Press Release

June 2012

Comments Sought On Non-Biological Rule Changes Affecting Big Game And Furbearers

LEWISTON - - The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is looking for input on proposed changes to the non-biological rules affecting big game and furbearers.

Interested individuals can visit with department personnel concerning the proposed changes and provide their written comments by attending an open house meeting scheduled from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the Lewiston Regional Office on Monday, July 2nd.

Proposals include changes in some rules related to the use of bait for trapping or hunting, methods used to trap wolves, and adjustments to the allocation of elk tags in capped zones.

The open house format allows participants to come and go during the day and visit with IDFG personnel about the proposals. Written comments collected will be presented to the Fish and Game Commission prior to their July meeting, where final action will be taken.

For those unable to attend the open house, a complete list of proposals is available for review on the IDFG website http://fishandgame.idaho.gov or can be obtained at the IDFG Clearwater Regional office in Lewiston.

Comment Sought on Nonbiological Rule Changes

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is looking for public comments on proposed changes to the nonbiological rules affecting big game and furbearers.

Interested individuals can visit with department personnel concerning the proposed changes and provide their written comments by attending an open house meeting scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, July 2, at the Clearwater Region office in Lewiston.

Proposals include changes in some rules related to the use of bait for trapping or hunting, methods used to trap wolves, and adjustments to the allocation of elk tags in capped zones.

The open house format allows participants to come and go during the day and visit with Fish and Game personnel about the proposals. Written comments collected will be presented to the Fish and Game Commission prior to the July meeting, where final action will be taken.

For those unable to attend the open house, a complete list of proposals is available for review on the IDFG website http://fishandgame.idaho.gov or can be obtained at the Fish and Game Clearwater Region office in Lewiston.

Super Hunt Winners Announced

After the first Super Hunt drawing of 2012, 26 lucky hunters won the hunt of their dreams.

Winners of Super Hunt tags for a deer, elk, pronghorn or moose can take an animal in any open hunt in addition to any general season or controlled hunt tags they also hold. All other rules of individual hunts apply.

Entries were down about 10 percent from 2011. This year, of 35,499 entries, 14,496 were for eight deer tags, 12,104 were for eight elk tags, 2,386 were for eight pronghorn tags, 4,643 were for one moose tag, and 1,870 entries were for the Super Hunt Combo, which includes a tag for each of the four species.

In all the entries brought in about $168,000.

The winners were:

  • Five resident hunters, one Utah hunter, one Texas hunter and one California hunter won deer tags.
  • Seven resident hunters and one California hunter won elk tags.
  • Four resident hunters, two Washington, one Oklahoma and one Utah hunter won pronghorn tags.
  • A Washington hunter won the moose tag.
  • A Utah hunter won the combo tag.

The second Super Hunt drawing will be in mid-August when another "Super Hunt Combo" and entries for two elk, two deer and two pronghorn hunts along with one moose hunt will be drawn.

The entry period for the second drawing continues through August 11.

The special drawings began in 2004 as a way to raise money for the Access Yes! program, which helps assure hunter and angler access to and across private lands by compensating willing landowners.

For information about this program contact local Fish and Game officials or visit the website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner/accessyesguide.aspx.

Governor Appoints Two Fish and Game Commissioners

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has appointed two new members to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

Joan Hurlock of Buhl and Will Naillon of Challis will begin four-year terms July 1, but they must be confirmed by the Idaho Senate when it convenes in January 2013.

Hurlock will succeed the outgoing Commissioner Wayne Wright of Twin Falls, representing the Magic Valley.

Hurlock, the daughter of a game warden, is a former forensic chemist for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' Explosives and Arson Unit, and a former member of the United States Capitol Police in Washington, D.C. She has owned and operated The Body Works fitness center in Buhl since 2002 and has been active in various civic, business, education and sportsman organizations in the Magic Valley.

"I am excited, thrilled, honored. I hope to do a good job for the state of Idaho and the Magic Valley," Hurlock said. "I'm now looking forward to being an advocate for getting our youth more involved in hunting, fishing and the great outdoors in Idaho."

Naillon will succeed the outgoing Commissioner Gary Power of Salmon, representing the Salmon Region.

