REXBURG - Conservation Officers with the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) in the Upper Snake Region are asking the public's assistance in finding the person or persons responsible for the illegal killing of a cow elk east of the White Owl Butte area, just off Brown's Road on Thanksgiving Day. The cow had been shot at least three times and left to rot. A herd of over 100 elk had been observed in the area prior to this occurring and officers are looking for information about any persons or vehicles that may have been observed in the area. The hunting season for cow elk in Unit 64, part of the Palisades Zone had closed back on November 16. Anyone with information can contact the IDFG Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) Hotline at 1-800-632-5999. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for rewards.
Beginning December first, Cove Arm, an extension of C.J. Strike Reservoir on the Snake River, will be getting some much needed amenity upgrades. Construction crews from Idaho Fish and Game and Harrison Dock Builders will be working in the area for at least the next six weeks. The restoration work includes two major projects. The dilapidated and now unsafe concrete boat ramp will be removed and replaced with a more modern version. A fixed boarding pier will be constructed next to the new boat ramp to allow for safe and easy passenger boarding. Cove Arm's ramp area will be closed throughout the month of December, possibly longer. Boaters wishing to access Cove Arm should launch from the ramp just upstream from Crane Falls Reservoir, or from the ramp at Loveridge Bridge. Weather permitting, all restoration work at Cove Arm should be completed before the end of January. For more information regarding the restoration project at Cove Arm, please contact the Idaho Fish and Game Nampa office at 465-8465.
While Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and eat a large bird, some anglers use the four-day holiday weekend to sneak away in hopes of catching a steelhead. Steelhead anglers are finding success in the Snake, Clearwater, Salmon and Boise rivers. Catch rates in mid-November were about 8 hours per fish on average in the Salmon River downstream of the Salmon, 5 hour per fish on the Little Salmon River, 8 hours per fish on the Clearwater from the mouth upstream to Orofino, 13 hours per fish on the Salmon River from the Middle Fork upstream to the North Fork Salmon, and 7 hours per fish on the Salmon from Whitebird Creek upstream to the Little Salmon. Fishing for steelhead is unique, and most consider it to be good fishing when average catch rates are lower than 10 hours per fish caught. Idaho Fish and Game released another 165 steelhead from the Hells Canyon trap into the Boise River on Thursday, November 19, and a number of anglers have reported tangling with hard-fighting fish. They were stocked at four locations including Glenwood Bridge, just below the Broadway Avenue Bridge behind Boise State University, at Parkcenter Bridge and at Barber Park. Besides a fishing license, anglers need a $12.75 steelhead permit, good for 20 fish. For more information on steelhead fishing including the latest catch rates, seasons and rules, dam counts, and useful instructional videos, go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/fish/steelhead.
With whitetail hunting in full swing and reports of good hunting, nonresidents or Idaho hunters interested in a second tag may want to buy soon. On Monday, Nov. 23, 734 white-tailed deer tags remained in the nonresident quota, and all nonresident, regular deer tags have been sold. In recent years, nonresident hunters had the option of waiting until the last minute to buy tags before their hunts. Many nonresident hunters, especially in Northern Idaho, hunt during the Thanksgiving holiday. Fish and Game has had its highest sales of nonresident tags in seven years, and they could sell out by then. A stronger economy has attracted nonresidents back to Idaho, and Idaho has seen improved big game hunting. Sales of resident deer tags also are up this year, but they are not limited by a cap. Idaho hunters can buy nonresident tags as second tags, which have also become popular in recent years. But when the remaining nonresident deer tag quota is sold out, either to nonresidents or as second tags for residents, no more will be available this year. Hunters are also reminded that if they buy a tag online, the tag must be mailed to them, so they should account for delivery time when they buy it. Residents who are interested in buying a nonresident white-tailed deer tag as a second tag can get details at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/second-tag.
Collisions with big game animals tend to rise in fall and winter, so Idaho Fish and Game encourages motorists to slow down and be extra cautious when traveling, especially where big game animals spend their winter. "Being extra careful and watchful is the best defense against a wildlife/vehicle collision," said Krista Muller, Fish and Game habitat biologist. "Drivers should slow down and allow a few extra minutes to their travel time for their own safety, and the safety of Idaho's wildlife." With the deer mating season occurring in November, deer tend to be active all day and are inattentive at times. In addition, many big game animals are migrating to lower elevation winter ranges and crossing highways and roads. These tips help reduce your chances of a collision:
- Big game animals are especially active at dawn, dusk and at night, which usually coincides with the lowest visibility. Motorists should drive extra cautious during these times.
