Press Release

August 2012

Fish & Game Seeks Angler Comments

Idaho Fish and Game is seeking public review and comment on proposals for 2013 fishing rules and the 2012-2018 fisheries management plan.

Any proposed rules that are adopted would take effect on January 1, 2013. Only minor changes are proposed for the Clearwater Region, although comments on any rule proposals across the state are welcome. Details regarding the proposed fishing rule changes can be found online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov or by contacting fishery biologists at the Clearwater Region office in Lewiston.

Idaho Fish and Game's draft 2013-2018 Fisheries Management Plan is also available for public review and comment. The document describes Fish and Game's proposed statewide and individual river drainage management of public fisheries during the next six years.

Whether it is native cutthroat trout, white sturgeon, salmon, steelhead, bass, or hatchery trout, the plan lays out how Fish and Game would protect, conserve and provide continued supplies of fish and manage fishing. It also includes results of the 2011 angler opinion survey which helps Fish and Game prioritize and develop management programs with consideration for angler preferences.

The document is available for review in two parts. Part 1 describes the proposed fisheries management policies, challenges, and statewide fisheries programs. Part 2 describes specific fishery management programs for individual river drainages.

Anglers who would like to provide comments on the rule proposals or Fisheries Management Plan can do so in several ways:

Upland Game Bird Seasons Open

The early fall general turkey season and seasons for sage-grouse, quail and partridge begin Saturday, September 15.

Forest grouse seasons opened August 30.

Turkey:

  • September 15 through December 15. General fall hunt in game management units 1, 2 (except Farragut State Park and Farragut Wildlife Management Area) 3, 4, 4A, 5 and 6.
  • September 15 through October 31. General fall hunt in game management units 73, 74, 75, 77 and 78.
  • September 15 through October 9. General fall hunt in game management units 8, 8A, 10, 10A, 11, 11A, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16A, 17, 18, 19 , 20, 22, 23, 24, 31, 32 (except that portion in Payette County), and 32A. Units 33 and 39 are closed to fall hunting.
  • November 21 through December 31. General fall hunt in game management units 8, 8A, 10A, 11, 11A, 13, 14, 15 and 16. This hunt is open on private lands only.

The daily bag limit is one turkey of either sex per day in the fall. No more than three turkeys may be taken per year, except in Units 1, 2, 3 and 5, where five turkeys may be taken in a day during the fall season. Turkey hunters will need a general or an extra tag. General tags not used in the spring general or controlled hunts are valid for the fall hunt. Special unit tags are valid for the fall season in Units 1, 2, 3 or 5.

Chukar and gray partridge: September 15 through January 31, 2013.

  • Daily bag limit - eight chukar and eight gray partridge.
  • Possession limit after first day - 24 chukar and 24 gray partridge.

Bobwhite and California quail: September 15 through January 31, 2013.

  • Daily bag limit - 10 total.
  • Possession limit after first day - 30 total.
  • Area 1 in eastern Idaho is closed.

Consult the rules brochures for details and exceptions.

Mourning Dove, Sandhill Crane Seasons Open

The 2012 mourning dove and sandhill crane seasons open Saturday, September 1.

The mourning dove season runs through September 30. The daily bag limit is 10, and the possession limit after first day of season is 20.

Eurasian collared-doves are an introduced species that have expanded their range into Idaho. Eurasian collared-doves harvested while dove hunting, should be left unplucked so they can be distinguished from mourning doves. They will not count as part of your aggregate bag limit of mourning doves as long as they are identifiable.

Eurasian collared-doves may be taken in any number and at any time by holders of a valid Idaho hunting license, provided such taking is not in violation of state, county, or city laws, ordinances or regulations.

Sandhill crane season opens September 1 and runs through September 15 in hunt areas 2, 3, 4 and 5. It runs through September 30 in hunt areas 1 and 6.

The daily limit is three birds and the season limit is nine. Season and limit details are available in the sandhill brochure available at license vendors and online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/docs/rules/uplandCrane.pdf.

Anyone hunting mourning doves or sandhill cranes in Idaho must have a valid Idaho hunting license with a federal Migratory Game Bird Harvest Information Program validation. The validation costs $1.75 for residents and $4.75 for nonresidents, and it is available at any license vendor. It is valid from January 1 through December 31 of each year.

Shooting hours for mourning doves and sandhill cranes are listed on Page 19 of the upland game seasons and rules brochure and on the Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/docs/rules/uplandDoveCraneInfo.pdf.

Avoid Bear Conflicts: Store Food and Garbage Properly

As hunters venture into the woods this fall, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking them to be mindful of their food and garbage.

The same cautions apply to homeowners in bear country. Most bear complaints happen in later summer and early fall when bears are traveling in search of food.