Naillon, a Salmon native and fifth-generation Custer County miner, has worked for Hecla Mining Co.'s Grouse Creek Unit for 18 years - most recently as an environmental operations technician. He has been active in hunting, fishing, trapping, hunter and trapper education, and is a member of the Boone and Crockett Club, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Central Idaho Rod and Gun Club.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to represent the Salmon Region and the state of Idaho, and I'm excited to be working to keep Idaho among the top states in the country for outdoor recreation," Naillon said. "I also want to thank all those from throughout the state who have expressed support for me in seeking this appointment."

New Wildlife Summit Webpage Launched

Idaho Fish and Game has launched a revised web page for the August Idaho Wildlife Summit.

The new version is better organized and easier to understand. Check back regularly because new content is added daily. New this week is a brief video statement from Jim Posewitz, one of the Summit speakers. To watch the video, click the link to speakers on the left hand side of the Summit page.

A video clip from Shane Mahoney will be added in the next few days.

To see the new webpage go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/summit.

The Wildlife Summit will convene August 24, 25 and 26 at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, and at six satellite sites in Coeur d'Alene, Lewiston, Salmon, Twin Falls, Pocatello and Idaho Falls. People also may participate online.

The aim of the event is to bring together diverse interests to find common ground, and ultimately build a broader base of support for wildlife conservation in Idaho.

To attend in person, register for one of the locations listed on the registration page. Registration is free, but it is required because seating is limited. No registration is necessary to participate online.

Survey Covers Elk Hunting Experiences in Idaho

The closing date in a public opinion survey about elk hunting in Idaho has been extended to July 1.

Idaho Fish and Game is in the process of revising its elk management plan, and is working with the University of Idaho on an elk hunting survey.

The questionnaire has been mailed to a random sample of 6,200 people who purchased elk general hunting tags in Idaho in 2011. Anyone who received a questionnaire in the mail is asked to complete it and return it or go to the website it lists and complete it online.

Anyone else interested is encouraged to take the survey online at the Idaho Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov, under "Comments / Surveys / Questions." Please enter your ZIP code.

The closing date is Sunday, July 1.

Ask Fish and Game: Salmon Fishing in Closed Waters

Q. Can I still fish catch-and-release for salmon in a river section that's closed to salmon fishing?

A. No. It is illegal to fish for salmon in areas closed to salmon fishing - including catch-and-release. You can fish for other species in waters that also have salmon. But any unintentionally hooked salmon must be released immediately. If you fish with salmon gear in a closed area, a conservation officer may think you are fishing for salmon and cite you for it.

Wolf Pup Gets a New Home and Family

The lost wolf pup left Boise Wednesday morning, June 20, on its way to a new home and family in Virginia.

Idaho Fish and Game officials last week selected Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, a list of potential facilities willing to accept the wolf pup long-term, compiled by officials at Zoo Boise.

Busch Gardens:

  1. Has successfully maintained wolves for more than 12 years, and has nine.
  2. Recently received two pups, which are now six weeks old.
  3. Is part of the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens education and conservation conglomerate, which includes several AZA accredited facilities.
  4. Is a sponsor of the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund; a strong financial contributor of more than $10 million to wildlife conservation worldwide. Active in the Mexican Wolf Recovery Project. A list of their sponsors includes Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, and several other reputable conservation organizations.
  5. Is where the National Zoo (affiliated with the Smithsonian) sends its staff to receive captive wolf training.

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On May 25, out of town campers picked up what they thought was a lost domestic puppy outside Ketchum and took it to a vet clinic in town. Officials thought the male puppy looked like it might be a wolf.

A recent DNA test proved them right - it is a wild wolf.

Idaho Fish and Game looked for a wolf pack near where the pup was found, hoping to return the lost pup. But they could find no fresh sign of a pack in the area.

Zoo Boise has taken care of the pup while officials compiled a list of facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that would be suitable for the pup.

No Chinook Changes This Weekend on Lower, Little Salmon

Idaho Fish and Game plans no season or limit changes to the Chinook salmon fishing in the lower Salmon or Little Salmon rivers through the weekend of June 24.

