Press Release

March 2015

Mule Deer Poaching in Bingham County

On the morning of Tuesday, March 10, 2015, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game was contacted by a concerned sportsmen about a possible deer poaching near Wolverine Road in Bingham County.

Fish and Game investigated the scene located a short distance from Wolverine Road and just west of the Bingham County Rattlesnake Transfer Station entrance.

Evidence was discovered indicating a mule deer doe was killed -- its head and gut pile left behind. The doe was not the only loss as its two partially developed fetuses were also discarded amongst the entrails. It appears the pregnant doe was most likely killed the evening of Monday, March 9, 2015.

A well-worn, handmade pipe constructed of deer antler was left at the scene. It is suspected that it was used to smoke marijuana.

If anyone has any information on this case, saw anything suspicious in the area during this time frame, or knows anyone who may use this type of deer antler pipe, please contact Fish and Game Conservation Officer, Tom Burkhart, at 208-251-4507 or Citizens Against Poaching at 1-800-632-5999.

Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $300.00 for information leading to an arrest in this incident.

Commission Approves Big Game Seasons and Rules for 2 Years

After an intensive public outreach, Fish and Game wildlife managers have presented the Fish and Game Commission with proposed hunting rules and regulations for the 2015 and 2016 big game hunting seasons. Commissioners unanimously approved the proposals during a scheduled meeting in Boise on March 24, including converting the season setting process to a 2-year cycle for white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion, and gray wolf. The 2015 and 2016 seasons and rules are designed to provide more opportunity after a third consecutive mild winter throughout most of Idaho.

Managers heard from more than 2500 people during an outreach for public input. Comments were received through open houses, sportsman shows and live online web chats.

Deer hunters will enjoy the biggest increase in opportunity in 2015, as populations continue to thrive. Managers are now using GPS radio collars to supplement monitoring in seven elk monitoring zones. Research indicates herds are at or above management objectives in various parts of the state including the Boise River and Smoky Bennett Zones. This will result in extra opportunity for elk hunters, especially in units where elk are creating depredation concerns for property owners.

The proposals also include some very specific changes in relatively small geographic areas to enhance certain hunts for other big game species, to achieve population objectives for various species and to address potential conflicts among different groups of hunters.

The 2015 and 2016 big game hunting seasons and rules brochures will be available on Fish and Game's website by mid-April and at Fish and Game offices and vendors statewide by the end of April.

Vandals Strike Again on Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area

Vandalism and destruction of informational signs and other customer service oriented amenities such as portable toilets is an ongoing issue that the Idaho Fish and Game needs your help in preventing. "These structures are designed, purchased, installed, and maintained for the benefit of recreating public and are paid for with funding from hunters and anglers," says Craig Mountain Wildlife Manager, Justin Barrett. Repairing and replacing the damaged items represents license dollars unnecessarily spent from an already depleted budget. In some events, there is insufficient money to replace the items resulting in a continued loss of services.

Multiple interpretive/information signs on Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area have been ruined by someone taking the malicious act of shooting them. The signs at Kruze Meadows have been completely destroyed by someone shooting at them with a shotgun. These signs have now been removed, and no longer provide a service to the recreating public. Whatever sense of satisfaction the vandal gained by shooting these signs comes at the expense of $700 per sign to replace; money that could be spent more productively on another project. The enforcement program relies heavily on the willingness of citizens to do the right thing and make the call when they observe or hear about violations.

Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) is a private organization that pays rewards for information that leads to an arrest or a citation being issued based on information provided by the caller. In the most recent case of vandalism to the signs at Kruze Meadows on Craig Mountain, the CAP board approved an enhanced reward of $500 to help identify the responsible violator. If you have knowledge of who is responsible for this vandalism or any other wildlife crimes, we encourage you to call the CAP hotline anytime day or night at 800.632.5999 or the Clearwater Regional Office at 208-799-5010.

