Press Release

January 2016

Rainbow Trout Stocking Schedule for Southwest Idaho

Personnel from Fish and Game's Nampa Hatcheries will be releasing more than 8,500 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations during February.

LOCATION - WEEK - STOCKED - NUMBER OF TROUT

Boise River, above Glenwood Bridge - February 15 - 720

Boise River, below Glenwood Bridge - February 8 - 720

Eagle Island Park Pond - February 15 - 450

Kleiner Pond (Meridian) - February 15 - 900

Marsing Pond - February 1 - 450

McDevitt Pond (Boise) - February 15, 22 - 225, 225

Parkcenter Pond (Boise) - February 15 - 900

Payette Pond - February 22 - 450

Riverside Pond (Boise) - February 8, 22 - 180/180

Sawyers Ponds (Emmett) - February 22 - 450

Weiser Community Pond - February 22 - 500

Williams Pond (Boise) - February 15 - 450

Wilson Springs (Nampa) - February 1, 15 - 250/250

Wilson Springs Ponds (Nampa) - February 1, 8, 15, 22 - 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.

Commission proposes expanding big game tag auction

By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game Public Information Specialist

Idaho Fish and Game commissioners are considering offering five additional tags for auction including one each for elk, mule deer, mountain goat, pronghorn and moose and will decide on it during the commission's next teleconference on Thursday, Feb. 4.

Idaho Fish and Game currently auctions a single tag for a bighorn sheep each year, which it has done since 1988. That tag sold for $90,000 in January. The Idaho Legislature gave authority to the commission in 2012 to auction up to 12 "Governor's Wildlife Partnership" big-game tags, but the commission has not offered any tags for auction except the bighorn tag.

The commission is seeking public comment on the proposal, and the deadline for comments is at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2. People can comment online by going to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ and look under the "Public Involvement" on the right side of the home page. (Direct link: https://idfg.idaho.gov/form/proposal-five-new-auction-tags.)

People can also contact their commissioners directly. Contact information can be found under the "About Us" tab and "Fish and Game Commission." (Direct link: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/commission/?getPage=183)

The commission will meet via conference call at 8 a.m. (MST) on Thursday, Feb. 4. The meeting is open to the public and can be attended at Fish and Game headquarters and regional offices. Commissioners will review public comment during the meeting. Members of the public who want to provide comment are encouraged to do so online prior to the Feb. 2 deadline because no additional public comment will be taken during the meeting.

Do Something Wild: Support a Sportsmen's Group

Looking for something wild to do during the next couple of months? How about attending one of the upcoming sportsmen's banquets?

Sportsmen organizations from around the region typically schedule their banquets and fundraisers this time of year. It is the perfect time to get together as fellow outdoors and wildlife enthusiasts and do something wild for wildlife.

Banquets are so much more than just an opportunity to eat good food and have fun with the family. They also function as fundraisers to generate money for wildlife conservation, community contributions, and youth programs.

Southeast Idaho Flyfishers has contributed money and labor to various habitat improvement projects throughout southeast Idaho, benefitting critical riparian areas and fisheries. The club has also sponsored Trout in the Classroom programs and field trips for southeast Idaho classrooms (K-12), including several in District 25, and has supported efforts to get families and youth fishing.

National Wild Turkey Federation's southeast Idaho chapter has contributed both turkeys and money to the Idaho Food Bank during the holidays. This chapter has been involved in youth hunter mentoring programs, women's outdoor workshops, the Idaho Wildavore adult hunter mentoring program, and outdoor events and hunting opportunities for the disabled. This chapter has even sponsored numerous Eagle Scout projects over the years and has handed out scholarships for college-bound youth. NWTF has also assisted with habitat projects that benefit a variety of species besides turkeys, and have provided educational materials for use in Project WILD workshops for teachers.

The Mule Deer Foundation and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation have donated time and money to habitat projects throughout the regions and have provided personnel and funds to assist with youth mentored hunts and many other invaluable conservation efforts.

Furbearer Trapping Course Scheduled in Coeur d'Alene for March 4-5

Many of the first Europeans to settle in northern Idaho came to the area to trap furbearing animals. Fur was traded for supplies and used to make coats, hats, gloves and other articles of clothing.

