Press Release

October 2013

Fish and Game Conservation Officers Need Help

Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers are asking for the public's help regarding a cow elk that was shot and left to waste on private land between Moscow and Troy.

Based on the evidence found at the scene, the elk was dragged a short distance and then abandoned. The shooter may have had second thoughts about getting the elk out without being caught trespassing on private property.

Regardless, it is another elk taken unlawfully and represents one less animal available for the law abiding and ethical hunter.

A landowner discovered the wasted elk on Friday, October 25, and evidence suggests the elk was killed a few days earlier.

"Someone has information regarding this elk, and I would be very interested in talking with them to help solve this crime," Senior Conservation Officer Tony Imthurn said. "The wasting of this elk was due to deliberate actions taken by the persons involved."

Anyone with information on is urged to contact Idaho Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999 or Idaho Fish and Game's Lewiston office at (208)790-5010. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.

St Maries River Access Area To Close During Improvement Work

The Saint Maries River Access Area and surrounding IDFG property will be closed to public access from November 1 through May 1, 2014.

A site improvement construction project will be under way during the closure period. The closure is necessary to assure public safety.

The project will involve constructing a new family fishing pond that is expected to be popular with local residents. The pond will be planted with hatchery rainbow trout.

Additional work will include elevating, grading and graveling the current parking and approach areas; installing a new handicapped accessible toilet; and improving river fishing access.

A recently installed new ramp will be modified to address requests expressed by local boaters. A new wetland will be created at the site to benefit wildlife.

Once the work is completed the Saint Maries fishing and boating access site will provide multiple outdoor recreational opportunities for local families and the general public for years to come.

For project and site information, please contact JJ Teare at the Idaho Fish and Game Panhandle Region office, 208-769-1414.

Steelhead Season Continues with Some New Limits

Though the fall Chinook season is closing in most Idaho waters, there is still plenty of exciting fishing left.

The steelhead harvest season is open on the Salmon, the Little Salmon, the lower Snake and on the Clearwater River, where limits have changed.

In the Clearwater River drainage, the limits for the fall season and the spring 2014 season are one fish per day and two in possession. In addition, in the North Fork Clearwater River and the main stem Clearwater River downstream of the Orofino bridge only steelhead 28 inches or less in total length may be kept.

The steelhead limit on the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon is three per day and nine in possession. Anglers may keep 20 steelhead for the season. Once limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing, even catch-and-release.

Anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit. Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks, and may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin. All other steelhead must be released immediately.

For more information on steelhead fishing in Idaho, check the Fish and Game website http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=38.

F&G Plans November Maintenance Work in Pack River Delta

In early November, Idaho Fish and Game and Ducks Unlimited plan to do some maintenance work on the Pack River delta where a restoration project was completed in 2009.

The maintenance work is expected to take only seven to 10 days to complete. The maintenance work involves the construction of a vegetated rock breakwater along one of the enhanced delta islands.

Wildlife habitats along Lake Pend Oreille shorelines and in low lying marsh lands and delta areas have been impacted by the construction and operation of the Albeni Falls Dam on the Pend Oreille River. The purpose of the restoration project was to protect and improve riparian and wetland habitats in the delta, which are eroding as a result of operation of the dam, and to enhance important bird, fish and wildlife habitat.

Overall, the restoration project has worked very well and demonstrated that wildlife habitat restoration in the delta is possible. This year intensive surveys are being completed to describe the vegetative response to the restoration efforts as well as to examine the performance of the engineered structures.

Most of the planted vegetation survived and is thriving. In addition, thousands of black cottonwood seedlings have become naturally established, and a rare plant, hairy evening primrose, was found throughout the restoration area, suggesting that the seeds for this plant had been dormant in buried soils excavated during the construction.

All of the log structures installed in the prior work appear to have performed well, in that they stayed in place and reduced erosion.

In late winter, engineers will look at the river banks and island shorelines in the delta to see if the project's design has stabilized shorelines and encouraged sediment deposition and island building.

Anyone with questions about the project is encouraged to contact Kathy Cousins, Fish and Game mitigation biologist, at 208-69-1414.

Reward Program Targets Illegal Off-Road Activity on Craig Mountain

"Don't let illegal riders and gate busters degrade your public land and recreational opportunities."

Reward stickers with this phrase will be posted on Idaho Fish and Game lands starting this fall. Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and Idaho Fish and Game are partnering to pilot a reward program on Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area. A $500 reward will be issued for information leading to the arrest or citation of persons violating motorized access restrictions.

