Press Release

January 2014

75th Celebration: Counting Game from the Sky

As snow blankets the backcountry, wildlife biologists take to the sky for the annual big game count. The tradition that began 65 years ago in 1948 continues to this day.

Idaho Fish and Game became one of the first wildlife management agencies in the country to use aircraft to count big game animals when it used a Bell 47 helicopter in 1948. Early the next year, a Curtis four-place Air Sedan was used to count and determine the location of elk on winter range in Chamberlain Basin. To help better estimate actual numbers, a high-speed camera was used to take photographs of pronghorn herds in southern and south central Idaho.

Aerial surveys cover the same locations at the same time of the year in order to gather information that can be compared from year to year. They are usually scheduled during the winter because animals congregate on their wintering areas and snow makes them easier to see.

The goal of aerial surveys is to develop population trends, and age and sex ratios. This information helps Fish and Game to set seasons and permit levels for managing Idaho's big game herds.

For more on Idaho's celebration marking 75 years since the creation of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission in 1938, go online to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/75th/.

F&G Commission to Meet in Boise This Week

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet Wednesday and Thursday, January 15 and 16 in Boise.

The annual meeting starts with a public hearing at 7 p.m., Wednesday, January 15 at the Washington Group Plaza at 720 East Park Blvd.

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 meeting.

On Thursday, January 16, the meeting will be held at the Fish and Game Headquarters office at 600 S. Walnut. The Commission will consider Fish and Game's revised elk management plan. Routine agenda items include season setting for upland game, furbearers and turkey; a big game briefing; appointment of Winter Feeding Advisory Committee members; JFAC budget preview.

Commissioners also will hear updates on legislative activity and Chinook salmon return forecasts for spring and summer Chinook. Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore will also present the 2013 Director's Report to the Commission.

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

Information Sought on Wasted Elk Near Nez Perce

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking information on the illegal taking of two cow elk and a calf elk on Friday, December 27.

The incident likely took place at approximately 3 p.m. on the road that runs north of Albers Rd. (Nez Perce/Clearwater County line) just east of the Gilbert Grade Rd. (Hwy 7).

No attempt was made to recover the elk which were left to waste. Evidence at the scene indicates that the shooter(s) shot from the road and did not at any time exit their vehicle.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game and the remainder of the hunting community would like to hold the individual(s) who did this responsible for their actions.

Anyone with information on this incident is encouraged to contact Officer Dave Beaver at 208-791-5118; or the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 208-632-5999. Callers may remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward.

Citizens Against Poaching is offering an enhanced reward of $1000 dollars for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

Apply Soon for Spring Controlled Hunts

The application period for spring black bear controlled hunts opens January 15 and continues through February 15.

This year, the spring turkey controlled hunt application period opens February 1 and runs through March 1.

Spring turkey and spring black bear seasons start April 15, with some controlled hunts opening later. Turkey youth hunts open April 8.

Hunters may apply for controlled hunts at any hunting and fishing license vendor; Fish and Game office; with a credit card by calling 1-800-55HUNT5; or online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov. The application fee is $6.25 per person for residents and $14.75 for nonresidents. An additional fee is charged for telephone and Internet applications. Hunters must have a 2014 Idaho hunting license to apply.

Spring 2014 bear controlled hunt information is in the 2013 Big Game Seasons and Rules book. Spring turkey controlled hunt information will be available at Fish and Game's website by February 1 and in the 2014-2015 Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey Rules book available by mid-February.

Leftover controlled hunt tags for spring turkey and bear controlled hunts go on sale April 1.

Super Hunt Entries on Sale Now

It's not too early to enter the first Super Hunt drawing; 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 hunts 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.

The second drawing will be in August when another "Super Hunt Combo" and entries 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 1 through August 10.

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

Entries are available at license vendors, Fish and Game offices, or they can be ordered 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.

Ask Fish and Game: Rules Brochures

Q. When will the seasons and rules brochures be available this year?

A. The 2014 seasons and rules brochure for upland game, furbearers and turkey is scheduled to be shipped from the printer the week of February 17. Next is the big game brochure, with deer, elk, pronghorn, mountain lion, wolf and black bear seasons, which is scheduled to ship the week of April 14. The moose, mountain goat and bighorn sheep brochure was printed last year and is good through 2014. The fishing brochure is good through 2015, so hang on to your copy. Waterfowl rules are due to ship the week of September 10. While these are scheduled shipping dates, they may vary slightly. All seasons and rules brochures are available on Fish and Game's website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov the week before arriving at Fish and Game offices and license vendors.

Trapping of Non-Target Species Has Mixed Outcomes

Fur trapping was one of the major reasons for exploration of Idaho and is still a legitimate wildlife management tool. Advances in trap design have resulted in more efficient traps capable of either catching and holding animals for later release or delivering a quick humane death. Despite all of the caution used to capture only targeted species, unintended species sometimes are caught. The Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) works with trappers to minimize non-target catches and pursue the best possible outcomes.

On January 5th, Regional Conservation Officer Doug Petersen responded to a call of a black bear cub caught in a foothold trap that had been legally set for wolves. The trap was located on private land in the Island Park wolf trapping zone, north of Tetonia, Idaho. The trap had been placed on Friday, the 3rd of January and checked after 48 hours, 24 hours in advance of the 72-hour required trap checking period. The cub that should have been hibernating with its mother was still wandering around at the start of January, its chances of surviving the winter were basically zero. Getting caught in the trap was probably the best thing that could have happened to the cub.

