Press Release

December 2011

Ask Fish and Game: Road Kill Salvage

Q. I understand the rules for salvaging road kill have changed?

A. Proposed changes to Idaho Fish and Game wildlife salvage rules that would allow the recovery of road killed game animals under some circumstances are awaiting legislative review. If approved by the Legislature, the changes would not take effect until the 2012 legislative session ends.

River Otter Season to Close December 15

The river otter trapping quota for Idaho's Clearwater Region was reached at 2 p.m., Monday, December 12.

The otter season for the entire region closes 72 hours after the harvest quota has been met. As a result, the otter season for the entire region will officially close at 2 p.m. Thursday, December 15.

Trappers will be allowed to keep otters trapped within this 72-hour period provided their personal quota of two has not been reached. Any otter trapped in the Clearwater Region after 2 p.m. December 15 must be surrendered to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for a $10 reward.

Spring Steelhead Season Opens Soon

With the opening of the spring harvest season Sunday, January 1, steelhead fishing in Idaho continues through the winter on parts of the Clearwater, Salmon, Little Salmon, Snake and 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 will need a 2012 Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit to fish for steelhead.

Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks - except on the Boise River where barbed hooks may be used - and may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin.

Steelhead fishing on the:

F&G Seeks Comments on Upland Game Seasons

Idaho Fish and Game is working on recommendations for furbearer and upland game hunting season rules, except sage-grouse, for 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Final recommendations will be presented to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission at the January 2012 meeting. All rules, except for sage-grouse, will be 1 in one brochure.

Some ideas that will be considered include:

  • Expanding youth hunting opportunities.
  • Moving upland game bird seasons to the third Saturday in September.
  • Increasing the chukar/gray partridge bag limit back up to 8 each.
  • Increasing possession limits to three times the daily bag limit.
  • Reductions in fall turkey hunting in the Southeast and Southwest regions.
  • Increasing otter quotas in the Panhandle, Clearwater and Southeast regions.
  • A few changes to areas open or closed to beaver trapping in the Clearwater and Magic Valley Regions.

Regional public hearings will be announced when they are set. Public comments will be accepted until January 6 at regional meetings, on a webpage that will be available on the Fish and Game website later this week or by mail to Upland Game Comments, P.O. Box 25, Boise ID 83707.

Sage-grouse seasons will be set separately during the August 2012 commission meeting. Nonbiological rules are considered by the commission during summer, and then reviewed by the legislature the following winter.

Give the Gift that Lasts all Year

It's that time of year again, and here's an idea for the outdoors person on your list.

Go to any Idaho Fish and Game regional office around the state and buy them a gift certificate for a 2012 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. Season 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, pronghorn or moose hunts, and Super Hunt Combos for deer, elk, pronghorn 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 the all Super Hunts will be in June and August 2012.

For more information, or to purchase gift certificates, stop by any Fish and Game regional office or headquarters in Boise.

Idaho Fish and Game News is Now Available

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

This issue covers the idea of celebrating holidays with the bounty of Idaho's forests, fields and streams. It offers inspiration to go out and harvest something or to dig something out of the freezer to cook up for the holidays.

A Dutch oven full of wild game stew and fall seem to go together. This issue includes a few cooking suggestions and some short recipes. Also included is reminder of open seasons and some tips on caring for game birds and meat in the field.

Fish and Game News is free and available at license vendors and Fish and Game offices statewide and online at

Ask Fish and Game: Ice Fishing

Q. If someone 13 or under doesn't need a license, can they still fish through five holes in the ice?

A. Yes. Any angler may fish through the ice with up to five poles or lines and up to five hooks per line. (There are some exceptions in the Southeast Region, please see the 2011-2012 fishing rules brochure for details.) A two-pole validation does not allow more than five lines while ice fishing. All lines must be attended by the angler. For safety reasons, holes may be no larger than 10 inches in diameter - except on Bear Lake in Southeast Idaho where anglers may dip net cisco through any size hole. Anglers may use gaff hooks only to land fish through a hole cut or broken in the ice in waters that have no length restrictions or harvest closures for that species. Anglers who use any enclosure or shelter for ice fishing and plan to leave it unattended overnight on the ice, must have the owner's name, telephone number, and current address legibly marked on two opposing sides. Shelters must be removed from the ice before the spring thaw.

Exotic Winter Greenery can be Fatal to Wildlife

Many have heard the old wives' tale that poinsettias are fatal to pets, and while that may not be so, here is an exotic plant related problem that is sadly all too true.

Winter can be a cold bleak time where any hint of green is welcome, especially if it sports a cute little red berry. Unfortunately, the exotic evergreen Japanese yew plant is like Kryptonite to Idaho's moose and other big game.

Japanese yew is an attractive exotic ground covering shrub that has been around for decades. Planted to decorate gardens in town, its rich green foliage and red berries perk up an otherwise monotonous winter landscape.

As people have started to live further and further from town, surviving by telecommuting over the Internet, they brought their urban landscaping practices with them. Unfortunately, when big game or livestock are involved, just a handful of Japanese yew can be fatal. So toxic, it can quickly kill something as large as an adult moose.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game urges homeowners who live close to wintering moose and other big game to be sure they don't have Japanese yew planted by their homes or cabins.