Southwest Region Rainbow Trout Stocking Schedule

Personnel from Fish and Game's Nampa Hatchery will be releasing more than 32,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations during April.LOCATION WEEK STOCKED NUMBER OF TROUT

Boise River - above Glenwood Bridge April 6, 13 1,080/1,080

Boise River - below Glenwood Bridge April 6, 13 720/720

Caldwell Pond #2 April 6 500

Crane Falls Reservoir April 13 1,200

Duff Lane Pond (Middleton) April 6 225

Eagle Island Park Pond April 20 450

Eds Pond (Emmett) April 20 200

Heros Pond (Meridian) April 13 150

Indian Creek (Caldwell) April 13 200

Indian Creek (Kuna) April 13 300

Kleiner Pond (Meridian) April 6 900

Lowman Nature Ponds April 27 600

Lucky Peak Reservoir April 20 11,400

Mann Creek Reservoir April 20 2,400

Marsing Pond March 30 450

Mill Pond (Horseshoe Bend) April 20 900

McDevitt Pond (Boise) April 13, 20 450/450

Merrill Pond (Eagle) April 13 250

Parkcenter Pond (Boise) April 27 900

Payette Greenbelt Pond April 20 450

Payette River (Plaza Bridge - Emmett) April 20 500

Riverside Pond (Boise) April 6, 20 360/360

Rotary Pond (Caldwell) April 6 500

Sawyers Ponds (Emmett) April 20 900

Sego Prairie Pond at Nicholson Park (Kuna) April 13 225

Settlers Pond (Meridian) April 13 125

Veterans Pond (Boise) April 6 450

Weiser Community Pond April 20 500

Williams Pond (Boise) April 27 450

Wilson Springs (Nampa) March 30, April 13 250/250

Wilson Springs Ponds (Nampa) March 30, April 6, 13, 20 400/400/400/400

Turkey Hunting Seasons Open Soon

-By Phil Cooper/Panhandle Regional Conservation Educator

Turkey hunting is a sport rich in tradition that began long before Europeans arrived in North America. Native Americans hunted the wild turkey for food for more than 4,000 years.

When European immigrants arrived, they hunted this abundant bird for both food and sport. Populations declined with colonization and reached near extinction by the early 1900s following a century of habitat destruction and unregulated harvest. The few remaining turkeys lived in the most inaccessible habitats. By the Great Depression, only 30,000 wild turkeys remained.

The regeneration of forest stands after the depression set the stage for the return of the wild turkey. Today, thanks to our nation's hunters, game agencies, and wildlife conservation organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation, there are more than 7 million wild turkeys roaming the continent in hunt-able populations in every state of the U.S. except Alaska. Turkeys have been transplanted into suitable habitats in states where they did not naturally occur, including those in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains. Today, turkey hunting is one of the most popular types of hunting in the U.S. with close to 2.5 million sportsman pursuing turkeys annually.

In many parts of Idaho, turkeys are now so plentiful that they are hunted in both Spring and Fall seasons. A special youth turkey season for hunters aged 10-15 runs from April 8-14. The general Spring season runs from April 15-May 25. Hunters may take two Spring gobblers if they have two tags, but the daily bag limit is one.

Salmon Migration Begins - Commission to set Spring Seasons

As the first spring Chinook salmon move into the Columbia Basin, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission is preparing to set seasons and limits for Idaho anglers.

Fisheries managers are expecting spring Chinook returns to be average or slightly above average, depending on the river. Meanwhile, early season projections suggest the return of summer Chinook to the South Fork Salmon River will be the second best in ten years and the return of wild spring Chinook could be above average.

Biologists estimate more than 30,000 hatchery origin spring Chinook will return to the lower Salmon River, Little Salmon River, Clearwater River and Snake River at Hells Canyon. Managers will propose seasons and limits based on a projected sport harvest of approximately 11,700 adipose clipped spring Chinook salmon. These numbers are very similar to those experienced during the spring 2014 Chinook salmon run.

The Commission will hear public comments on these and other issues on Monday, March 23 in the main auditorium at the Washington Group Plaza at 720 East Park Boulevard in Boise. The public hearing begins at 7 p.m. Anyone wishing to address the Commission on these proposals and any other Fish and Game related issues is urged to attend.

The Commission is expected to take action on these proposals during a meeting on Tuesday, March 24 in the Trophy Room at Fish and Game Headquarters at 600 South Walnut in Boise. That meeting begins at 8:00 a.m.

To view the agenda and the 2015 Commission meeting schedule, go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/commission/?getPage=184.

Commission to Consider Expanded Big Game Hunting Opportunity

In a scheduled meeting in Boise on Tuesday March 24, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission will consider proposals for the 2015 big game hunting season. The proposals will include expanded opportunity for big game hunting in many units throughout the state. Much of the additional opportunity will be available to deer hunters, as another mild winter has kept populations high.