To date, anglers have harvested about 60 percent of the sport harvest share, and Fish and Game estimates that the remaining sport harvest share is about 1,500 adult salmon.

Fishery managers will review harvest data on Tuesday, June 26, to determine whether any closures or rule changes will need to be made.

Anglers interested in salmon fishing in the Riggins area should watch for news releases on that fishery next week.

For additional details please consult the Chinook salmon page under Fishing on the Fish and Game website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=140.

New Hatchery Will Boost Production of Snake River Sockeye

A new hatchery near Springfield in southeastern Idaho means up to a five-fold increase in the capacity of the sockeye recovery program that has kept Snake River sockeye salmon from extinction.

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council recently recommended construction of a $13.5 million hatchery to boost production of Snake River sockeye, listed as an endangered species in 1991, and it will continue a long-term effort to rebuild the population to naturally spawning, self-sustaining levels.

The new hatchery will be funded by the Bonneville Power Administration as part of its obligation to mitigate the impact of hydropower dams on salmon.

"With this production facility we are building on our success to date in restoring these unique and valuable fish to Idaho," Idaho's council member Bill Booth said. "This is an important step for our state and for the Northwest, as we are showing how a species on the brink of extinction can be restored through the dedication and collaboration of state, federal and tribal scientists and policy-makers."

When completed in 2013, the new facility will be operated by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and will be capable of producing up to 1 million juvenile sockeye annually for release in the Sawtooth Basin of central Idaho, the headwaters of the Salmon River.

Snake River sockeye are the southernmost of their species, and they spawn farther from the ocean - more than 900 miles - and at higher elevation - more than 6,000 feet above sea level - than any other sockeye.

In 1991, Idaho Fish and Game initiated conservation and research projects for sockeye. Just a few years later the number of adult sockeye returning from the ocean to the Sawtooth Basin dropped to zero - in 1995 and 1997 - but reached 1,336 in 2010, an amount not seen since the 1950s.

Ask Fish and Game: Controlled Hunt Results

Q. When will Fish and Game post the result of the big game controlled hunt draw?

A. Postcards will be mailed to successful applicants by July 10. In addition, results will be posted when they are available on the Fish and Game website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/licenses/controlledHunts/?getPage=81. But it is the responsibility of hunters to determine whether they were drawn. Unsuccessful applicants will not be notified. Winners must buy controlled hunt tags by August 1; any tags not purchased by that date will be forfeit. Unclaimed and leftover tags from the first drawing will be available in a second application period from August 5 through August 15. After the second drawing, any tags left over are sold over the counter.

Chinook Seasons to Open on South Fork, Upper Salmon

Chinook fishing seasons on the upper Salmon and South Fork Salmon rivers open Saturday, June 23.

The seasons continue until further notice from Fish and Game.

Seasons open June 23 on:

  • South Fork Salmon, lower - From the bridge on Forest Service Road (Lick Creek/East Fork South Fork Road) where it crosses the South Fork Salmon River main stem just upstream of the confluence with the East Fork South Fork Salmon River, upstream about 18 river miles to the Blackmare Creek pack bridge, accessible from the trailhead at Poverty Flat campground.
  • South Fork Salmon, upper - From Blackmare Creek pack bridge, accessible from the trailhead at Poverty Flat campground, upstream about 17 river miles south to a posted boundary about 100 yards downstream from the Idaho Fish and Game South Fork Salmon River weir and trap.
  • Upper Salmon River, Stanley Area - From the State Highway 75 Salmon River bridge about 250 yards upstream of the mouth of the East Fork Salmon River upstream to the posted boundary about 100 yards downstream of the weir and trap at Sawtooth Hatchery south of Stanley.

These waters would remain open until closed by further notice. Fishing hours on the South Fork will be from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on the upper Salmon from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Daily bag limits will be four Chinook, no more than two of which may be adults, and the possession limit will be 12 Chinook, no more than six of which may be adults. Anglers must stop fishing for salmon when daily, possession or season limits of adult salmon are reached, which ever comes first.

The season limit is 20 adult Chinook salmon statewide during 2012 salmon seasons occurring before September 1, 2012.