Press Release

January 2013

Fish and Game to Feed Mule Deer in Mink Creek Area

Emergency feeding will begin for mule deer this weekend in the Pocatello areas of Mink Creek and Gibson Jack affected by the Charlotte Fire last June.

The declaration of a feeding emergency in the Charlotte Fire-affected areas should not be viewed as a signal that emergency feeding is necessary throughout the region. Even with this recent snow accumulation, winter conditions in southeast Idaho are fairly normal for this time of year. However, Fish and Game will continue to monitor winter conditions and wildlife needs throughout the region as winter progresses.

The emergency exists only for a small resident deer herd directly affected by the Charlotte Fire. These deer have been habituated to the residential areas of Mink Creek and Gibson Jack for many years and have not shown the routine migratory behavior of most mule deer herds in southeast Idaho. Even with 1,000 acres of landscape affected by the Charlotte Fire, there are thousands of acres of quality deer habitat in the immediate areas surrounding Mink Creek and Gibson Jack. Nonetheless, deer have been continuing to wander through the burn area and even crossing the highway more frequently than observed in other years.

Also contributing to this resident deer behavior are the efforts of some individuals who have engaged in feeding not sanctioned by Fish and Game. These well-intentioned activities have not been organized in a cooperative effort, and feeding locations have held deer in areas that are drawing them back and forth across roads, presenting a danger to the deer and to motorists.

To address this issue, Idaho Fish and Game has designated three feed sites to begin operation this weekend. The sites will be located close to the perimeter of the fire-impacted area in unburned sections of the landscape.

Don't Forget to Report on Deer, Elk, Pronghorn Tags

Hunters who submit their hunt reports by Friday, January 18, will be entered in a drawing for one of 10 Super Hunt tags.

Ten hunters will be randomly drawn from among those who have reported on all their Mandatory Hunter Reports for deer, elk and pronghorn tags by midnight January 18. This is the last chance to be entered in the drawing.

The ten hunters selected will be able to select one tag for either deer, elk or pronghorn. They will have to buy the tag at the usual price for controlled hunts, but the tag will allow them to hunt in any open unit or any open hunt for that species.

The tags can be in addition to any other controlled or general hunt tag for that species. They are being offered as an incentive to hunters to file their Mandatory Hunter Reports promptly.

To make sure that all reports have been filed, or to file a report, hunters can check at this website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=106.

The 2012 hunts are over and hunters are required to file a report on their deer, elk and pronghorn hunts within 10 days after the end of the hunt whether they went hunting or not.

Fish and Game also has a 24-hour, toll-free phone line to speak to a live operator when filing reports - call 1-877-268-9365 to file reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To file reports, hunters need to know their tag numbers or hunting license numbers, the number of days they hunted, the game management units they hunted in, the date they harvested, and the number of antler points on the animal they harvested, or the length of the horns for pronghorns in inches.

These harvest data are valuable to Idaho Fish and Fame for managing big game populations. Harvest data for past years is available on the website at:

F&G Commission to Meet in Boise This Week

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet Wednesday and Thursday, January 16 and 17, at Fish and Game headquarters in Boise.

The annual meeting starts with a public meeting at 7 p.m., Wednesday, January 16. Members of the public who want to address the commission on any topic having to do with Fish and Game business may do so at the public hearing. All testimony will be taken into consideration when the commission makes decisions on agenda items at the meetings.

Routine agenda items include setting seasons for moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats, a budget preview, big game briefing and the appointment of winter feeding advisory committee members.

Commissioners also will hear updates on legislative activity and an elk management plan, in addition to Chinook salmon forecasts for spring and summer, Chinook returning to the Snake River and potential for 2013 seasons in the Clearwater, Salmon and Snake river drainages.

They will consider a staff proposal to redirect $50,000 of animal damage control funds from coyote control in eastern Idaho to wolf control within elk management zones that are performing below management objectives.

Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore will present the 2012 Director's Report to the Commission.

For a complete agenda go to the Fish and Game website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/commission/?getPage=184.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting the Idaho Fish and Game Director's Office at 208-334-5159 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-2529 (TDD).

Super Hunt 2013 Entries on Sale Now

Even hunters who don't draw a tag win in Fish and Game's Super Hunt drawings for a chance at the hunt of a lifetime.

The entry fees help support hunter and angler access to and across private lands.

The deadline to enter is May 31 for the first drawing in June.

Super Hunt is a fund-raising drawing for 40 big game tags. The tags are handed out to winners in two drawings. Entries are drawn for elk, deer, pronghorn and moose tags. Winners can participate in any open hunt in the state for deer, elk, pronghorn or moose. That includes general hunts and controlled hunts.

Entries in this year's first Super Hunt and Super Hunt Combo drawing must be received at the Fish and Game headquarters by May 31. The first drawing in June will be for eight elk, eight deer, and eight antelope hunts as well as one moose hunt; one "Super Hunt Combo" entry also will be drawn that will entitle the winner to hunt for one each elk, deer, antelope, and moose.

A second drawing will be in mid-August when another "Super Hunt Combo" and entries for two elk, two deer, and two antelope hunts along with one moose hunt will be drawn. The entry period for the second drawing is June 2 through August 11.

Hunters can take an animal or animals on their Super Hunt or Super Hunt Combo tags in addition to any general season or controlled hunt tags they also hold. All other rules of individual hunts apply.

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.

