Press Release

August 2015

IDFG Investigating Scene of Incident Involving Archery Hunter and Grizzly Bear in Island Park

An archery hunter was attacked by a sow grizzly bear while hunting in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest in the vicinity of Yale Creek near Sawtell Peak Monday morning August 31. The archer sustained injuries to his hand and wrist, but hiked out under his own power and was transported by ambulance to Madison County Hospital in Rexburg.

The hunter reportedly was carrying bear spray but apparently couldn't access it when the attack occurred. He tried to shoot the bear several times with a .44 magnum revolver pistol at point-blank range. Idaho Department of Fish and Game personnel are heading to the area of the incident to access the situation and try and determine the condition of the grizzly, who the hunter says had three cubs with her.

In the case of such incidents involving attacks on humans by wildlife, Fish and Game has a special cadre of professionals called the WHART Team (Wildlife Human Attack Response Team) trained and equipped to rapidly respond to such situations.

Further information regarding the incident will be released as information becomes available.

Fire Danger Forces Temporary Closure of Access to Private Land Hunting Area

By Mark Rhodes, District Conservation Officer

Since 2011, the Mica Bay Land Company and the Godde Family have been very generous to allow hunters to access about 22,000 acres of previously inaccessible private property near Coeur d'Alene. They initiated and entered into a public access program to allow hunting in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Hunters are required to sign a contract agreeing to certain rules, and to pick up a free permit at the Fish and Game office that allows individuals to access the property. This program is still ongoing, and our hope is to continue it for many years.

However, the current fire danger has led the owners of the property to follow suit with other land managers and close the property to ALL human entry until the fire danger decreases. No more permits will be issued until there is a significant change in conditions and the decision is made to once again open the property to access.

Permits have already been issued to some individuals. Those permits were issued before fire danger became extreme. Although the permit says that you are welcome to enter the property starting September 6th, that date is no longer accurate. The property will remain closed to ALL human entry until further notice.

Fish and Game is currently attempting to contact everyone who has a current permit to notify them of the closure. Please reference the Idaho Fish and Game website for updates and status changes. Look under the "About Us" tab, on the "Panhandle Region" page.

It will obviously take a very significant period of high moisture to change the current conditions. Nobody can predict when that will occur. Permit holders are asked to please be patient and respect the closure! Any human entry prior to the new opening will be considered a trespass and will be handled through the legal process.

Fish and Game Seeks Information on Pronghorn Poaching

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking the public's assistance in tracking down the person or persons responsible for using a vehicle to run down four pronghorn in an agricultural field west of Mud Lake, bordering the Idaho National Laboratory, south of State Highway 33. Three does and a fawn were killed. The incident occurred just after midnight on Thursday, August 27, 2015.

An agricultural worker had noticed vehicle headlights in the field during the evening and notified Fish and Game when the animals were found dead the next day.

A violation of this nature could result in a reward of up to $1,000 to the person providing information leading to apprehension of those responsible for this senseless waste of Idaho's wildlife.

Anyone with information about this incident or any other poaching can anonymously call the 24-hour Citizens Against Poaching Hotline at 1-800-632-5999.

Some elk hunters can exchange tags due to fire closures

Idaho Fish and Game is extending the deadline to exchange tags for some early elk hunts that are about to start, or have already started, in the Panhandle, Clearwater and McCall areas that have large land closures due to wildfires.

Fish and Game will not refund tags, but hunters who bought the following tags have until Sept. 11 to decide if they want to keep their tags, exchange them for a different elk tag, or turn in their tags for a receipt they can redeem at no cost for another tag later this year. Tags can only be exchanged at regional offices, but hunters choosing the receipt option can redeem it for a tag at any Fish and Game license vendor.

Elk tags eligible are:

- Panhandle Zone A and B tags.

- Lolo Zone A tags

- Dworshak Zone A and B tags

- Elk City Zone A and B tags.

- McCall Zone A tag.

Elk hunters who have the above tags and want a receipt can also mail their tags to any regional Fish and Game office, which must be postmarked by Sept. 11. After hunters get the receipt, they can redeem it for any general season elk tag, except elk zones where tag quotas are in place and the quota is already sold out.

Some of the above hunts will have already opened by Sept.11, which typically means hunters would have to decide whether to exchange their tags prior to the beginning of the hunt. With large land closures affecting those hunts, Fish and Game officials wanted to allow those elk hunters as much time as possible to make informed decisions.