In 1809, the first European structure constructed in Idaho was built near Lake Pend Oreille for the Northwest Fur Company. By 1811, four fur companies were in business in Idaho including the widely-known Hudson Bay Company.

By 1899, unregulated harvest reduced beaver population levels to the point that hunting and trapping of beavers was closed until 1957.

Furbearer populations are now closely monitored. Open and closed seasons are established for trapping and hunting furbearers to provide a sustainable and renewable surplus that allows for an annual harvest of most species.

The furbearer species currently trapped in Idaho includes marten, mink, otter, beaver, muskrat, bobcat, fox and badger. Otters may only be trapped until regional quotas are met. Bobcat and fox are also taken by hunting.

Wolves are not classified as furbearers in Idaho. They are considered big-game animals.

Trappers in Idaho must be licensed and are highly regulated. All traps must bear the name or trapper identification number of the person using the trap.

Idaho Fish and Game has created a voluntary trapper education program to help educate trappers. The goal is to promote safe and ethical trapping, to minimize non-target catches, and to minimize impacts of trapping activity on other recreationists. Classes are being taught by teams of volunteers and Fish and Game employees.

When wolf trapping seasons were opened a few years ago, a separate and mandatory wolf trapper education class was created. Anyone who wants to purchase wolf trapping tags must first complete the wolf trapper training class.

Fish and Game to Begin Big Game Aerial Surveys in Clearwater

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will begin big game aerial surveys in Big Game Management Units 8, 8A, and 11A starting the week of February 1st. Flights are estimated to take approximately 4 weeks to complete, depending on weather conditions.

The overall goal is to assess big game population trends, and age and sex ratios. Survey results will provide information from which management decisions will be based for determining future hunting seasons.

Besides finding big game animals congregated on lower elevation winter ranges, winter also bring two requirements needed to conduct accurate surveys - clear weather for good visibility and snow covering that aids in locating and identification of species. A helicopter flying low and slow over select areas of the state is the most efficient tool for gathering big game herd information.

The Palouse Zone contains a larger percentage of private land than many elk management zones, so some disturbance to domestic livestock is possible. Disturbance to both domestic livestock and big game will be kept to the minimum needed to acquire accurate information, generally less than a few minutes.

Contact Fish and Game's Clearwater Regional office for more information at 208)-799-5010.

Idaho wolf management a success

By Virgil Moore, director, Idaho Fish and Game

When Idaho Fish and Game took over wolf management in 2011, the wolf population had grown unchecked for more than a decade after reaching federal recovery levels of 10 breeding pairs and 100 wolves eleven years earlier. This was due to repeated lawsuits that stalled delisting and delayed transfer of wolves to state management.

As a result, wolf conflicts with livestock and elk populations were rampant in most parts of Idaho north of the Snake River and livestock producers and hunters grew increasingly frustrated.

After five years of state management of wolves in Idaho, we're seeing positive results:

  • In 2010, the year before wolves were delisted, there were 109 confirmed wolf depredations on livestock in Idaho. Now livestock depredations by wolves are down by almost 50 percent (59 in 2015).
  • The most recent livestock attack by wolves occurred last October. We haven't had a depredation-free stretch last this long since 2004.

I'm also pleased to report Idaho's elk herds are rebounding too, but there are still some places in Idaho where predation impacts are unacceptable. Conflicts are decreasing because regulated wolf hunting and trapping seasons are helping us balance predator and prey populations.

As I write this, Fish and Game scientists are conducting the latest wolf population surveys. While these are not yet complete, it's obvious we far exceed federal recovery levels of 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs, and have met these levels for at least 16 years in a row.

The bottom line is Idaho has a healthy, sustainable wolf population that is over seven times higher than the federal recovery goal. Idaho Fish and Game has proven we can responsibly manage wolves, provide regulated hunting and trapping opportunity, and reduce conflict. That is good both for the people of Idaho and our wildlife, including wolves.

Radio collars are vital tool for game management

By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist

Idaho Fish and Game biologist Craig White recently got a message telling him two elk died, but it didn't come from a colleague or a citizen, it was from a satellite. White is Idaho Fish and Game's Southwest Region Wildlife Manager, and he got an email telling him two elk with radio collars stopped moving.

A "mortality" signal was relayed from each collar to a satellite and beamed back to the earth, and White was notified.