In recent years local businesses have given out small Japanese yew plants as Christmas gifts. The hardy shrub planted in an urban setting poses little threat to big game, but in remote areas, it is a tantalizing morsel that moose and other wildlife are unable to avoid. For moose it is eye candy of the most deadly variety.

Japanese yew can kill any size moose that happens to be lured in by its delicious appearance.

Homeowners seeking to learn more about plants that are toxic to wildlife should contact their local University of Idaho Extension Office.

F&G Seeks Information on Deer Poaching Near Idaho Falls

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking information about a recent deer poaching incident barely a mile outside the Idaho Falls city limits.

Wednesday, December 7, someone shot a mule deer buck in a field near the intersection of 55th East and 1St Street. The head and antlers were removed, and the rest of the deer was left in the field. Neighbors in the area say they heard a rifle shot around 7 a.m. It appears from the evidence that one person walked out into the field to cut off the deer head.

In this instance not only is poaching a concern, but also human safety because a high-powered rifle was used in close proximity to residences.

Anyone with information about this incident should call the Fish and Game office at 208-525-7290 or the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 800-632-5999. Caller may remain anonymous.

Fish and Game to Host Hungry-for-Habitat Holiday Dinner

Area wildlife enthusiasts are invited to a Hungry-for-Habitat Holiday Chili Dinner on December 14 at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game office in Lewiston to celebrate what people can do for backyard wildlife.

The free event will run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will offer a bowl of soup or stew, bread, refreshments and holiday desert. Information on developing backyard wildlife habitat, various nest boxes, bat roost houses and plans for constructing your own will be available.

Donations are appreciated with the all proceeds to benefit the Lewiston Wildlife Habitat Area located next to the Fish and Game office at 3316 16th St., Lewiston.

Registered with the National Wildlife Federation as a "Backyard Wildlife Habitat Area," the five-acre wildlife-friendly oasis has a paved trail that winds through a variety of habitats. Various evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs, grasses, and forbs attract a diversity of wildlife - 115 species of birds have been observed, as well as small mammals, deer, amphibians and reptiles.

A wildlife viewing shelter with one-way glass provides excellent wildlife photography opportunities. A stream-viewing window provides a unique underwater view of the stream habitat. At each entrance, information boxes contain bird checklists and brochures about the 15 educational stations developed for self-guided tours.

Once a hayfield, development of the area began in 1985 with the most expenses and labor donated by local businesses, schools, youth groups and volunteers. The goal is to showcase the importance of habitat in an urban environment and what people can do in their own backyards to benefit wildlife.

For questions, please call Jen Bruns, Fish and Game's Clearwater Region volunteer coordinator at 208-799-5010.

Some Upland Game Seasons are Still Open

Though many big game seasons are winding up, many upland game seasons are still open including several upland birds as well as cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares.

Hunters will find upland hunting rules and shooting times in the rules brochure at license vendors and Fish and Game offices as well as on the department Website at

Seasons still open include:

  • California and bobwhite quail through January 31 in northern and southwestern Idaho. Closed in eastern Idaho.
  • Chukar and gray partridge through January 31.
  • Pheasants through December 31 in Area 1 in northern Idaho and Area 3 in southwestern Idaho; closed in Area 2 in eastern Idaho.
  • Forest grouse, which includes ruffed, spruce and dusky (blue) grouse, through December 31 in most of Idaho; and through January 31 in the Panhandle Region.
  • Cottontail rabbits through February 28 and snowshoe hares through March 31. The daily bag limit for both is eight, with 16 in possession after the first day.

There is no season on pygmy rabbits. To distinguish, note that cottontail tails are dark above and white underneath and the pygmy's tail is buffy gray with no white. The cottontail is more than a foot long, and the pygmy is less than one foot.

Contact the local Fish and Game office to determine whether pygmy rabbits are found in your hunting area.

The fall general turkey season runs through December 15 in game management units 1, 2 (except Farragut State Park and Farragut WMA) 3, 4, 4A, 5 and 6 in northern Idaho.

All hunters need a valid 2011 Idaho hunting license. Turkey hunters also will need tags. The 2011 license will expire December 31, 2011. January hunters must get a 2012 license and any necessary permits.

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

Hunters are required to file a report on their deer, elk and pronghorn hunts within 10 days after harvesting an animal or within 10 days after the end of the hunt if they did not harvest.

Hunters are required to file a report for each tag they bought whether they went hunting or not.

To make it easier to file a report, Fish and Game has a 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 Website to file a report at:

To file reports, hunters need to know their tag numbers or hunting license number, 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 Game for managing big game populations.

Hunters who had not yet filed their reports were sent a reminder postcard in mid-November. The postcard is just a friendly reminder, and some hunts are still open, a few until the end of December. Reports should be filed when the hunt is over.

A random sample of hunters who have not yet filed their reports will be contacted to get their report after all their hunts have closed. These survey results will be used to estimate the total harvest. Hunters who do not wish to be called can file their own reports.

Harvest data for past years is available on the Fish and Game website at: