Press Release

November 2015

IDFG looking for person who killed cow elk near White Owl Butte

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.

Restoration Work to Begin at CJ Strike's Cove Arm

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.

Steelhead fishing over Thanksgiving still strong

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.

Nonresident whitetail tags/second tags could sell out

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.

Motorists urged to slow down and lookout for big game

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:

Nature Center Plans Holiday Bird Seed Sale

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 sue.dudley@idfg.idaho.gov.

Ask Fish and Game: Hunting along railroads

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.

Fish and Game Commission approves new fishing rules for 2016-18

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.

Quota of white-tailed deer tags for nonresidents is nearly sold out

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.

Hunters should check out Fish and Game's wildlife areas and Access Yes! spots

By Roger Phillips, IDFG public information specialist

Looking for a new hunting spot? It may be easier than you think. Idaho Fish and Game's Wildlife Management Areas and Access Yes! properties provide lots of hunting opportunities for new or novice hunters looking to easily find a place to hunt, and for veteran hunters to have a guaranteed hunting spot if they're traveling to a new area.

With lots of time left in the hunting season, WMAs are typically easily accessible places with everything from game birds to big game hunting opportunities.

If you want more options, check out Fish and Game's Access Yes! properties. These are areas leased from private landowners to allow public access for hunting on their land or to allow the public to cross their lands to hunt on public lands that might otherwise be difficult to reach.

"These are great opportunities to see a new area and learn what the terrain is like, and you also know you will have a place to hunt," said Fish and Game's Andrew Mackey, who coordinates Access Yes! properties in the Clearwater area.

Landowners offer up their lands and set an asking price, then a panel of sportsmen in each region helps determine which provides the best opportunity for sportsmen and women, and those lands are accepted into the program.

The landowner is also allowed to set stipulations for access, so each parcel might be managed differently. Hunters should remember that Access Yes! properties change from year to year, so where you hunted in years past may not be available, but new areas may be.

The best way to learn about Access Yes properties is to go to Fish and Game's website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov and scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the green Access Yes! logo.

Upland bird seasons provide late fall opportunity

Idaho Fish and Game reminds hunters that with several upland bird seasons extending into December and January, they may find hunting areas uncrowded and the action top notch.

"Idaho offers a diversity of upland game bird hunting opportunities on millions of acres of public land," said Jeff Knetter, upland game program manager. "Season lengths are long and hunters willing to make the effort often find good success."

Seasons currently open include:

- California and bobwhite quail through January 31 in northern and southwestern Idaho. Closed in eastern Idaho.

- Chukar and gray partridge through January 31.

- Pheasants through December 31 in Area 1 in northern Idaho and Area 3 in southwestern Idaho; through November 30 in Area 2 in eastern Idaho.

- Forest grouse, which includes ruffed, spruce and dusky (blue) grouse, through December 31 in most of Idaho; and through January 31 in the Panhandle Region.

- The fall general turkey season runs September 15 through December 15 in game management units 1, 2 (except Farragut State Park and Farragut WMA) 3, 4, 4A, 5 and 6 in northern Idaho; and from November 21 through December 31 in units 8, 8A, 10A, 11, 11A, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18 on private lands only.

Hunters need a valid 2015 Idaho hunting license and a turkey tag if pursuing a turkey. Pheasant hunters 17 years or older who pursue pheasants on nine wildlife management areas are also required to have a valid WMA Upland Game Bird Permit and wear hunter orange above the waist.

Hunters are encouraged to review the upland rules brochure available at license vendors, Fish and Game offices, and online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Trapper education course scheduled in Ahsahka

Idaho Department of Fish and Game will offer a trapper education course December 5 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Clearwater Fish Hatchery, 118 Hatchery Roe Drive in Ahsahka.

The course will cover a variety of topics that promote safe, responsible and ethical trapping and outline the role trapping plays in the management of wildlife populations. Trapping laws and ethics, avoiding non-target catch, fur handling, pelt preparation, and basic trapping methods will be emphasized.

Advanced registration is required. Participants can register at any Fish and Game office or online by accessing the Hunter/Bowhunter Education link on the Fish and Game website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov. Registrants must be at least 9 years of age.

The course fee is due at the time of registration. Registering at a Fish and Game office costs $8. Online registration by credit card requires an added convenience fee of $1.75.

The course is open to persons of all trapping skill levels, including those who would like to become trapping instructors. Recognized by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the course is accepted nationwide by states that require a trapper education course to receive a trapping license.

For more information, contact Fish and Game's Clearwater regional office in Lewiston at 208-799-5010.