Press Release

March 2012

Annual Wolf Report Available Online

The 2011 annual summary of wolf monitoring in Idaho is now available, and it shows wolf numbers are down for the second consecutive year.

The 2011 Idaho Wolf Monitoring Progress Report includes the current status of the wolf population in Idaho.

Biologists documented 101 Idaho wolf packs at the end of 2011. The population at the end of 2011 was estimated at 746 wolves, down from a high of 856 at the end of 2009. At the end of 2010, the population estimate was 777 wolves. The 2010 annual report was compiled by the Nez Perce Tribe.

"Thanks to Idaho's hunters and trappers, we've made good progress in getting the wolf population under control and into better balance with prey species, such as elk, but we've still got a ways to go," said Jim Unsworth, Idaho Fish and Game deputy director.

In addition, 24 documented border packs were counted for Montana, Wyoming and Washington that established territories overlapping the Idaho state boundary and spent some time in Idaho.

Of the 63 packs known to have reproduced, 40 packs qualified as breeding pairs by the end of the year.

In Idaho, wolf packs ranged from the Canadian border south to Interstate 84, and from the Washington and Oregon borders east to the Montana and Wyoming borders. Dispersing wolves were occasionally reported in previously unoccupied areas.

Ten previously unknown packs were documented during 2011, but the overall net increase was only six packs in the state, with four other packs removed during the year.

F&G Wildlife Educator Recognized

Idaho Fish and Game wildlife educator Adare Evans received the Non-Formal Environmental Educator-of-the-Year award at the recent Idaho Environmental Education Association's annual conference.

Evans is responsible for Fish and Game's Project Nose-to-Nose, a wildlife education program that travels to classrooms around southwest Idaho. In 2011, she provided 184 programs to 8,480 students.

She also works closely with teachers as a Project WILD facilitator.

Teachers love Evans' programs because they help support the state standards in a variety of subject areas. For example, her "Wildlife in Idaho History" programs help students understand the importance of wildlife to pioneers and native peoples.

Students love Evans because her programs are interactive and hands-on. In addition to programs, she is lead writer for Wildlife Express.

The award she received recognizes excellence in environmental (conservation) education by people in Idaho who are not classroom teachers but are instead experienced in effectively bringing their field into the classroom to support topics being studied.

As many teachers say, "We love to hear from the experts."

The Idaho Environmental Education Association is Idaho's affiliate to the North American Association for Environmental Education, the nation's largest professional association of environmental educators. This is the second time an Idaho Fish and Game employee has received this award. Gregg Losinski of the Upper Snake Region was a recipient in 2009.

Ask Fish and Game: Turkey Tag Tango

Q. I drew on a controlled hunt for the 2012 spring turkey hunt in Unit 54, but it doesn't open till after May 1. I also want to hunt turkey in Unit 8A before the controlled hunt opens. Is it possible to get my controlled hunt tag, a general tag, and also an extra tag for the spring hunt?

A. Yes, sort of. A hunter may buy two turkey tags, one general and one extra tag, for the spring turkey season before May 26. A hunter who is drawn in a controlled hunt may use the general tag for the controlled hunt if he or she also buys a controlled hunt permit. The hunter cannot use the extra tag with a controlled hunt permit. But you could use the extra tag for the general season hunt in Unit 8A, and use the general season tag for the controlled hunt in Unit 54.

Deer in Riggins Killed to Control Exotic Louse Infestation

With help from USDA Wildlife Service, Idaho Fish and Game killed about 60 mule deer in Riggins to help stop the spread of an infestation of exotic lice.

In March 2009, a male mule deer about nine months old suffering from hair loss was reported in Riggins. Officials who responded found the deer dead and sent it to Idaho's Wildlife Health Lab for a necropsy. The animal was emaciated, with evidence of pneumonia and thousands of lice on the body - exotic lice not previously reported in Idaho.

The lice were first detected in the western U.S. following translocations of fallow deer and axis deer to the West Coast more than 40 years ago.

Infestation causes skin irritation and excessive scratching, resulting in hair loss. Hair loss is most common in late winter and early spring, and the affected deer may die as a result.

While an infestation of the louse may cause the death of deer, it has no known health concerns for humans or domestic animals.

Idaho Fish and Game's investigation has found the number of infested deer in Riggins has grown to about 75 to 80 percent. Attempts to control or eliminate the lice and to prevent their spread to adjacent deer populations include reducing deer numbers.

Using Wildlife Services was the most expedient means of reducing deer numbers in Riggins. Public hunts would not have been effective because of private property access and safe-fire zone issues.

