Press Release

October 2015

Hunters can take survey about controlled hunts and auction tags

By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist

Fish and Game is getting opinions from hunters about possibly changing controlled hunt drawing odds and increasing the number of big game tags offered through auction.

For many years, some hunters have expressed interest in changing Idaho's controlled hunt drawing system to favor those who were unsuccessful in previous drawings. Others have suggested auctioning big game tags as a way to increase revenue for conservation and hunter access programs. Both issues have generated interest in the Idaho Legislature.

In early October, the department mailed 4,400 paper questionnaires to a random sample of hunters. About 1,050 have been returned, and are being entered into a database.

On Oct. 17, an email request was sent to a random sample of 27,000 hunters asking them to take the same survey online. They were selected from among hunters who had previously provided their email address to Fish and Game, and more than 3,000 responses were received in the first 48 hours.

The survey is available for anyone who wants to take it at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/public-involvement.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will use results from the surveys to consider whether changes to controlled hunt rules are warranted and also to consider whether additional tags should be auctioned. Currently, Fish and Game commissioners allow a single bighorn sheep tag to be auctioned annually. They have not implemented the additional tags for other big game animals authorized by the Legislature in 2012.

The surveys are intended only to gauge hunters' interest in those topics.

No Firewood Collection on Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area

Idaho Department of Fish and Game would like to remind Craig Mountain users that firewood collection is currently not allowed on lands they manage within the Craig Mountain/Waha area. Firewood collection on publicly managed lands is only allowed with a valid permit by the issuing agency. Violations will be strictly enforced per Idaho Code 13.01.03.19. Contact the regional office at (208) 799-5010 for more information or call the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999 to report a violation.

The Idaho Department of Lands is currently offering firewood permits for lands they manage in the Hoover point area. Permits, along with maps of the firewood sale area, are available at their office located at 14 E. Lorahama Rd., Craigmont, Idaho. For questions or more information regarding these permits, call the Idaho Department of Lands office at (208) 924-5571.

Duck School Workshop Slated

Fledgling waterfowl hunters with a desire to learn more about duck and goose hunting should plan to attend the upcoming Southwest Idaho Duck School workshop. The free workshop is open specifically to new waterfowl hunters of any age.

The all-day event begins at 9:00am on Saturday, November 28th at Fish and Game's Nampa office, located at 3101 S. Powerline Road. Morning classroom sessions will give way to an afternoon field trip to Lake Lowell for hands-on learning opportunities. Lunch and beverages will be provided. The workshop ends at 5:00pm.

Workshop subjects include waterfowl identification, proper decoy sets, duck calling, blind construction, ammo and gear selection, dog training tips, meat preparation, waterfowl cooking and much more.

Space is limited to 25 novice waterfowl hunters and pre-registration is required by November 20th. To register, contact the Fish and Game Nampa office at 208-465-8465 or send an e-mail to Katie Oelrich at Katherine.Oelrich@idfg.idaho.gov or Josh White at Joshua.White@idfg.idaho.gov.

Preparation important for duck hunting with a boat

Hunters using a boat to get to their island blind, and hunters shooting from their duck boatsÉare going not only on a hunting trip. They are also going on a boating trip.

It is critically important that they have all of the safety equipment that a boating outing requires. In addition having safety gear, it is critical to consider the weight capacity of the boat being used.

Almost every year, there is a boating accident in northern Idaho involving duck hunters. With water temperatures just above freezing, these accidents can tragically result in a fatality.

The most common mistake waterfowl hunters make in their boating trip is overloading the boat. All vessels under 20 feet in length constructed after Nov 1, 1972 have a capacity plate permanently affixed. The plate will be in a location clearly visible to the operator while the boat is underway. The plate lists the maximum horsepower, maximum number of persons, and maximum weight capacity including all people, dogs and gear.

By the time you put on an outboard motor, add some hunters, a dog and hunting gear, it is very easy to exceed the weight capacity without knowing it.

Exceeding the weight capacity of a boat creates a very dangerous condition. Overloading reduces the amount of freeboard, which is the vertical distance measured on the boat's side from the waterline to the gunwale. Insufficient freeboard can lead to poor handling in rough water and makes it easier for the boat to swamp.

Duck hunters are often out in the worst weather where whitecaps or the wake of a passing boat could quickly send water over the gunwale and into the boat. An excited retriever can unexpectedly move in the boat adding to the danger if a boat is overloaded.

