Press Release

October 2011

Ask Fish and Game: Make the Call

Q. What should I do if I think I see a hunter doing something illegal while I'm out hunting? 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 - 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Or fill out a report on Fish and Game's website at: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/feedback/getForm.cfm?getForm=3. 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.

Rural Residents Urged To Prevent Conflicts With Bears

A bumper crop of apples means that rural residents in the Upper Snake Region need to care for their apple trees to avoid a bumper crop of bear conflicts. "So far, I've investigated four different sites where trees loaded with apples have had any limbs that bears could reach torn down," Senior Conservation Officer Charlie Anderson said. So far all of the incidents have involved black bears, but grizzlies are also known to frequent the area. Residents are urged to clean up all windfalls as soon as they occur and to harvest ripe apples from the trees. While most people picture bears to be vicious meat-eaters, they are in reality highly opportunistic omnivores that will consume whatever food sources they can obtain easily. "Bears are at that stage of the year when they are trying to put on as much fat as they can to prepare for winter, and a tree full of ripe apples is seen as easy pickings," said Conservation Educator Gregg Losinski of Idaho Fish and Game. Because bears are seeking the easiest to obtain food sources as possible, targeting apple trees near human residences not only puts humans and pets at risk, but can also lead bears to becoming too comfortable around humans. Many people also wrongly assume that grizzly bears cannot climb trees. Adult females bears pass on foraging techniques to their young, so a cub that learns about apple trees from his mother will be back when he is a larger adult. Anyone who wants to know more about living in bear country should visit the Be Bear Aware website, at http://goo.gl/kKtYY, by the Center for Wildlife Information.

F&G Commission to Meet in Coeur d'Alene next Month

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet November 9, 10 and 11 in Coeur d'Alene. A public comment period begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 9. The commission's routine agenda includes appointing a commission representative to Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. A complete agenda will be posted on the Fish and Game website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/commission/?getPage=184 when it becomes available.

Lessons Learned from Ruffed Grouse Research in Idaho

By David Musil - Idaho Department of Fish and Game Idaho is rich with a variety of game birds, but one that has taken the backseat in popularity to quail, chukars and pheasants is the ruffed grouse, relegated to "camp meat" by some big game hunters. Yet a growing number of us realize and appreciate the challenges of hunting "ruffies." Unfortunately, little is known about Idaho's ruffed grouse, so during the past few years, Fish and Game biologists have been studying a population on the Boise National Forest north of Ola near Sage Hen Reservoir, an area known to hunters as Game Management Unit 32A. During the spring, male ruffed grouse perch atop downed logs and rapidly flap or "drum" their wings to attract females. This is the perfect time to take the pulse of the ruffed grouse population, by counting these "drummers." During boom years, counts in forests east of the Rocky Mountains can peak on average at 33 drumming males per square mile, whereas bust years average only 11 males; the cycle repeats every 10 years or so. In Unit 32A, numbers have held steady at around 13 males per square mile since 2007. It is assumed that the number of female grouse equals that of males, because they hatch at an even ratio. Females are harder to count because they are secretive, so biologists tried a technique of playing recordings of chicks in distress to attract hens into the open. "Peeping" chicks are irresistible to females, which instinctively want to help a crying chick. The technique yielded much lower numbers of females than drumming males. More work is needed on this technique before the conclusion is reached that there are truthfully fewer females. More study, involving the capture of hens to monitor nest success and chick survival, also needs to be done in the future.

Salvage Order Issued for Jensen Grove

The Southeast Region ofice of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has been notified by the cty of Blackfoot that water will no longer enter the pond at Jensen Grove Park during the last week of October. Fish in Jensen Grove's pond will not survive when water levels become unsuitable. Therefore, Fish and Game is issuing a salvage order for the Jensen Grove Park pond from October 15 through January 1, 2012. All bag, possession, size and number limits will be lifted during that time. During the salvage order timeline, fish may be taken by any method except use of firearms, explosives, chemicals or electric current. A valid Idaho fishing license will still be required. For more information on this salvage order call Fish and Game in Pocatello at 208-232-4703.

Horsethief Reservoir Camping Closed for the Season

Camping at Idaho Fish and Game's Horsethief Reservoir Fishing Area in Valley County is closed for the season. Year-round day use fishing opportunity on the reservoir remains open, but camping is permitted only between May 1 and September 20 each year. Seasonal closures are not unique as many Idaho state parks and national forest lands are also closed for the winter. Horsethief Reservoir is one of the few places to camp free of charge, which contributes to its popularity with users. Camping areas at Horsethief were developed in the 1990's to limit resource damage from unregulated use. Since then, Idaho Fish and Game has staffed Horsethief with camp hosts for the peak fishing and camping season. Because of limited resources, the camp host services, maintenance services and camping end mid September each year.

