Press Release

December 2010

Elk Baiting Poachers Fined, Lose Hunting Privileges

Two California residents and a north Idaho man have pleaded guilty in a case of elk illegally killed over bait in Boundary County.

Idaho Fish and Game officers began working the suspected elk baiting case in December 2009. Suspects were observed setting out bait to attract elk, but they didn't kill any elk.

This year Fish and Game officers staked out the site again. The suspects returned.

On property belonging to Richard Raine, of Bonners Ferry, enforcement officers observed Raine's daughter Barbera Johnson, 40, of Sacramento, Calif., hunt and kill a six-by-seven point bull elk from a tree stand at the bait site.

Boundary County Prosecutor Jack Douglas applied for a search warrant for Raine's property. Magistrate Judge Justin Julien issued the warrant on December 11.

Idaho Fish and Game officers assisted by US Border Patrol and Idaho State Police served the warrant on December 12. They found a female elk killed by Robert Johnson, 41, also of Sacramento, hanging in a shop with the bull elk killed by Barbera Johnson.

Fish and Game officers arrested Robert Johnson and issued citations to Barbera Johnson and Raine.

All three suspects appeared in court in Boundary County on Monday, December 13.

Robert Johnson pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of unlawfully taken elk and one count of taking an elk over bait. He was fined $3,000 and assessed $2,250 in civil penalties and $350 in court costs. Barbera Johnson pleaded guilty to hunting elk without a license, hunting elk without a tag and taking elk over bait. She was fined $3,000.

Both lost their hunting privileges five years.

Raine pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of unlawfully taken elk. He was fined $1,000 and lost his hunting privileges for two years.

Egin-Hamer Area Closes January 1

Some people consider the number 13 to be unlucky, but as the Egin-Hamer Area closure moves into its 13th year, all parties involved agree that luck has been on their side.

What started out as an idea by local county commissioners to reopen a popular farm to market road 13 years ago, continues to be a success not just for humans, but also for wintering wildlife.

The lack of human disturbance created by the closure has allowed herds of deer, elk, and moose to spend more time down on the desert between St. Anthony and Dubois during crucial portions of the late winter and early spring. So, once again Idaho Fish and Game, the Bureau of Land Management, and Fremont County are closing the Egin-Hamer area for access starting January 1 through the winter and spring to protect wintering wildlife in this area.

The Egin-Hamer Area closure places nearly 500 square miles off limits to human entry to protect wintering deer, elk and moose herds. The closure begins on January 1 and lasts through the end of March on lands south of the Egin-Hamer Road and until April 30, north of the road. Signs are posted marking the area north of the Egin-Hamer road in fluorescent orange, while the signs for the earlier opening in the southern portion are lime green colored.

Every year, joint enforcement by Fish and Game, BLM, and Fremont County law enforcement officials make dozens of contacts related to closure violations. Depending on the agency making the contact, penalties can range into the hundreds of dollars and result in a Class B misdemeanor on the violator's record. Again, last May on the opening day after the closure, a joint task force of county, state and federal employees spread out across the area to make sure the public understood that even though the area was open, certain cross-country travel restrictions were still in place.

Fish and Game Proposes Improvements to Sportsman's Park Boat Launch

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has proposed a major renovation to the Sportsman Park boat launch located on the north end of Hayden Lake.

As proposed, the renovation will include a new 20-foot wide launch surface and an expanded turn around in front of the launch to accommodate boats up to 24 feet in length. The boarding docks will be replaced, and a new dock approach will be installed. A boat preparation lane will be established on the downhill turn before the launch.

The entire area will be paved with asphalt and striped to organize parking. A second parking area will be established. In total, the site will accommodate 38 vehicle-trailer combinations, eight passenger vehicles and three handicapped spaces.

Curbs and storm water control will be added. A precast cement restroom will be installed. Lights will be added to increase security and facilitate early morning and evening use by boaters.

At completion, the facility is expected to significantly improve boater access to Hayden Lake.

Anyone interested in the Sportsman Park boat launch project should contact Bryan Helmich at the Coeur d'Alene Idaho Fish and Game office 208-769-1414. People many also submit written comments to: Idaho Dept. Fish and Game, 2885 W. Kathleen Avenue, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83815, attn: Sportsman's Park Boat Launch. Please submit comments by January 1.

Tasty Landscaping Attracting Moose Into Town

By Mark Rhodes -- Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Every winter, Idaho Fish and Game gets calls about moose in town.

They are attracted to town by edible ornamental and native plants and shrubs that are easy food sources.