Hunters still have the option of exchanging other tags at any Fish and Game regional office, but they must do so before their hunt starts.

All hunters should consider that fire conditions can change quickly with favorable weather and forests can reopen. Fire season tends to taper off by mid-September and is usually over by mid-October when most any-weapon hunts start.

Today is the last day for discounted second general season tags

August 31 is the last day for hunters to purchase a second general season deer or elk tag at a discount price.

During August, resident and nonresident hunters can buy remaining nonresident general season tags to be used as second tags for discounted prices of $199 for deer and $350 for elk. Starting tomorrow, September 1, the second tag prices will return to their regular price of $300 and $415. These prices do not include the $1.75 vendor fees.

Any hunter who has purchased a hunting license and a 2015 deer or elk tag at the regular resident or nonresident prices can buy a discounted second general season tag for the same species. Tags are sold on a first come, first served basis and supplies are limited to the available nonresident tag quota.

Tags are available at Fish and Game offices and license and tag vendors, online at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov, or by calling 1-800-554-8685. For more information about the second tags, go to https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/2tags.

10 tips for hunters during fire season

With hunting seasons starting and Idaho seeing some of its worst fires in decades, hunters should do their part to ensure they aren't contributing to the problem.

Here are 10 things every hunter can do during fire season:

1. Plan ahead: Check your hunting area in advance of your hunt and see if there are fire closures or access restrictions due to fire danger. (The first is where wildfires are happening, the second is where land managers restrict access to prevent fires.) You can check Idaho Fish and Game's dedicated fire page at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/fire.

2. Be patient: Most fires are typically extinguished or under control by October hunts. However, some archery, upland bird and other late-summer hunts are being affected. If you know fires are burning in your hunting area, you may want to delay your hunts, or choose another area.

3. Be careful with all fires: Whether a campfire, gas lantern, cook stove, barbecue, etc., all can quickly start fires in tinder-dry forests and deserts. Firefighting resources are stretched thin this year, so you don't want to add to the problem. Know the fire restrictions for the area you're hunting and abide by them. Even after rain or snow, forests can remain dry and flammable.

4. Be careful with vehicles and other motorized equipment: Parking vehicles on dry grass can ignite fires. Chainsaws, generators and other machines with gas engines can start fires. Use them wisely and within the rules of fire restrictions.

5. Be on the lookout for fires: If you spot a wildfire, report it immediately by calling 911. Hunters may want to carry a shovel and water jug in their vehicle and put out any campfires they see left unattended.

Hunters urged to act responsibly when hunting private land

Responsibility is an important attribute of ethical hunting and with many of Idaho's hunting seasons just getting started, Idaho Fish and Game urges hunters to be conscious of their actions and act responsibly when hunting private land.

"We are fortunate that the majority of hunters are ethical and considerate to landowners. But each year, we deal with problems related to irresponsible hunter behavior," said Sal Palazzolo, private lands coordinator for Idaho Fish and Game.

Whatever the complaint, most circumstances boil down to a lack of common sense and lack of respect for both private property and wildlife.

"Be the best ambassador of hunting that you can be," said Palazzolo. "Remember to always treat the landowner as you would like to be treated and treat their land as you would like yours to be treated."

Below is a list of guidelines Fish and Game recommends for hunters to follow when hunting private land.

- Always ask first. Plan to obtain permission whether the land that you would like to hunt is posted or not, as it is a courtesy and act of respect to the landowner. Be polite, friendly, and ask in advance. If your request is denied, be understanding and remain polite, whether or not the landowner explains the reason for the decision.

- Always respect the rights of landowners. By always asking permission in advance and every time one hunts, hunters can adhere to the landowner's wishes. Many times this involves keeping safe distances from livestock and buildings, knowing the property boundaries and where not to hunt, closing gates, and keeping vehicles off dry, fire-prone vegetation or even muddy roads.

Hunt Idaho expo video now online

About 300 people, including dozens of Lewiston-area families learned all about big game hunting at the Idaho Fish and Game Clearwater Region's Hunt Idaho Expo held August 21-22 in Lewiston.

Participants learned how to hunt, harvest, process, and prepare tasty meals with wild game meat.

