Press Release

August 2013

Upland Game Seasons Opening

Upland game fall seasons are ramping up, with forest grouse, rabbits and hares open now.

The early fall general turkey season and seasons for September 15 and chukar, quail, partridge and sage-grouse begin September 21.

The season for forest grouse, which include ruffed, spruce and dusky grouse, opens August 30 and runs through January 31 in the Panhandle Region and through December 31 in the rest of the state. The daily limit is four, whether all of one or mixed species, and 12 in possession. Hunters need only a valid hunting license to hunt quail, chukar, grey partridge and forest grouse.

Seasons on cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares also opens August 30. Cottontail season runs through February 28, 2014, and snowshoe season runs through March 31, 2014. There is no season on pygmy rabbits.

The general fall turkey season opens:

  • September 15 through December 15 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 in game management units 73, 74, 75, 77 and 78.
  • September 15 through October 9 in game management units 8, 8A, 10, 10A, 11, 11A, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16A, 17, 18, 19 and 20.
  • November 21 through December 31 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 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.

Mourning Dove, Sandhill Crane Seasons Open

The 2013 mourning dove and sandhill crane seasons open Sunday, September 1.

The mourning dove season runs through September 30. The daily bag limit is 10, and the possession limit is 30.

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 the 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 all six hunt areas. The daily limit is two birds and the season limit is four. 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 2013 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, Idaho 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, packing on fat to make through the winter.

"Anyone who leaves food out is 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:

Idaho Conservation Officer Recognized by WAFWA

Senior conservation officer Jim Stirling of the Magic Valley Region has been named the Pogue-Elms law enforcement officer of the year by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Stirling has worked as a conservation officer for Idaho Fish and Game since 2003.

The award recognizes a wildlife enforcement officer from among WAFWA's 23 states and Canadian provinces for their contributions to fish and wildlife law enforcement, leadership, skill, ingenuity and applied technology in their duty, and whose contributions brought credit to their agency and the field of wildlife enforcement.

Stirling was recognized as a tenacious investigator with a tireless work ethic, always striving for excellence.

"I cannot count how many times I have heard him say, ÔThere has to be a better way,' or ÔWe can do better,'" district conservation officer Josh Royse said in his letter nominating Stirling for the award.

Most notable is his selfless effort to secure grants and funding outside of normal budgeting process to develop Idaho Fish and Game's first K-9 program. Stirling and Pepper, Fish and Game's black lab K-9, have already proven themselves as a valuable resource with successes in finding hidden evidence, discarded firearms and ammunition, and most importantly, a lost child.

Stirling also serves as a field training officer, a department instructor, and he is a tremendous ambassador of fish and wildlife management to his community.

The award is named in the memory of two Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers, Bill Pogue and Conley Elms, who gave the ultimate sacrifice while protecting Idaho's wildlife resource.

All Hunters and Anglers Must Stop at Check Stations

In the Field

By Phil Cooper - Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Hard as it is to believe, summer is already coming to a close, and some Idaho hunting seasons have already opened.

These include what are called "green-field hunts" that are intended to provide some relief to crop producers experiencing damage by big game. Many additional seasons open in the very near future for big game as well as small game.

Archers should take note that the general archery deer season opens before the general archery elk season. Prior to last year, both opened August 30 in the Panhandle.

As was the case last year, general season elk hunting for both archery and firearms hunters is only open for antlered elk. There is no general cow season in the Panhandle at this time.

At the fair last week, I was asked numerous times when the cow season would return. Nobody has a good answer for that question other than to say that it cannot happen until overall elk numbers and cow-calf ratios improve. Calves must survive in better numbers than they currently are before general cow hunting can be available.

Idaho Fish and Game will continue to monitor populations using aerial and ground surveys and monitor harvest by reviewing mandatory harvest report data, mail and phone surveys and check station results to keep track of population changes.

