Press Release

September 2010

Public Notice - Wildlife Damage Claim

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be holding an arbitration hearing to resolve the wildlife damage claim submitted by Tom Mosman.

The hearing will be at 1 p.m. Monday, October 4, at the Fish and Game office, 3316 16th St., Lewiston.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting the Idaho Department of Fish and Game directly at 208-799-5010 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-2529 (TDD).

Fish and Game Submits 10(j) Wolf Control Proposal

Idaho Fish and Game has submitted a proposal to kill at least 40 to 50 wolves in the Lolo elk management zone in northern Idaho.

Fish and Game is seeking authority from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act to reduce wolf numbers in response to their effects on elk herds in the Lolo zone.

The 37 page proposal lays out big game management objectives and data that show game numbers are below objective. It also presents data that show wolves are now the major reason elk numbers continue to decline. The proposal explains why wolf removal would help restore the big game population.

Fish and Game proposes to manage wolf numbers in the Lolo zone at least at 20 to 30 wolves for five years. To reach this level would require killing a minimum of 40 to 50 wolves initially and killing fewer wolves in subsequent years. The numbers would depend on wolf abundance. Research on wolves has shown that reducing the population by 50 to 80 percent each year may be required to stabilize or reduce a population.

Elk and wolf populations would be monitored throughout the project with radio-telemetry, aerial counts and ground observations.

The proposal also explains efforts to reduce other major causes of big game population declines.

Section 10(j) allows states increased management flexibility to deal with wolf depredation on domestic livestock and "unacceptable impacts" on big game. The submitted proposal is a near-term measure consistent with the 10(j) rule to relieve such impacts on elk herds in the Lolo zone.

The proposal has been submitted for peer review and public comments. The public comment period has closed.

The text of the proposal is available on the Fish and Game Website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves/.

Steelhead Harvest Season Opens Soon on the Clearwater

Steelhead harvest fishing season will open October 15, on the Clearwater River upstream of the Memorial Bridge on U.S. Highway 12 near Lewiston.

The steelhead harvest season already is open on the Clearwater River downstream of the Memorial Bridge.

The harvest season opened September 1, on the Salmon, the Little Salmon and the lower Snake rivers.

The fall steelhead season runs through December 31.

The steelhead limit on the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon is three per day and nine in possession. The limit on the Clearwater is two fish per day and six in possession. Anglers may keep 20 steelhead for the season. Once limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing for steelhead, even catch-and-release.

Anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit. They must stop fishing when the possession limit is reached - even catch-and-release. Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks, and may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin. All other steelhead must be released unharmed.

In the boundary waters on the Snake River between Idaho and Oregon or Washington, an angler with a valid 2010 Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit may fish where the river forms the boundary between Idaho and Oregon or Washington, but may not fish from the shoreline, including wading, and may not fish in sloughs or tributaries on the Oregon or Washington side. An angler may have only the limit allowed by one license regardless of the number of licenses the angler holds.

For more information on steelhead fishing in Idaho, check the Fish and Game Website http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Waterfowl 2010 Season Opens This Week

The 2010 waterfowl season opens Saturday October 2 in Area 1, northern and eastern Idaho, and on October 9 in Area 2 in southwestern Idaho and the Magic Valley.

The season includes Canada and greater white-fronted geese, ducks, coots and snipe and runs to January 14, 2011, in Area 1 and to January 21, 2011, in Area 2.

A split season for blue, snow and Ross's geese in southwestern Idaho and the Magic Valley runs from October 29 to January 21 and February 19 to March 10, and in parts of the Upper Snake and Southeast regions from October 22 to January 14 and February 19 to March 10.

The daily bag limit is seven ducks; but not more than two female mallards, two redheads, three scaup, two pintails and one canvasback can be part of the bag limit. The daily dark goose bag limit is four, and the daily limit for light geese is 10.

Possession limits are twice the daily bag limit. The daily and possession limit for coots is 25, and the daily limit for common snipe is eight and the possession limit 16.

