Press Release

March 2013

Southern Portion Of Egin-Hamer Opens April 1

Though spring is fighting to break through, natural resource managers at the Bureau of Land Management and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game have tried to guarantee that wintering big games herds remained protected as long as possible and have maintained original closure dates as they relate to the Egin-Hamer closure and St. Anthony Sand Dunes.

The southern portion of the closure opens to human entry on April 1.

That portion of the Egin-Hamer Closure Area that is south of the Egin-Hamer Road is scheduled to open at sunrise on April 1. The area north of the road surrounding the dunes remains closed until sunrise on May 1. Maps of the closure are available at the regional Fish and Game and BLM Offices in Idaho Falls. The closure is patrolled by law enforcement officers from BLM, Fish and Game and the Fremont County Sheriff's Department.

Fish and Game employees are allowed as part of their administrative duties to enter the closure to carry out enforcement activities. Fish and Game employees and volunteers already have entered the area to do hibernating bat research and may enter the remaining closed portion to observe sage-grouse performing courtship displays on their mating leks. Survey crews under the direction of the BLM may also be observed entering the closure.

It is critical that in all areas that humans give wildlife a wide berth. Many animals are preparing to give birth to their young, and it is critical that energy reserves are maintained in the event a late spring harsh weather event occurs.

Project WILD Workshop Scheduled in Pocatello

How would you like to be a "WILD teacher?"

A "WILD teacher" is one who has participated in a Project WILD workshop presented by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Participants learn about wildlife and discover fun and exciting ways to teach wildlife conservation and ecological concepts in the classroom.

An Introductory Project WILD workshop will be hosted by Fish and Game in April at Grace Lutheran School in Pocatello. The workshop will run from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, April 5, and will continue from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6.

Project WILD workshops are ideal for all types of educators - school teachers (K-12), 4-H leaders, scoutmasters, docents and interpreters for nature centers or zoos. And, they aren't just for the science educators. Even if you teach math, art, PE, or run the library at your school, there is something for you in Project WILD.

The fee for this workshop is $25. One continuing education credit is offered for this workshop for an additional fee. Registration for this credit takes place at the workshop. All activities from Project WILD have been correlated to the Idaho State Education standards, and the workshop is Idaho STARS-certified.

Workshop participants will take home a variety of educational materials, including two activity guides which contain more than 150 activities related to wildlife and wildlife conservation. And, the best part is that this workshop is "hands on" fun!

"Project WILD is a wonderful instrument Fish and Game uses to help educators and the students they teach to connect to the outdoors and to Idaho's wildlife resource," says Jennifer Jackson, regional conservation educator for the Southeast Region of Fish and Game. "If we can educate youth early on, they not only grow up with a love and appreciation for wildlife, they learn to be better stewards of the resource. And, that is not only good for the future of wildlife, it is good for Idaho."

Commission Sets 2013 Big Game Seasons

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Tuesday, March 19, adopted 2013 seasons for deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion and gray wolf, as proposed by Fish and Game biologists.

The new seasons include an increase in elk controlled hunt and pronghorn tags and expanded wolf hunting and trapping seasons. A summary of major changes include:

Major changes for deer:

  • Reduce antlerless tags in Units 22, 31, 32, 32A and 39 to maintain or increase deer numbers.
  • Move popular rotating muzzleloader controlled hunt from east side of Unit 45 to east side of Unit 52.
  • Add new archery hunt in Unit 45 with 10 tags.
  • Move archery unlimited controlled hunt in Unit 72 up two weeks to start on November 16 and run through December 5, and expand the hunt area into a part of Unit 76.
  • Reinstate 390 either-sex deer tags reduced after 2010-2011 winter in Units 60, 62, 64, 66 and 67.
  • Create October 10 through November 30 "high-quality" buck hunts with five tags each in Hunt Areas 21, 28-1, 30, 36A and 36B.
  • Convert 85 extra antlerless tags in Units 21 and 36A to youth extra antlerless tags.

Major changes for elk:

Ask Fish and Game: Controlled Hunt Applications

Q. If I apply for a moose, sheep or goat hunt, can I still apply for a deer, elk or pronghorn controlled hunt?

A. Well, that depends. A person may apply for only one species with some exceptions: In general, anyone applying for any moose, bighorn sheep or mountain goat hunt may not apply for any other big game controlled hunt in the same year except they may apply for a controlled depredation hunt for deer, elk or pronghorn; a controlled black bear hunt; or leftover deer, elk or pronghorn controlled hunt tag; an unlimited controlled hunt; or an extra deer, elk, pronghorn or turkey hunt.

F&G Wants to Talk about Elk Plan Revision

Idaho Fish and Game plans an online chat to talk about the ongoing elk management plan revision.

