A big game scoring day has been scheduled for Wednesday, February 29, at the Idaho Fish and Game regional office in Idaho Falls. Measuring will be done according to Boone & Crockett standards. Anyone interested must bring their antlers, horns or skulls to the Fish and Game's Idaho Falls office on Tuesday, February 28, no later than 5 p.m. in order for them to be scored. The office is at 4279 Commerce Circle, Idaho Falls. Items brought in for measuring must be free of flesh and must have air-dried for a minimum of 60 days. Please note that air-drying is not the same as freezer storage. Information required at the time of drop-off includes: - Hunter or owners name. - Date of harvest. - Location of harvest, including big game unit, county and state. - Address and telephone number. - Guide's name and address, if applicable. The service is free, so even if you don't think an item will qualify for the record book, but are just curious as to what it will score, bring it by anyway. All items must be picked up sometime between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, March 2. For more information, contact the Idaho Falls Fish &Game office at 208-525-7290.
On January 22, a Hailey-area homeowner killed a wolf that had been observed near his house for at least two days and was acting sick or injured. Immediately after killing the wolf, the homeowner notified Idaho Fish and Game. Two Fish and Game officers arrived and retrieved the dead wolf, a juvenile female. The animal was emaciated and had green fluid diarrhea. Fish and Game wildlife veterinarian Mark Drew preformed a standard necropsy, including submitting tissue samples to test for rabies as well as parvovirus - a common canine virus. Test results were negative for rabies. On February 14, lab reports came back positive for parvo, which causes vomiting and diarrhea, and ultimately death from dehydration. Parvovirus is highly contagious, and is often fatal in canids, including wolves. Pups between six weeks and six months are more susceptible than adults. Domestic dogs can be vaccinated against parvovirus. This was not the first time parvo has been found in wild wolves. In August 2009, six juvenile wolves were found dead on national forest land north of Fairfield. Necropsies on the partially decomposed wolves eventually determined the cause of death to be canine parvoviral enteritis. Idaho Fish and Game works closely with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and the State Department of Agriculture on monitoring diseases of human health and livestock concern found in wildlife.
The spring of 2012 will be an important period for Idaho fishery managers and anglers alike, as Idaho Fish and Game not only sets new rules, but develops a new state fisheries management plan as well. Every other year, Fish and Game sets new fishing rules. This gives the public and Fish and Game the opportunity to modify rules within the sideboards set by the state fisheries management plan. The management plan is the commission-approved document that sets policy and direction for the fisheries program for a five or six year period. Although rules can be changed every two years, any changes need to be consistent with management plan direction. The plan will cover the period from 2013 through 2018, and the rules will cover the period 2013-2014. Developing new rules and a new management plan concurrently will give anglers the opportunity to provide input at the "big picture" policy level, as well as the more familiar rules and regulations level. One fishery that will likely be a main topic of discussion is Priest Lake. The current management plan states Fish and Game will manage for a yield and trophy lake trout (mackinaw) fishery in Priest Lake. It also states Fish and Game will restore native fish populations in Upper Priest Lake by yearly removal of lake trout with nets. Jim Fredericks, regional fishery manager, says the past six years have demonstrated that trying to manage the lakes as two independent systems is neither practical nor feasible in the long-term. At the same time, an increasing number of anglers have questioned why, considering the progress of the Lake Pend Oreille lake trout suppression effort, Fish and Game doesn't embark on a similar effort in Priest Lake?
Hunters have a few days left to apply for this spring's controlled bear hunts. The application period ends Wednesday, February 15. Spring black bear seasons start April 15 - some controlled hunts open later. Leftover tags for spring bear controlled hunts go on sale April 1. 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 1-800-824-3729; or online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov. The application fee is $6.25 per person for residents. The nonresident application fee is $14.75 per person. An additional fee is charged for telephone and Internet applications. Hunters who want to apply must have a 2012 hunting license.
Idaho Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore's video statement about the planned Idaho Wildlife Summit August 24 - 26 is available online. "We want to facilitate a conversation about the current status and direction of wildlife management in Idaho in order to keep it responsive to changing needs and interests," Moore says. The video goes on to explain why Fish and Game is planning this meeting, what it hopes to accomplish, and Fish and Game's responsibilities under the public trust doctrine. Moore also notes the importance of involving the public in the future of wildlife management in Idaho. Watch the video on the Fish and Game Wildlife Summit webpage at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/summit/.
Idaho Fish and Game plans several public meetings around the state to discuss 2012 big game seasons and fishing seasons and rules. Comments taken at the meetings will summarized and presented to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission at the March meeting when big game seasons are set. The Clearwater Region will host four open house meetings 5 to 7 p.m. on:
- Monday, February 27, at the Senior Citizens Center, County Road, Grangeville.
- Thursday, March 1, at the Fish and Game Clearwater Hatchery, 18 Hatchery Roe Drive (downstream of the North Fork Clearwater River), Orofino.
- Wednesday, February 29, at the Latah County Fairground Exhibit Bldg, 1021 Harold, Moscow.
- Thursday, March 8, at the Fish and Game regional office, 3316 16th St., Lewiston.
- Tuesday, February 28, at the Idaho Fish and Game Salmon regional office, 99 U.S. Highway 93 N, Salmon.
- Wednesday, February 29, at the U.S. Forest Service office, U.S. Highway 93, Challis.
- Tuesday, February 21, at the Fish and Game McCall Office 555 Deinhard Lane, McCall. For salmon and steelhead issues only.
- Thursday, February 23, at the Best Western Salmon Rapids Lodge, 1010 S. Main St., Riggins.