While we are talking about check stations, it is important that hunters and anglers know what to do when they come upon a check station. Idaho Code requires that "all sportsmen, with or without game, must stop at Fish and Game check stations." All those who are hunting or fishing that day, or are returning from an overnight hunting or fishing outing, are required to stop.

Fish Killed in Transport Incident

About 160 adult Chinook salmon being transported from Sawtooth Fish Hatchery to the Yankee Fork to spawn naturally, died Wednesday, August 28.

The fish were loaded at the Sawtooth Hatchery south of Stanley and driven to the Yankee Fork where they were released. A Fish and Game employee noticed many were stressed and dying. The cause appears to have been a lack of oxygen that may have been the result of an employee error in operating the transport truck's life support systems.

An additional 32 females were to be transported to the Yankee Fork Friday, and the effect of the incident on future smolt and adult production is expected to be minimal.

Fish and Game is reviewing procedures for moving fish for transplant.

"Although this won't have a significant impact on future production, we want to ensure this doesn't happen again," said Gary Byrne, fish production manager at Idaho Fish and Game.

Ask Fish and Game: Grouse Permits

Q. Grouse season is about to open, but do I need a permit to hunt grouse?

A. It depends on what kind of grouse. Nothing other than a valid 2013 Idaho hunting license is required to hunt forest grouse, which includes dusky, ruffed and spruce grouse. But to hunt sage-grouse and sharp-tailed grouse, hunters also need a sage/sharp-tailed grouse permit validation, available from license vendors for $4.75. Check the 2013 upland game rule book for seasons and bag limits.

F&G Plans Treatment of Soldiers Meadow Reservoir

Idaho Fish and Game officials plan to rehabilitate Soldiers Meadow Reservoir in early November using the chemical rotenone in an effort to rebuild its declining fishery.

Over the years, illegal fish introductions have caused the fishery to decline to the point where now the reservoir is dominated by stunted bullhead, yellow perch and black crappie.

The results of a creel survey in 2012 showed that angler effort at Soldiers Meadow has continued to decline, and that the majority of anglers supported Fish and Game taking action to rehabilitate the reservoir.

"We heard angler's concerns about the declining fishery, and it is time to do something about it," said Robert Hand, regional fisheries biologist. "By using rotenone, we can completely start over and develop a good fishery that will bring anglers back to Soldiers Meadow Reservoir.

"We see this as an opportunity to improve one of our fisheries for people who have enjoyed this location over the years. While there won't be any fish in the reservoir this winter for ice fishing, we will stock it next spring," Hand said. "The reservoir has been managed as a two-story fishery in the past, with both warm-water fish and hatchery rainbow trout, but we intend to have discussions with the public to determine how to manage this fishery in the future. We have the opportunity be a little creative but want to know what the public thinks first."

The water level in the reservoir will be low in November, reducing the amount of rotenone needed for the targeted fish kill. A second chemical, potassium permanganate, will be on hand to neutralize the rotenone in any water that seeps out below the dam.

Fish and Game biologists stress the importance of not transporting fish from one reservoir to another.

Mores Creek Running Red with Kokanee

After spending two to three years feeding in the deep waters of Lucky Peak Reservoir, kokanee are red, fat and ready for spawning.

Scores of kokanee are swimming up Mores Creek and its tributaries, providing a late summer spectacle for onlookers. The run has attracted the attention of anglers, at least some of whom are using illegal methods to try and fill their creel.

"We've got a bunch of folks free-lancing out there," Fish and Game conservation educator Evin Oneale said. "People are snagging fish, netting fish and catching them with their bare hands. All of these techniques are illegal."

Just two weeks ago, conservation officer Ben Cadwallader watched as Wayde Andazola of Meridian snagged four kokanee from a Mores Creek pool. When contacted, Andazola had seven kokanee in his possession, at least six of which had hook marks consistent with snagging.

Snagging is a common violation during kokanee runs and is defined as taking or attempting to take a fish by use of a hook or lure in any manner or method other than enticing or attracting a fish to strike. All game fish, including kokanee, not hooked in the mouth or jaw must be released.

