Press Release

August 2013

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.

Ask Fish and Game: Unlimited Controlled Hunts

Q. I have an unlimited archery deer tag for Unit 53. Does this limit me to this area only, or am I able to hunt the general archery hunts as well?

A. The unlimited archery deer tag is for a controlled hunt in Unit 53 east of U.S. Highway 93. Unlimited refers to the number of tags available in that hunt. The tag is not good for any general season archery hunts. Anyone whose name is drawn in a controlled hunt for deer or elk is prohibited from hunting in any other hunt for the same species except hunters drawn in a controlled extra tag or depredation hunt, or if they have purchased a leftover nonresident general season tag at the nonresident price.

Women's Outdoor Skills Clinic Slated in Nampa

Rifle shooting, survival and fly fishing are just some of the outdoor skills to be taught at an upcoming Women Of the Woods clinic, sponsored by Idaho Fish and Game.

Free of charge and open to women 18 years of age and older, the WOW clinic will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, September 28, at the Fish and Game Nampa Research Office, 1414 E. Locust Road, just south of the Wilson Springs area.

With more women interested in outdoors than ever before, Lauren Lapinel of the Fish and Game Nampa office, said she felt the time was right to introduce other women to the outdoor skills she enjoys and uses on a regular basis.

"Idaho is all about being outdoors," Lapinel said. "Our goal is to help participants learn new outdoor skills and/or hone familiar skills to increase their enjoyment of all that Idaho has to offer."

The WOW clinic is modeled after a similar - and highly successful - women's outdoor workshop in Bonner's Ferry in early August.

In addition to those skills already mentioned, the clinic's female instructors will offer courses in preparing for the hunt, field dressing big game and upland game birds, map, compass and GPS use and fishing basics.

Space is limited, and advanced registration is necessary. For more information or to register for the clinic, contact Lapinel at: lauren.lapinel@idfg.idaho.gov.

Fish and Game Fall Breakfast Meetings Resume in Lewiston

After taking a break for the summer, the Clearwater Region of Idaho Fish and Game will kick off the fall season by hosting a breakfast meetings on Tuesday, September 10, at 3316 16th St. Lewiston.

The meeting begins at 6:30 a.m. and will include presentations on fall fishing season updates, youth hunting clinics, enforcement challenges and other related activities.

The meeting is open to anyone interested in wildlife and is designed to stimulate informal discussion about local wildlife issues. Coffee, donuts and juice will be provided.

For more information, contact the Fish and Game Lewiston at 208-799-5010. Please come and join in the conversation.

Fall Chinook Season Opens September 1

A fall Chinook salmon fishing season on parts of the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon rivers opens Sunday, September 1.

The Clearwater River, from its mouth upstream to Memorial Bridge in Lewiston; and the Salmon River, from its mouth upstream about three-fourths of a mile to Eye of the Needle Rapids, will be open from September 1 until further notice or October 31, whichever comes first.

The Snake River, from the Washington-Idaho border upstream to Cliff Mountain Rapids, a little less than a mile downstream of Hells Canyon Dam, will be open from September 1 until further notice or October 31, and the section from Cliff Mountain Rapids to Hells Canyon Dam, will be open from September 1 until further notice or November 17.

The daily bag limit is six adult Chinook salmon, the possession limit is 18 adult Chinook, and there is no season limit on adult Chinook. Only adipose-fin-clipped salmon may be kept.

Only adult Chinook must be recorded on the angler's salmon permit. There are no limits on jacks, but anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license and salmon permit to fish for salmon. Anglers who fill their salmon permit must purchase an additional permit before continuing to fish for salmon.

For additional information please consult the 2013 fishing rules and seasons brochure, available at all license vendors, Fish and Game offices and online at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=110.

Wayward Black Bear Returned Home

After a short visit to the city of trees and the Fort Boise area, an adult male black bear was transported back to the forest without incident.

First reported to authorities during the August 22 morning commute, the bear was seen on a hillside east of Horizon Drive just after 7 a.m., with other sightings reported in the hour that followed. Ada County Deputies responded and maintained visual contact with the bear until Fish and Game officers arrived.

"The Ada County deputies were instrumental in this operation, and we greatly appreciate their help," Fish and Game conservation educator Evin Oneale said. "With all the recreational activity that goes on in the Fort Boise area, it was critical to have the deputies there to keep people at a distance and monitor the bear's movements."