"Anyone who leaves food out are actually baiting in hungry bears," said Barry Cummings, Fish and Game conservation officer based in Deary. "Bears have a tremendous sense of smell, and once they get used to finding an easy food source, they'll keep coming back and problems will occur."

Tips around camp:

  • Keep a clean camp. Pick up garbage and store it in a closed vehicle, bear- resistant container, or in a bag tied high between two trees. Store all food the same way. Coolers are not bear-resistant and never keep food in a tent.
  • Don't cook near tents or sleeping areas, and never wear clothes you cook in to bed.
  • Don't bury food scraps, pour out cooking grease, or leave anything that might be tasty on the ground or in the fire pit. Also, store barbecue grills or other smelly cooking gear inside your vehicle or within a sealed bear resistant container.
  • Make game meat unavailable by hanging it at least 10 feet high and 4 feet from the nearest tree.
  • If you see a bear, watch it from a distance and leave it alone. Black bears are not usually aggressive, but the danger may increase if a bear loses its fear of humans.

Tips around home:

Fish & Seeks Angler Comments

Idaho Fish and Game is seeking public review and comment on proposals for 2013 fishing rules and the 2012-2018 fisheries management plan.

Any proposed rules that are adopted would take effect on January 1, 2013. Details regarding the proposed fishing rule changes can be found online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov or by contacting fishery biologists at regional Fish and Game offices.

Idaho Fish and Game's draft 2013-2018 Fisheries Management Plan is also available for public review and comment. The document describes Fish and Game's proposed statewide and individual river drainage management of public fisheries during the next six years.

Whether it is native cutthroat trout, white sturgeon, salmon, steelhead, bass, or hatchery trout, the plan lays out how Fish and Game would protect, conserve and provide continued supplies of fish and manage fishing. It also includes results of the 2011 angler opinion survey which helps Fish and Game prioritize and develop management programs with consideration for angler preferences.

The document is available for review in two parts. Part 1 describes the proposed fish management policies, challenges, and statewide fisheries programs. Part 2 describes specific fishery management programs for individual river drainages.

Anglers who would like to provide comments on the rule proposals or Fisheries Management Plan may do so:

Comments on the proposed rule changes will be accepted until September 30.

Salmon and Steelhead Days Returns This Week

The 16th Annual Idaho Salmon and Steelhead Days will be Wednesday through Friday, September 5 - 7.

Idaho Salmon and Steelhead Days is an educational event designed to teach fifth-graders and their teachers and parents about one of Idaho's most precious and interesting natural resources. Preregistration is required.

In years past, the event has included a salmon barbecue, but this year, with budget restraints and the loss of some sponsors, the barbecue has been scratched.

The hands-on, outdoor, experiential learning event is designed to increase awareness and appreciation for salmon and steelhead. The event represents a collaborative effort of state, federal, tribal and private entities to teach students the biology, history and economic and cultural significance of these amazing fish.

The event includes variety of activities, such as "Gyotaku," the art of painting fish and making prints. The MK Nature Center Stream Walk will also be open for viewing live Chinook salmon and kokanee.

The Nature Center is behind Idaho Fish and Game headquarters on South Walnut in Boise.

For information go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/education/?getPage=264 or call the Nature Center at 208-334-2225.

Idaho Fish and Game News is Now Available

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

This issue covers steelhead fishing in Idaho rivers. It offers some basic information about fishing for steelhead and a few helpful tips, in addition to a little life history about steelhead.

It also includes an overview of the steelhead hatchery program. For information on seasons and limits go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/rules/steelhead.pdf, or pick up a copy of the 2012 fishing rules brochure.

Fish and Game News is free and available at license vendors and Fish and Game offices statewide and online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/media/?getPage=246.

Ask Fish and Game: Hunter Education

Q. Is it too late to sign up for hunter education?

A. That depends on where you live. If no classes are scheduled in your area, anyone 10 or older may take the independent study course on the Internet, with a required supervised field day. But in some regions field days may not be available because of the hunting season. Before taking the internet course, please check with the nearest Fish and Game regional office for field day availability. Regional office contact information is at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/offices/.

For those wishing to go the traditional route, some courses are already full, and others are filling up quickly. For more information go the Fish and Game Website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/education/?getPage=30.

Commission Sets Waterfowl, Sage-grouse Seasons

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Thursday, August 23, adopted a liberal 107-day waterfowl season, and a restricted seven-day sage-grouse season.

The waterfowl season opens with a two-day youth hunt on September 29 and 30, and a seven-bird limit on ducks and four dark geese and 10 light geese. The season structure is the same as last year.

The season proposal adopted by the commission was based on a recent survey of waterfowl hunters that suggests they prefer a continuous season that starts and ends later.