Hunters 16 or older need to buy a federal Migratory Bird Stamp. All hunters also must buy a federal migratory bird validation. Both are available from Fish and Game license vendors and online at https://id.outdoorcentral.us/.

For additional details, consult the 2010 waterfowl rules brochure available at license vendors, Fish and Game offices and online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Fall Fishing for Chinook Continues in Idaho

Anglers still have plenty of good fall fishing opportunities in Idaho with Chinook salmon in addition to steelhead.

The fall Chinook harvest season continues in the Snake River between Lewiston and Hells Canyon Dam and, this year, in the lower Clearwater River downstream of the Memorial Bridge near Lewiston until October 31 or until further notice, whichever occurs first.

The daily limit is two fall Chinook, only one of which may be an adult and the possession limit is six of which three may be adults. Jacks, which are fish less than 24 inches in total length, are part of the daily and possession limits but anglers are not required to record them on their permits.

They may keep 40 adult Chinook salmon for the calendar year, including spring, summer and fall seasons. Anglers may keep only fish with a clipped adipose fin, evidenced by a healed scar. All salmon with an intact adipose fin must be released.

Salmon 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 by snagging. Salmon 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 from the spring or summer season still is valid.

To increase flexibility, the fall Chinook fishery has been divided into several management areas.

Clearwater River: The Clearwater is open from its mouth, a line from a posted sign on the north bank, south to the western-most point on the south bank, upstream about 1.7 miles to the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge.

Snake River: The Snake is open in four sections:

From the Field: Hunting Private Property

Jim Lukens, with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game

The Salmon Region has a number of hunting opportunities that focus effort on or near private property.

These hunts are designed to reduce property damage and animal numbers. Our two main examples are antlerless elk "greenfield" hunts and controlled antlerless deer "X" hunts. The elk greenfield hunts include units 29, 30, 36A, and the controlled 37-1 hunt. These hunts are restricted to areas outside National Forest boundaries and within one mile of private lands in agricultural production. The controlled X deer hunts include six units in the 21X hunt and four units in the 36AX hunt. These hunts are restricted to private lands only and use of short range weapons. Hunters participating in these hunts must secure permission to hunt on private property.

Many landowners are willing to allow hunting access if asked first. If allowed to hunt on private property, it is imperative that hunters treat the property as if it were their own. This includes packing out trash, leaving gates as found, not shooting toward equipment or buildings, not driving off roads and into fields and cleaning game at an offsite location. Another important issue for hunters to consider is wounded animals that run onto private property or private property under different ownership.

This can be a problem for hunters using short range weapons. Also, this does not give the hunter the right to trespass or fail to retrieve the animal. The hunter must find the landowner, get permission to enter the property and retrieve the animal. In cases when the landowner denies permission, Fish and Game officers or county sheriff's deputies may be able to mediate the issue.

Idaho Fish and Game News is Now Available

The October issue of Idaho Fish and Game News is now available.

This issue covers the remarkable progress of sockeye salmon captive breeding program. More sockeye returned to the Sawtooth Valley this year than in 50 years. This year for the first time in decades, some returning sockeye were released from fish traps to swim on their own to Redfish Lake, where they will spawn naturally in the coming weeks.

Fish and Game News will be available at license vendors and Fish and Game offices statewide. It is also available online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Future issues will cover subjects of interest to hunters and anglers and information that they can use to plan fall hunts and weekend fishing trips.

The new Fish and Game News is smaller but will be 1 every month. It is still provided free of charge to the public.

Ask Fish and Game: Possession Limits

Q. If I shoot my limit of four geese and then the next day shoot four more, I have my possession limit on geese. If I put some in the freezer and smoke some, do they still count against my possession limit?

A. The limit, based on federal law, applies to all waterfowl in possession, whether fresh, frozen, smoked or processed. The geese must be consumed or given away - accompanied by a properly filled out proxy form - before they no longer count against the limit. (The rule is different for upland birds. The possession limit for upland birds ends when the birds are at their final place of consumption.)