The online chat will be from 7 to 9 p.m. MDT, April 10 and 11. Anyone interested may connect at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov and click on the link in the bottom center of the page.

Learn about the process, ask questions of Fish and Game's wildlife managers, and share your thoughts about statewide management direction. Plan objectives are in still draft form.

Fish and Game also plans a series of regional open house meetings during April and May to discuss the plan and the process. The times and locations will be announced as soon as they are set.

Another way to stay informed about the elk plan revision process is to sign up for e-mail updates - also available on the right hand side of the Fish and Game home page.

Idaho's current elk management plan is more than 12 years old. Starting in late 2011, Fish and Game launched an effort to revise and update that plan.

Strategies in the plan will be driven by public expectations and changes in elk populations.

Revisions being considered are based largely on a survey of Idaho elk hunters in the spring and summer of 2012, and in part on changes in habitat, predation and agricultural depredation conflicts.

Comments may be submitted to wildlife managers at regional offices, by e-mail to idfg-staff@idfg.idaho.gov, or by mail to Elk Plan Comments, P.O. Box 25, Boise ID 83707.

To stay informed anyone interested may track the elk planning progress online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/elkplanning.

Moose, Sheep, Goat Application Period Coming up

April is not just tax month; it's also the month to apply for moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat hunts.

Applications for these controlled hunts will be accepted from April 1 through April 30. Hunters may apply at Fish and Game offices, license vendors, and with a credit card by telephone or over the Internet. Telephone applications may be made at 1-800-554-8685; Internet users may apply at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/licenses/?getPage=86.

Telephone and Internet applications are subject to additional service charges.

Each applicant must possess an Idaho hunting or combination license to apply for a controlled hunt. License fees will not be refunded.

For moose, goat and sheep hunt applications only, the entire application fee must be paid with the application. All but application fee - $6.25 for residents and $14.75 for nonresidents - will be refunded to those who do not draw. The resident application, including permit fee, costs $173; nonresidents pay $2,116.50. Unsuccessful resident applicants will receive a refund of $166.75; unsuccessful nonresident applicants will receive a refund of $2,101.75.

Mailed applications must be postmarked no later than April 30.

Hunters who apply for moose, goat and sheep may not apply for any other controlled hunt in the same year except for unlimited controlled hunts, extra deer, elk or antelope hunts, controlled bear hunts or depredation hunts. Those who draw a moose, goat or sheep permit and do not kill an animal may not apply to hunt the same species for two years.

Any person who has harvested an antlered moose in Idaho may not apply for any moose permit except an antlerless moose permit. Any person who has harvested an antlerless moose in Idaho may not apply for any moose permit except an antlered moose permit.

Wildlife Summit Regional Working Groups Meet

Idaho Fish and Game is convening regional working groups around the state in March and April to continue the conversation started during the Wildlife Summit in August.

The groups are made up of hunters, anglers and other individuals who attended the Summit and who said they wanted to help Fish and Game find ways to improve wildlife conservation in Idaho. But anyone who is interested may participate.

The first of many challenges to be addressed at the regional working group meetings will be identifying strategies to boost funding for the Wildlife Diversity Program. The program works with Idaho residents and conservation partners to maintain natural, self-sustaining populations of native "nongame" wildlife species to benefit Idaho residents and the state's visitors.

Maintaining the state's species diversity is part of Fish and Game legal mandate to protect and manage all of the state's fish and wildlife species, and conserving all species means all species benefit, whether hunted, fished, trapped or not.

The Wildlife Diversity Program receives no funding from the sale of hunting or fishing licenses. Its budget is funded through the sale of wildlife license plates, voluntary state tax check-offs and other donations. This income is then used as matching funds to leverage federal State Wildlife Grants and challenge cost shares.

Fish and Game and the Idaho Fish and Game Commission are eager to build on the momentum of the Wildlife Summit. And just as with the Summit, the Idaho regional working group participants represent a diversity of wildlife interests and viewpoints, including hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers, and will work to prioritize action items that will best help meet the public's needs, desires and expectations for wildlife management in Idaho.

Annual Fur Auction Set for April in Southeast Region

The fur sale is set for 9 a.m. Saturday, April 6, at the Southeast Region office in Pocatello.

Items may be viewed beginning at 9 a.m. The live auction will start at 10. The sale will be conducted at 1345 Barton Rd., Pocatello, by Prime Time Auctions Inc.

Auction items include furs, whole carcasses, antlers, skulls and other items.

All items were either seized as evidence or salvaged. All carcasses are considered unfit for human consumption and are sold for use of the non-edible portions only.

Elk, deer and moose antlers may be sold as small bundles by weight or as single sets attached to skull plates.

A taxidermist-furbuyer license is required in advance to bid on bear parts, mountain lion parts or any furbearer for anyone in the business of buying and selling hides or animal mounts. Resident licenses are $40 for one year, and nonresident licenses are $170. The licenses can be purchased at any Idaho Fish and Game office.

