Press Release

October 2010

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.

Don't Forget to Report on Deer, Elk, Pronghorn Tags

Hunters are required to file a report on their deer, elk and pronghorn hunts.

But Idaho Fish and Game is going paperless this year with the harvest reporting program. Therefore most hunters did not receive the paper report form as in past years, if they purchased their tag after June 2010. This will save Idaho Fish and Game and hunters time, money and postage.

To make it easier to file a report, Fish and Game has reinstated the 24-hour, toll-free phone line to speak to a live operator when filing reports. Call 1-877-268-9365 to file reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Or go to the Fish and Game Web site to file a report at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/harvest_report/.

Remember that hunters are required to file about their hunting experience, within 10 days after harvesting, or within 10 days after the end of your hunt.

To file their reports, hunters will need to know their tag numbers or hunting license numbers, the number of days they hunted, the game management units they hunted in, the date they harvested, and the number of antler points on the animal they harvested, or the length of the horns for pronghorns in inches.

These harvest data are valuable to Idaho Fish and Fame for properly managing the big game populations.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Sage-grouse Working Group Seeks Comment on Conservation Plan

No other bird better symbolizes Idaho's high desert country than the greater sage-grouse.

Sage-grouse were once abundant in sagebrush habitats of the western United States and Canada, but they have been on the decline in recent years largely due to changes and impacts to habitat.

The East Idaho Uplands Sage-grouse Local Working Group, which began in February 2007, has developed a draft conservation plan that provides information, guidance and conservation tools for protecting and enhancing sage-grouse populations and their habitats in the uplands of eastern Idaho.

This plan, which is available for public review and comment, was prepared through collaboration by members from diverse perspectives, including representatives of relevant government agencies (including Idaho Fish and Game), tribes, non-government organizations, hunters, conservation groups, landowners, livestock operators and interested individuals in a manner that supports sage-grouse and a healthy diversity and abundance of wildlife species and human uses.

Anyone who would like to review this plan, may find a copy on Fish and Game's Web site at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/grouse/conserve_plan/eastIdUplands.... It is currently included as Appendix J of Fish and Game's statewide conservation plan for sage grouse. To receive a hard copy in the mail or to have a copy e-mailed to you, please contact working group facilitator, Wendy Green-Lowe, at 208-523-6668.

Instructions for submitting public comments by mail, phone, or fax are found can be found on the front page of the working group's conservation plan or by contacting Wendy Green-Lowe directly. Public comments are due by November 8.

F&G Working on Prescribed Burns at Sand Creek WMA

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is involved with prescribed controlled burns at the Sand Creek Wildlife Management Area outside of St. Anthony.

"We are burning the wetlands for vegetation management," said Josh Rydalch, regional habitat biologist who manages the area. "Helping to produce nesting cover waterfowl is part of our goals."

The burns began on Monday, October 15, and will continue as long as conditions allow and until the goals of the burn have been met. Anyone heading out to Sand Creek WMA should be aware that certain areas may be posted closed as part of this operation. Because of the burning, atmospheric conditions may result in dense patches of smoke in the surrounding area.

For more information contact the Fish and Game regional office in Idaho Falls at 208-525-7290.

Flies and Fish to be Part of Old Town Pocatello Art Walk

Something fishy will be going on during the Art Walk on November 5 in Old Town Pocatello.

Portneuf River Outfitters, at 233 North Main, will be showcasing some of the area's best "artists" specializing in a unique medium - fly tying.

Many may think of an artificial fly as nothing more than a hook covered in fancy yarn and feathers destined for a trout's mouth, but in fact, each fly is a unique piece of art.

Stop by Portneuf River Outfitters between 5 and 8 p.m. November 5, and see first-hand how thread, chenille, feathers and elk hair are transformed into amazing replicas of nature's tiniest creatures. You are guaranteed to never look at fly tying as just another sportsmen's hobby.

While at Portneuf River Outfitters, take a minute to make your own piece of art. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be demonstrating a version of the Japanese art Gyotaku - or fish rubbing. This art form dates back to at least 1862 as a way for fishermen to record their prized catches.

Traditionally, a special ink was placed on the fish, and the image was then transferred to rice paper, creating a fairly accurate and beautiful, though somewhat abstract, representation of the fish.

Fish and Game will provide a variety of rubber fish molds, paint and paper for participants to try their own hand at this art form. But to create your own wearable art, bring a T-shirt or canvas bag. This activity is free of charge and is fun for all ages.

For more information, contact Roger Thompson of Portneuf River Outfitters at 232-4776 or Jennifer Jackson of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at 232-4703.

Ask Fish and Game: Hunter Orange

Q. Am I always supposed to wear hunter orange while hunting?

A. Hunter orange is required only when hunting the nine Idaho Fish and Game wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked. The areas are Fort Boise, C.J. Strike, Payette River, Montour, Sterling, Market Lake, Mud Lake, Cartier Slough and Niagara Springs. The minimum requirement is 36 square inches of hunter orange above the waist - an orange ball cap fulfills this requirement. Waterfowl and turkey hunters are not required to wear hunter orange. It is recommended, however, that all upland and big game hunters wear hunter orange whenever they are hunting. Though the statewide hunting accident rate is low, more than 70 percent of recorded incidents are visually-related.