"Illegal off-road activities are a serious problem on Craig Mountain" said Justin Barrett, wildlife management area manager. "Motorized access on Craig Mountain is managed primarily to reduce the spread of noxious weeds, prevent erosion, provide security for big game animals, and to protect wildlife habitat. It becomes very difficult to manage an area effectively when riders break the rules."

Motorized use is prohibited on roads that are posted as closed or behind locked gates. All off-road motorized travel is prohibited, even if not posted. There are many main roads that allow access into the area and are open to motorized travel throughout the year. Seasonal motorized access in Redbird Canyon and specific mobility-impaired routes are available on the Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area through a permit system. Maps of the area are available at the Fish and Game office, at 3316 16th St., Lewiston.

Individuals witnessing illegal activities should gather as much information as possible regarding the vehicle and persons involved in the illegal activities. A photograph, license plate number, ID sticker, or VIN number, including a report of when, where, who and what you saw are extremely important details to include in the description.

Information can be reported to a local conservation officer, Fish and Game office at 208-799-5010 or the Nez Perce County Sheriff's office at 208-799-3131.

Information Sought on Four Elk Shot near Orofino, Weippe

Four unlawfully taken cow elk were reported during opening week of hunting season.

Two of the elk found on Saturday, October 12, appeared to be shot and completely wasted. One of the elk was found near Upper Fords Creek Road and a second elk was found in the Fiddler Road area near Weippe. There was no open season for harvest of antlerless elk.

Two of the cow elk were taken unlawfully sometime between Saturday, October 10 and October 14. One elk was found in Miles Creek near Weippe. A fourth animal was witnessed being killed near Canyon Creek Road outside Orofino with the animal retrieved by the violator.

"While parts of two illegal elk were taken, most of the meat, including the entire animals in two of the incidents was left to rot," Orofino area conservation officer John McLain said. "This is an alarming number of cow elk taken unlawfully in such a short period of time and in such a small area. Idaho's wildlife belongs to all of us. Every animal killed illegally is an animal that is stolen from the citizens of Idaho."

Anyone with information to aid in this investigation may contact McLain at 208-827-1488.

Information on any incident may be reported by calling the toll-free Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline 1-800-632-5999. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Callers will remain anonymous, and cash rewards are available if the information is sufficient for a citation or a warrant to be issued.

When gathering information to report a violation:

  • Get as much detailed information as possible on the violation, including photos, descriptions of people and vehicles involved, license plate numbers and other details.
  • Write what you observe and report it as quickly as possible.

    Leaving a way for Fish and Game to contact you helps officers with the investigation. Conservation officers often have questions, and they will ensure your name remains confidential.

What Can Idaho Waterfowl Hunters Expect This Year?

Hunters in the waterfowl blinds this season can expect to see a fall flight similar to last year's.

Continental waterfowl populations are strong, and habitat conditions have been above average in the Canadian provinces where Idaho's birds are produced.

Mallards are by far the most abundant ducks in hunters' bags in Idaho. And more than 60 percent of the mallards harvested here come from Alberta, the Northwest Territories, British Columbia and Alaska.

Despite a delayed spring over most of the survey area, habitat conditions during the 2013 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey were improved or similar to last year in many areas because of average or above average annual precipitation.

The estimated mallard abundance was 10.4 million, similar to the 2012 estimate, which is 36 percent above the long-term average. Population estimates for wigeon, green-winged teal, gadwalls and common goldeneyes - also commonly taken in Idaho - were similar to or above 2012 estimates in 2013.

In the traditional survey area, the total duck population estimate was about 45.6 million birds - a 6 percent decrease from last year's estimate of about 48.6 million. But it is still 33 percent higher than the long-term average from 1955 through 2012.

The total duck estimates in:

More Hunters, Varied Results on Hunting Opener

Most Idaho Fish and Game check stations around the state reported more hunters participating this year than in 2012 for the October deer hunting season opener.

The Southwest Region reported one of the best openers in recent years, with mild, pleasant weather except for a cool breeze Sunday afternoon. And the Panhandle reported that elk hunter success was up from last year.

The Southeast Region, more than half the hunters who completed surveys reported being satisfied; only 15 percent were unsatisfied.

In a series of snap shots from 12 check stations around the state on the opening weekend, almost 7,000 hunters brought in 1,116 animals. Last year 5,600 hunters bagged 1,031 animals.

Southwest region hunter numbers were up this year. In general, hunters working the Owyhee units did as well as last year, and deer harvest was up in the northern sections of the region. Duck hunters did very well along the Snake River, but upland hunters found chukars, gray partridge and quail to be scarcer than last year.

