Press Release

December 2013

A Tale of Two Bears

Unlike television crime shows where police get DNA lab results back in a matter of hours, nonemergency related DNA work can take weeks, or even months before results are known.

This summer humans were involved in two surprise encounters with bears in Island Park. The results are back from the lab in Canada, and they confirm the bears involved in the attack were grizzlies.

Both grizzlies first became known to biologists as part of Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team efforts when they were captured and monitored as part of ongoing scientific research. DNA samples are collected from every grizzly bear trapped. One was bear 533, a 21-year old female, and the other was bear 556, an 11-year old male. Trapped at different times and places, both bears had subsequent run-ins with humans at different times and places, but in similar circumstances.

Both incidents this past summer involved research technicians working in the field who surprised bears that were apparently resting in day beds. In each case the bears were surprised at close range and reacted by charging the humans, making contact and biting some, but not all the humans present, and then running away. In both cases the victims were able to walk out and receive medical assistance.

The female that bit a wildlife technician monitoring grizzly habitat had last been involved in a situation above Island Park Reservoir in 2009 when a hound hunter released his dogs on what he thought was the scent of a black bear, but turned out to be the female grizzly who had cubs at the time. The sow chased the dogs back to the hunters, overran part of the group and ended up biting one person before she ran away.

The male bear that was surprised by technicians doing a forest health survey this summer had been involved in a surprise encounter with an elk hunter in the fall of 2011 near Last Chance. The bear in that case bit off one of the man's fingers, then ran off.

Ask Fish and Game: Gift Licenses

Q. I am looking for a Christmas present for my brother-in-law. Can I buy him a hunting license for Christmas?

A. Only if he is a nonresident. If he is a resident you can't buy him a license, but you can buy a gift certificate at a Fish and Game office that he can use to get a license. Adult residents 18 or older must buy their own hunting or fishing license because they are required to prove their resident status when the license is issued. Gift certificates can be redeemed at any Fish and Game office.

Waterfowl Seasons Continue Through the Holidays

Idaho waterfowl seasons are open through the Christmas and New Year holidays and into January.

Waterfowl hunters must have a valid Idaho hunting license - a 2013 license through the end of December and a 2014 license on January 1 and thereafter.

But the federal duck stamps are good through the end of June.

Duck and Canada goose seasons in the area around the American Falls Reservoir run through January 17. In the rest of the state the seasons run through January 24.

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

In Area 3, in the southwest part of the state, seasons for white-fronted geese and light geese - snow and Ross's geese - will be open at different times for part of the season, with the white-fronted goose season open through February 23, and the light goose season open through March 10.

Elsewhere, the white-fronted goose season will run concurrent with the duck and Canada goose seasons.

The daily bag limits are six white fronted geese and 20 light geese, increased from 10 last year.

Hunters are reminded that electronic calls and unplugged shotguns are allowed only for hunting light geese when no other seasons are open.

For details, see the 2013 waterfowl rules brochure available at license vendors, Fish and Game offices and online at

Fish and Game Commission to Meet in January

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet January 15 and 16 at Fish and Game headquarters in Boise.

A public hearing will begin 7 p.m. January 15, in the Trophy Room of the headquarters building at 600 S. Walnut St.

The Fish and Game Commission usually holds a public hearing in conjunction with each regular meeting. 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 season setting for upland game, furbearers and turkey; big game briefing; appointment of Winter Feeding Advisory Committee members; and a budget presentation preview.

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).

Comments Sought on Upland Game Seasons

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking public comments on the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 upland game, turkey and furbearer seasons.

Interested hunters are encouraged to attend one of the regional open house meetings. So far four meetings have been set.

Southeast Region: Pocatello - 208-232-4703

- Thursday, December 19 - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Southeast Region office.

Upper Snake Region: 208-525-7290

- Monday, December 23 - 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Upper Snake Region office, 4279 Commerce Circle, Idaho Falls.

Clearwater Region: 208-799-5010

- Monday, December 23 - 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Clearwater Region office, 3316 16th St., Lewiston.

Southwest Region: Nampa - 208-465-8465

- Thursday, January 2 - 3 to 6 p.m. at the Southwest Region office, 3101 S. Powerline Road, Nampa.

Anyone unable to attend an open house may submit comments by mail to 2014-15 Upland Game, Turkey and Furbearer Proposals, P.O. Box 25, Boise ID 83707, or by contacting regional wildlife managers.

The deadline for submitting comments is January 3.

All public comments will be summarized and presented to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission for consideration before seasons are set at the January 16 commission meeting.

75th Celebration: Wildlife on the Move

Mammals do it. Birds and fish do it. Even insects do it.

They migrate as part of their inborn strategy for survival, and the arrival of winter triggers a massive migration of all kinds of wildlife.

They may travel a thousand miles or a few feet. The distance is not what defines migration; it's that animals move between habitats during the year to survive. They may move for many reasons - to find food, breed or raise their young. Migration is a tool they use when a habitat no longer meets their needs.

Migration patterns and routes are ancient and have been influenced by the natural features of the land, water and air. The same natural features that foster wildlife movement are also attractive to human activities. Roads bisect open spaces. Wind turbines pop up on ridgelines. Dams block rivers.

Communication towers light up the night sky. Houses are built in key habitat. And human structures frequently become problems for migrating wildlife.


Wildlife and vehicle collisions are the most visible conflict between migrating wildlife and roads. More than 5,000 deer, elk and moose were killed by cars on Idaho's roads in 2011.

Information is gathered through a Road Kill database.

