process to recover grizzly bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem from about 200 in 1983 to almost 600 today. That recovery led to the bear being removed from the endangered species list about two years ago.

    But a recent federal court ruling put the bear back on the list, and that has caused some uncertainty. Committee members are eager to meet to evaluate the status of the grizzly and to discuss how the group should once again move forward.

    To help coordinating committee managers develop the latest chapter in grizzly bear recovery in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, committee chairman Steve Schmidt, of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, has invited a set of speakers whose focus has been developing new strategies for recovering listed species.

    "Michael Scott and Dale Goble offer fresh insights into the management of at-risk species," Schmidt said.

    Gobel and Scott are scheduled to give their presentation entitled, "Conservation Reliant Species, Recovery Agreements and Management Funding," at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday October 28.

    "Hopefully their presentation will help give the (coordinating committee) managers a new way to look at approaching grizzly bear recovery in the Yellowstone Ecosystem," Schmidt said.

    Officials from coordinating committee member agencies will be giving presentations during the meeting regarding ongoing management activities.

    Waterfowl Shooting Time Chart Correction

    The time chart on Page 10 in the waterfowl rules book has some incorrect times for November 1.

    The opening and closing times listed for November 1 in the three Mountain Time Zone areas are off by an hour; the actual opening and closing time is one hour earlier.

    For example, the 7:50 a.m. opening should be 6:50, and the 6:36 p.m. closing should be 5:36.

    The times for all other days are correct.

    All the times listed for the Pacific Time Zone are correct. For a correct table, see the waterfowl rules on the Fish and Game Web site at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/rules/wf/shootProxy.pdf.

    Ask Fish and Game: White-tailed Deer Tags

    Q. Since I normally monitor available nonresident tag numbers on the Fish and Game Web site, I wonder why the number of available white-tailed deer tags hasn't decreased from the original 1,500. I, for one, have purchased at least one. I find it hard to believe that I'm the only one.

    A. Idaho has two types of deer tags and both have nonresident purchase quotas. The nonresident quota for the general deer tag is 12,000. Nonresidents that choose a white-tailed deer tag are included in that quota. When the general nonresident deer tag quota of 12,000 is met, the additional 1,500 whitetail-only tags may be sold. With a regular deer tag, a hunter may harvest either a mule deer or a white-tailed deer, as seasons allow. With a white-tailed tag, a hunter may take only a white-tailed deer.

    Pheasant Seasons Now Open

    The regular pheasant season now is open for all licensed hunters statewide.

    The season in north and southwest Idaho, Areas 1 and 3, runs through December 31, and in eastern Idaho, Area 2, it runs through November 30.

    Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset; except on the Fort Boise, C.J. Strike, Montour and Payette River wildlife management areas, where shooting hours are from 10 a.m. to one-half hour after sunset.

    The daily bag limit is three cocks, and the possession limit is six after the first day, except on wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked, in which case the daily limit is two cocks and four in possession.

    Hunters 17 and older need a wildlife management area upland game bird permit - formerly a pheasant permit - to hunt on the nine Idaho Fish and Game wildlife management areas where pheasants are released, including the Fort Boise, C.J. Strike, Payette River, Montour, Sterling, Market Lake, Mud Lake, Cartier Slough and Niagara Springs wildlife management areas.

    All upland game and upland game bird hunters are required to wear hunter orange on wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked. And all hunters must have a valid 2009 Idaho hunting license.

    For more information, go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/pheasant.

    Special Wolf Tags Auctioned

    Wolf tag No. 1 brought $8,000 in an auction by the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation on October 14

    The tag was sold at the foundation's Wine, Wheels and Wildlife event in Lexington, North Carolina. Jonny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, bought the tag for his son who intends to hunt in Idaho this fall.

    Idaho Fish and Game, through six nonprofit groups, offered Idaho Wolf Conservation Tags from No.1 through No. 10, commemorating the first public wolf hunt in state history.

