Press Release

October 2010

The F&G Commission Will Meet in Jerome This Month

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet November 17, 18 and 19 in Jerome.

The meeting will start with a public comment period beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 17.

The commission's routine agenda items include setting fishing seasons for 2011-2012 and appointing a commission representative to Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Hunters Urged to File Big Game Hunter Reports

Many general deer seasons have ended, and hunters are urged to file mandatory hunter reports early.

Mandatory hunter reports are web-based this year; most hunters did not get paper copies to send back. All deer, elk and pronghorn hunters must file 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.

Hunters can now also file their hunter report with a live phone operator toll-free 1-877-268-9365, 24 hours a day.

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 reporting requirements 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 hunting 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 the nearest regional Fish and Game office.

Idaho F&G Offers Trapper Education Course

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be offering a trapper education course December 3 and 4 in Challis.

This course will cover a variety of topics that promote safe, responsible and ethical trapping and outline the role trapping plays in the management of wildlife populations. Trapper education will be a two-day course with one full day devoted to field time, during which students will learn selective trapping techniques for many different species, as well as fur handling and pelt preparation methods.

The course is open to people of all levels of experience, including those who would like to become instructors. The course is recognized by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and is accepted nationwide by states that require a trapper education course to receive a trapping license.

Anyone interested in attending the course or becoming an instructor may contact Senior Conservation Officer Andy Smith at 208-940-0715 or the Salmon Region office at 208-756-2271.

Idaho Fish and Game News is Now Available

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

This issue covers the results of wildlife migration corridors crossing highways, and some of the things being done to reduce wildlife deaths and improve human safety. This summer the Idaho Transportation Department completed a highway wildlife underpass on State Highway 21 northeast of Boise.

The highway cuts the annual migration route of one of the largest mule deer herds in the state. And it is the site of an annual slaughter of deer and elk as well as vehicle damage and human injuries.

Fish and Game News will be available this week at license vendors and Fish and Game offices statewide, and it is already available online at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/news/fg_news/.

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: Make the Call

Q. What should I do if I think I see somebody poaching?

A. Get as much information as possible, such as a description of the person or persons, a description and license number of any vehicles, and note the location. Then Make the Call to the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999. It is staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Or fill out the report form on the Idaho Fish and Game Website at: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/about/enforcement/report_poacher.cfm.

Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward if the information they provide leads to a citation. Or folks can contact a local Fish and Game conservation officer, the Idaho State Police or local law enforcement.

Steelhead Harvest Season Continues

Steelhead harvest fishing season is still open, and though the fall Chinook season has closed in Idaho waters, there is still plenty of exciting fishing left.

The steelhead harvest season is open on the Clearwater River, the Salmon, the Little Salmon and the lower Snake rivers.

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, 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 immediately.

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/cms/fish/steelhead/.

Waters open for steelhead harvest are:

F&G Seeks Help in Elk Poaching on East Fork Indian Creek

Hunting is like all other sports in that there are rules to how the game is played.

Without rules things fall apart, and the challenge and satisfaction of winning are lost. Idaho Fish Game is seeking help from the public to locate the individuals responsible for illegally killing a bull elk and leaving it to waste Saturday, October 16, on the East Fork of Indian Creek in Unit 59.

"The elk was killed mid-day on Saturday the 16th," said senior conservation officer Lew Huddleston, who is working on the case. "Two suspects were also observed carrying a large set of elk antlers away from the area."

The field dressed carcass of a large bodied elk was found partially concealed in the area. The antlers had been removed from the bull, but based on his body size the antlers would have been trophy quality.

"The carcass had been covered with sticks making it look like they intended to return and recover the meat, but they never did, resulting in the elk being left to waste," Huddleston said.

The Beaverhead Zone, where Unit 59 is, was open for muzzleloader antlerless elk hunting to those holding a Beaverhead A Tag, no hunt was open in that unit that allowed the harvest of a bull elk.

Fish and Game is asking that anyone who might have been in the field in the vicinity of the East Fork of Indian Creek on Saturday, October 16, or who might have heard about activities related to this incident to contact the department with whatever information they may have.

During the hunting season the Citizens Against Poaching hotline is staffed round the clock. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for rewards.

Call the hotline at 1-800-632-5999 or Huddleston at 208-390-1624.

F&G Seeks Help Solving Moose Poaching

Idaho Fish and Game is asking for help in determining who shot and wasted a cow moose discovered October 19 along the Zaza Road on the Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area south of Lewiston.

The entire carcass was left to waste and was found under the electrical power line near the Zaza Road west of Kruze Meadows. Officers believe the moose was shot sometime late last week or over the past weekend.

There is currently no moose hunt in progress in the area.

"Hunters should be outraged," said Rick Cooper, Fish and Game conservation officer based in Lewiston. "The moose population is already low in this area, and we really need help in solving this crime."

Anyone observing suspicious activity in this area or with information about this crime is encouraged to contact the Fish and Game office in Lewiston at 208-799-5010 or the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999.

Callers can remain anonymous and will be eligible for a $500 reward.

Fort Boise W M A: Return to the Good Old Days

By Clair Kofoed, Wildlife Biologist - Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Most long-time bird hunters in the Treasure Valley are aware of the existence of Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area off U.S. Highway 95 northwest of Parma.