In known hotspots around Idaho up to 100 or more animals are killed crossing roads every year. Some of these include:

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! No, it's a Biologist!

Wildlife managers use many tools to help them perform their jobs.

Among the more romantic, yet dangerous of these are helicopters and fixed-winged aircraft. Starting in mid-December, Fish and Game personnel will be conducting population survey flights for deer and elk across the Upper Snake Region.

Helicopters are also used in capture operations so that radio collars can be placed on animals.

Fish and Game doesn't own any aircraft, but instead leases both the craft and pilots. Costs to contract out the flights are built into Fish and Game's annual wildlife management budget. Using aircraft to manage wildlife might sound like fun, but it's a deadly serious business.

"On the average there is one fatal crash per year in the western states of an airship involved in some aspect of wildlife management," regional conservation educator Gregg Losinski said.

Three years ago a helicopter doing fisheries work crashed in the Clearwater Region killing two Fish and Game biologists, Larry Barrett and Danielle Schiff, and the pilot.

For more information in the Upper Snake Region call 208-525-7290.

Public's Help Sought in Southwest Idaho Elk Poaching Case

Fish and Game is asking the public for information regarding the recent poaching of a bull elk near Paddock Reservoir east of the community of Weiser.

The poaching incident occurred sometime around Sunday, December 8.

Responding to the initial report, Fish and Game conservation officer Paul Alexander found only an elk gut pile at the scene of the kill. Poachers had removed the entire animal. There is no open hunting season for bull elk in the Paddock Reservoir area during this time of year.

Evidence was collected at the scene, but Alexander hopes to learn more about the case from an eyewitness or others who have knowledge of the poaching incident.

"I am very interested in visiting with anyone who has information regarding this poached elk," Alexander said.

Citizens Against Poaching is offering a reward for information in the case and callers may remain anonymous. Contact CAP at 1-800-632-5999, available 24 hours a day.

In addition to the CAP hotline, persons with information regarding this case may also contact the Fish and Game Nampa office at 208-465-8465 weekdays and Idaho State Police at 208-846-7550 on weekends.

F&G to Capture and Collar Elk, Moose and Wolves

Idaho Fish and Game wildlife biologists will soon be conducting helicopter surveys and radio collaring elk, moose and wolves in Big Game Management Unit 10.

The radio-collaring effort will involve a combination of ground capture and helicopter capture, beginning in the middle of December and lasting through the end of January 2014. Biologists are planning to place collars on 20 calves and 30 adult elk; 10 calves and seven adult moose; and 10 to 15 wolves.

This effort is part of a continuing research project to understand better the causes and consequences of ungulate mortality. Results from this study will be used to make informed wildlife management decisions related to wolf-ungulate populations in Idaho.

Spaces Available in Panhandle Region Wolf Trapper Classes

Idaho rules require a wolf trapper certification class be completed and passed before a person can purchase wolf trapping tags.

The course includes 6.5 hours of instruction, including both classroom and field experience followed by a written exam.

Courses are offered periodically throughout the year, but most are offered in the fall and early winter when people are preparing to spend more time in the field. This also coincides with the time of the year when wolf hides are prime and have the most value.

For those planning to trap this winter, the final two opportunities to take the wolf trapper certification class for the prime winter season are now available. The two, separate one-day courses now available are scheduled for December 20 and December 21 at the Fish and Game Panhandle Region office in Coeur d'Alene. A few spaces are open in each of these separate classes. Advance registration is required.

Individuals interested in completing the class can register online, or at any Idaho Fish and Game office. The course costs $8 per student. The fee is due at the time of registration. Registering at a Fish and Game office is the flat price of $8. Online registration by credit card requires an added convenience fee of $1.24. Registrants must be at least 9 years of age to take the course.

Fish and Game also offers a general furbearer trapping class that is different from the wolf trapper certification class. The general furbearer trapping class does not qualify people for the purchase of wolf trapping tags. When registering, please be certain to sign up for the class you actually want to take.

Rose Lake Access Site to Close Temporarily for Improvements

The Rose Lake Access Area managed by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be closed to public access this fall and winter.

The closure is needed for public safety during an access site improvement construction project. Construction and closure of the site will begin the week of December 16.

The project involves converting the Rose Lake boat launch from a primitive site to a modern facility. Numerous significant improvements will be completed that will make the site much more useful to anglers and boaters. Parking will be expanded and moved closer to the water. Plans include 20 or more parking spaces that are more convenient than those currently available.

A new road to the boat ramp will be built to provide access to an enhanced loading area. ADA accessible parking will be created near the docks and ramps. A new double lane launch surface is planned, as is a new boarding dock system. A boat pre-launch prep area will be constructed. Surfaces will be covered with asphalt.

Fish and Game regrets any inconvenience that may result from the temporary closure. However, once the work is completed the Rose Lake 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 at 208-769-1414.

109 Waterfowl Carcasses Dumped

Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers are seeking information on a large number of ducks that had been dumped along the Clear Lakes Grade Road.

On December 8, the carcasses of 107 mallards and two geese were discovered by other waterfowl hunters.

"Even though the meat was taken from every bird, the location they were discarded is the problem," said Robert Gillingham, Idaho Fish and Game conservation officer. "The location is highly visible, and this it put sportsmen in a bad light."

"This is littering, plain and simple," he said.

Anyone with information on this or any other case is asked to call Fish and Game at 208-324-4359, or the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline at 1-800-632-5999 available 24-hours a day. CAP is offering a reward for information in the case and callers may remain anonymous.