Fish and Game officers developed a strategy for tranquilizing the bear, which cooperated by bedding down in heavy brush along the Cottonwood Trail, just off Mountain Cove Road.

"The challenge there was to get a clear shot at the animal," Oneale said.

Eventually, the bear was darted and shortly after, loaded for transport to the Pilot Peak area between Idaho City and Lowman. Released without incident, the bear now sports bright yellow and bright green ear tags.

More to Come?

This may not be the last black bear to visit town before winter hits.

"Extended drought conditions have been tough on bears, and there's no reason to think this bear will be the last one wandering into town looking for food," Oneale said. "Homeowners living in more rural settings and those living on the doorstep of the Boise Foothills need to be particularly vigilant in securing potential bear attractants."

Pet food, garbage and bird feeders are examples of attractants that might bring an unwanted wild visitor to people's property.

Hunters Affected by Fire Closures Have Options

Hunters affected by national forest lands closed because of wildfires in the Magic Valley Region have the option to exchange their Smoky Mountain Zone elk A-tag.

As the fire slows, more of the Smoky Mountain Zone - game management units 43, 44 and 48 - is being opened. Only a small percentage of units 43 and 48 were affected; much of the fire is in Unit 44, which is not open for the archery portion of the A-tag elk hunt.

The archery A-tag season for elk in the Smoky Mountain Zone begins August 30. Hunters may exchange Smoky Mountain Zone elk tags for another zone at any Idaho Fish and Game office before August 30.

Other hunts affected by the closure area include a controlled deer hunt in Unit 44 that opens on September 15, and controlled bull elk hunts that open September 25. Several additional hunts open in October. Fish and Game will continue to monitor access restrictions and fire boundaries in those areas as those hunts draw nearer.

Fish and Game has a number of options for hunters whose hunting access is severely restricted by wildfires or closures, including exchanging controlled hunt tags for general season tags, rain checks for the following year, and in some cases refunds.

As fire and closure boundaries change, Fish and Game will determine which of these options are appropriate to different hunts and will publicize those options at least 10 days before the hunts' opening date.

For more information about upcoming hunts, contact the Fish and Game Magic Valley office at 208-324-4359.

Hunters, anglers and other backcountry travelers are advised to check with U.S. Forest Service ranger district offices or county sheriffs' offices before heading out. For fire updates go to: http://www.inciweb.org/state/13/.

Elk Plan Released for Public Comment

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Monday, August 19, released a proposed 10-year elk management plan for a 30-day public review and comment period.

Starting Thursday, August 22, the proposed plan will be available to the public on the Fish and Game elk planning webpage, http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/elkplanning. The public comment period ends September 22.

Copies of the plan also may be obtained at regional Fish and Game offices.

Comments may be submitted on the website or mailed to Elk Plan Comments, c/o Idaho Fish and Game, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707.

Fish and Game also will host a live, online chat from 6 to 8 p.m. MDT, and 5 to 7 p.m. PDT, August 29, to discuss and answer questions about the plan.

In addition, questions may also be directed to the regional wildlife managers.

Second Controlled Hunt Draw Results Now Online

Results for the second controlled hunt drawing now are available on the Internet.

Hunters who applied for elk, deer or antelope can learn online whether or not they were successful in the recent computerized drawing.

Results are available at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/licenses/controlledHunts/?getPage=81 or from the Fish and Game website front page at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Applicants may enter their hunting license numbers to find out instantly how they did in the drawing.

Hunters can pick up permits and tags at any license vender in the state, online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/licenses/lookupVendors.cfm, or call 1-800-554-8685. There is no deadline to pick up tags. Any tags not drawn will go on sale August 26.

Successful applicants will be notified by mail. It is the hunter's responsibility to find out whether he or she was drawn.

For those hunters who need it, help with planning hunts can be found on the Fish and Game Website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner, to zero in on where, when and what species to hunt this fall.

F&G Plans Clark Fork River Delta Restoration

Out of concerns over the loss of fish and wildlife habitat in the Lake Pend Oreille area, resulting from the operation of the Albeni Falls Dam, the State of Idaho agreed to use funding from the Bonneville Power Administration to protect, improve and restore habitat in the Clark Fork River delta that is being lost to erosion.