Parachuting beavers go global

Last week, Idaho Fish and Game released a long-lost film entitled "Fur for the Future." The film documented a project to repopulate backcountry wilderness areas of Idaho with beaver---pretty routine work in the late 1940s and early 1950s. However, add parachutes, specially designed boxes and aircraft into the mix and the story becomes one of wildlife management's most interesting tales. And it has not gone unnoticed.

Parachuting beavers have captured the attention of people all around the world. Since it was posted, 471,000 viewers have checked out the film on the Fish and Game YouTube Channel. Calls from radio stations and newspapers for interviews have come in from across the country including San Francisco, Orlando, Dallas, New York City and the heartland. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation ran a piece from Toronto.

But the interest does not end in North America. From Brazil to India to Australia to the United Kingdom and beyond, beavers are parachuting onto radio programs, newspapers and websites. There is just something about a 40-pound rodent safely floating to its new home tucked in a box at the end of a WWII-era parachute. Slightly unbelievable, somewhat strange, definitely true, and ultimately successful, it's just the story for the lead-up to Halloween.

If you have not yet seen this fascinating look at wildlife management of yesteryear, check it out at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Fall Chinook Season Ends Soon

The fall Chinook season will end October 31 in the Clearwater River, a short stretch of the lower Salmon River and in the Snake River, except the section from Cliff Mountain Rapids upstream to Hells Canyon Dam, which closes November 17.

The season opened September 1, on the Snake River between Lewiston and Hells Canyon Dam, in the lower Clearwater River downstream of the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge in Lewiston, and in the Salmon River from its mouth upstream to Eye of the Needle Rapids.

The Snake River, from Cliff Mountain Rapids to Hells Canyon Dam, remains open until further notice or November 17.

The daily bag limit is six adult Chinook salmon, the possession limit is 18 adult Chinook and there is no season limit on adult Chinook. Only adipose-fin-clipped salmon may be kept.

Only adult Chinook must be recorded on the angler's salmon permit. There are no limits on jacks, but anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license and salmon permit to fish for salmon.

As of October 20, anglers had caught and kept 150 marked adults and 22 jack fall Chinook and caught and released 416 unmarked adults in the lower Clearwater River. They caught and kept 427 adults and 131 jacks and caught and released 2,085 unmarked adults in the Snake River.

For more information on Chinook salmon fishing in Idaho, visit the Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=140.

Waterfowl Shooting Time Corrections

Hunter's please note the waterfowl shooting times listed on pages12 and 14 of the 2015 Waterfowl Season and Rules brochure contain errors.

  • November 1 on page 12. Because daylight saving time ends November 1, both the beginning and ending times statewide should be within a minute or two of times listed for November 2.
  • November 4 on page 12. The ending times for counties in northern Idaho should read 4:29 p.m. PST; and the ending times for counties in western Idaho should read 5:33 p.m. MST.
  • February 29 shooting times are missing on page 14. Because 2016 is a Leap Year, both the beginning and ending times statewide should be within a minute or two of times listed for March 1.

The correct shooting times can be found at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/rules/?getPage=66.

Fish and Game regrets these errors. However, the errors do not provide a reason for violation of the official shooting hours for waterfowl which are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.

Commission to Meet in Hailey in November

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet November 18 and 19 in Hailey.

The public hearing and regular meeting will be held at the Blaine County School District Community Campus, 1050 Fox Acres Road.

The public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 18. Anyone who wants 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.

Beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday, November 19, the commission will meet to set the 2016-2018 fishing seasons and appoint a Commission representative to WAFWA. A complete agenda will be posted on the Fish and Game website when it becomes available at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/commission/?getPage=184.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting the director's office at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game directly at 208 334-3771 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1 800 377 2529 (TDD).

Wildlife workshops to be offered in Boise, Jerome

Project WILD is offering two workshops this fall and early winter for adults who want to share the wonders of Idaho's natural resources with the next generation.

While Project WILD is a wildlife-focused conservation education program for K-12 educators, you don't have to be a teacher to participate. The workshops are available for scout leaders, parents, day care providers, or anyone interested in sharing nature with children.

Just ask Idaho teachers who participated in last summer's first WILD About Bats workshop. They are using the information they learned then and incorporating now into this month's Halloween lessons on the science of bats. To see how it works watch this video on Wild About Bats: https://youtu.be/f3JN5u03qQo.

"Anyone looking for ways to incorporate nature and wildlife in the lives of young children should take part in these workshops," said Lori Adams, Project WILD Coordinator for Idaho Fish and Game.