- Slow Down. Driving more slowly increases reaction time and reduces the chance of a collision.
- Scan ahead and watch for movement. When driving at night, watch for shining eyes in headlights.
- If you see one animal cross the road expect more to follow.
- Pay extra attention in areas posted with wildlife crossing signs. They are there for good reason.
- Using high beams can help you spot wildlife, but be considerate of other drivers when using them.
- Don't swerve and risk losing control of your vehicle. Try to brake as much as possible and stay on the roadway. The most serious crashes occur when drivers lose control of their vehicles trying to avoid an animal. It is usually safer to strike the animal than another object, such as a tree or another vehicle.
Don't forget our feathered friends this winter and holiday season. The ninth annual Holiday Bird Seed Sale will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., December 4 and 5 at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Morrison Knudsen (MK) Nature Center in Boise. Stock up on winter bird seed and find that special gift for the outdoor person on your list. Several varieties of premium bird seed in 20 or 40-pound bags will be available for purchase. Other items for sale include bird feeding supplies, books, apparel, jewelry and children's gifts. Saturday, December 5, there will be free activities for the whole family including kid's craft from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and live bird presentations at 11:30, 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. The nature center is located behind Fish and Game headquarters at 600 South Walnut. All proceeds support the nature center's educational programs. The sale is presented by MK Nature Center and Wild Birds Unlimited. For questions, contact Sue Dudley at 208-287-2900 or email email@example.com.
Q. I always see deer near the railroad tracks, but I can't find anything in the regulations about it. I understand it would be considered private property because it is an active track. However, there are no "no trespassing" signs or any orange markers of any type. Is it legal to hunt near the tracks? A. Railroad rights of way are private property. One should always ask permission to hunt on private property. Even though the railroad right of way may not be posted "no trespassing," a hunter could be held civilly or criminally liable for damages that may occur on any private property.
By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game Public Information Specialist Idaho Fish and Game Commission recently approved fishing rules changes for the 2016-18 seasons. New rules will take effect on Jan. 1. Statewide changes include a new possession limit, which will be three times the daily bag limit after the second day of the season. Currently, the possession limit is equal to the bag limit. Free Fishing Day will be on June 11, 2016; June 10, 2017 and June 9, 2018. These dates are the Saturday after the first full week in June and correspond with national outdoor recognition events. Other changes to rules will apply to specific bodies of water these changes include: Panhandle Region - Lake Pend Oreille - The Rainbow Trout daily bag limit will be reduced from 6 to 2; only 1 over 20 inches. - Clark Fork River - Trout limit is 0 from December 1 - Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Remove the 6 Kokanee bag limit, which reverts it to the regional bag limit of 15 Kokanee). - Clark Fork River tributaries and Pack River and tributaries - No bait will be allowed during the existing catch-and-release season which is December 1 through the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. - Spirit Lake - The Kokanee daily bag limit will be raised from 15 to 25 fish. - Hayden Lake - Minimum length on largemouth bass that can be harvested will increase from 16 inches to 20 inches. Clearwater Region - Mann Lake - Daily bag limit on bass will change from general (6) to 2 bass; none under 16 inches. - Deyo Reservoir- Daily bag limit on bass will change from general (6) to 2 bass; none under 16 inches. - Spring Valley Reservoir - Daily bag limit on bass will change from general (6) to 2 bass; none under 16 inches. - Dworshak Reservoir - From Grandad Bridge upstream to end-of-flat-water; bait will now be allowed year-around.
By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist With whitetail hunting in full swing and reports of good hunting, nonresidents or Idaho hunters interested in a second tag may want to buy sooner rather than later. On Tuesday, Nov. 17, about 1,300 white-tailed deer tags remained in the nonresident quota, and all nonresident general deer tags have already been sold. In recent years, nonresident hunters have had the option of waiting until the last minute to buy tags before their hunts. Many nonresident hunters, especially in Northern Idaho, hunt during the Thanksgiving holiday, but with brisk sales, it's possible the remaining quota may already be sold by then. Fish and Game has had its highest sales of nonresident tags in seven years. Part of that is because of an improved economy that's attracted nonresidents back to Idaho, but it's also due to improved big game hunting. Sales of resident deer tags are also up this year, but they are not limited by a quota. Idaho hunters can also buy nonresident tags as second tags, which have also become increasingly popular in recent years. But when the remaining nonresident deer tag quota is sold out, either to nonresidents or as second tags for residents, no more will be available this year. Hunters are also reminded that if they buy a tag online, the tag must be mailed to them, so they should account for delivery time when they buy it. Residents who are interested in buying a nonresident white-tailed deer tag as a second tag can get details at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/second-tag.