Wolves, Fall Seasons Highlight F&G Breakfast Meeting

Area wildlife enthusiasts are invited to Idaho Fish and Game's Sportsmen's Breakfast Meeting on Tuesday, October 5, at the Clearwater Regional Office, 3316 16th Ave., Lewiston.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 a.m., with coffee and several Dutch oven dishes provided.

Fish and Game personnel will present information on a number of topics including:

  • Current information on Idaho's wolf management status.
  • Deer Creek Reservoir Golden Shiner eradication.
  • How the department works with landowners to minimize crop losses caused by big game.

  • Update on the fall steelhead, fall Chinook, big game and upland game seasons.
  • Current enforcement activities, significant cases and new regulations.

The meeting is open to anyone interested in wildlife and is designed to stimulate informal discussions about wildlife issues in the Clearwater Region. Sportsmen's group representatives are welcome to give reports of their group's activities.

Fish and Game Seeks Voluneteers for Habitat Improvement

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is recruiting volunteers to form a team of fish and wildlife habitat specialists.

Team members will be trained in riparian enhancement techniques, focused on improving streamside and wetland habitat in the Magic Valley Region.

Fish and Game hopes to work with this crew to complete at least one project in 2011 and more in future years.

"Fish and wildlife benefit tremendously from quality riparian areas," said Doug Megargle, regional fisheries manager. "Healthy fish habitat starts with a healthy riparian environment."

Regional Wildlife Habitat Manager, Mark Fleming, echoed the importance of these habitats for wildlife.

"Riparian areas are the cornerstone for wildlife in the Magic Valley," he said. "They provide necessary habitat components including food, water and cover for a large variety of species."

Several training sessions and projects will be scheduled in 2010 and 2011. Volunteers are asked to commit to at least one training session and one improvement project during that time.

Fish and Game hopes team members will be motivated to continue the program and participate in future projects as well.

Anyone interested should contact Ed Papenberg at Idaho Fish and Game, Magic Valley Region, at 208-324-4359 or by email: ed.papenberg@idfg.idaho.gov.

Public Comments Sought on Potential Fishing Rule Changes

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is gathering public comments on proposed fishing rule changes as part of setting 2011-2012 fishing seasons and rules.

Fish and Game sent out surveys to a random sample of Idaho residents. Anyone who got a survey letter is urged to complete the survey and send it back.

Anyone who didn't get a letter but would like to comment may do so on the Fish and Game Web site at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/public/.

The proposed changes are listed by region on the Idaho Fish and Game Web site list above. Many of the rule changes are being proposed to simplify current fishing rules and increase fishing opportunity for Idaho's anglers.

The deadline to comment is September 30.

Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day

Hunters and anglers are among the country's best conservationists, and in their honor Saturday, September 25, is National Hunting and Fishing Day.

With birdwatchers, hikers, mountain bikers, canoeists, backpackers, photographers and other recreationists, lots of Idahoans love wildlife and wild places.

Today 34 million people hunt and fish in the United States. By buying hunting and fishing licenses and paying special taxes on firearms and ammunition, bows and arrows, and rods and reels, hunters and anglers generate $100,000 every 30 minutes.

This annual total, $1.75 billion, pays for the much of the conservation work of fish and wildlife agencies in every state. These public agencies serve the residents of their states by overseeing all fish and wildlife, hunted species such as deer and non-hunted species such as robins, as well as all aquatic and terrestrial habitats.

About 100 years ago, hunters and anglers recognized a responsibility for responsible stewardship of the state's natural and wildlife resources. They had watched expanding civilization and unregulated exploitation nearly wipe out some wildlife populations. Many of today's conservation ideals were born in that era.

In the 1960s, hunters and anglers embraced the era's heightened environmental awareness but were discouraged that many people didn't understand the role that hunters and anglers played - and continue to play - in the conservation movement.

In 1972, with urging from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Congress unanimously authorized National Hunting and Fishing Day on the fourth Saturday of every September.

On May 2, 1972, President Richard M. Nixon signed the first proclamation of the annual celebration. Today, National Hunting and Fishing Day remains a great promotion for outdoor sports and conservation.