Press Release

February 2012

Public Meetings Set in Panhandle Region on Big Game Seasons

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has scheduled four public meetings to discuss big game hunting seasons for 2012.

Hunting seasons for deer, bear, lion, wolves and elk will be covered in the meetings.

Two morning meetings are slated for Saturday, March 3. One will be at 7 a.m. at the Lions Club at 106 Church St. in Pinehurst. Also on March 3, a meeting will be at 8 a.m. at the Elks Lodge at 628 Main St. in St. Maries. At both meetings, coffee is provided free, and breakfast will be available for those who want it for $7 in Pinehurst and $8 in St. Maries.

On Thursday, March, 8, a meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the Lehman Building at the Bonner County Fairgrounds in Sandpoint. On Friday, March 9, a meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the Coeur d'Alene Resort in Coeur d'Alene.

There are multiple avenues for public input on proposed big game seasons. In addition to the four local public meetings, the public can weigh in on the IDFG website http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/. Statewide big game proposals will be posted on the website.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting Jim Hayden at 208-769-1414; or, through the Idaho Relay Service at 1 800 377 2529 (TDD).

Wolf Season Closed in Southern Mountains

The wolf harvest season in Idaho is closed in the Southern Mountain wolf zone.

Hunters have taken the limit of wolves in that zone.

Hunting season ended December 31 in the Beaverhead and Island Park wolf zones.

Wolf seasons remain open in the Lolo and Selway zone through the end of June.

The season remains open through the end of March in the remaining wolf zones.

Except in zones with limits where limits have been met.

Trapping season remains open through the end of March in parts of the Panhandle Zone and in the Dworshak-Elk City, Lolo, Selway and Middle Fork zones.

For more information on wolf harvests go to the Idaho Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=121.

Fish and Game's Annual Fur Auction Set for March 31

Idaho Fish and Game will auction furs, hides, antlers, traps and miscellaneous hunting and fishing equipment on Saturday, March 31, at the Southwest Region office, 3101 S. Powerline Road, Nampa.

Anyone interested may view the items beginning at 8 a.m., with the auction beginning promptly at 10 a.m.

Auction items include furs, whole carcasses, antlers, and skulls of elk, moose, deer, black bear, mountain lion, otter, beaver, bobcat and fox. All items were either seized as evidence or salvaged. All carcasses are considered unfit for human consumption and are sold for use of the non-edible portions only.

Elk, deer and moose antlers may be sold as small bundles by weight or as single sets attached to skull plates.

A taxidermist-furbuyer license is required in advance to bid on bear parts, mountain lion parts or any furbearer for anyone in the business of buying and selling hides or animal mounts. Resident licenses are $40 for one year, and nonresident licenses are $170. The licenses can be purchased at any Idaho Fish and Game office.

Buyers for personal use are not required to have a taxidermist-furbuyer license.

Fish and Game will accept only cash or personal check. No credit card service will be available.

Nonresident purchasers should be aware that their state may not allow import of the hides or parts of bear, mountain lion, bobcat or otter. Be sure to check state regulations before purchasing these items.

A person who has killed an animal illegally and that animal has been confiscated and put up for sale at the auction, may not buy that animal or any part of it at the auction. Nor may another person buy the animal or any part of it on their behalf. The violation would be considered an illegal purchase of wildlife.

For more information contact the Southwest Region Fish and Game office at 208-465-8465.

Ask Fish and Game: Bear Controlled Hunt Results

Q. I applied for a spring black bear controlled hunt. When will the drawing results be available?

A. Results for spring seasons will be available by March 10. Fish and Game will mail a postcard notification to all successful applicants by March 10. But it is the applicants' responsibility to find out whether they were successful in the controlled hunt drawing. Hunters who applied for spring black bear controlled hunts can find results on the Fish and Game website.

Wolf Control is Part of F&G's Predation Management Plan

In cooperation with Idaho Fish and Game, the USDA Wildlife Services has completed a wolf control action in northern Idaho's Lolo zone.

Over three days in early February, Wildlife Services agents killed 14 wolves from a helicopter. The action is part of, and consistent with Idaho's predation management plan for the Lolo elk zone.

In the Lolo zone, hunters have taken 11 wolves, trappers have taken 11, control efforts earlier in spring 2011 took six, and the most recent control effort took 14 for a total of 42 wolves.