- Wednesday, February 29, at the Fish and Game Headquarters, 600 South Walnut, Boise.
- Wednesday, February 29, at the he Fish and Game McCall Office 555 Deinhard Lane, McCall. Big Game open house from 4 to 7 p.m.
- Thursday, March 1, at the Fish and Game office, 3101 S. Powerline Road, Nampa.
- Monday, March 5, at the Weiser High School library, 690 W. Indianhead Road, Weiser. Big game open house from 4 to 7 p.m.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet March 21 - 23 in Boise. A public hearing will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, in the Trophy Room at Fish and Game headquarters 600 S. Walnut St., Boise. The meeting starts at 8 a.m. Thursday; routine agenda items include a legislative update and season settings for deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion and gray wolf. A complete agenda will be posted online when available at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/commission/?getPage=184
Four men were jailed and fined thousands of dollars Monday, February 6, in Custer County after pleading guilty to charges stemming from an investigation into illegal hunting activity in the Yankee Fork drainage. A fifth man was sentenced in January. Two others were warned. Jailed and fined were Juan Pasillas-Garcia, 44, of Hailey; Sergio Pasillas-Garcia, 39, and Bernardo Amaya, 38, both of Phoenix; and Martin Pasillas-Garcia, 45, of Torrence, Calif. Jose Pasillas-Garcia, 30, of Hailey, had his jail sentenced suspended. The sentences were some of the most severe for wildlife crimes that the state of Idaho has seen in a case that began on October 14, when an Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer watched two hunters leave their truck and hike up the mountain. "I hid in the brush and ended up waiting nine hours for them to return," Regional Investigator Ryan Hilton said. "It was a long, cold day, but by being out there I was able to hear the shots that we later confirmed illegally killed a six-point bull elk closed season and also took a video of them loading an illegal deer into their truck." Hilton was among Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers who had been investigating suspicious activities of two local men, two Arizona residents and one California resident, after receiving tips regarding the groups' taking over-limits of deer and elk and hunting while the season was closed. "We set up a camp in the same drainage to track their activities and either dispel or confirm the allegations," Conservation Officer Andy Smith said. Dressed like other hunters and carrying rifles of their own, the conservation officers followed the group around the clock for nearly a week listening for gunshots and documenting deer and elk being transported by the hunters. The officers spent little time sleeping during the investigation because of the possibility of missing something.
The MK Nature Center continues the Winter Wednesdays Lunch and Learn series from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22, with "Winter Survival of Deer and Elk." Boise River Wildlife Management Area Coordinator Ed Bottum will lead an education session about how deer and elk species survive winter conditions in Idaho and how they have adapted to living alongside humans. Topics will include the construction of the wildlife underpass on Highway 21, survival in urban environments, and best practices for safe viewing of wild species for foothills trail users. The class will be in the MK Nature Center auditorium, and the ticket price of $16.50 includes the class and a catered soup, salad, and bread lunch, provided by Open Table Catering of Boise. Tickets with lunch are available until February 21 or until sold out at www.brownpapertickets.com or at the MK Nature Center Gift Shop, 600 S. Walnut St., Boise, Idaho. Tickets are also available without the catered lunch for $8 at the MK Nature Center Gift Shop. Please contact Cass Meissner at email@example.com or 208-334-2225 with questions.
A concerned citizen has offered a reward for information about the killing of hawks near Ola in addition to any reward offered by Citizens Against Poaching. Sometime during the last of January and first of February, a red-tailed hawk was shot and killed in a deciduous tree a couple of miles south of Ola, about 100 yards east of the Sweet-Ola Highway. Last winter a rough-legged hawk was shot and killed in a large Douglas hawthorn next to the Sweet-Ola highway on the west side, not far from where the red-tailed hawk was killed recently. CAP offers a $100 reward for information leading to a citation. In addition, a concerned citizens wishes to increase the CAP reward by another $150 - for a total potential reward of $250. Anyone with information may call 1-800-632-5999. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.
Q. I applied for a spring turkey controlled hunt. When will I know if I draw? A. Successful applicants for spring turkey and bear hunts will be notified by postcard by March 20. You can also check your status at the Idaho Fish and Game website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/licenses/controlledHunts/?getPage=81. It is the hunter's responsibility to check whether they were drawn.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking comments from anglers on a variety of issues important for the future of fishing in the state. Anglers are encouraged to attend an open house meeting to comment on three main topics: Development of the 2013-2018 Fish Management Plan, potential fishing rule changes for the 2013-2014 seasons, and the 2012 upper Salmon River Chinook salmon season and limits. The open house meeting will begin at 7 p.m. February 23, at the Fish and Game Upper Snake Region office at 4279 Commerce Circle, Idaho Falls. Fish and Game wants to know how anglers would like their fisheries to be managed, and whether anglers think Fish and Game needs to change the management strategies or whether anglers support current management. Comments from these meetings will help in the development of the next fish management plan, which will span from 2013 to 2018. Fish and Game also would like to know any potential rule changes anglers would like to see in the 2013-2014 fishing rules. Fishery personnel from the Salmon Region will be present discuss the 2012 Chinook salmon fishing outlook and management strategies used to manage fisheries in the upper Salmon River. All opinions and suggestions regarding these issues are welcome. Those unable to attend a meeting can provide their comments by contacting regional fishery personnel at 525-7290 or send their information in writing to Fishing Rules, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, 4279 Commerce Circle, Idaho Falls 83401. Anglers may also submit comments by e-mail to Upper Snake Region Fisheries Manager Dan Garren at firstname.lastname@example.org.