Southwest Idaho Waterfowl Seasons Open October 15

Waterfowl seasons open in southwestern and south-central Idaho on Saturday, October 15; seasons already are open in the rest of the state. Seasons are: 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.
  • For snow and Ross's geese from October 23 to January 13, 2012; and reopens from February 18 to March 10, 2012.
Area 1: All of the state not included in Area 2.
  • 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.

Pheasant Hunt Opens Saturday in Northern Idaho

The regular pheasant season opens Saturday, October 8, in northern Idaho Area 1. The season opens in the rest of the state-Areas 2 and 3-on Saturday, October 15. Shooting hours start one-half hour before sunrise and end one-half hour after sunset in all three areas, except on Fort Boise, C.J. Strike, Montour and Payette River wildlife management areas, where shooting hours start at 10 a.m. on opening day. 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 aged 17 and older need a wildlife management area permit to hunt pheasants on the nine Idaho Fish and Game wildlife management areas where pheasants are released, including the Fort Boise, C.J. Strike, Payette River, Montour, Sterling, Market Lake, Mud Lake, Cartier Slough and Niagara Springs wildlife management areas. The permit costs $23.75. All pheasant hunters are required to wear hunter orange on wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked. For a proposed stocking schedule please see: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=275. And all hunters must have a valid 2011 Idaho hunting license. For more information, go to the upland game hunting page on the Fish and Game website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Deer Season Opens in October 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 hunters to take only a white-tail. Many areas across the state also offer antlerless youth hunt opportunities, but check the 2011 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 2011 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 hotline at 1-800-632-5999, seven days a week, 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 tips to ensure proper handling of game to avoid wasting the meat. It is available at Fish and Game offices, license vendors and online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=61. And for help planning their hunt, hunters can use the Hunt Planner on the website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner. Remember to ask first before hunting on private land.

Big Game Hunters: Keep Predators in Mind

As big game hunters take to the woods, they are reminded that they are not alone at the top of the food chain. Each year, Idaho Fish and Game receives reports of wolves being attracted to hunters as they call elk, wolves visiting hunting camps and large predators eating carcasses that were not properly hung. Hunting increases the chance of running into or attracting wolves and other carnivores. Carcasses and gut piles attract bears, lions, and wolves and should be treated carefully to avoid losing game meat. The rule of thumb is to try to get the carcass out of the woods the same day it is killed. If the carcass remains overnight, it helps to place the gut pile on a tarp and drag it away from the carcass. Hunters should leave clothes, human scent, tarps or other items to deter carnivores from scavenging meat. If possible, hang it between two trees, about 10 feet off the ground and four feet from the nearest tree to keep bears and other animals from getting it. When returning to the kill, hunters should approach the carcass carefully and view it from a safe distance. Carnivores, especially bears, may be close by and might attempt to defend the carcass. Some bears, wolves, coyotes and other scavengers may venture into campsites if they smell meat or other foods. Place game poles downwind and away from camp and stock so that if a large carnivore comes to investigate, it does not scare your stock. Make sure the meat is secured 10 feet off the ground and four feet from a tree. Bears and wolves may eat carcasses hung within reach. Hunters and other people who have dogs should be aware that wolves may attack and injure dogs. It often helps to keep dogs in kennels or inside buildings at night and to not let them roam freely when humans are not around. When fresh wolf sign is found, owners should place dogs on restraints and keep them supervised.

Hunters, Anglers Must Stop at F&G Check Stations

With the opening of the general deer season, Idaho Fish and Game enforcement officers will be setting up check stations across the state at major access points to hunting units with open seasons. All hunters and anglers are required to stop at check stations, whether they have any game animals or fish in the vehicle or not. They must stop if going to their hunting or fishing spot or returning home from their hunting or fishing. They must stop even if they were unsuccessful. Some check stations are biological, some are enforcement, and some are both. Biological check stations gather weight, length, species, sex, and the number of antler points if game animals. Enforcement check stations look for compliance with fishing and hunting rules, including proper licenses and tags, validation of tags, evidence of sex, waste of game, size and bag limits. Fish and Game law enforcement officials also 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 local sheriff's office, the nearest Fish and Game office or the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous, and they may be eligible for a reward.

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.