It is one place the office-bound bird hunter can still go to spend an early morning chasing roosters, or a teenager can try to bag a green-headed mallard after school without worrying about rattling the windows on the new subdivision that has somehow invaded the old hunting spot.

At 1,200 acres, Ft. Boise offers plenty of room to stretch your legs and give a four-legged hunting companion - needed in the extra-heavy cover - a much-deserved workout. For a map and complete description of Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area, go to this link on the Fish and Game Website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wma/FtBoise/.

Game-farm rooster pheasants are released up to three times each week on the management area during hunting season. Generally, a gamebird is at least seen - and for the more experienced user - bagged. Ducks can also be seen and sometimes taken, although weather patterns and drought in the Pacific Flyway duck rearing areas make that experience a little less certain these days.

The area really shines as a "go to" for the urban hunter and plays a major role in letting young hunters bag a bird while keeping old timers in the game.

What the hunter will generally not experience, however, is solitude; the wildlife management area can get pretty crowded. When we look at the census data and see the rate of growth in the area, it's easy to see that the valley will never be like it was ten or even five years ago. Because of this, users of Fort Boise WMA need to be conscious of sportsmanship, safety and simple good manners when hunting on the area.

U. S. D. A. Adds to Conservation Efforts in Idaho

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has added 40,000 acres to the Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse SAFE initiative in Idaho.

The acreage will be added through a portion of the Conservation Reserve Program called "State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement," or SAFE, a program run by the Farm Service Agency. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack approved the addition of 95,000 acres for conservation projects in Idaho, Kansas and Washington on October 20.

Through cooperative efforts, such as the SAFE initiative, farmers and ranchers can play a key role in protecting wildlife that are classified as species of greatest conservation need. These additional "SAFE acres" will provide new opportunities for state wildlife agencies, non-profit organizations, farm groups and other conservation partners to work with farmers and ranchers to restore wildlife habitats and conserve species voluntarily, to prevent their need to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Idaho farmers and ranchers previously have enrolled 24,000 acres in this existing CRP SAFE project to increase quality grassland, shrub steppe, mountain brush and riparian habitat for grouse.

Columbian sharp-tailed grouse rely heavily on CRP and CRP SAFE for critical nesting and brood-rearing habitat. Though they are not listed as either threatened or endangered, the Columbia sharp-tailed grouse have been petitioned twice for listing by environmental advocacy organizations.

SAFE is a voluntary program administered by the Farm Service Agency. Because of the program's popularity, the agency received enrollment requests beyond the number of available acres. Landowners who are interested in enrolling land in SAFE should visit their local FSA service center.

New Master Naturalist Class Starting in January

The Sagebrush-steppe Chapter of the Idaho Master Naturalist Program is offering a new training session starting January 11.

The cost is $60 per person. The volunteer Idaho Master Naturalist Program consists of 48 hours of training and education for participants and 40 hours of volunteer service by participants for certification. The program mission is to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to work toward stewardship of Idaho's natural environment.

The Sagebrush-steppe Chapter is based in Boise and is sponsored by the Idaho Botanical Garden, the Foothills Learning Center and Idaho Fish and Game's Morrison Knudsen Nature Center. Volunteers will complete their volunteer service with these three organizations during their first year of participation.

Training topics include geology, ornithology, herpetology, aquatic ecosystems, ecology, mammalogy, botany and more. Classes will be a mixture of lectures by professionals, hands-on activities and field trips.

Trainings are held most Tuesday mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through the end of April.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Dickey at the Idaho Botanical Garden at 208-343-8649 or by email at elizabeth@idahobotanicalgarden.org. To download the registration form, visit the Idaho Botanical Garden Website (on the left column, choose Education, then Adult Education and Sagebrush-steppe Master Naturalist Program).

U. S. Fish & Wildlife Takes Wolf Management Lead in Idaho

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has taken over wolf management in Idaho and plans to open a 24-hour, toll-free line for calls related to endangered gray wolf management within Idaho.

The action comes in response to Idaho Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter's announcement that the state would no longer manage wolves as a designated agent under the Endangered Species Act.

The toll-free line would serve as a clearinghouse to help the public report wolf mortality and find answers to other wolf management questions as the transition from state to federal management occurs.

"We want to assure the public that the Fish and Wildlife Service will investigate all wolf depredation incidents and take appropriate action," said Robyn Thorson, director for the Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Region. "When livestock depredation is reported, we will continue to work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services Division as it investigates depredation by problem wolves, and we will authorize wolf control as situations dictate."

Procedures for reporting wolf depredation incidents remain unchanged. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services Division will continue to respond to suspected wolf depredations on livestock or pets. To report wolf depredations, contact Wildlife Services at 866-487-3297 or 208-378-5077.

In August, a federal court found that the Fish and Wildlife Service's rule delisting wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains was not valid and returned wolves to the endangered species list.

In Idaho south of Interstate 90, wolves are protected as an experimental population. Anyone may legally shoot a wolf in the act of attacking any type of livestock on their private land or grazing allotment, and anyone may shoot a wolf chasing or attacking their dog or stock animals anywhere except within National Park Service lands.