Press Release

February 2014

Check-Off For Wildlife on Your Idaho Tax Return

In the corner of my home office sits a box full of 2013 receipts, W-2's, cancelled checks, mortgage statements and a lot of other related paperwork. I have not paid much attention to the box lately, but I know it is there. It is waiting for me.

Like it or not, I need to start working on my 2013 tax returnÉand soon. The new computer tax programs have helped, but it is still a major chore, it takes time, and it is not fun.

The taxes we pay provide funds for many of the services and programs provided by federal and local government agencies. Police departments, fire departments, public schools, transportation, parks, health and welfare and many moreÉ are all paid for by the taxpayer.

It comes as a surprise to many people when they hear that the agency that manages all of the wildlife in the state, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), is not financed by income tax, property tax, or sales tax.

IDFG is funded through license and tag sales paid by hunters, anglers, and trappers; and excise taxes those same people pay on hunting and fishing equipment. Those who hunt, fish, and trap pay for the management of wildlife in Idaho.

In 2013, retail sales of wildlife related recreation equipment in Idaho produced $105 million in Idaho sales tax revenue for the state general fund. Yet, Idaho Fish and Game does not receive any money from the general fund.

At no cost to the Idaho tax-payer (one that doesn't buy a hunting or fishing license), IDFG employs112 Conservation Officers who enforce all laws of the State of Idaho, but focus on enforcing wildlife laws.

At no cost to the Idaho general fund, IDFG manages 365,000 acres of state land and 32 wildlife management areas, provides and maintains 350 boating and fishing access sites, and plants 32 million fish a year in over 600 lakes and streams.

Hunter, Bowhunter Education Instructors Needed

Idaho's hunter education program is looking for new volunteer instructors to help ensure that the newest generation of hunters has a thorough understanding of safety, ethics and conservation.

"The backbone of Idaho's hunter education training effort rests on the volunteer instructors, who give their time, passion and energy to the program," said Brenda Beckley, Fish and Game's Hunter Education Program Coordinator. "Our goal of recruiting new instructors is to help lighten the load on our current volunteers and to provide additional classes needed to satisfy student demand."

Learn more about the program and how to become a hunter education or a bowhunter education instructor by contacting your regional Fish and Game office today.

Fish and Game often hosts orientation meetings where the instructor certification process is explained, as well as how to organize classes, select meeting sites, how to order supplies and register students. Participants will also learn how to use lesson plans and how to employ effective teaching techniques in the classroom and at the rifle range.

In 2013, 12,997 students completed the state's hunter and bowhunter education courses. The courses are offered throughout the state, on weekends and weekday evenings, and are taught by veteran hunters who volunteer their time.

Upper Snake Honors Regional Volunteers

Idaho Fish and Game's Upper Snake Region has named Ken and Collett Olson of Idaho Falls, as the Region's Volunteers of the Year for 2013.

As a couple, Ken and Collett provided the IDFG with over 800 hours of volunteer service in the year 2013. "I have really gotten to know these two during my last three years with the Department." says James Brower, the Volunteer Service Coordinator for the region. "Ken and Collett never cease to amaze me with their generosity and love for wildlife. It is inspiring to watch these two as they continue to give of their time. I can't thank them enough for the support they have provided to me and the department. We are very lucky to have them to depend on." said Brower.

Ken and Collett retired and moved to Idaho Falls from Austin, Texas in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Immediately after arriving in Eastern Idaho, Ken and Collett began volunteering in the community. In 2010, Ken and Collett joined the Idaho Master Naturalist Program sponsored by the IDFG. Since joining the Idaho Fish & Game volunteer program Ken and Collett have participated in several scientific surveys and are heavily involved in our Bear Aware program.

So next time you are approached to take a fishing survey or are attending an event where the bear trailer is present, you may just run into Ken and Collett Olson. If you do, please take some time to thank them both for their many hours of service to protect Idaho's wildlife resources. Aside from IDFG, you may also catch the Olsons' volunteering at the Colonial Theater, Tautphaus Park Zoo, and the Museum of Idaho.