Generally the moose appear on the edge of town. Sometimes, however, they will find their way well into suburban neighborhoods or downtown areas.

Though this winter has just begun, several moose already have found their way well into the city limits of Coeur d'Alene. This creates quite a stir and a long list of possible problems.

Fish and Game usually recommends giving the moose a day or two to find its way out. It found its way into town, it can find a way out. That is the favored option.

Many people expect Fish and Game to show up immediately and move the moose. That sounds far easier than it actually is.

Drugs administered by a dart are used to subdue a moose. The drug is hard on the moose's system, and can be fatal if it is especially agitated or its weight misjudged. A moose rarely goes under the influence of the drug right where it gets darted. They can move a considerable distance through neighborhoods once darted. When it finally succumbs to the tranquilizer, it is heavy, and eight people are needed to carry it to a modified horse trailer.

The drug used on the moose is dangerous to humans. Fish and Game is always concerned about the possibility of an errant dart being lost where it could come into contact with people.

Having a moose in town can be novel and interesting but only for a short time. They incite neighborhood dogs. They surprise people heading to the newspaper box. They cause problems with traffic. And most of all they become agitated and dangerous when approached too closely by people.

Hunting, Fishing Seasons Open During Holidays

There's still time to bag that Christmas goose, or maybe a nice solstice-season steelhead.

For hunters and anglers itching to get out in the field or to wet a line during the holiday season, several opportunities are available.

For upland game hunters, the cottontail season is open through February 28, and snowshoe hare season through March 31. There is no season on pygmy rabbits.

The pheasant season in Areas 1 and 3 is open through December 31. The forest grouse season also is open through January 31 in north Idaho's Area 1 and through December 31 in the rest of the state. Seasons for bobwhite and California quail in Area 2 are open through January 31. Chukar and gray partridge seasons are open statewide through January 31 as well.

Waterfowl seasons are also open through the holidays - to January 14, in Area 1, northern and eastern Idaho; and to January 21 in Area 2, southwestern Idaho and Magic Valley.

Hunters and anglers must have 2010 licenses and permits through December 31; on January 1, they will need new 2011 licenses and permits.

Waterfowl hunters 16 or older must have a federal Migratory Waterfowl Stamp, available at Idaho Department of Fish and Game offices, local post offices and some vendors and good through the end of the season. Please consult the rules brochure for details and bag limits, or go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

For anglers with time off during the holidays, the fall steelhead season remains open through December 31. The spring steelhead season starts January 1, but anglers will need a new steelhead permit and a 2011 fishing license to fish after December 31.

Spring Steelhead Season Opens Soon

A surefire cure for cabin fever, steelhead spring harvest season opens January 1 and continues until April 30 on many river segments, except parts of the Salmon, on the Little Salmon, the Snake above Hells Canyon Dam and the Boise rivers.

The steelhead limit is three per day, nine in possession and 20 for the season. Once limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing, even catch and release.

On January 1, anglers need a 2011 Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit.

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.

Steelhead fishing on the:

It's Not Too Soon to Enter Super Hunt

Last minute gift idea: get your favorite hunter a chance to win the hunt of a lifetime.

The first drawing is still several months away, but it's not too early to enter Idaho Fish and Game's Super Hunt.

The Super Hunt is a fund-raising drawing for 40 big game tags. The tags are handed out to winners in two drawings. Entries are drawn for elk, deer, pronghorn and moose tags. Winners can participate in any open hunt in the state for deer, elk, pronghorn or moose. That includes general hunts and controlled hunts.

Fish and Game has changed the price of Super Hunt and Super Hunt Combo entries in an effort to simplify sales for the fundraising drawings and to allow electronic entries, instant processing and to eliminate the need for filling out tickets by hand. Entries are no longer sold in packages. The simplified pricing allows the purchase of any number and combination of Super Hunt and Super Hunt Combo entries.

The first Super Hunt entry for a species costs $6. Each additional entry for the same species purchased at the same time costs $4. The Super Hunt Combo entries work the same way. The first one costs $20, and each additional entry purchased at the same time will cost $16.

The first drawing is in June when entries are drawn for eight elk, eight deer and eight pronghorn hunts as well as one moose hunt. One Super Hunt Combo entry also will be drawn that will entitle the winner to four hunts - one each elk, deer, pronghorn and moose.

The second drawing is in August with two winners for elk, two for deer, two for pronghorn and one for a moose along with another Super Hunt Combo.

Winners can participate in any open hunt in the state for deer, elk, pronghorn or moose, including general and controlled hunts.