Workshops scheduled for November and December include:

Focus on Literature with WET, WILD and Learning Tree: Workshop ties three top-notch environmental education programs with books; Jerome, November 6 and 7, Fish and Game's Magic Valley Regional Office, 324 S. 417 E, Suite # 1. A $35 registration fee covers your choice of one of the Project guides and three books to supplement your classroom library. University credit is also available. Times are 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Ask Fish and Game: 209 Black Powder Primers

Q: Why are 209 black powder primers not allowed during muzzleloader-only seasons?

A: Muzzleloader rifles are considered primitive weapons and hunters choosing to hunt muzzleloader-only seasons are often able to take advantage of special opportunities not available to modern center fire rifle hunters. To maintain the primitive nature of the sport, Idaho has limited some technological advances that would compromise the primitive status of muzzleloading equipment. Current Idaho law requires that during a muzzleloader-only hunt, the weapon is equipped with an ignition system in which any portion of the cap is exposed or visible when the weapon is cocked and ready to fire. Also, the muzzleloader must be equipped with a flint, percussion cap or musket cap. 209 primers are prohibited. These and other weapon restrictions can be found on page 98 of the 2015 & 2016 Big Game Seasons and Rules brochure at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/docs/rules/bgLaws.pdf

Warm October hasn't favored hunters, but harvest is good

By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist

Hunters are reporting good numbers of deer and elk, but weather hasn't been cooperative for prime hunting conditions.

Many deer hunters have been in the woods for the general, any-weapon season since Oct. 10, and any-weapon elk hunters weren't far behind with many of their general seasons opening Oct. 15. Despite warm temperatures early in the season that meant less-than-ideal hunting conditions on the ground, hunters reported seeing good numbers of game, which was expected.

"Harvest and per-trip success rates were up or down just a little compared to last year at various check stations around the state," state game manager Jon Rachael said. "But overall, as predicted, harvest seems to be shaping up to be very similar to last year-and last year was a good year."

Based on anecdotal reports, hunters have seen good numbers of animals, especially deer, even if they didn't harvest. Biologists reported that most harvested deer and elk appeared to be in very good physical condition.

Hunters got a break in the weather when rain hit most of the state in mid October and temperatures cooled a little. That made walking quieter and conditions better for stalking game. But the rain was short lived, and forecasts are calling for highs in the 60 and lows in the 40s for much of Idaho, and about 10 degrees cooler in the mountains. There are chances of isolated rains, but overall, temperatures are looking mild and dry, and hunters looking for an early snow storm that drives animals out of the high country may have to look forward to next year.

Rainbow Trout Stocking Schedule for Southwest Idaho

Personnel from Fish and Game's Nampa Hatchery will be releasing more than 15,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations during November. Please note that McDevitt Pond in Boise will not be stocked in November due to weed treatment efforts at the pond.

LOCATION - WEEK STOCKED - NUMBER OF TROUT

Boise River, above Glenwood Bridge - November 2 - 1,440

Boise River, below Glenwood Bridge - November 2 - 720

Caldwell Pond #2 - November 2 - 500

Eagle Island Park Pond - November 2 - 450

Eds Pond (Emmett) - November 9 - 200

Kleiner Pond (Meridian) - November 2 - 1,100

Marsing Pond - November 2 - 450

Merrill Pond (Eagle) - November 2, 16 - 125/125

Mill Pond (Horseshoe Bend) - November 9 - 900

Parkcenter Pond (Boise) - November 9 - 1,100

Payette Greenbelt Pond - November 9 - 450

Payette River (Plaza Bridge-Emmett) - November 2 - 500

Riverside Pond (Boise) - November 2, 16 - 535/535

Rotary Pond (Caldwell) - November 2 - 1,100

Sawyers Ponds (Emmett) - November 9 - 900

Sego Prairie Pond at Nicholson Park (Kuna) - November 16 - 225

Settlers Park Pond (Meridian) - November 2, 16 - 200/200

Veterans Park Pond (Boise) - November 16 - 450

Weiser Community Pond - November 9 - 500

Williams Pond (Boise) - November 9 - 450

Wilson Springs (Nampa) - November 2, 16 - 250/250

Wilson Springs Ponds (Nampa) - November 2, 9, 16, 23 - 400/400/400/400

The number of trout actually released may be altered by weather, water conditions, equipment problems or schedule changes. If delays occur, trout will be stocked when conditions become favorable.