Press Release

April 2010

Fishing in Idaho: It's Better than Ever

The fishing is great in Idaho, and people are catching on; more people are fishing now than anytime in the past decade.

In 2009, Idaho Fish and Game sold 473,576 fishing licenses, the most since 1999. More good news, sales through March 2010 are well above the same time in 2009. Resident fishing license sales are up 19 percent; resident junior licenses are up 27 percent; resident disabled licenses are up 36 percent; two-pole permit sales are up 5 percent; nonresident licenses are up 7 percent; three-day salmon and steelhead permits are up 33 percent; and steelhead permits are up 15 percent.

The increase in fishing license sales is not just an indication of good fishing; it is also proof that fishing represents affordable recreation in spite of the current state of the economy.

To fish in Idaho, anglers need a fishing rod and a valid fishing license, unless they're under 14. Licenses and fishing rules are available from any Fish and Game office and from a long list of vendors. Anglers are on their own for the rod, reel and lures.

It's easy to get started, and Idaho Fish and Game can help. Check out the Fishing section of the Fish and Game Web site - http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/fish/ - and click on the section called Learn to Fish. It includes basic information on getting started, how to identify fish and several opportunities for beginning anglers. In addition Fish and Game's Fishing Planner at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/Fishingplanner/, can help anglers find fishing spots all over the state, how to get there and what kind of fish they'll find when they do. Simply type in the name of a lake or stream or click on the "recommended fishing waters."

Idaho Native Plant Sale at the MK Nature Center

Idaho Native Plant Society's annual native plant sale will be Saturday, April 24, at the Morrison Knudsen Nature Center in Boise.

This year's edition of this popular event will feature more plants, improved presentation and shorter lines. The sale will be in the area behind the Idaho Fish and Game headquarters building at 600 S. Walnut.

In response to the popularity and demand for native plants, the sale will include more and a wider variety of these hardy, drought tolerant native plants. The plants will be arranged by their preferences for water, sun and soil to make it easy to select species that will survive in the buyer's location.

A members-only sale for Idaho Native Plant Society members from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday should ease the traditionally slow moving lines for Saturday customers.

Ask Fish and Game: One-day Fishing License

Q. I am an Idaho resident, can I buy a one-day fishing license and salmon permit?

A. Residents can buy a one-day fishing license but not a three-day salmon or steelhead permit. Residents and nonresidents alike may buy a "license entitling a person to fish in the waters of the state on a day-to-day basis." A daily license costs $12.75 plus $6.00 for each additional day purchased at the same time, but a daily license holder can't buy a salmon or steelhead permit. Resident anglers must first buy a season fishing license for $25.75 to buy a salmon or steelhead permit for $12.75. Nonresidents, however, may buy a three-day combined license and salmon/steelhead permit for $37.50. The rules do not allow Idaho residents to buy the nonresident three-day license.

Fish and Game Commission to Meet Friday

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet at 8 a.m. Friday, April 16, to discuss several land acquisitions.

The meeting via conference call will be in the director's office of the Idaho Fish and Game headquarters, 600 S. Walnut St., Boise.

The agenda includes three land acquisitions, approval of minutes from Legislative update meetings in February and March and a director's update.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting the Idaho Department of Fish and Game directly at 208-334-5159 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-2529 (TDD).

Idaho Falls Man Loses Hunting Privileges for Life

Shooting five elk in one day has cost an Idaho Falls man his privilege to hunt for the rest of his life - not only in Idaho, but each of the 33 member states of the Wildlife Violator Compact.

On March 22, 2010 Jerry Ferguson, 54, pleaded guilty in Seventh District Court in Bonneville County to a felony charge of unlawfully killing five cow elk. In addition to the lifetime license revocation, Ferguson was ordered to pay $7,500 in civil restitution, plus court costs and serve 60 days in jail. A five-year formal probation was also imposed, with one to three years in prison for violation of the terms of probation.

On the morning of December 5, 2008, Ferguson killed an elk and tagged it with Rebecca Keller's tag. Later the same day he killed another elk, but he didn't stop there. He continued to hunt and in one last barrage of bullets, killed three more elk. Ferguson fired twenty-seven shots that day, killing five elk.