Ask Fish and Game: Wolf Tags

Q. I bought a 2012wolf tag, but I haven't had a chance to use it yet. Is it still good for the rest of the season?

A. No. Wolf tags for 2012 are no longer valid. Wolf tags, like most other tags including deer, elk, salmon and steelhead permits, are issued by calendar year, and they are valid only during the year for which they are issued. To hunt wolves in Idaho in 2013, a person must have a valid 2013 Idaho hunting license and a 2013 wolf tag. A 2013 wolf tag may be used during any open wolf hunt until December 31 this year. Trapping licenses and wolf trapping tags, however, are good from July 1 through June 30.

F&G Proposes Rose Lake Launch Improvements

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is proposing an access site expansion and improvement project for the Rose Lake boat launch.

Rose Lake covers 300 acres and is about four miles south of I-90 on Highway 3, 20 miles east of Coeur d'Alene in Kootenai County. It is an excellent fishery for warm-water species, including crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, largemouth bass and channel catfish.

The current condition and design of the Rose Lake boating access site is inadequate for the current level of use and for projected public demand in the future.

"Congestion at the ramp has caused some frustration by boaters when they must wait to launch or load their boats," said JJ Teare, Fish and Game habitat land manager.

The existing ramp is shallow and needs be extended and widened to allow for easier loading. The parking is too far from the ramp, the road in between is narrow and steep, and the site is not user friendly to anglers with impaired mobility.

The proposed project involves converting the Rose Lake boat launch from a primitive site to a modern facility. Amenities would include 20 or more parking spaces, a new access road to the ramp and a larger loading area. ADA accessible parking is proposed near the docks and ramps. Surfaces would be paved with asphalt, and new lighting would make launching and loading easier. A new double-lane launch surface is proposed to connect to a new boarding dock system with a new boat preparation area to reduce congestion at the ramp.

Fish and Game has allocated $70,000 to renovate and expand the launch in the fall of 2013. Engineering estimates place the total project costs at $195,000. Fish and Game is submitting an Idaho Parks and Recreation Waterways Improvement Fund grant application for $125,000. If approved, adequate funds will exist to complete the project.

Fish and Game is requesting letters of support and public comments for the project.

Magic Valley Sportsmen's Chili Cook-Off Set

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will host the Fourth Annual Sportsmen's Chili Cook-Off starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 24, at the Jerome regional office, 324 South 417 East, Highway 93 Business Park.

Participants are invited to bring their favorite chili or just come and try the different flavors on for size.

"It is a great event," said Jerome Hansen, Fish and Game Magic Valley regional supervisor. "Last year we had over 20 chili entries and more that 60 sportsmen attended. Every year it just continues to get bigger and better."

Chef Kirk Martin of the Snake River Grill will be on hand to give a wild game cooking demonstration for the whole family. Sportsman recipients of the new "Caught in the Act of Doing Good" program will be recognized.

Prizes will be awarded for the two best chilies, the People's Choice and the Chefs Choice.

For more information on the Sportsmen's Chili Feed, call the Magic Valley Region office at 208-324-4359.

Tax Check-off Supports Wildlife

Folks getting ready to file their tax returns might consider supporting Idaho's wildlife.

Taxpayers may check the square on their Idaho tax forms to donate any amount of their refund to the Nongame Wildlife Conservation Fund administered by Idaho Fish and Game. Other Fish and Game programs aimed at game animals and fish are funded through the sale of licenses and tags to hunters and anglers. No general taxes go to either game or nongame programs.

The only two ways to support animals that are not hunted, fished or trapped is by donating on your Idaho income tax form or buying an Idaho wildlife license plate.

Nongame programs include education, conservation and recreation. Examples of nongame wildlife projects include producing popular educational publications and doing research on nongame wildlife species. Better information about those species aids wildlife management efforts and could help keep some from becoming rare or endangered.

The number of Idaho residents participating in wildlife related activities, such as bird and wildlife watching, wildlife photography, bird feeding and conservation education, continues to rise. While this constituency continues to grow, the problem of how to fund the nongame program and meet ever-increasing demands continues.

More than 80 percent of Idaho's wild creatures-523 species including songbirds, water birds, raptors, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and threatened and endangered wildlife-are classified as "nongame wildlife."

Nongame wildlife is not normally hunted, fished or trapped, but is found in every corner of Idaho.

Besides the check-off, the major source of funding for nongame programs is through the sale of the distinctive bluebird, cutthroat trout and elk license plates.

Waterfowl Shooting Hours Correction

The waterfowl shooting hours chart on Page 15 of the 2012 Waterfowl Seasons and Rules book contains an error.

The ending hours on January 24 for Blaine, Butte, Camas, Cassia, Custer, Gooding, Jerome, Lemhi, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties should read 5:40 p.m. MST.

Ask Fish and Game: Ice Fishing Rules

Q. Are there special rules for ice fishing?

A. Yes. Ice fishing rules are slightly different than general fishing for public safety and general crowding. Fishing is allowed only through a hole up to 10 inches in diameter. This reduces the risk of someone falling through holes. The only exception is on Bear Lake in Southeast Idaho where anglers can dip-net cisco through any size hole. There are no restrictions on the number of holes, but an angler can fish with up to five poles or lines at a time, and up to five hooks per line. All lines must be attended by the angler. The two-pole permit is not valid for ice fishing. Anglers also should check the 2013-2015 Fishing Seasons and Rules book for regional restrictions