Meat from the animals is being processed and will be turned over to local area food banks.

Fish and Game will continue to monitor for the exotic louse in the area and will consider other management options should infestations continue.

Wildlife veterinarians also hope to learn more about the health of the affected deer, and about how the lice spread. They hope to develop a program to prevent or treat future infestations.

Annual Wolf Report Available Online

The 2011 annual summary of wolf monitoring in Idaho is now available, and it shows wolf numbers are down for the second consecutive year.

The 2011 Idaho Wolf Monitoring Progress Report includes the current status of the wolf population in Idaho.

Biologists documented 101 Idaho wolf packs at the end of 2011. The population at the end of 2011 was estimated at 746 wolves, down from a high of 856 at the end of 2009. At the end of 2010, the population estimate was 777 wolves. The 2010 annual report was compiled by the Nez Perce Tribe.

"Thanks to Idaho's hunters and trappers, we've made good progress in getting the wolf population under control and into better balance with prey species, such as elk, but we've still got a ways to go," said Jim Unsworth, Idaho Fish and Game deputy director.

In addition, 24 documented border packs were counted for Montana, Wyoming and Washington that established territories overlapping the Idaho state boundary and spent some time in Idaho.

Of the 63 packs known to have reproduced, 40 packs qualified as breeding pairs by the end of the year.

In Idaho, wolf packs ranged from the Canadian border south to Interstate 84, and from the Washington and Oregon borders east to the Montana and Wyoming borders. Dispersing wolves were occasionally reported in previously unoccupied areas.

Ten previously unknown packs were documented during 2011, but the overall net increase was only six packs in the state, with four other packs removed during the year.

Fish & Game to Host Open House in Hagerman

Wildlife Management Area management plans and future fishing opportunities in the Magic Valley Region are just a few of the things that will be discussed at an Idaho Department of Fish and Game meeting in Hagerman.

The meeting will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 28 at the Hagerman Senior Community Center at 140 Lake Street.

"These meetings are a great chance for us to get some feedback from sportsman on how they would like to see the WMA's managed," said Mark Fleming, regional habitat manager.

Top priorities on the management plans for the Billingsley Creek, Big Cottonwood, Carey Lake, Camas Prairie-Centennial Marsh, Hagerman, and Niagara Springs WMAs include:

  • Public access management.
  • Recreational use management.
  • Waterfowl hunting on the Hagerman WMA.
  • Pheasant release-and-harvest program.
  • Dog-trials and other organized events.

The current management plans for each of the WMAs and the on-line surveys are available at: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/portal/form/2012-wildlife-management....

The fisheries staff are seeking feedback from anglers about specific fishing opportunities they would like to see that would require rule changes for the 2013-2014 fishing rules as well as ideas for overall management goals.

"The Statewide Fisheries Management Plan is a five year plan that sets broad management goals and sideboards for fish management statewide," said Doug Megargle, regional fisheries manager. "The existing plan expires this year and the Department wants to hear from folks about any changes they'd like to see incorporated into the new plan.

"We need to hear from folks on these issues - both the fisheries plan and the regulations affect how you use Idaho's fishing resources and what type of experience anglers can expect."

F&G to Host Panhandle Fishing Rules/Management Meetings

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has scheduled meetings to present information and gather public comment on fishing rules for 2013-2014, and to gather comments on the Idaho Fisheries Management Plan for 2013-2018.

Meetings are scheduled for the following dates and locations:

Tuesday, March 13: Sandpoint, Panhandle Health (322 Marion St.)

Thursday, March 15: Priest River, Senior Center (339 Jackson Ave.)

Thursday, March 22: Coeur d'Alene, IDFG Regional Office (2885 W. Kathleen)

All meetings will run from 7-9 p.m. Anglers unable to attend the meeting but still interested in providing input can complete an opinion survey found at: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/portal/r1fish, or contact Jim Fredericks, regional fishery manger, at jim.fredericks@idfg.idaho.gov or 208-769-1414.

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.

Topics to be discussed with the upcoming management plan and rules are management direction on Priest Lake, a return to trophy management of rainbow trout and a limited kokanee fishery on Lake Pend Oreille, and cutthroat trout rule options in the Coeur d'Alene drainage.

Anglers interested in the rules and management direction of Panhandle fisheries are encouraged to attend and participate in the discussion. Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting Jim Fredericks at the number above; or, through the Idaho Relay Service at 1 800 377 2529 (TDD).

2012 Big Game Season Proposals Available Online

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game's proposed changes for the 2012 big game hunting seasons are available online for public review and comment.

