Press Release

September 2015

Salmon Zone B Elk Tags Sold Out

Idaho resident and nonresident Salmon Zone B tags for game management hunt units 28, 21, 21A, and 36B are sold out for 2015. The Salmon Zone's 2,507 allotted elk B tags for 2015 were sold out for residents on September 2 and September 17 for nonresidents. Idaho Fish and Game's Headquarters office is keeping a waiting list in case some tags become available due to someone relinquishing their B tag before the season starts on October 15. Hunters may add their names to the list by calling Fish and Game's licensing division at 208-334-2592. Resident junior hunters under the age of 18 may purchase Salmon Zone Elk "A" tags and hunt both the "A" seasons and the "B" antlered-only season October 15 through November 8th. Other elk zone tags sold out include Bear River B tags, Diamond Creek A tags, and Sawtooth A and B tags.

Pronghorn Left to Waste in Shoshone Basin

Idaho Fish and Game is seeking information on a case where a pronghorn antelope buck was shot multiple times with a small caliber firearm and left to waste near Horse Creek Reservoir in Shoshone Basin. "Based on the evidence, the buck was likely killed between 1 and 6 pm on Sunday Sept 27," said Jim Stirling, Idaho Fish and Game Senior Conservation Officer. "If any one has any information on this, we would like to hear from them." People with information, leading to a conviction on this or other crimes are eligible for a reward through Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) and callers can remain anonymous. People can either contact CAP at 1-800-632-5999 twenty four hours a day or call the Fish and Game Regional office at 208-324-4359. People may also call officer Sterling directly at 208-423-4359.

Lake Pend Oreille Kokanee Spawning Enhancement Begins

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game plans to begin the second phase of a three-year project to increase the amount of available kokanee spawning habitat in Lake Pend Oreille. The work will be completed along the shoreline of Idlewild Bay on the southern end of the lake. Kokanee spawn on gravel substrates, so appropriately sized gravel will be deposited onto the lakebed from a large barge. The enhancement work will begin on October 5 and is anticipated to reach completion by October 23. Eagle Marina, the boat launch in Farragut State Park, will be influenced by this work. Boaters using the launch should expect a closure of the southwest ramp and docks during weekdays for the duration of the project. The northeast ramp and dock will remain available for use during the week, and all ramps will be available on the weekends. The first phase of the project was completed in the fall of 2014. A similar, partial closure was needed at that time, and only few delays to boaters occurred. During this second phase, the portion of the Shoreline Trail beginning immediately south of the boat ramps will need to be closed to prevent hikers from entering the work area. The remainder of the Shoreline Trail will be accessible from the trailhead at the south end of the upper parking lot of the marina. The three-year project is expected to substantially increase the amount of high-quality kokanee spawning habitat in the area. Following completion of the final year of work in 2016, the newly constructed spawning grounds will extend nearly a half mile down the shoreline, similar to the extent of current spawning habitat in neighboring Scenic Bay.

Youth Mentored Waterfowl and Upland Game Hunts Offered near Idaho Falls

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game in the Upper Snake Region will be offering a number of mentored youth hunts throughout the upcoming upland game and waterfowl seasons. These opportunities will focus on youth between the ages of 10 and 15 who are first-time hunters that come from non-hunting families. IDFG will provide a mentor and all equipment needed for the hunt. Youth will be required to purchase their own junior hunting license or obtain a hunter passport before the hunt and must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian during the hunt. "The purpose of this program is to get youth that would not have an opportunity otherwise into the field with an experienced mentor and an adult family member that can continue to take them out hunting in the future," said James Brower, Fish and Game volunteer coordinator. "We plan on having tons of fun and making lifelong memories for both the youth and their hunting buddy." Anyone interested in these mentored hunt opportunities, are asked to complete an application available at the Fish and Game office located at 4279 Commerce Circle in Idaho Falls. Applications must be turned in by October 15, and preference will be given to applications turned in early. For questions about participating in this program contact James Brower at (208) 525-7290, by email at james.brower@idfg.idaho.gove, or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-3529 (TDD).

Member of Hunting Party Attacked by Black Bear

Idaho Department of Fish and Game is investigating a report of a black bear attack on a member of a hunting party over the weekend. The attack occurred on Sunday, September 27 in the Dry Valley Area of Unit 76 in southeast Idaho approximately 14 miles northeast of Soda Springs. The individual was treated at Caribou Memorial Hospital in Soda Springs and released. Biologists and officers with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are currently investigating the incident. Black bear attacks on humans are unusual. Records show this is the first such attack by a black bear in southeast Idaho since 2002. More information will be released when it becomes available.