To make matters worse, Ferguson didn't field dress any of the last four elk he killed and left them on the mountain overnight. Although two of the four elk he killed that evening were recovered the next day, they all spoiled because of a lack of proper care.

"Jerry Ferguson's actions that day showed a total disregard for wildlife laws and a complete disrespect for one of the big game animals that makes Idaho a place where sportsmen want to live," Senior Conservation Officer Ryan Hilton said.

Several family members were also implicated in the crime by recovering, tagging and transporting the unlawful elk. Rebecca Keller, 55, of Idaho Falls; Gerald Ferguson, 74, of Idaho Falls; Eric Ferguson, 26, of Rigby; and Tilliya Ferguson, 20, of Rigby were all charged in connection with their involvement in the incident.

In Lemhi County Magistrate Court, Rebecca Keller pleaded guilty to transferring her elk tag and received a two-year revocation of hunting privileges and a $300 fine plus court costs.

Big Game Rules for 2010 on the Web

The Idaho big game hunting seasons and rules brochure for 2010 seasons is available now from Fish and Game and on the Website.

The rules brochure is available at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/rules/bg/. The same brochure is in the printing process and copies will be available at license vendors and Fish and Game offices statewide in about a week.

The primary changes this year include some new caps on general season elk tags in three elk management zones to reduce harvest and provide better quality hunting. Caps are being placed on Lolo "A" tags, Smoky Mountain "A" tags and Salmon "B" tags. Caps are being reduced on Lolo "B" tags, and Sawtooth "A" and "B" tags.

Resident youth elk hunters who purchase a general season elk zone tag while they are between ages 12 and 17, inclusive, may participate in any A or B tag elk season within the specified zone, regardless of whether they purchased an A tag or B tag. All other season, weapon restrictions, and commission rules apply. Controlled hunts are excluded.

Changes in the black bear and mountain lion rules for the coming fall seasons allow bear and lion hunters to use electronic calls in the Lolo and Selway elk management zones, extend the mountain lion season to June 30, 2011, in the Lolo and Selway zones, and increase the bag limit to two lions in the Lolo Zone.

In 2010 mandatory hunter reporting for deer, elk, and pronghorn is moving towards a paperless system. All successful hunters are required to report by Internet or phone within 10 days of harvest. Hunters who do not harvest, or did not hunt on their tag, are required to report within 10 days of the close of the hunting season.

Application Period for Controlled Hunts Opens Soon

The application period for this fall's deer, elk, pronghorn and black bear controlled hunts starts May 1 and runs through June 5.

The 2009 harvest statistics and drawing odds for controlled hunts are now available on the Idaho Fish and Game Website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov and in the Hunt Planner. Hunters can use harvest statistics and drawing odds from the past 10 years to search for similar controlled hunts for this year.

Hunters may apply for controlled hunts at any hunting and fishing license vendor, Fish and Game office; with a credit card by calling 1-800-55HUNT5; or online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov. An additional fee is charged for telephone and Internet applications.

Hunters must have a 2010 Idaho hunting license to apply.

Those who apply early also have a chance to win cash. Fish and Game's annual early application contest for 2010 for those controlled hunts will be handing out one $550 prize and one $450 prize to two lucky winners.

Hunters who get their applications in by May 12 will be eligible to win $550 in the May 15 drawing. Those who get their applications in by May 19 will be eligible to win $450 in the May 22 drawing. Applications in by May 12 also will be eligible for the May 22 drawing, except for the winner of the May 15 drawing.

Those who don't apply for a controlled hunt may submit their name, age, address, and telephone number on a 3-by-5-inch piece of plain paper to: IDFG Early Application Contest, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707.

The drawing is funded by Outdoor Central, a part of ActiveNetwork, and sponsored by the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The drawing encourages hunters to apply early and helps avoid last-minute congestion on license vendor computer terminals.

Budgets for Bugs and Other ÔNongame' Wildlife

In all the news about state budgets it is interesting to note that Idaho Fish and Game receives no general tax money.

Fish and Game is funded by hunting and fishing license sales and federal excise taxes on sporting equipment. These funds go to manage those "game" species we hunt and fish, but what about the wild animals that are not considered game?