    In addition to tag No. 1, auction or lottery sales are being handled by five other nonprofit organizations:

    • Tags No. 3 and 8 were auctioned September 30 by the Mule Deer Foundation brought in $1,700.
    • Tags No. 4 and 10 were auctioned October 1 by Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife to individuals in New York and Nevada for $1,405.
    • Tag No. 5 was auctioned October 3 for $350 by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation at its banquet in Mackay. Tag No. 9 will be auctioned at a foundation banquet in Casper, Wyoming on November 21.
    • Tag No. 2 will be sold November 15 by inter auction by the Safari Club International, Treasure Valley Chapter.
    • Tag No. 7 will be sold by the Safari Club in a lottery with the drawing to be at Fish and Game headquarters November 16.
    • Tag No. 6 will be sold by the Idaho Sportsmen's Caucus Advisory Council in a live auction on October 29 at a National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses event in McCall.

    So far six tags have generated gross revenue of $11,455; net revenue is about $10,900 after 5 percent administrative fees are paid. Proceeds go into Idaho Fish and Game's general license fund.

    Fish and Game spent about $600,000 on wolf management in fiscal 2009.

    Bonners Ferry Men Charged In Poaching Incident

    Felony charges were filed against two north Idaho men, accused of poaching two bull elk September 5, one day before the general archery season.

    Roland H. Hall of Bonners Ferry and Dennis L. Liermann Jr. of Naples were each charged with killing and possessing two bull elk during closed season.

    On the evening of September 5, Idaho Fish and Game received a cell phone call from a concerned individual in the woods in the Trapper Creek drainage north of Priest Lake. The caller and his hunting partner had just watched a man shoot and kill a bull elk with a bow from a tree stand and still had them in sight. The archery elk season in the area didn't open until September 6.

    Conservation Officer Rob Soumas was contacted by phone. In separate vehicles, Soumas and Conservation Officer Rick Bogar headed in the direction of the reported activity.

    Meanwhile, another call was received from the original callers reporting that another bull elk had just been shot and killed within their view. This information was relayed to the officers en route.

    Locating a pickup truck registered to Hall in the area of the reported events, the officers waited and watched. At 10:45 p.m., Hall and Liermann arrived on foot, entered the pickup, and headed down the road. The officers stopped the truck and contacted the individuals. Hall and Liermann were both wearing blood stained camouflage clothing.

    Initially, Liermann claimed the blood was from a bear he had legally harvested.

    However, upon further discussion, both men said they had gone into the woods to bear hunt and scout for elk. They encountered elk and Liermann and Hall stated they killed one bull each. Both men admitted they knew the elk season was closed, that they had field dressed the two bulls leaving them up on the hill, and planned to pack them out the next morning. Both poachers still had their unnotched elk tags in their pockets.

    Wolf Poaching Charges Filed

    Charges have been filed against an Eagle man accused of shooting a wolf in a closed season and shooting from a public road.

    Randy R. Strickland was arraigned September 22 in Valley County on misdemeanor charges of taking a game animal illegally and shooting from or across a public highway. He has pleaded innocent to both, and he is due in court in Valley County on November 16 for a pre-trial hearing.

    The wolf was shot about 6 p.m. September 6 in the McCall-Weiser wolf zone, which was closed to wolf hunting at the time.

    If convicted, Strickland could face fines of $200 to $1,000 plus court costs; a $400 civil penalty; up to six months in county jail; and a minimum one year and up to three years loss of hunting, fishing and/or trapping privileges on the charge of killing a game animal illegally.

    And he could face $25 to $1,000 in fines, up to six months in jail, and up to a three year license revocation on the charge of shooting from a public road.

    Creatures of the Night Come Out at the MK Nature Center

    As the sun sets, out come the creatures of the night!

    Bring the whole family in costume to the fifth annual Creatures of the Night Halloween event from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, October 23 and 24, at the MK Nature Center.

    Bring a sense of adventure for a night walk to learn all about nocturnal critters like beavers, owls, spiders, wolves, and crayfish. Create your own mask and enjoy fireside story telling. Concessions will be available for cash purchase.

    Purchase tickets in advance at the MK Nature Center after October 15th. Tickets are $3 per person, and children 2 and under are free. A limited number of tickets - 400 per night - will be sold to maintain the quality of the event.

    The MK Nature Center is behind Idaho Fish and Game headquarters at 600 S. Walnut in Boise. Call 208-334-2225 for more information.