Press Release

September 2011

Sportsmen Breakfast Planned Oct. 4 at Fish and Game

Area wildlife enthusiasts are invited to an Idaho Fish and Game Sportsmen's Breakfast Tuesday, October 4 at the Clearwater Region office, 3316 16th St., 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 hunting and trapping seasons.
  • Craig Mountain Forestry projects.
  • Progress of Deyo Reservoir Construction.
  • Update on the Fall Chinook and steelhead seasons.
  • Season forecast for 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.

Youth Pheasant Hunt Opens October 1

A youth pheasant season opens statewide Saturday, October 1, and runs through October 7 for all licensed hunters 15 years old or younger.

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 8 in Area 1 and October 15 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.

Hunters 17 and older need a WMA pheasant permit to hunt on Idaho Fish and Game wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked. Pheasants will be stocked on the Payette, Montour, Fort Boise, Niagara and Market Lake wildlife management areas before the youth hunt weekend. For a proposed stocking schedule please see: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=275.

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 2011 Idaho hunting license.

For additional information consult the 2011-2012 upland game rules book available at all license vendors and online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/docs/rules/uplandBird.pdf.

Season Opens on Idaho Grouse

This year, starting Saturday, October 1, upland bird hunters will be able to hunt all five grouse species in addition to chukar and gray partridge and quail within the same week.

There is no season on mountain quail

The last time hunters could participate in the "Idaho grand slam of native grouse" - dusky, ruffed, spruce, sage- and sharp-tailed - was in 1997. To mark the occasion, Idaho Fish and Game would like to recognize the first successful upland bird hunter who harvests one of each native grouse in Idaho. Photos and the hunter's story will be posted on the Fish and Game website. (Fish and Game reserves the right to reject unsuitable photographs.)

Successful hunters may submit their photos to idfg-staff@idfg.idaho.gov.

The sage-grouse season is open from October 1 through 7, with a one-bird daily limit and two-bird possession limit. For details, please refer to the 2011 Sage-grouse Seasons and Rules brochure, available at license vendors and online at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/docs/rules/uplandSage.pdf.

The sharp-tailed grouse season is open in eastern Idaho from October 1 through 31. Hunters are advised to check the upland game bird rules for areas that are open to sharptail hunting, either in the printed brochure or online at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/rules/?getPage=67.

The daily bag limit is two birds, with a possession limit of four after the first day of the season.

Anyone hunting sage- and sharp-tailed grouse must have a sage/sharp-tailed grouse permit at $4.75, in addition to a hunting license.

Some 2011 Waterfowl Seasons Open Saturday

Waterfowl seasons open in eastern and northern Idaho on Saturday, October 1; seasons open in the southwest and south central areas two weeks later on October 15.

Seasons are:

Area 1: All of the state not included in Area 2; northern and eastern Idaho.

  • For ducks and dark geese from October 1 to January 13, with a shorter scaup season from October 22 to January 13.
  • For snow and Ross's geese from October 1 to January 13, 2012.
  • Fremont and Teton counties are closed to light goose hunting.

Area 2: All or parts of Ada, Boise, Canyon, Cassia, Elmore, Gem, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, Owyhee, Payette, Twin Falls and Washington counties.

  • For ducks and dark geese from October 15 to January 27, 2012, with a shorter scaup season from November 5 to January 27, 2012.
  • For snow and Ross's geese from November 6 to January 27, 2012; and reopen from February 18 to March 10, 2012.
  • Parts of Area 2 closed during the spring light goose season are Fort Boise and Payette River WMAs and that portion of the Roswell Marsh Wildlife Habitat Area south of state Highway 18, and the Snake River Islands Unit of the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge in the Southwest Region.

Area 3: For light geese only - includes that portion of the Upper Snake Region within Bingham County in Game Management Unit 63 south of Highway 20 and west of the west bank of the Snake River, and that portion of the Southeast Region within Bingham and Power counties in units 68 and 68A west of the west bank of the Snake River and American Falls Reservoir bluff.