Ask Fish and Game: Shed Antler Hunting

Q. I want to collect shed antlers, what sort of license do I need and what sort of restrictions are there?

A. You don't need a license, and the only restrictions are on access and travel on the land. Shed hunters, like other outdoor recreationists, must secure permission to cross or look for antlers on private land, and they must abide by vehicle restrictions on federal and state public lands. Shed hunting typically starts in early spring, but shed hunters are asked to avoid disturbing animals during winter while they are conserving their resources trying to make it through to spring.

75th Celebration: 1909 - Game Preserves

An estimated 107,000 elk roam the State of Idaho today. Yet, a hundred years ago elk were so few the State of Idaho declared a moratorium on elk hunting in parts of the state.

In 1909, concerned about the decline in elk, deer and game birds, Boise National Forest Supervisor Emile Grandjean asked the State Legislature to establish a 220,000-acre game preserve in the Payette River drainage west of the Sawtooth Mountains.

The Legislature approved the preserve on March 13, 1909 and it became the first of many game preserves especially designed to restore wildlife to Idaho.

It would be off-limits to hunting and trapping - except that cougars, lynx, wolves and coyotes could be killed by wardens. Forest rangers would act as deputy game wardens. To read more about game preserves and other 75th Anniversary Celebration stories, visit the Fish and Game website at www.fishandgame.idaho.gov

Chat Live about Southwest Region Big Game Hunting Season Proposals

Hunters are invited to join an online chat with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and ask questions, give feedback, and learn more about proposed changes to the 2014 big game hunting seasons in the Southwest Region.

Hunters can chat live with wildlife biologist from the Nampa and McCall offices from noon to 1 p.m., and again from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (MST) Wednesday, February 26. To participate, go online to Fish and Game's website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Some proposed changes in the Southwest Region include:

- Considering adjustments to Unit 39 deer and elk hunts.

- Considering lengthening the black bear controlled hunt seasons in Weiser River Units.

In addition to the live chat, Fish and Game will host public open house meetings throughout the state during February. A complete list of statewide deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear and mountain lion hunt proposals will soon be available on the Fish and Game website and at Fish and Game regional offices.

Angler Comments Sought on 2014 Idaho Salmon Season Proposals

Salmon anglers are encouraged to provide their comments concerning proposals to the upcoming salmon season by attending any of three Idaho Department of Fish and Game public meetings scheduled throughout the area.

Regional fishery personnel will provide an overview of prior seasons, especially the 2013 season, review factors related to 2014 projected Chinook returns, and explain fishery constraints that Fish and Game operates within.

Also presented will be new information biologists are learning about the salmon fisheries in the Clearwater River Basin and what is being done to improve salmon returns. An update on the Little Salmon River angler access issue and what the Department is doing to improve access along the river will also be discussed.

Each meeting will be held beginning at 6 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Riggins: February 25, Salmon Rapids Lodge, 1010 S Main Street.
  • Boise: Wednesday, February 26, Fish and Game's MK Nature Center auditorium, 600 S. Walnut Street.
  • Lewiston: February 26, Idaho Fish and Game Office, 3316 16th Street.
  • McCall: Thursday, February 27, McCall Fish and Game office, 555 Deinhard Lane.
  • Orofino: February 27, IDFG Clearwater Hatchery, 118 Hatchery Roe Drive, located northwest of Ahsahka Bridge.

Those unable to attend a meeting can provide their comments by contacting regional fishery personnel at 799-5010 or send their information in writing to Fishing Rules, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, 3316 16th Street, Lewiston, ID, 83501, or e-mail Joe DuPont, Clearwater Region fisheries manager at jdupont@idfg.idaho.gov.