"We don't spend sportsmen's dollars to protect their habitat or manage the species. So, over the last 25 years we've been looking for different sources of funds for nongame," said Jeff Gould, Fish and Game wildlife chief.

The state income tax form has a check-off box where people can choose to donate to nongame wildlife projects. This raises about $50,000 annually. However, the major funding source is the sales of wildlife license plates; the bluebird, elk and cutthroat trout. But that revenue has crashed, dropping 30 percent in the past two years.

The nongame budget is used to monitor populations and improve the habitat of species at risk such as spotted frogs or the southern Idaho ground squirrel.

The beauty is that improving habitat for nongame species benefits game species too.

"Everything helps the other species, everything is so interconnected," said Gayle Valentine, director of the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This year, the foundation raised $17,000 with its Internet auction to benefit "watchable wildlife" projects administered by the nongame program at Fish and Game.

"While a lot of people like to hunt and fish there also are people out there that just love to watch wildlife," Valentine said.

Buying a wildlife license plate, donating through the tax check-off or giving directly to the nongame program is a way for people who simply love wildlife to contribute to their conservation. It is a way to give back for the pleasure of seeing songbirds, frogs, wolverines, osprey and great blue herons.

Annual Fur Sale Set for May 1 in Coeur d'Alene

This year, the annual Idaho Fish and Game Hide and Fur Auction will be on May 1 at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds at 4056 N. Government Way, Coeur dÕAlene.

Items may be viewed beginning at 10 a.m., and the auction will begin at noon Pacific Time. The office is at 2885 Kathleen Ave., Coeur d'Alene.

Public Information Release Forms Now Available

A recent change in the Idaho Public Records law means Idaho Fish and Game can no longer release the name or business information of anyone who buys a license, tag or permit, without that person's written consent.

Anyone who would like to allow the release of their name and business information may grant permission to Fish and Game by signing a release form available from any Fish and Game office and on the Fish and Game Website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/licenses/apps/.

The Idaho Legislature this year expanded the exemptions to the Idaho Public Records law to include names, business addresses, and business phone numbers of Idaho Fish and Game license and permit holders. State law already protects home addresses, home phone numbers and other personal information.

Under the new law, Fish and Game will not release the names or business information of license, tag or permit holders, without the individuals' written consent or unless there is some other legal authorization for release of the information, such as law enforcement purposes.

Anyone who signs and submits a release form may later request another form to opt out.

Wildlife Workshop for Educators Coming to Boise

Idaho Fish and Game will host a WILD about Early Learners workshop for educators of pre-Kindergarten to second grade to help them learn fun and exciting ways to teach wildlife conservation in the classroom.

The workshop can also be taken by teachers of older grades, scout leaders, daycare providers, church counselors and others interested in sharing nature with children.

The workshop runs from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, April 23, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 24. It will be held at the Fish and Game headquarters building, 600 S. Walnut in Boise.

Participants will receive an Idaho WILD about Early Learners Guide, which is full of fun, educational activities for younger students. In the specialized guide, teachers will find hands-on activities, music and movement, resource lists, home connections and much more. Workshop participants will also receive the activity-filled Project WILD and WILD Aquatics guides.

Cost is $35, which includes all guides, supplemental materials and a potato bar lunch. College credit is available for an additional $50-60. Idaho STARS certification and Boise city credit is also available.

To register, contact Lori Adams, Project WILD coordinator, at 208-287-2889 or by e-mail at lori.adams@idfg.idaho.gov. More information can be found on the education link on the Fish and Game Website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Ask Fish and Game: Depredation Hunts

Q. When can I apply for depredation hunts this year?

A. The sign-up period to participate in depredation hunts this year runs from May 1 through June 30. Applications that come in after June 30 are added to the list but have little chance of being selected. Applicants must have a valid Idaho hunting or combination license. Depredation hunts, if needed, are usually held on short notice, in small areas and involve only a few hunters.

Hunters may apply in different regions, but only once each year for deer, once for elk and once for pronghorn. For more information and an application form check pages 76 and 77 in the 2010 Big Game Rule Book, or online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/rules/bg/.