The Hunt Idaho Expo was sponsored by the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Watch the video at: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/hunt-expo

Ask Fish and Game: Migratory bird (HIP) permit

Q. A friend and I are planning to hunt doves this weekend, and he told me I needed a Migratory Bird HIP permit? What is a HIP permit?

A. Anyone hunting mourning doves, sandhill crane, or waterfowl in Idaho must have a valid Idaho hunting license with Migratory Bird (HIP) permit. The HIP permit costs $1.75 for residents and $4.75 for nonresidents, and it is available at any license vendor. Information from the Migratory Bird HIP permit allows migratory game bird managers to estimate more accurately the annual harvest of waterfowl, shorebirds, and doves to gain a better understanding of bird populations and their management.

Biologists Euthanize Nearly Toothless Grizzly Bear

Biologists with the Idaho Department Fish and Game on August 24, 2015 were forced to euthanize a 25 year-old male grizzly bear that had become habituated to human-related foods and had been repeatedly breaking into buildings in search of rewards.

The grizzly bear had previously been captured as part of routine scientific monitoring, so its age and health status was known to biologists. According to Regional Wildlife Manager Curtis Hendricks, "This bear started getting into trouble around buildings at the end of last season and given that fact that some of his teeth were missing and the others were pretty worn down, which is typical for a bear of this age, continuation of this type of behavior could be expected. "

While this bear had made no direct threats to humans, it habituation to human-related foods and decreasing ability to forage naturally increased the potential for physical conflict with humans and required immediate action.

Elsewhere in Island Park, another younger grizzly bear who had become overly comfortable around humans and whose antics playing with a sprinkler had appeared on local television news, was hazed with rubber bullets.

The grizzly bear population of the Yellowstone Ecosystem is approximately 1,150 animals and has exceeded all recovery goals. While the Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bears remain listed, all management actions such as this, are first approved by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service(USFWS). Recovery effort member agencies have requested that the USFWS once again remove the Yellowstone grizzly population from the Endangered Species list.

Idaho Fish and Game to Break Ground on Robinson Creek Project

This week, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will break ground on a 65 acre wetland restoration project to provide natural habitat for many species that continue to be harmed by the historic releases of mine waste.

"We are very excited about this project," said Jim Teare, Habitat Manager with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. "We recognize the importance of projects like these, not only to the wildlife such as tundra swans, but to local folks like those from the Tribe."

"Many of our families continue to practice their traditions, like food gathering, in places that have always been sacred to them. But this is not true of the Lower Coeur d'Alene River," said Chief Allan, Chairman of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, referring to mine waste contamination in the Lower Coeur d'Alene River. "As cleanup and restoration activities occur, we hope our families will eventually be able to return to this important area," said Allan.

"Our goal is to use as much native vegetation as we can," said Teare. "This includes the use of water potatoes, which we recognize as supremely important to the Tribe." Additionally, the project includes adding in water control structures and improving stretches of both Canary Creek and Robinson Creek.

The actual restoration work is being funded by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality's Page Ponds Mitigation fund. After the work is completed, Idaho Fish and Game will maintain the site, which is included and managed as a part of its Coeur d'Alene River Wildlife Management Area.

The Tribe passed a resolution in 2000 encouraging tribal members to refrain from recreating and subsistence gathering in the Lower Coeur d'Alene River Basin. "The river turned white and our people stopped visiting the area. It's such a vivid picture that has been handed down to us through oral tradition.

Fire Restrictions Issued on Fish and Game Managed Lands in the Clearwater Basin

Because of the current high fire risk conditions in north central Idaho, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is imposing enhanced Stage II fire restrictions on Fish and Game managed lands across the Clearwater Region, effective immediately.

Until further notice, the following restrictions apply on all wildlife management areas, lakes and reservoirs, and fishing access areas owned or managed by Fish and Game across Latah, Clearwater, Nez Perce, Lewis, and Idaho counties.

1. No building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire.

2. No use of cook stoves or other similar appliances except those fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG fuel (propane or butane) and within an enclosed camper or tent.

3. No use of chainsaws or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine for felling, bucking, skidding, processing, road building and woodcutting during industrial or fire wood gathering.

4. No blasting, welding, or other activities that generate a flame or flammable material.

5. No target shooting.

6. No smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building.

7. No driving off road.

All use of power tools such as chainsaws, welders, etc. is prohibited.

Exemption: Any federal, state, or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.

Violation of the prohibited acts is punishable by fine of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment up to 6 months.