The cub was transported by volunteers to be the Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary near McCall, Idaho. Rehabilitation experts will determine the best course for its future.

Information Wanted on Wasted Elk Near Nez Perce

On Friday, December 27 at approximately 3:00 p.m. a person or persons shot and killed two cow elk and a calf elk. The incident took place on the road that runs north of Albers Rd. (Nez Perce/Clearwater county line) just east of the Gilbert Grade Rd. (Hwy 7).

The shooter or shooters made no attempt to recover the elk which were left to waste. Evidence at the scene indicates that the shooters shot from the road and did not at any time exit the vehicle.

All sportspersons should be enraged over such a cowardly unlawful act. The persons responsible need to be held accountable for their actions. The illegal killing of wildlife is not a victimless crime.

Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) is offering an enhanced reward of $ 1,000 dollars for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for this egregious theft of your wildlife.

Anyone having information about this poaching incident is encouraged to call the CAP hotline at 1-800-632-5999 or IDFG Conservation Officer Dave Beaver at 1-208-791-5118. Anyone providing information can remain anonymous.

Commission Public Hearing Moved to Washington Group Plaza

The location of the January 15, Idaho Fish and Game Commission's public hearing has been changed to the Washington Group Plaza at 720 East Park Blvd., in Boise.

The public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. in the building's main auditorium.

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.

The Commission will consider Fish and Game's revised elk management plan when it meets January 16 at Fish and Game Headquarters office at 600 S. Walnut in Boise.

Routine agenda items include season setting for upland game, furbearers and turkey; a big game briefing; appointment of Winter Feeding Advisory Committee members; JFAC budget 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).

75th Celebration - Tracking Technology

In the 1960's the world of wildlife management gained a tool that transformed wildlife research and management - radio telemetry. It allowed biologists to track animals from the ground or air, without having to see the animal or the animal know it was being observed.

In Idaho, the first radio collars were used in the 1970's on an elk study in the Clearwater River country. That study provided baseline data on elk use of the Clearwater River prior to the Dworshak dam being built.

The first transmitters and receivers were homemade devices developed by tinkering biologists in the 1960's. They were limited to short distance telemetry and required bulky, short-lived batteries. Only the largest animals, like elk, would carry the transmitters. Even though the early devices were bulky and weren't very reliable, they quickly gained popularity and by the 1970's radio tracking telemetry was an essential wildlife management tool.

Today, telemetry transmitters are small enough to be inserted in fish and carried by sage grouse chicks. The signals from the transmitters now use satellite technology that allows locations to be delivered in real time to biologists' computers.

Telemetry has truly transitioned wildlife research and management from the observations of a naturalist biologist to quantitative and objective science, moving our knowledge and understanding of wildlife into an entirely new era.

For more on Idaho's celebration marking 75 years since the creation of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission in 1938, go online to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/75th/.

Ask Fish and Game: Hunter Reports

Q. I forgot to turn in my harvest report, is it too late?

A. No, it's not too late. The information is important. Fish and Game staff relies on hunter reports to help make hunting season recommendations in time for the Fish and Game Commission's March meeting, at which big game seasons and limits are set. All deer, elk and pronghorn hunters must complete and submit a report for each tag issued within 10 days of harvest or within 10 days of the close of the season for which their tag was valid. Hunter reports can be submitted online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=106. Hunters need to have their tag numbers or hunting license numbers to report the number of days they hunted, the game management units they hunted in, the date they harvested, and the number of antler points on the animal they harvested, or the length of the horns for pronghorns in inches. They can also be submitted by telephone at: 1-877-268-9365, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For questions or problems entering a hunter report please call the Fish and Game Wildlife Bureau at 208-334-2920.

Spring Steelhead Season Open

For some anglers, the best thing about New Year's is the start of the spring steelhead season, which opened January 1.

Anglers are reminded that they will need a 2014 fishing license and steelhead permit.

Spring steelhead season is open on the:

  • Salmon River from its mouth to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream of the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery weir, near the town of Stanley.
  • Little Salmon River from its mouth to the U.S. Highway 95 Bridge near Smokey Boulder Road.
  • Snake River from the Washington state line at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers upstream to Oxbow Dam.
  • Clearwater River mainstem and Middle Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to Clear Creek.
  • North Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to Dworshak Dam.
  • South Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to the confluence of American and Red Rivers.
  • Boise River from its mouth to the Barber Dam.

The season runs through April 30 in most areas, except:

  • On the Salmon River from Lake Creek Bridge to Long Tom Creek, about a quarter mile upstream of the Middle Fork, the season ends March 31.
  • On the Little Salmon River, the season runs through May 15.
  • On the Snake River from Hells Canyon Dam to Oxbow Dam, the season runs through May 31.
  • On the Boise River upstream to Barber Dam, the season ends May 31.

Steelhead are in the Boise River only when stocked by Idaho Fish and Game. Here steelhead are defined as rainbow trout longer than 20 inches with a clipped adipose fin. During late November, 200 steelhead were stocked in the Boise River. Barbless hooks are not required in the Boise, but anglers must have a steelhead permit to fish for and keep steelhead.