The restored and enhanced habitat will benefit a wide variety of wildlife, including songbirds, water birds, raptors, waterfowl, elk, deer, moose, bear and furbearers by providing improved areas for breeding, feeding and cover.

The project is proposed to occur in two phases: The first phase involves the drift yard and boat launch areas, as well as two island areas directly to the south of the drift yard. The second phase will involve bank stabilization along White and Derr islands.

Visitors to the area should expect some interruption of public access to the Clark Fork River delta from the drift yard access site during the first construction phase, which will begin in July 2014 and run through March 2015.

The proposed restoration activities include protecting delta shorelines with engineered structures and vegetated riprap. This will help prevent saturated wetland soils from slumping into the water and wave action from eroding shorelines.

The restoration effort will also elevate portions of the delta areas that are currently submerged during the summer to increase the amount of habitat available to breeding waterfowl and wildlife.

Efforts will be made to reduce the presence of invasive weeds and encourage the growth of native grasses, forbs and woody plants.

Work to implement the first phase will start in July 2014, with rock and large wood being barged to the project site. Construction of the projective structures and earthmoving will occur after the lake is lowered to its winter elevation in November 2014, and will continue until March 2015, when the spring flows begin.

Fish and Game Commission Sets 2013 Sage-Grouse Season

Idaho Fish and Game Commission Monday, August 19, set the 2013 sage-grouse hunting season.

The season is similar to last year's hunting season, with hunting allowed at the "restrictive" level.

The seven-day season runs from September 21 through September 27, with a one-bird daily limit and a two-bird possession limit open in:

  • Butte, Camas, Cassia, Clark, Fremont, Gooding, Jefferson, Jerome, Lemhi, Lincoln, Madison, Minidoka, Power and Teton counties.
  • Bannock County west of Interstate 15.
  • Bingham County west of Interstate 15.
  • Blaine County, except within the Salmon River drainage.
  • Bonneville County west of Interstate 15 and north of U.S. Highway 26.
  • Custer County, except within the Salmon River drainage upstream from and including Valley Creek.
  • Oneida County west of Interstate 15.
  • Owyhee County west of the Bruneau River.
  • Twin Falls County east of U.S. Highway 93.

Closed Areas are:

  • Eastern Owyhee County and western Twin Falls County, which continue to be affected by the 2007 Murphy Complex Fire.
  • East Idaho Uplands area in the southeastern part of the state east of Interstate 15 and south of U.S. Highway 26, because of a lack of long-term data.
  • Washington County and Adams County, Payette and Gem counties. This isolated population has been closed to hunting since 1984.
  • Elmore County, because of a lack of long term data, 2012 fires and no known active leks south of Highway 20.

Any person hunting sage- or sharp-tailed grouse must have in possession a valid Idaho hunting license with a sage/sharp-tailed grouse permit validation at $4.75.

2013-2014 Waterfowl Seasons Set

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Monday, August 19, set waterfowl seasons of 105 days and a two-day youth hunt, along with some changes in goose seasons and limits.

The waterfowl season opens with a two-day youth hunt on September 28 and 29 for licensed youths aged 10 to 15.

Duck and Canada goose seasons in the area around the American Falls Reservoir will run from October 5 to January 17, with scaup seasons from October 26 to January 17. In the rest of the state it will run from October 12 to January 24, with scaup seasons from November 2 to January 24.

The daily bag limit will be seven ducks - but no more than two female mallards, two redheads, three scaup, two pintails and two canvasbacks - and four Canada geese.

This year, the white-fronted goose season was separated from Canada geese to accommodate white-fronted goose hunting opportunities in the southwest part of the state.

In the southwest area, white-fronted geese will be open November 11 to February 23.

The light goose season will be open from November 26 to March 10.

But during the time the white-fronted goose and light-goose seasons occur at the same time, the use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns would not be allowed.

Elsewhere, the white-fronted goose season around the American Falls Reservoir will run from October 5 through January 17, and in the rest of the state it will run from October 12 through January 24. The daily bag limit will be six white fronted geese.

For light geese - snow and Ross's geese - there are four zones.

The season for:

  • Zone 1 will run from October 5 to January 17.
  • Zone 2 will run from October 29 to January 17 and from February 15 through March 10.
  • Zone 3 will run from November 26 to March 10.
  • Zone 4 will run from October 12 to January 24.

The daily bag limit is 20 light geese, increased from 10 last year.