The proposals, listed by region, are available at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=301.

Beginning this year, wolf hunting and trapping seasons will be set along with hunting seasons for deer, elk, pronghorn, black bears and mountain lions, and will be included in the 2012 big game seasons regulations booklet.

Only those seasons and hunts for which changes are proposed are listed. All others are proposed to remain the same as they were during the 2011 hunting season.

Comments received by March 12 will be summarized and considered, along with final review of 2011 harvest results and population surveys conducted this winter, as Fish and Game develops final recommendations for this year's seasons.

Spring Black Bear Results Available Online

Results for the spring black bear controlled hunt drawings are available online.

Hunters who applied for spring black bear controlled hunts can find results on the Fish and Game Website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/licenses/controlledHunts/?getPage=81.

Successful applicants also have been notified by mail. It is the responsibility of hunters to find out whether their names were drawn in these hunts.

For drawing odds, go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/apps/ch/odds.cfm.

Details for obtaining or exchanging tags are explained on the site. Those drawing a spring bear controlled hunt and who have a general season tag may exchange the general season tag for the controlled hunt tag or may keep the general season tag and buy the controlled hunt bear tag. Any exchanges of tags must be completed at a Fish and Game office.

Deer Killed to Control Exotic Louse Infestation

With help from USDA Wildlife Service, Idaho Fish and Game killed 60 mule deer in Riggins to help stop the spread an infestation of exotic lice.

In March 2009, a male mule deer about nine months old suffering from hair loss was reported in Riggins. Officials who responded found the deer dead and sent it to Idaho's Wildlife Health Lab for a necropsy. The animal was emaciated, with evidence of pneumonia and thousands of lice on the body - an exotic louse not previously reported in Idaho.

The lice were first detected in the western U.S. following translocations of fallow deer and axis deer to the West Coast more than 40 years ago.

Infestation causes skin irritation and excessive scratching, resulting in hair loss. Hair loss is most common in late winter and early spring, and the affected deer may die as a result.

While an infestation of the louse may cause in the death of deer, it has no known health concerns for humans or domestic animals.

Idaho Fish and Game's investigation has found the number of infested deer in Riggins has grown to about 75 to 80 percent. Attempts to control or eliminate the lice and to prevent their spread to adjacent deer populations include reducing deer numbers.

Using Wildlife Services was the most expedient means of reducing deer numbers in Riggins. Public hunts would not have been effective because of private property access and safe-fire zone issues.

Meat from the animals is being processed and will be turned over to local area food banks.

Fish and Game will continue to monitor for the exotic louse in the area and will consider other management options should infestations continue.

Wildlife veterinarians also hope to learn more about the health of the affected deer, and about how the lice spread. They hope to develop a program to prevent or treat future infestations.

F&G Conducts Wildlife Management Area Opinion Poll

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking comments and opinions from the public about the uses of the state's 32 wildlife management areas and how they are run.

These areas cover a total of about 350,000 acres in the seven Fish and Game regions.

Each wildlife management area has its own a management plan. This year, Fish and Game will begin updating those long-term management plans. This poll will gather information about the public uses and opinions about these important wildlife habitats, and how their management is funded.

Some are managed for waterfowl production, others for big game winter range. And some are managed to provide hunting opportunity, with a few of those in Southern Idaho stocked with pheasants during hunting season to enhance hunter success.

The overarching goals are to provide wildlife habitat and to offer wildlife-based recreation. Fish and Game is asking anyone with an interest in the management of these areas to provide their thoughts and comments in an online opinion poll.

The poll and current management plans are available here: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/portal/form/2012-wildlife-management....

Additional information about each area also are available on the Fish and Game website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/wma/.

If you have any questions about the management of any WMA, please contact the regional office associated with that WMA.

CAP Conservation Officer of the Year

Idaho Fish and Game Senior Conservation Officer Meghan Roos was named the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) Conservation Officer of the Year.

She wasn't given the award for just one big case, but for consistently working hard and getting results.

"Her success is based on her extreme motivation to do the work, completing all tasks without complaint, ability to prioritize her work, and for her deep appreciation and care for the natural resources in Idaho," said her supervisor Mike Stoddard, district conservation officer. "She is dependable, and is always available for assistance. She has an extremely good work ethic, positive attitude, and she gets the work done."

Roos was raised in Challis. She received her bachelor of science in fisheries and wildlife from Oregon State University in 2006.

She has been stationed in the Buhl area for the past five years. Her patrol area goes from the Snake River to the Nevada border, but you may see her working many other areas in the Magic Valley.