The control action is part of continuing efforts to reduce excess predation on elk herds in the Lolo zone. Elk numbers in the Lolo zone have not met objectives in recent years with predation being the most important factor limiting elk.

In recent years wolves have been identified as the primary cause of death in female elk and calves over six months old. But the habitat in the area is capable of supporting an increased population, Deputy Director Jim Unsworth said.

"We'd like to see one of Idaho's premier elk populations recover as much as possible," he said.

In September, 2010, Fish and Game submitted a proposal to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to allow wolf control actions in the Lolo elk zone under a provision of the Endangered Species Act. The initial target of that proposal was the removal of 40 to 50 wolves.

In May, 2011, after wolves in Idaho were removed from the endangered species list, Fish and Game resumed management and initiated the first control action guided by the predation management plan for the Lolo and Selway elk zones. (http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/planLoloSelwayPredation.pdf)

Fish and Game will continue to monitor elk, moose and wolf populations, and will manage predation with an objective of increasing the Lolo elk herd.

Public Invited to Help Shape Management of Wildlife Areas

Since 1999, Idaho's human population has increased by 21 percent, and Southwest Idaho's Wildlife Management Areas bear witness to that growth having realized a dramatic upsurge in visitation.

This gain in popularity is just one reason why Idaho Fish and Game is now asking the public to help chart the course for future management of these special areas.

Hosted by Fish and Game staff, two public open house meetings are scheduled to allow idea exchange and take public input regarding WMA management.

"We've been managing our WMAs using plans crafted in 1999 and much has changed in the 13 years since," Fish and game regional habitat manager Jerry Deal said. "We invite the public to help us identify WMA management issues, so we can better evaluate management priorities and develop WMA plans that reflect those priorities."

For those unable to attend an open house, copies of current WMA management plans, together with online comment opportunities, will be available on the Fish and Game website (http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.) by the week of February 27. Plan now to attend the open house in your area; both run from 4 to 7 p.m.

Thursday, March 1, at the Fish and Game office, 3101 S. Powerline Road, Nampa.

Wednesday, March 14, in the Trophy Room at Fish and Game headquarters, 600 S. Walnut, Boise.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting Kim Cox at the Fish and Game Nampa office (465-8465) or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-3529 (TDD).

Volunteers Needed for Planting Project

Wildlife habitat in the Magic Valley is getting a helping hand, and you can be part of that effort.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the Bureau of Land Management invite area residents to join them in planting bitterbrush and sagebrush at a recently burned area near King Hill this spring. The project is part of the Volunteers for Habitat Restoration program, a cooperative effort to improve upland and riparian wildlife habitat in Southern Idaho.

Bitterbrush is a preferred food source where it occurs on mule deer winter range, regional wildlife habitat manager Mark Fleming said.

"The Blair Trail Fire near King Hill severely impacted habitat for wintering mule deer in our region," he said. "By planting seedlings, we'll help to jump-start the recovery of this area. Even with intervention, it could take a generation before we see bitterbrush begin to thrive again."

Sagebrush seedlings are a key component of habitat for the greater sage-grouse, a species of concern in Idaho. Shrub seedlings are important for a variety of game and non-game species alike.

The agencies feel that volunteers are a key component in their efforts to preserve fish and wildlife for future generations.

"When a person works on the landscape, they've made an investment in that landscape, and people tend to protect their investments," Fish and Game volunteer coordinator Ed Papenberg said. "We're planting seedlings, but we're also building a community which values its natural resources."

"Besides, it's just plain fun," he said. "You get to spend time in open country and meet people."

Each planting effort is an all-day affair, including driving time, and participants need to prepare for any weather. Planting will take place at various sites near King Hill on the first three Saturdays in April.

Anyone interested in signing up should call Idaho Fish and Game at 324-4359 and speak to Ed Papenberg.

Follow Regional Fish and Game Managers on Twitter

If you are an avid outdoors enthusiast, "twitter" is the word you may use to describe the rapid beating of your heart when that huge muley pops over the ridge or that lunker takes your fly line clear into the backing.

But "twitter" has a new meaning for sportsmen nowadays. That's because the public can follow Fish and Game happenings statewide and now in this region using one of the most recent of social media tools-Twitter.

A couple of years ago, Fish and Game expanded its statewide public outreach efforts through the addition of its Facebook page and Twitter account. Both have been extremely popular with the public.