F&G Seeks Comments on Big Game Seasons

Idaho Fish and Game plans several open house meetings around the state to discuss 2014 big game seasons and rules.

A complete list of statewide deer, elk, pronghorn, wolf, black bear and mountain lion hunt proposals and a way to submit comments online will be available on the Fish and Game website after February 17.

Open house meetings currently scheduled include:

Panhandle Region: 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. (PST)

- February 27: Best Western, 506 W. Appleway Ave. Coeur d' Alene

Clearwater Region: 5 to 7 p.m. (PST)

- February 18: IDFG Clearwater Region Office, 3316 16th St., Lewiston

- February 19: Senior Center, 108 N. State St., Grangeville

- February 20: Latah County Fairgrounds, 1021 Harold Street, Moscow

- February 25: IDFG Clearwater Hatchery, 118 Hatchery Roe Drive, Orofino

Southwest Region McCall: 4 to 7 p.m. (MST)

- February 25: IDFG Office, 555 Deinhard Lane, McCall

Southwest Region Nampa: 6 to 8 p.m. (MST)

- February 28: Idaho Sportsman's Show, Expo Idaho Building, Idaho State Fair Grounds

Magic Valley Region: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. (MST)

- February 24: Community Campus, Rooms 301 and 302, 1050 Fox Acres Rd., Hailey

- February 25: Burley Inn, Minidoka Room 2, 800 North Overland Ave, Burley

- February 26: IDFG Magic Valley Region Office, 324 South 417 East, Jerome

Southeast Region: All meetings start at 6:30 pm (MST)

- February 19: City Hall, Council Chambers, 157 North Broadway, Blackfoot

- February 20: IDFG Southeast Region Office, 1345 Barton Road, Pocatello

- February 24: Senior Citizens Center, 26 North Main Street, Malad

- February 25: Larsen-Sant Library, 109 South 1st East, Preston

- February 26: Senior Center, 60 South Main Street, Soda Springs

Livestock Owners can Protect Property from Predators

One of the five management goals listed in the 2002 Idaho Wolf and Conservation Management Plan was to "minimize wolf-human conflicts by coordinating with USDA Wildlife Services to achieve prompt response to notifications of wolf depredation and prompt resolution of conflicts."

Fish and Game works closely with Wildlife Services to address depredations. Since 2005, Wildlife Services has removed 520 wolves in depredation control actions.

Fish and Game also wants to make sure Idahoans understand state law also assures the right of individuals to protect their livestock and domestic animals from wolves (Idaho Code 36-1107 (c)).

(c) Control and Depredation of Wolves. Wolves may be disposed of by livestock or domestic animal owners, their employees, agents and animal damage control personnel when the same are molesting or attacking livestock or domestic animals and it shall not be necessary to obtain any permit from the department. Wolves so taken shall be reported to the director within seventy-two (72) hours, with additional reasonable time allowed if access to the site where taken is limited. Wolves so taken shall remain the property of the state. Livestock and domestic animal owners may take all nonlethal steps they deem necessary to protect their property. A permit must be obtained from the director to control wolves not molesting or attacking livestock or domestic animals. Control is also permitted by owners, their employees and agents pursuant to the Idaho department of fish and game harvest rules. For the purpose of this subsection (c),"molesting " shall mean the actions of a wolf that are annoying, disturbing or persecuting, especially with hostile intent or injurious effect, or chasing, driving, flushing, worrying, following after or on the trail of, or stalking or lying in wait for, livestock or domestic animals.

75th Celebration: Game Warden to Conservation Officer

Idaho's first game laws were signed into law in 1864 to protect buffalo, deer, pronghorn, elk, sheep, and goat. They didn't provide enforcement.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, "Laws without enforcement are just good advice." For the next 35 years, Idaho's wildlife protection laws were largely Ôadvice.'