Idaho sets waterfowl seasons by zones, with three duck and dark goose - Canada and white-fronted - zones. This year, waterfowl seasons for Zone 1 run from October 6 to January 18; and for zones 2 and 3 they run from October 13 to January 25.

There are four light goose - snow and Ross's - zones. The season for:

Zone 1 is from October 6 to January 18.

  • Zone 2 is from October 30 to January 18 and from February 16 to March 10.
  • Zone 3 is from November 5 to January 25 and from February 16 to March 10.
  • Zone 4 is from October 13 to January 25.

The process for setting Idaho waterfowl seasons is the same as for other states. It is a cooperative effort among state and federal agencies that set season guidelines. Idaho's waterfowl seasons are set annually within these guidelines.

In addition to waterfowl, the Fish and Game Commission also adopted a sage-grouse season that will open September 15 and run through September 21, with a one-bird daily bag limit and a two-bird possession limit.

The season will be open in Area 2, which includes:

Burned Bear Cub Draws National Attention

An injured black bear cub, rescued from the Mustang Fire burning north of Salmon, has quickly become a national celebrity.

The young bear's story of fire-related injuries and rescue by U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Fish and Game personnel spread across the country in a matter of hours. In the days since, both Boise National Forest and Idaho Fish and Game offices have been inundated with phone calls and e-mails from people offering good wishes and monetary support. Many others have asked about volunteer opportunities to care for the young cub.

"We've heard from folks all across Idaho, and from other states including California, Texas and New York," Fish and Game conservation educator Evin Oneale said. "Each note or phone call has the same common theme - concern for this young bear. It's very gratifying to know that so many people care."

With second-degree burns on all four paws, the young bear faces a long recovery.

"Infection is the main concern right now," Oneale said. "At this time, our state veterinarian is evaluating local facilities that can give the cub the medical attention it needs to make a full recovery."

Meanwhile, the cub is being cared for at a Fish and Game facility where it is eating regularly and receiving necessary medical care.

Monetary donations have been one of the common themes among people contacting the office.

"We have no good mechanism to accept donations related to this bear cub's treatment," Oneale said. "Once a care facility is selected, we'll let people know where and how they can provide funding to cover the costs of care and treatment."

Idaho Fish and Game Sets Fire Restrictions

Effective immediately, Stage 2 fire restrictions are in force on all Idaho Fish and Game managed properties within Nez Perce, Latah, Lewis, Idaho and Clearwater counties.

This includes the Craig Mountain and Red River Wildlife Management Areas, more than 70 fishing access sites and any other lands owned, managed or controlled by Fish and Game in these five counties.

Stage 2 fire restrictions prohibit the following:

Building or maintaining of fires, campfires or stove fires:

- The use of personal camp stoves or lanterns that are fueled by liquid petroleum, liquid petroleum gas, or propane is permitted.

Smoking:

- Unless in an enclosed vehicle, a building, or within a three foot diameter cleared to mineral soil.

Possessing, discharging, or using any kind of firework or pyrotechnic device:

- Using an explosive; Operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine for logging, road building, or wood cutting between the hours of 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.

- Unless specifically permitted for that particular activity.

Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame:

- Unless specifically permitted for that particular activity.

Operating a motor vehicle off developed roads:

- Except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway and except for parking overnight in developed campgrounds and at trailheads.

Fire restrictions will remain in place until fire conditions change, and the public will be notified at that time. Anyone with questions should contact the Clearwater Region office at 208-799-5010.

F&G Seeks Help in Tracking Mountain Whitefish Deaths

Idaho Fish and Game is looking for help from river users.

Over the past few weeks, Fish and Game has documented dead mountain whitefish on the South Fork and main stem Snake River, and has received similar reports of dead whitefish on the Teton and North Fork Salmon rivers.

At this time, Fish and Game doesn't know the cause of the kill.

"It's particularly interesting in that whatever is going on is affecting only whitefish, and not trout," Regional Fisheries Manager Dan Garren said. "It also appears to be affecting the smaller (younger) fish, generally those less than 10 inches."

Fish and Game has sent numerous samples of dead/dying whitefish to the Eagle Fish Health Lab for analysis, and hopes to have results of those in the near future.

"If you see dead whitefish around the region, it would be helpful if you could let Fish and Game know. At this point, there have been no documented kills in the Henrys Fork, though it is possible that it may be happening there as well. There also have not been any documented deaths of whitefish over 12 inches, and no reports of kills of other species," Garren said.

Fish and Game is also interested in obtaining additional information on the distribution of dead fish and other species that may be affected by the kill.

Anglers are asked to keep an eye out for additional dead fish, and to report their findings to Fish and Game at 208-525-7290. The more information you can provide, such as location, species and size of fish, the better.

"Thanks for keeping your eye out," Garren said.