Irrigation Canals Open for Fish Salvage

De-watered Southwest Idaho irrigation ditches diverting water from the Boise, Payette, Snake and Weiser Rivers will open to public fish salvage beginning Thursday, October 1 and will remain open to salvage through Sunday, November 15, 2015. This fish salvage order is limited to the following canals: - Ballentyne - Black Canyon A-line - Black Canyon - Boise City - Boise Valley - Bolton - Caldwell Highline - Campbell - Canyon County - Deer Flat Low Line - Emmett - Farmers Co-op - Farmers Union - Galloway - Island Highline - Last Chance - Lower Payette - McConnel Island - Middle Line - Middleton - New York - Noble - Parma - Phyllis - Pioneer Dixie - Ridenbaugh - Riverside - Sebree - Settlers - Siebenber - Sunnyside - Thurman Mill - Waldvogel - Washoe - Weeks - And ditches within those portions of the Boise, Payette, Snake and Weiser Rivers. Because most irrigation ditches are on private land, would-be fish salvagers must secure landowner permission prior to accessing these canals for fish salvage purposes. Fish that have entered the irrigation system during spring and summer are left high and dry in the fall once water flows are suspended. Rather than waste them, Fish and Game encourages the public to salvage these fish for consumption. Persons engaging in fish salvage in area canals and ditches must hold a valid fishing license. Legal methods of fish salvage are rod and reel, snagging, spearing, archery, dip net, seines and with bare hands. The use of chemicals, explosives, firearms or electric current is prohibited. Salvaged fish may be taken without regard for bag, possession or size limits with the exception of white sturgeon. Any sturgeon captured must be released, and its location reported to Idaho Fish and Game. All other fish must be killed prior to transport from the collection site. For more information, contact Fish and Game's Nampa office at 465-8465.

Survival tips for big game hunters

Every fall, hunters get lost in the woods, and while most escape no worse than tired, chilled and hungry, the hazards of being lost in Idaho's woods shouldn't be underestimated. Hunters can take precautions and prepare for an unexpected stay in the woods.
  • Don't rely only on electronics. Items like GPS receivers, cell phones and two-way radios are handy, but dead batteries or other malfunctions render them useless. A map and compass are low tech and less likely to fail, but you also have to know how to use them.
  • Know the area you're hunting. Always be conscious of your surroundings, prominent points, river or creek drainages, and occasionally turn around and look behind you so you will remember what it looks like when you're coming back. If you're on a trail, don't hesitate to put a temporary marker at intersections. Things can look different on your return, especially if you return in the dark.
  • Let someone at home know where you will be hunting and when you expect to return. Often hunters are out longer than expected, especially when they are pursuing big game animals far from a road. You may want to set an absolute deadline and have someone who can alert the authorities if you haven't returned, or contacted someone by that time.
  • Ditto for your hunting partner. Hunters often get separated, so set up a rendezvous time and place and decide in advance when a third party will seek help if you or your partners do not return in time.
  • Watch the weather. You're more likely to get lost or turned around in poor visibility when it's raining, foggy or snowing, which are also conditions under which you don't want to be lost in the woods.

Youth pheasant hunt opens October 3

Idaho's youth pheasant season opens statewide Saturday, October 3, and runs through October 9 for all licensed hunters 15 years old or younger. The week-long hunt opens a half hour before sunrise in Area 1, 2 and 3, except on the C.J. Strike, Fort Boise, Montour, Niagara Springs, Payette River, and Sterling wildlife management areas, where shooting hours begin at 10 a.m. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a licensed hunter 18 years or older - one adult may accompany more than one youth. The daily bag limit is three cocks and the possession limit is nine, except on wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked, in which case the daily limit is two cocks and six in possession. Youth hunters do not need a WMA pheasant permit to hunt on Idaho Fish and Game wildlife management areas. Pheasants will be stocked on the C.J. Strike, Fort Boise, Montour, Niagara Springs, Payette, Sterling and Market Lake wildlife management areas before the youth hunt season. All upland game hunters are required to wear hunter orange during the pheasant season when hunting on wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked. A hunter orange hat meets this requirement. Please see the 2014-2015 Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey Seasons and Rules brochure available at Fish and Game offices, license vendors and online at