Cold Water Dangers to Hunters, Anglers

Water does not have to be near freezing to kill, it only has to be colder than a person to cause potentially fatal hypothermia.

With the waterfowl seasons about to open, waterfowl hunters who hunt from boats are urged to wear life jackets and take necessary safety precautions when on the water.

Nationwide last year, 15 hunters lost their lives in boating accidents. Eleven victims drowned because they were not wearing life jackets, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation reports. Overloaded boats and failure to wear life jackets are leading reasons Idaho typically loses a couple of waterfowl hunters every year.

Cold water wicks body heat 25 times faster than air at that same temperature. Anyone who falls in has only a few minutes before the cold renders them numb and unable to swim.

Most boats float even when capsized or swamped, so get in or on the boat to get as far out of the water as possible. Wearing a life vest is a must. It will help preserve body heat and keeps even an unconscious person stay afloat. Get to shelter, change into dry clothing and warm up slowly.

Here are some tips to remember when using open boats during cold weather:

Avoid Bear Conflicts: Store Food and Garbage Properly

As hunters venture into the woods this fall, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking them to be mindful of their food and garbage.

The same cautions apply to homeowners in bear country. Most bear complaints happen in later summer and early fall when bears are traveling, searching for food in preparation for hibernation.

Anyone who leaves food out is actually baiting in hungry bears, Fish and Game officials say. Bears have a tremendous sense of smell, and once they get used to finding an easy food source, they'll keep coming back and problems will occur.

Tips around camp:

  • Keep a clean camp. Pick up garbage and store it in a closed vehicle, bear- resistant container, or in a bag tied high between two trees. Store all food the same way. Coolers are not bear-resistant and never keep food in a tent.
  • Don't cook near tents or sleeping areas, and never wear clothes you cook in to bed.
  • Don't bury food scraps, pour out cooking grease, or leave anything that might be tasty on the ground or in the fire pit. Also, store barbecue grills or other smelly cooking gear inside your vehicle or within a sealed bear resistant container.
  • Make game meat unavailable by hanging it at least 10 feet high and 4 feet from the nearest tree.
  • If you see a bear, watch it from a distance and leave it alone. Black bears are not usually aggressive, but the danger may increase if a bear loses its fear of humans.

Tips around home:

Ask Fish and Game: Legal Shot

Q. What kinds of shot are legal for waterfowl hunting? Is lead shot still legal for any kind of waterfowl?

A. Lead shot is illegal for all waterfowl hunting, including ducks, mergansers, geese and coots. Hunters may not hunt waterfowl while in possession of shot other than nontoxic shot approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The shot must be 0.2 inches - T size - or smaller. Only steel shot or shot made from bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer, tungsten-matrix, tungsten-nickel-iron, tungsten-iron-nickel-tin, tungsten-tin-bismuth, tungsten-tin-iron, tungsten-iron-copper-nickel, or tungsten-bronze, are on the list of approved nontoxic shot.

Hunter Education Association Announces Raffle Winner

A $5 investment has netted one Nampa girl hunting and fishing opportunities for years to come.

Ten-year-old Baylie Wilson won a lifetime hunting and fishing combination license - worth more than $1,100 - in a raffle sponsored by the Idaho Hunter Education Association Treasure Valley Chapter.

A combination license is raffled off annually as part of the Association's yearly fund-raising effort.

Described by her grandfather, Steve Masters, as an outdoor girl with a love for fishing and hunting, Baylie is looking forward to using the new license, once she's completed her hunter education course.

The license raffle was launched in February with 1,000, $5 tickets sold in the months that followed.

"The response to the raffle was just great," association board member Jay Stark said. "We appreciate all the support for the Association demonstrated by those who purchased raffle tickets."

Raffle proceeds will be used for range improvements at Black's Creek Public Rifle Range and for youth hunting opportunities in and around the Treasure Valley.

Boy Not Seriously Hurt in Mountain Lion Incident

Thursday evening about 8 or 8:30 p.m. a young boy went out with his dad to look for a family pet bird dog that had been missing since the day before.