Cadwallader worked with Boise County prosecuting attorney Ian Gee and deputy prosecuting attorney Jay Rosenthal to build a strong court case, which led to the conviction of Andazola for possession of illegally-taken fish.

On Monday, August 26, Andazola stood before Boise County Magistrate Judge Roger Cockerille for sentencing. No stranger to Boise County court, Andazola was convicted of the same wildlife violation in 2009.

Here's a rundown of the most commonly overlooked rules related to kokanee fishing:

Wolf Hunting Season Opens Statewide

The 2013-2014 wolf hunting season opens throughout the state on Friday, August 30.

The season runs through March 31, except in the Lolo, Selway and Middle Fork zones and in that portion of Unit 16 in the Dworshak-Elk City Zone north of the Selway River where the season closes June 30.

The wolf hunting season is open year round on private land only in the Panhandle Zone.

An individual may buy up to five wolf hunting tags per calendar year, but hunters may use only two wolf tags in some parts of the state in a calendar year.

No more than two gray wolf hunting tags may be used in the Salmon, McCall Weiser, Sawtooth, Southern Mountains, Beaverhead, Island Park and Southern Idaho zone. No more than five tags may be used in the Panhandle, Palouse-Hells Canyon, Lolo, Dworshak-Elk City, Selway and Middle Fork zones.

Tags must be validated and securely attached immediately.

Harvest limits have been set in five zones: 45 in the Salmon Zone, 60 in the Sawtooth Zone, 40 in the Southern Mountains, 10 in the Beaverhead and 30 in the Island Park Zone. There is no statewide harvest limit.

The wolf trapping season opens November 15 in all but four wolf zones, and Unit 10A of the Dworshak-Elk City Zone opens to trapping February 1.

Wolf hunting and trapping seasons and rules are posted on the Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/docs/rules/bgWolf.pdf, and they are available on pages 78 through 82 in the 2013 Big Game Seasons and Rules brochure.

Wolf hunting tags are available for $11.50 for Idaho residents and $31.75 for nonresidents. They are valid for a calendar year.

Soldiers Meadow Reservoir to Open for Fish Salvage

Soldiers Meadow Reservoir, south of Lewiston, will open to public fish salvage beginning Sunday, September 1, through Thursday, October 31.

The salvage order, which suspends fish bag, possession and size limits, is the first step in rehabilitating the reservoir. The project is required because of the illegal introductions of yellow perch, black crappie and black bullhead some years ago.

To take advantage of the salvage order, anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license. With the exception of firearms, explosives, chemicals and electricity, fish may be taken with any method, including seines and dip nets. All fish must be killed before transport from the reservoir.

In early November, when water levels are at their lowest, Fish and Game will apply rotenone to the streams entering the reservoir and in the reservoir itself. The reservoir outlet gate will be closed the day of treatment, and the rotenone will naturally dissipate in the weeks following treatment.

When applied to water, rotenone is lethal to fish but harmless to livestock, wildlife, pets and humans.

Because of their robust reproductive capability, yellow perch, black crappie and black bullhead can quickly overpopulate a small reservoir like Soldiers Meadow, stunting their own growth, while also prohibiting the growth of other fish, in this case, rainbow trout.

Fish and Game will stock 10,000 nine-inch rainbow trout just before Memorial Day 2014.

Rule Changes for Nonresident Junior Mentored Tags

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission earlier this month approved a change in the mentor requirements for holders of the nonresident junior mentored hunt tag.

Under the new rule, the mentor is still required to have tag for same species but it doesn't have to be for the same area. The change takes effect immediately as a temporary rule, but it is subject to legislative review as a proposed rule.

The holder of a junior mentored tag must have a junior mentored hunting license and must be accompanied by adult license holder with a tag for the same species. The junior mentored deer and elk tags are not valid for bear, gray wolf or mountain lion.

The junior mentored hunter and the mentor must be close enough to be within normal conversation or hearing range without shouting or the aid of electronic devices.