Press Release

September 2010

Youth Pheasant Hunt Opens October 2

A youth pheasant season opens statewide Saturday, October 2, and runs through October 8 for all licensed hunters 10 to 15 years old.

The week-long hunt opens a half hour before sunrise in Area 1, 2 and 3, except on the C.J. Strike, Fort Boise, Montour and Payette River wildlife management areas, where shooting hours begin at 10 a.m. Shooting hours continue statewide through a half hour after sunset.

The regular season opens October 9 in Area 1 and October 16 in Areas 2 and 3. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a licensed hunter 18 years or older -one adult may accompany more than one youth.

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.

Youth hunters do not need a WMA pheasant permit to hunt on Idaho Fish and Game wildlife management areas. Pheasants will be stocked on the Payette, Montour, Fort Boise, Niagara and Market Lake wildlife management areas before the youth hunt weekend.

All upland game hunters are required to wear hunter orange during the pheasant season when hunting on wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked. And all hunters must have a valid 2010 Idaho hunting license.

F&G Evaluates Rearing Pheasants in the Field

This year's pheasant season will include something extra for a few lucky hunters.

Idaho Fish and Game is working with a couple of hunting groups to evaluate the effectiveness in raising pheasant chicks in remote self-contained, rearing units.

Biologists are trying to determine the survival to harvest.

Fish and Game has raised and released about 2,400 rooster pheasant chicks on the Niagara Springs, Sterling and Market Lake wildlife management areas and three private land parcels in the Magic Valley and Southeast regions. Each rooster chick has a mark within its wing that can only be seen under a special light.

To evaluate survival, Fish and Game biologists will place wing barrels at all locations in which the chicks were raised and released. They are asking each hunter who harvests a pheasant on these areas to remove both wings and place them in provided envelopes, fill out the information on the envelope and place in the wing barrels on site.

In an effort to get as many hunters to comply as possible, Fish and Game will enter each envelope with both wings submitted in a drawing for one of three $100 gift certificates.

The winner will be drawn after the end of the pheasant hunting season.

The youth pheasant season runs from October 2 through October 8. The regular season opens October 9 in Area 1 of north Idaho, and October 16 in the rest of the state - Areas 2 and 3.

Deer Season Opens Soon in Most of Idaho

The regular deer season opens October 10 in most regions of Idaho.

In some areas, a regular deer tag allows hunters to take either mule deer or white-tailed deer. A white-tailed deer tag allows hunter to take only a white-tail. Many areas across the state also offer antlerless youth hunt opportunities, but check the 2010 big game rules brochure carefully for the areas where youth hunts are open.

To hunt deer in Idaho during the regular season, a hunter must have valid 2010 Idaho hunting license and a deer tag.

Fish and Game law enforcement officials ask that hunters report any poaching or suspicious activities they encounter or hear about while hunting. Most serious poaching cases are cracked and won only with the help of ordinary Idaho residents, hunters or others who report crimes.

Hunters with information about a wildlife crime may call the Citizens Against Poaching hot-line at 1-800-632-5999, 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous. Or they may call the nearest Fish and Game office or local law enforcement.

Hunters also are encouraged to pick up a free copy of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's backcountry game meat care guide. The guide has helpful tips to ensure proper handling of game to avoid wasting the meat. The guide is available at Fish and Game offices and license vendors. A link to the guide can be found on the Fish and Game Web site at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/rules/bg/.

And for help planning their hunt, hunters can use the hunt planner on the Web site at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner.

Remember to ask first before hunting on private land.

Motorized Restrictions Changed in the Magic Valley

A reminder to hunters: Idaho Fish and Game off-highway vehicle restrictions have been removed in two game management units in the Magic Valley Region.

Earlier this year, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission removed Fish and Game's motorized vehicle use restrictions have been removed in units 48 and 57. But existing U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management motorized travel regulations remain in effect.

To learn more about Fish and Game's motorized vehicle rule and where it applies go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/atv/atv.pdf.

From the Field: Forest Grouse

By Jim Lukens, Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Idaho's three species of forest grouse - dusky, ruffed and spruce grouse - are found right here in the Salmon Region.

Each is unique in appearance, behavior, and habitat preference. The dusky grouse, formerly called the blue grouse, is a large bird about 20 inches long of uniform sooty-gray color. Females are smaller, mottled brown above, with a gray belly. Males sport a bright yellow-orange eye comb and white feathers surrounding fleshy reddish-purple air sacs on each side of the neck. During courtship, these air sacs are inflated for a flashy show of color that amplifies their deep, owl-like hooting call, audible up to a quarter mile away. In the breeding season, dusky grouse favor forest edges and openings, where they feed on a mixed diet of insects, green plants, and berries. In winter, in an unusual reverse migration, they head uphill to dense conifer stands, where they subsist on fir needles.

The spruce grouse is smaller and stockier than the dusky. Males have a black throat edged with white, black breast, and a scarlet eye comb. Female plumage varies from gray to reddish brown. The male's courtship display includes a series of low frequency hoots and a gliding flight ending in two loud wing claps - like gunshots. Spruce grouse inhabit dense conifer forests of spruce, fir and lodgepole pine. In winter, their diet consists entirely of conifer needles. In other seasons, they feed on green shoots, leaves, berries, flowers and insects.