By Roger Phillips, IDFG public information specialist They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, and sometimes the best way to share your hunting and fishing experience is withÉpictures! Idaho Fish and Game features a photo gallery on its website and invites you to share your hunting and fishing photos with other wildlife enthusiasts. To view what others have shared or to submit your own, go to https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/gallery. The process is easy. Have your digital photo handy and click on the "Share Your Photo" button. You will be asked several questions, such as name and email address. You can also share your story that goes with the photo. Photos will be part of a user-created photo gallery on the website, and you will be asked to agree to a Creative Commons license so that Fish and Game can use the photos in any form. All photos must be taken in Idaho and should be less than 8 megabytes in JPG, PNG, or JPEG formats. Photos should portray hunting and fishing respectfully, and Fish and Game has the right to accept or reject the photos. Photos taken in the field are preferred. Here are some tips for taking good hunting and fishing shots:
- Keep the fish or animal clean. Both should look as lifelike as possible. Take photos before you start processing the animal, and preferably, while the fish is still alive.
- Do not hold fish out of the water for prolonged periods if they're going to be (or must be) released.
- Get in close. Avoid having a lot of vacant space or a distracting background around the subject.
- Pay close attention to the light. It's usually best to have the sun illuminate the subject, but not so intense it makes the person squint or casts strong shadows.
- Beware of hats: They often create a shadow that covers the subject's eyes.
Q: I plan to hunt whitetails for the first time in northern Idaho next week. What are the rules for transporting harvested deer within Idaho? A: All big game animals need to be tagged and evidence of sex left naturally attached to the animal until it reaches the final place of storage or personal consumption, or a commercial meat processing facility. The validated tag must remain attached to the largest portion of edible meat to be retained. Antlers or horns removed from the head must be left naturally attached to the skull plate where point or brow-tine restrictions apply. In addition, in seasons restricted to mule deer only or white-tailed deer only, if the head is removed, the fully-haired tail must be left naturally attached to the carcass. If transporting for another person, you must have a written proxy statement signed by the taker that includes the takers name, license number, tag number, address, unit of harvest, date of harvest, species type and sex, and phone number. A blank proxy statement and tagging and transporting game information can be found on page 100 of the 2016-2016 Big Game Seasons and Rules booklet.
Another 150 steelhead will be stocked in the Boise River on Thursday, November 19, the last of two planned stocking efforts prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. Around 150 steelhead were stocked in the Boise River last Thursday and a number of anglers have reported tangling with the large fish. In years past, as many as 900 steelhead made the road trip from Hells Canyon Dam to the Boise River, but this year's below-average steelhead return means only about 300 fish will be coming to the Boise River this fall. Because of their size - six to 12 pounds - the actual number of steelhead stocked will depend on the capacity of the tanker truck hauling the fish from Oxbow Hatchery on the Snake River. The fish will be stocked at four locations along the Boise River, including Glenwood Bridge, just below the Broadway Avenue Bridge behind Boise State University, at Parkcenter Bridge and at Barber Park. Anglers should note that no stocking will take place at Americana Bridge due to construction at that location. Besides a fishing license, anglers hoping to tangle with one of the hatchery steelhead need a $12.75 steelhead permit, good for 20 fish. Though required in other steelhead waters, barbless hooks are not required for Boise River steelhead angling. All steelhead stocked in the Boise River will lack an adipose fin (the small fin normally found immediately behind the dorsal fin). Boise River anglers catching a rainbow trout longer than 20 inches that lacks an adipose fin should consider the fish a steelhead. Any steelhead caught by an angler not holding a steelhead permit must immediately be returned to the water. Steelhead limits on the Boise River are three fish per day, nine in possession, and 20 for the fall season. The fish are A-run hatchery steelhead, returning to the Idaho Power Company-owned and funded Oxbow Hatchery fish trap below Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River.
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