The Commission will also consider a series of proposals regarding elk hunts, many of which address depredation concerns. The proposals also include some very specific changes in relatively isolated areas to enhance certain hunts for other big game species, and to achieve population objectives for various species.

The Commission will hear public comments on these and other issues on Monday, March 23 in the main auditorium at the Washington Group Plaza at 720 East Park Boulevard in Boise. The public hearing begins at 7 p.m. Anyone wishing to address the Commission on these proposals and any other Fish and Game related issues is urged to attend.

The Commission is expected to take action on these proposals during a meeting on Tuesday, March 24 in the Trophy Room at Fish and Game Headquarters at 600 South Walnut in Boise. That meeting begins at 8:00 a.m.

To view the agenda and the 2015 Commission meeting schedule, go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/commission/?getPage=184.

Still Time to Comment on Fishing Rules

Fish and Game managers are busy revamping fishing rules for 2016 through 2018, and they are seeking comments from all interested parties.

The current seasons and rules booklet is valid through the remainder of 2015, and the new season and rules booklet will apply to the following three years. Fisheries managers are looking for ideas about what works for Idaho anglers and ideas about how they might improve things in the future.

Anyone interested in submitting comments can do so by visiting Idaho Fish and Game's website at: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/webform/public-comment-opportunity....

Comments will be accepted through Sunday March 29.

Preparing for Spring Turkey Hunt

As wild turkey season approaches, Fish and Game is encouraging hunters to prepare for the season; not only their equipment, but their thought processes as well.

Turkey hunters should know their terrain in advance. Topographical maps are a great resource. Hunters are urged to study topographical maps of their hunting areas, then scout them out prior to the season. This is also a great opportunity to get in shape for the upcoming hunt.

Hunters are also urged to spend time preparing their shotguns in advance of the season; testing various loads at different distances, to see how well they pattern. Knowing where and how guns shoot can make all the difference between failure and success, and will also ensure safety in the field.

Because turkey hunters are particularly determined to blend in with the landscape, the sport requires extra awareness and care before taking a shot. Hunters are reminded not only to be certain of their targets, but also to take extra time to be aware of what lies beyond those targets.

For more information regarding turkey hunting in Idaho, including a list of safety tips, go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/?getPage=132

Six Idaho Fishing Spots Featured in National Sweepstakes

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation is asking anglers and boaters to vote for their favorite spots as part of their "Take Me Fishing" campaign.

America's Top Family Fishing and Boating Spots Sweepstakes includes six Idaho waters among 276 spots nationwide. Voters are asked to pick their favorites based on family amenities, location and the likeliness to catch fish or enjoy a day on the water.

Votes will be accepted through April 12, 2015. The campaign offers weekly prizes and a grand prize trip to Walt Disney World that includes a guided fishing trip.

To learn more about the sweepstakes and to vote for your favorite fishing water, visit: http://takemefishing.org/community/americas-top-family-fishing-and-boati...

Ask Fish & Game: Senior Sportsman's Package

Q: Why doesn't Fish and Game offer a Sportsman's Package for Senior Citizens at a discount?

A: Idaho Code defines the types of licenses offered by Idaho Fish and Game. The current code lists one sportsman's package license type for all residents. We appreciate the suggestion and will consider it when looking at our license structure in the future.

Large Buck Mule Deer Poached Near Lake Lowell

Fish and Game Officers in the Southwest Region are seeking information regarding the poaching of a mature buck mule deer near the Deer Flat National Refuge in Caldwell, Idaho. All of the meat was left to waste after the poachers took only the head and antlers.

Investigating officers from Idaho Fish and Game and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service say the deer was shot on March 9 or 10 across from a busy Caldwell park adjacent to the refuge. This area is closed to hunting, and there are no current seasons for mule deer open in any part of Idaho. Investigators with both agencies conducted a lengthy and thorough necropsy, collecting evidence and taking photographs.

Residents in the area reported seeing several large bucks prior to the poaching incident.

"Someone out there has information on who shot this deer and where the deer head is located," said Fish and Game Conservation Officer Craig Mickelson. "I would like to talk with anyone that has information on this illegally shot deer."

Anyone with information on this case can call the Citizen's Against Poaching (CAP) hotline at 1-800-632-5999 or the IDFG Nampa Office at 208-465-8465 or the Deer Flat Refuge at 208-467-9278. Citizens Against Poaching is offering a reward for information leading to a conviction in this case. Callers may collect a reward while remaining anonymous.