Spruce grouse are noted for their boldness with humans, often feeding or perching mere feet from observers, a behavior that has earned them the nickname "fool hen."

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.

Ask Fish and Game: Deer Season Opening

Q. I heard a rumor that deer seasons will open on October 9 instead of October 10 because the ninth is a Saturday. Is that right?

A. No, that is not correct. The season dates printed in the 2010 Big Game Brochure are correct-many units open October 10 this year. The season dates and additional rules are available online at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt.

Hunters Who Help With CWD Project May Win Rifles

Idaho Fish and Game looks for evidence of chronic wasting disease by obtaining samples at check stations, taxidermists, meat cutters, and head collection barrels throughout southeast Idaho.

These methods, however, have not provided enough samples to meet Fish and Game's annual goal of 500 samples from deer and elk. This year, Fish and Game is working with the Southeast Idaho Mule Deer Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to increase the sampling effort.

Hunters who bring their deer and elk heads to the Fish and Game Southeast Region office at 1345 Barton Road in Pocatello will receive a raffle ticket giving them a chance to win a rifle. Hunters who have their deer or elk sampled at regional deer and elk check stations will also have a chance for the rifles.

Hunters bringing in their harvested deer heads will get a chance at a .257 Weatherby Vanguard RH bolt action rifle donated by the Mule Deer Foundation.

Hunters bringing in their elk heads to be sampled will be placed in a drawing for a Marlin XL7C 25-06 with a 3-9x40mm scope donated by the Elk Foundation.

Each hunter providing a sample will get a ticket for their respective species drawing, and of course, all animals have to be legally harvested within Fish and Game's Southeast Region.

"I am hopeful that our partnership with the Southeast Idaho Mule Deer Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will boost our samples this hunting season," said Corey Class, regional wildlife biologist for Fish and Game's Southeast Region. "We really appreciate the donations from these two local sporting groups to help bolster our CWD sampling effort.

Learning to be Wild

For $35 dollars you can buy a year's worth of science lessons for a classroom with a monthly subscription to Wildlife Express.

"I don't know how you guys do this for this price," said Kay Mantooth, Riverside Elementary teacher. "The price is unbelievable for the resource it gives you."

Wildlife Express is a newspaper 1 each month of the school year by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for upper elementary students. Each issue focuses on an Idaho wildlife species or concept and brings it alive for kids.

For $35 the classroom receives a set of 30 copies each month of the school year plus a copy of the teacher's activity guide The Educator's Express.

"There hasn't been a unit that I haven't used this year," Mantooth said. "The kids had something visual, it was appealing, it was easy to follow along. And the teacher's edition gave me background knowledge I didn't already have prior to that lesson. So it came with a resource that I have found just invaluable."

PTOs, parents, grandparents and outdoor groups are encouraged to consider sponsoring a subscription to Wildlife Express for your local school or the classroom of your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, favorite neighborhood kid, or other child in your life.

This year's topics include: Chinook salmon, Idaho bats, white-tailed deer, "Wild Careers" such as wildlife biologist, American marten, diving ducks, urban wildlife, turkey vulture and "things that sting."

Give a class the chance to be a little wild this school year by sponsoring a subscription to Wildlife Express. Part of the cost of publication is covered by the Nongame Wildlife Trust Fund.

For more information go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/news/newsletters/wild_express/.

File Deer, Elk, Pronghorn Harvest Reports Online

Mandatory hunter reports will be web-based this year; most hunters will get no paper copies to send back.

All deer, elk and pronghorn must complete and submit a report for each tag issued within 10 days of harvest or within 10 days of the close of the season for which their tag was valid.

Fish and Game officials say web-based digital reporting is cheaper, more accurate, and results are available sooner. Hunters who supply a valid e-mail get verification they complied with the reporting requirement and will be in the drawing for 10 super tags.

Hunters will need their hunting license or tag number. To submit the harvest report online go to: https://id.outdoorcentral.us/id/HunterReporting/welcome.

Or go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov, and click on the orange Hunter Report logo below the photo.

They will be asked to enter the number of days hunted in each game management unit and season; the date of any harvest and the unit it was taken in; the sex, and number of points on each side of antlers or length of pronghorn horns in inches; and the type of weapon used.

Hunters who file online can see the data as it will go into the database to ensure it is correct.

Summaries of last year's big game hunts are available at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/misc/species.cfm#biggame.

For questions about or problems with filing a harvest report please contact the Fish and Game Wildlife Bureau at 208-334-2920.

To file reports on other species contact a regional Fish and Game office.

Ask Fish and Game: Age Requirement

Q. My son turns 12 the day after opening of the deer season we want to hunt; does he have to wait to buy a license and tag??

A. To buy a license to hunt big game, a person must have completed a hunter education program - unless he or she was born before January 1975 - and must be 12 years old. But youths may buy a license while still 11 to apply for a controlled hunt, provided they turn 12 before they hunt. The tag, however, can't be issued until they turn 12. They must be 12 to buy a general season deer or elk tag.