When the Idaho State Legislature established the Department of Fish and Game in 1899, they appointed Idaho's first Game Warden to enforce the fish and game laws. In turn, deputy game wardens were identified in each county. Since the State Game Warden's position was political, when Governors changed - so did the wardens.

Most of these men and women were like the Montpelier jeweler, E.R. Kammerath, a deputized game warden who worked without pay starting in 1931. They were largely chosen for their woodsman skills and received little, if any, training. Kammerath received half of the fines levied on the poachers that he caught.

The title of game warden fit the job description in 1899, but changing times brought new responsibilities, which expanded beyond fish and wildlife regulations. In 1978 these men and women, now called Conservation Officers, officially assumed the training and responsibilities of Idaho's Peace Officers. To learn more about Idaho's 75th Celebration and the history of Idaho's wildlife officers, go online to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/75th.

Middle Fork Predation Management Plan Posted on Fish and Game Website

A predation management plan for the Middle Fork Salmon River area, largely within the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, is now posted on the Idaho Fish and Game website.

Here's the predation plans link: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/?getPage=325

The plan outlines efforts Fish and Game is considering to restore the Middle Fork elk population, which declined 43 percent from 2002 to 2011 - due in large part to predation. Elk cows and calves in the area are vulnerable to predation, and the number of calves surviving is too low to replace the adults dying each year, causing a continuing decline in the herd.

Fish and Game has documented 6 to 8 wolf packs denning in the Middle Fork zone with additional packs moving in and out of the zone. Pack sizes tend to increase during summer months (9.2 members per pack in 2012), meaning there could be approximately 90-95 wolves in the Middle Fork zone during summer. Because of the vastness of the wilderness area, these are conservative population estimates.

Research indicates wolf removal rates of 30 percent or less typically do not cause any lasting reductions in overall wolf population numbers because wolves reproduce at a high rate and often disperse to new territories. Future management actions to support elk recovery will be designed to maintain approximately 35 to 40 wolves in the Middle Fork zone.

In addition to reducing wolf predation, Fish and Game offers extra tags and longer seasons for black bears and mountain lions - other predators affecting the Middle Fork elk population.

Fish and Game removed 9 wolves in the Middle Fork zone in December and January before ending the control action late last month because no wolves had been taken in the final two weeks of the operation.

Chat Live About Southwest Region Big Game Hunting Seasons

Hunters are invited to join an online chat with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and ask questions, give feedback, and learn more about proposed changes to the 2014 big game hunting seasons in the Southwest Region.

Hunters can chat live with wildlife biologists from the Nampa and McCall offices from noon to 1 p.m., and again from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (MST) Wednesday, February 26. To participate, go online to Fish and Game's website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Some proposed changes in the Southwest Region include:

- Considering adjustments to Unit 39 deer and elk hunts.

- Considering lengthening the black bear controlled hunt seasons in Weiser River Units.

In addition to the live chat, Fish and Game will host public open house meetings throughout the state during February. A complete list of statewide deer, elk, pronghorn, wolf, black bear and mountain lion hunt proposals and a way to submit comments online will be available on the Fish and Game website after February 17.

Open house meetings currently scheduled include:

Panhandle Region: 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. (PST)

- February 27: Best Western, 506 W. Appleway Ave. Coeur d' Alene.

Clearwater Region: 5 to 7 p.m. (PST)

- February 18: IDFG Clearwater Region Office, 3316 16th St., Lewiston.

- February 19: Senior Center, 108 N. State St., Grangeville.

- February 20: Latah County Fairgrounds, 1021 Harold Street, Moscow.

- February 25: IDFG Clearwater Hatchery, 118 Hatchery Roe Drive, Orofino.

Southwest Region - McCall: 4 to 7 p.m. (MST)

- February 25: IDFG Office, 555 Deinhard Lane, McCall.

Southwest Region - Nampa: 6 to 8 p.m. (MST)

- February 28: Idaho Sportsman's Show, Expo Idaho Building - Idaho State Fair Grounds.