Wolf trapping certification courses scheduled this fall

Idaho rules require prospective wolf trappers to successfully complete a Wolf Trapper Certification course before they can purchase wolf trapping tags. For those planning to trap wolves this winter, six courses are scheduled over the next two months at Fish and Game offices throughout the state. All courses run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. - Pocatello: Saturday, October 3, IDFG Southeast Regional Office, 1345 Barton Road. - Salmon: Saturday, Saturday, October 3, 2015, IDFG Salmon Regional Office, 99 Highway 93 North. - Idaho Falls: Saturday, November 7, IDFG Upper Snake Regional Office, 4279 Commerce Circle. - Nampa: Saturday, November 14, IDFG Southwest Regional office, 3101 S. Powerline Road. - Jerome: Saturday, November 14, IDFG Magic Valley Regional Office, 324 S. 417 E. Suite #1. - McCall: Saturday, November 21, IDFG office, 555 Deinhard Lane. The course includes 6.5 hours of instruction including both classroom and field experience. Advance registration is required, and participants can register at the regional office or online at For more information, contact the respective Fish and Game office. All courses are taught by experienced trappers, trained and certified to provide students with both classroom study and interactive, hands-on training. The courses cover a wide variety of topics including wolf biology, wolf behavior and management, wolf trapping techniques, proper care of a hide for maximum value and harvest reporting requirements. On-site demonstrations in the field include making trap sets free of human scent, rigging snares, placing diverters to avoid non-target catches, and trap site selection. All instructors and assisting Fish and Game staff have expertise in furbearer management, trapping laws and ethics, responsible trapping, proper equipment and trapping techniques.

Decoys and other tools used to detect wildlife crimes

Hunting violators beware - that deer you are spotlighting or that elk you are shooting illegally might be a decoy. In areas where Idaho Fish and Game gets complaints of spotlighting or other suspicious activity near roads, conservation officers will use "artificial simulated animals," to apprehend unlawful wildlife violators. Artificial simulated animals, commonly called ASAs, are life-like specimens of deer, elk and other game species. Many of the citations issued to those who shoot an ASA include spotlighting, trespassing, shooting from a motorized vehicle, and shooting from or across a road. The penalties for shooting an artificial animal may include a mandatory license revocation and a fine up to $1,000 and a jail sentence up to six months. There is also a $50 minimum restitution penalty for shooting an ASA to help maintain the decoy. The use of this tool has been upheld in the court systems across the country as a legitimate method of apprehending violators and has helped to reduce illegal hunting. More than 48 states and several Canadian provinces have been using artificial animals since the late 1980s. "It's no different than city police watching a school-zone using radar based on reports of frequent reports of speeders," said Fish and Game Enforcement Chief Greg Wooten. "This tool is extremely important in our effort to curtail illegal activity that is otherwise undetectable." In addition, Fish and Game also conducts impromptu enforcement check stations to check for law compliance where all hunters and anglers, successful or not, must stop. Usually conducted on less traveled roads and set up at any time day or night, impromptu check stations are another tool officers use to detect wildlife crimes.

Hot summer affects Chinook salmon

It wasn't just sockeye salmon that suffered in this record hot summer of 2015. Idaho Fish and Game's McCall Hatchery made some changes to accommodate over-heated Chinook salmon. "Because of the water temperatures in the South Fork being in the upper seventies, we were seeing a lot of mortality with fish that we were holding as well as fish that were in the river swimming free,' said Joel Patterson, McCall Hatchery Assistant Manager. "So, those fish were then transported here because of elevated temperatures and low flows." Normally, the McCall Hatchery houses catchable rainbow trout in the summer, but those fish were moved out early to lower elevation lakes and streams to make room for the Chinook salmon. Instead of spawning the fish at the trap along the South Fork Salmon River, it was done at the McCall Hatchery in late August and early September. Watch the video of Fish and Game employees spawning Chinook at the McCall Hatchery online at:

Ask Fish and Game: Stopping at check stations

Q: Do I need to stop at a check station even if I'm unsuccessful? A: Yes. Idaho Code requires that "all anglers, hunters or trappers must stop and report at a wildlife check station encountered on his route of travel." This includes those with or without game. All those who are fishing, hunting or trapping that day, or are returning from an overnight outing, are required to stop and follow directions of the road-side signs. Those with fish or game are also required by law to produce all wildlife in possession for inspection. At a check station, you will be asked a series of questions about how many occupants of the vehicle were fishing, hunting or trapping, which hunt unit they were in, and how many animals of which species have been harvested. All of the information collected, including information on unsuccessful trips, is recorded and compared with information from prior seasons. This information serves both as an immediate measure of how the season is going and is used, in part, to help determine final season success and harvest figures.