They were searching in thick sagebrush near their home in a Mores Creek subdivision when the boy heard noises in the brush. But instead of the missing dog he had hoped to find, he came face to face with a young cougar.

He panicked and ran. The lion gave chase. The boy stumbled and found the cat close by. The cat took a swipe with its front paw, scratching the boy on the arm and hand. The boy yelled to his father, who fired a round from his 9 mm handgun to scare the cat away.

Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers, an off-duty Meridian police officer and a Boise County deputy responded to the incident. With the help of tracking dogs, the officers located the cat, guarding the pet dog it had killed. The officers killed the lion with shots from handguns and a rifle.

The female cat was estimated to be about 50 pounds and a year and a half old.

It is not unusual for young lions to get into trouble after they have left the protection their mother and are trying to learn to survive on their own, Senior Conservation Officer Matt O'Connell said.

When a lion has made physical contact with a human, especially in the circumstance of having killed a pet dog, protocol is to kill the animal, he said.

The boy's wounds were considered minor.

Such events are rare; this the second recorded mountain lion incident involving injury to a human in Idaho. The other involved a 12-year-old boy on the Salmon River in the early 1990s.

Ask Fish and Game: Youth Elk A and B Tags

Q. If I buy an A tag for an elk zone but don't use it, can I hunt the B tag hunt instead?

A. Only if you're a youth hunter. The 2011 Big Game Seasons and Rules explains: Resident youth hunters ages 12 through 17 who purchase a general season elk zone tag, may participate in any A or B tag elk season within the specified zone, regardless of whether they purchased an A tag or B tag. This opportunity for resident youth hunters does not apply to controlled hunts. All other season, weapon restrictions and commission rules apply.

F&G Plans Mentored Youth Waterfowl Hunts

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has scheduled three mentored waterfowl hunting opportunities for youths aged 15 and under in the Panhandle Region.

The hunts are planned for September 24, the opening day of the annual youth-only waterfowl season open only to hunters aged 15 and under. The mentored hunting clinics will be at Boundary Creek Wildlife Management Area, Heyburn State Park and the Clark Fork River delta.

Participation will be by advanced reservation and space is limited. Anyone interested should call to reserve a spot at one of the three clinics and to obtain additional details. For the Boundary Creek and Heyburn hunts, contact Dave Leptich at 769-1414. For the Clark Fork hunt contact Ray Millard at 264-5252.

Young hunters will need to be accompanied by a non-hunting adult and bring a shotgun and ammunition. Young hunters will also need to secure a youth or small game license for $7.25 with a federal migratory bird permit for $1.75, before the event.

Youth participants and a guardian will have the opportunity to spend a morning hunting with an experienced waterfowl hunter. Following a morning hunt, all will be treated to a free barbeque and waterfowl hunting skills clinic.

The idea is to expose youth to a quality hunting experience and provide their guardian with enough training to repeat the experience independently.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is also soliciting experienced waterfowl hunters willing to assist with the clinics. If you want to help pass on the tradition of waterfowl hunting, please call either of the numbers listed above.

Public's Help Sought in Elk Poaching Case

Fish and Game is asking the public for information regarding the poaching of a four-point bull elk northeast of Idaho City on September 15 or 16.

Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) is offering a reward for information in the case and callers can remain anonymous. Contact CAP at 1-800-632-5999, 24 hours a day.

Responding to the initial report, Fish and Game conservation officer Matt O'Connell found the poached bull elk dead in the road near the junction of the 305 and 304A roads in the West Fork Bannock Creek drainage outside of Idaho City. The elk had been shot and none of the meat had been taken. A muzzleloader only cow elk season is currently open in the area where the bull was shot and left.

Evidence was collected at the scene, but O'Connell hopes to learn more about the case from an eyewitness or others who have knowledge of the poaching incident.

"I am very interested in visiting with anyone who has information regarding this poached elk," O'Connell said.

In addition to the CAP hotline, persons may also contact their local Fish and Game office with information regarding this case.