Ask Fish and Game: New Licenses

Q. I want to give my grandkids hunting and fishing licenses for Christmas - I want it to be a surprise, and I don't have the documentation it takes to buy a license. How do I do this?

A. It is simple and easy to make this kind of gift, and it works for lifetime licenses as well as annual licenses. Every Idaho Fish and Game office will sell you a gift certificate, which can be redeemed by the giftee at Fish and Game offices only, anytime within one year. Fish and Game cannot accept credit cards. Licenses and tags for 2011 went on sale December 1, but the new licenses are not valid until January 1.

F&G Commission Suspends Wolf Species Management Plan

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission, in a telephone conference call Wednesday, December 8, suspended Idaho's 2008-2012 species management plan for wolves.

The 2002 Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, approved by the Idaho Legislature and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, remains in effect as the foundation for wolf management in the state.

With wolves back on the endangered species list, the 2008 plan is moot, said Clearwater Region Commissioner Fred Trevey. It is uncertain when federal protection will end and Idaho will get back full management authority. It is also unclear what conditions will exist when wolves are delisted.

"Keeping the 2008 plan active during this period of uncertainty does not serve any useful purpose," Trevey said.

The 2008 plan was developed when wolves were delisted for the five-year period during which the Fish and Wildlife Service would monitor progress of the delisted species.

"The 2008 plan was intended as an adaptive implementation plan for a delisted wolf population, as we have for all big game species, but circumstances on the ground have changed," Fish and Game Director Cal Groen said.

The commission called for continued pursuit of wolf control actions under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act for the protection of ungulate herds while wolves remain on the endangered species list.

Commissioners also postponed further consideration of the specifics of day-to-day state management until wolves are delisted. Once wolves are delisted, the commission will direct Fish and Game to revisit wolf management, consistent with the state's 2002 wolf plan.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

It's getting close to that time of year again, and here's an idea for anyone who's looking for a gift that's always in style, never the wrong size or color, and usable every day of the year.

Go to any Idaho Department of Fish and Game regional office around the state and buy them a gift certificate for a 2011 hunting and fishing license. They make good stocking stuffers.

A gift certificate is the best way to get them their hunting and fishing license for Christmas. Adult residents age 18 and over have to buy their own license because they need to show proof of residency.

Idaho Fish and Game gift certificates can be redeemed only at Fish and Game regional offices.

Several options and price ranges are available. Lifetime licenses cost from $276.75 to $1,113.00, depending on the age of the recipient. Seasonal licenses sell from $7.25 for junior hunting to $117.25 for the Sportsman's Package. A hunting license costs $12.75, and a fishing license costs $25.75.

The Sportsman's Package includes hunting and fishing licenses, tags for deer, elk, bear, mountain lion, turkey, salmon and steelhead as well as archery and muzzleloader permits. That is a savings of nearly a $70 over buying the items separately.

If playing a game of chance is more your style, the Idaho Fish and Game also offers tickets for Super Hunt drawings for individual deer, elk, antelope or moose hunts, and Super Hunt Combos for deer, elk, antelope and moose. The money raised from the purchase of these tickets goes to the Access Yes! Program. The tickets can be purchased at any license vendor.

Super Hunt entries cost $6 for the first one, and $4 for each additional entry purchased during the same transaction. Super Hunt Combo tickets cost $20 for the first one, and $16 for each additional entry purchased during the same transaction.

The drawings for Super Hunts will be held in June and August 2011.

Idaho Fish and Game News is now Available

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

This issue covers Idaho's hunter and bowhunter education program. Since the program was initiated more than 30 years ago, the average annual number of accidents and fatalities has dropped dramatically to less than six injuries and two fatalities annually from nearly 30 accidents and nine fatalities annually. Hunter education teaches more than just firearm safety, however. It also teaches new hunters about sportsmanship, hunting rules and conservation.

Also included in this issue are details of the options in completing hunter education courses. And it encourages hunters to sign up early. Those who wait until the last minute may find classes filled, or that volunteer instructors are not available because they have gone on their own hunts.

Fish and Game News will be available at license vendors and Fish and Game offices statewide. It is also 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.

A new Fish and Game News is 1 every month, and it is free.

Ask Fish and Game: New Fishing License

Q. I just purchased a 2011 Idaho fishing license; can I use that to fish to the end of 2010?

A. No. To fish in December 2010, you must have a valid 2010 fishing license. The 2011 license is not valid until January 1. But a resident 2010 fishing license is still available for $25.75. A nonresident daily fishing license is available for $12.75 for the first day and $6 for each additional day, or a three-day license and permit for steelhead is available for $37.50.