Buyers for personal use are not required to have a taxidermist-furbuyer license.

Fish and Game will accept only cash, cashier's checks or personal checks. No credit card service will be available.

Nonresident purchasers should be aware that their state may not allow import of the hides or parts of bear, mountain lion, bobcat or otter. Be sure to check state regulations before purchasing these items.

If a person has killed an animal illegally and that animal has been confiscated and put up for sale at the auction, they may not buy that animal or any part of it at the auction. Nor may another person buy the animal or any part of it on their behalf. This violation would be considered an illegal purchase of wildlife.

For more information contact the Southeast Region Fish and Game office at 208-232-4703.

Swan Poacher Suspects Identified, Charged

In a poaching case that captivated local residents, three Nampa juvenile suspects have been charged with a number of wildlife violations related to a poached trumpeter swan near the Boise River just west of Star in February.

The initial release of details about the case generated a number of phone calls to Idaho Fish and Game, all of which helped officers track down the suspects.

While four youths, all from Nampa, were suspected in the poaching incident, charges were filed against only three. Five citations and four warnings were issued in connection with nine violations.

The suspects will appear in court in Canyon County in the weeks ahead.

Citations included illegal take of a migratory bird, aid in the commission of a misdemeanor and hunting without a license. Warnings also were issued for illegal take of a migratory bird with an unlawful firearm, and three counts of using a motorized vehicle as an aid in hunting.

During the course of the investigation, officers also cited one of the suspects with possession of a nongame protected bird in connection with a poached great blue heron. A shotgun and a .22-caliber rifle were seized as evidence in the case.

"Citizen information played a key role in bringing this case to a successful conclusion," said Evin Oneale, Fish and Game regional conservation educator. "It was all good, from the general description of the vehicle to other tips that came in during the days following the poaching incident. We're very grateful to our citizenry for their assistance with this case."

At more than 20 pounds and with a wingspan of 8 feet, the trumpeter swan is the largest waterfowl in North America and the largest swan in the world. There is no hunting season on trumpeter swans in Idaho.

Commission to Meet in Boise in March

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will consider proposed changes to seasons on deer, elk, pronghorn, bear, lion and gray wolf during a meeting Monday and Tuesday, March 18 and 19 in Boise.

A public comment period begins at 7 p.m. Monday, March 18. 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 a legislative update and a presentation on bighorn sheep translocation. Commissioners will consider proposed rules for capturing wild peregrine falcons for falconry.

In the afternoon, commissioners will meet with the House Resources and Conservation Committee at the Statehouse.

Later in the day, fisheries managers will provide an update on the forecast for spring and summer Chinook salmon to Idaho. They expect to return to the commission in April with recommendations for 2013 Chinook fisheries in the Clearwater, Salmon and Snake river drainages.

Other agenda items include a briefing on rules for game animals and an update on the elk management plan revision. Commissioners also will hear a presentation on how the agency monitors and determines whether predation is a limiting factor on sage-grouse and what procedures are used to direct control efforts.

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 Department of Fish and Game director's office at 208-334-5159 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-2529 (TDD).

Plenty of Time to Enter Super Hunt Drawing

It's not too early to enter the first Super Hunt drawing in June.

The deadline is May 31.

With every entry in Fish and Game's Super Hunt drawings, hunters get a chance at winning the hunt of a lifetime, and their entry fee helps support hunter and angler access to and across private lands.

The first drawing in June will pick 26 lucky hunters, each of whom will win one of 25 tags - eight elk, eight deer, and eight pronghorn permits 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, pronghorn and moose.

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

Winners can participate in any open hunt in the state for deer, elk, pronghorn or moose, including general hunts and controlled hunts, in addition to any general season or controlled hunt tags they also hold.

Hunters who win any Super Hunt tag may still enter controlled hunts, except where other restrictions apply. All other rules of individual hunts apply.

The first Super Hunt entry will cost $6. Each additional entry purchased at the same time will cost $4 each. The Super Hunt Combo entries work the same way.

The first entry costs $20, and each additional entry purchased at the same time will cost $16.

Hunters can enter the drawing at license vendors, Fish and Game offices, or they can enter on the Internet at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=22, and on the phone at 800-554-8685.

There is no limit to the number of entries. Fill out the entry order forms and mail them to: Idaho Fish and Game License Section, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707.

Check the Tax Checkoff for Wildlife

Got a tax refund coming? Consider donating some of it to 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 the Idaho income tax form or by 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.

For information about funding nongame wildlife go online to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/nongame/?getPage=243

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 - 435 species, including songbirds, water birds, raptors, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and threatened and endangered wildlife - are classified as "nongame wildlife."