In the Panhandle, hunters reported seeing a lot of moose and grouse and they saw more elk and elk sign than the past few years. The number of calves seen varied; some hunters reported a lot of calves with groups of cows while others reported few or no calves. But hunters saw a lot of spike elk, which typically means good overwinter calf survival.

Most deer taken in early October in the Panhandle are incidental to elk hunting. Deer hunting success is gauged by what happens during the November 1 to December 1 part of the deer season.

Few hunters showed up at the Clearwater Region check stations, but all the animals checked were in good condition. Weather was fair to nice. Deer didn't seem to be moving much yet compared to years past.

The opening weekend in the Magic Valley included the highest hunter success rate - 25 percent - ever measured in the general antlered hunt in Unit 43.

Fall Chinook Harvest Season Ends Next Week, Mostly

Chinook salmon fishing will end on the Snake and Clearwater rivers Thursday, October 31 - except a short reach on the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam, which closes November 17.

The season opened September 1, on the Snake River between Lewiston and Hells Canyon Dam, in the lower Clearwater River downstream of the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge in Lewiston, and in the Salmon River from its mouth upstream to Eye of the Needle Rapids.

The Snake River, from Cliff Mountain Rapids to Hells Canyon Dam, remains open 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 fall 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.

As of October 21, anglers had caught 267 marked adults and 161 jacks fall Chinook and caught and released 1,142 unmarked fish in the lower Clearwater River. They caught and kept 861 adults and 671 jacks in the Snake River, for a total of 1,532 fish. Hatchery-origin fish are marked with a clipped adipose fin.

This year, almost 54,812 adult fall hatchery-origin Chinook and about 21,366 jacks crossed Lower Granite Dam, many of them returned to the Snake River above Lewiston.

Ask Fish and Game: Proxy Statements

Q. If I am transporting game for a friend, do I need a proxy statement?

A. Yes. Any person who transports any wildlife for another person or receives any wildlife for cleaning, processing, as a gift, or for storage must have a written proxy statement signed by the person who killed the animal specifying the numbers and kinds of wildlife, date taken, hunter's name and address, license, tag and permit numbers. The tag should remain attached to the carcass. A proxy form is available on Page 90 of the Big Game Seasons and Rules or on the Fish and Game website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/.

Opportunities for Teachers to Get Wild This Fall and Winter

Normally we like to think that teachers are calm and in control, but Idaho Fish and Game is hoping to help teachers go WILD this fall and winter.

The type of WILD that Fish and Game is talking about is Project WILD for teachers. Project WILD is an international program that helps teachers to use the timeless love of wildlife and nature that humans have as a hook to educate children about all types of subjects ranging from art and music to science and math.

Teachers in eastern Idaho are especially fortunate because Fish and Game is offering a number of different types of workshops locally this year.

In addition to the Introductory Project WILD workshop that will be offered in Idaho Falls on December 6 and 7, Fish and Game is offering a special WILD About Turkeys workshop in Pocatello on November 8 and 9.

These workshops start late Friday afternoon and then go all day Saturday. They may be taken for fun or for one college credit. A new workshop called WILD About Winter will be at Harriman State Park at the end of January. It will be worth two college credits because it will start later on Friday afternoon the 24th and run through noon on Sunday the 26th. This workshop is more involved because it requires teachers to either ski or snowshoe to the class and will involve a two night stay.

The Turkey and Introductory workshops cost $25 each for materials and may be taken for one college credit at an additional charge. Both are available for Idaho STARS credit. Workshops are open to anyone who works with children. Participants get two guide books full of activities and lesson plans and the latest info on fish and wildlife living right in their own backyard.

Pronghorn and Elk Shot and Wasted

Idaho Fish and Game officers are seeking information on two animals that were shot and left this past week in the Magic Valley.

A doe pronghorn was found shot and wasted near Malta in Unit 57, on or around October 12, and a four-by-five bull elk was found in Devils Creek Canyon off the John Boyd Draw Road in Unit 46 on October 10.

"Where the pronghorn was found is in a fairly high traffic area," said conservation officer, Steven Ross. "We are hoping that someone seen or know something about the incident and will come forward with the information."

Anyone with information, leading to a conviction on these or other wildlife crimes is eligible for a reward through Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) and callers may remain anonymous. People may either contact CAP at 1-800-632-5999 24 hours a day or call the Fish and Game regional office at 208-324-4359.