Now, in an effort to bring more pertinent and local information to our sportsmen, the southeast region is doing a regional pilot program with Twitter. Initially, regional fisheries manager, Dave Teuscher, and regional wildlife manager, Toby Boudreau, will have Twitter accounts. These staff members will begin to "tweet" important or interesting current information to their followers.

These regional Twitter accounts will not decrease the use of our traditional media outlets like newspaper, TV news, radio and public meetings-but will be an expansion of our efforts.

To receive "tweets" about regional happenings, you can follow Dave at IDFG5Fishing and Toby at IDFG5Wildlife. They will try to "tweet" at least once a week.

"Our goal is to get more information out quickly and easily to as many interested people as possible," said Toby Boudreau, wildlife manager for the southeast region.

Twitter, launched nationally in 2006, is an Internet-based information sharing website. It can be accessed using a computer or cell phone with internet access. Twitter is limited to 140 characters on any "tweet." So the messages aren't long, but you can get people enough information or a link to more information if they have further interest.

Upland Game Rules Book Hot off the Press

The new upland game, turkey and furbearer seasons and rules books are back from the printer and will available later this week.

The 2012-2013 & 2013-2014 Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey seasons and rules brochure includes some changes that affect some spring turkey controlled hunts.

The new rules books includes several changes to turkey seasons.

In the Southeast Region, general fall turkey seasons in units 73, 74, 75, 77 and 78 have been replaced with a controlled hunt with 150 permits. In addition, permit numbers were reduced in Unit 71:

  • Spring controlled hunts 9015 and 9016 were each reduced to 50 permits, from 75.
  • Fall controlled hunts 9021 and 9022 were each reduced to 75 permits, from 100.

And hunt 9021 was shortened by a month to run from September 15 to November 30. The season had been from September 15 to December 31.

General fall turkey seasons in units 22, 23, 24, 31, 32 and 32A in the Southwest Region have been replaced with two controlled hunts: one in units 22, 32 and 32 A with 125 permits, and one in unit 30 with 20 permits.

The application period for spring turkey controlled hunts began February 1 and will run through March 1. The application fee is $6.25 per person for residents and $14.75 for nonresidents.

Hunters may apply for controlled hunts at any hunting and fishing license vendor, Fish and Game office; with a credit card by calling 1-800-55HUNT5; or online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov. An additional fee is charged for telephone and Internet applications.

If drawn a hunter must also purchase a turkey controlled hunt permit and turkey tag. Hunters must have a valid 2012 Idaho hunting license to apply.

Other upland game changes:

Commission Increases Steelhead Limits in Upper Salmon

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Thursday morning, February 16, increased the bag limits for steelhead in part of the upper Salmon River, effective immediately.

The daily limit is six steelhead, 18 in possession and 40 for the spring 2012 steelhead season. The increase affects river sections 15 through 19 on the upper Salmon River from Long Tom Creek - about three-quarters of mile upstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River - to a posted boundary about 100 yards downstream of the Sawtooth Hatchery.

All other seasons and rules remain unchanged.

Steelhead anglers must have a valid 2012 Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit. Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks, and may keep only steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin. All other steelhead must be released unharmed.

Consult 2011-2012 fishing rules brochure for exceptions and special restrictions. For more information on steelhead fishing in Idaho, check the Fish and Game Website http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Register Now for Junior Naturalist Program

Registration is open for the MK Nature Center's exciting new Junior Naturalist Certification Program for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders.

The program is designed to stimulate children's natural curiosity and sense of wonder, to help them learn about their natural environment and to become stewards of the earth.

It will be held over Spring Break, meeting from 9 a.m.to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, March 26-30, and also after school on Monday afternoons, from April 2-April 30.

Participants will learn through observing, exploring and questioning; explore the basics of water, trees, plants, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, birds, fungi and weather; study sustainability; participate in a volunteer environmental activity; and earn junior naturalist certification.

Program fee is $75. Contact Sara Focht at MK Nature Center at 287-2906 or sara.focht@idfg.idaho.gov for registration information.

Ask Fish and Game: Stocking Fish

Q. When does Fish and Game start stocking fish, and how can I find out where they are being stocked?

A. Fish and Game stocks some waters all year round. Other waters are stocked at various times during the year. For a current stocking report contact the regional Fish and Game office, or go online to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/stocking/. Also check the regional fishing reports at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=232