How had they died? It's an important question biologists need to know, so White and his crew loaded trucks, snowmobiles and snowshoes and headed to the Lowman area between Garden Valley and Stanley.

Another crew headed by regional wildlife biologist Michelle Kemner drove and hiked into the Boise Foothills west of Bogus Basin.

Within 36 hours of getting the email, White and his crew were performing a necropsy on the elk, which is an autopsy performed on animals. They discovered the elk calf was killed by wolves.

Kemner's team had to contact several private landowners and get permission to cross their land, but they also arrived within 30 hours and found a dead calf partially obscured by brush after a mountain lion tried to conceal it. They also found two others sets of small tracks, so they suspect it was a female with two kittens.

The first few days after an animal dies are critical for biologists to learn the cause of death and any extenuating circumstances that might have affected it, such as if it was in a weakened state from malnutrition, disease or injury. Did one predator kill it and others drive it away and feed on the carcass? Or was a predator even responsible for killing it?

"There are a whole bunch of things we can look at that are important to know," Kemner said. "After three or four days, we're losing lots of that critical evidence."

Grangeville angler nets first Idaho catch-and-release record fish

By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist

Thomas McLeod set two records with a yellow perch he caught at Lake Cascade in January. His 14.75-inch perch is the new state record for fish caught and released, and he gets an unofficial record as the first person to have a fish recorded in Fish and Game's new records program.

"I can't lose that one," McLeod said.

The 36-year-old said he planned on submitting a fish he caught during his trip to Cascade, and landed a bigger one in late December before the catch-and-release program started on Jan. 1.

His state-record perch also happened to be the first fish he caught for the day, "so that's the one I went with," he said.

But he added he wanted to take some home to eat, and while he would have released a bigger one, he didn't catch one on that trip.

"I'm all about letting some of the big ones go and let someone else catch them, or let them spawn," he said.

He's also hoping he's not a one-hit wonder. McLeod said he has fishing trips planned for steelhead, whitefish, and he may return to Cascade for more ice fishing for perch and trout.

He said he will enter whatever he catches.

"I want to see how many I can get," he said.

So far, McLeod's perch entry is the only catch-and-release record, so the rest are open to whoever submits a fish.

To submit an entry, anglers must complete the record fish application form and provide photographs of the fish (see details below) to Fish and Game. The form can be downloaded at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ by looking under the "Fishing" tab for "Record Fish." Direct link: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=82.

The form can also be printed and mailed to the department, or taken to a regional office.

Phone scam reported in Magic Valley

By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist

A Wendell couple was involved in an attempted scam where a caller claimed to be from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and demanded payment for their failure to report harvest information on time, and threatened them with fines and penalties unless they made a payment by phone.

The person who answered the call only had a fishing license, and hung up after recognizing it as a scam.

In case others receive a similar call, Fish and Game wants citizens it know it does not, and would not, call and ask for money for any reason.

Spring turkey controlled hunt information available online by Feb 1

Idaho's 2016 spring turkey information, including controlled hunts, will be available at Fish and Game offices and online by February 1 at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/rules/?getPage=67.

Idaho's spring turkey controlled hunt application period runs February 1- March 1.

The new upland game, turkey and furbearer seasons and rules brochure will be available at all Fish and Game license vendors by February 23.

The new rules brochures include changes that affect some turkey hunts including:

Commission to meet in Boise this week

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will hold their next meeting January 27-28 at Fish and Game Headquarters in Boise.

The public hearing will begin at 7 pm, January 27 in the Headquarters trophy room. Citizens are invited to address the commission regarding agenda and non-agenda items at the hearing. All testimony will be taken into consideration when the commission makes decisions on agenda items at the meeting.

The commission meeting will begin at 8 am, January 28. Routine agenda items include a JFAC budget preview; legislative update, big game briefing, and appointment of Winter Feeding Advisory Committee members.

A complete agenda is available on Fish and Game's website under the About Us tab at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/commission/2016/01_January/Age....

Individuals may request accommodations by contacting the Director's office at 208-334-5159 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-2529 (TDD).

Upland, turkey, furbearer seasons set

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission set the 2016 and 2017 upland game, turkey and furbearer seasons and rules on Thursday, January 21.

Season changes for the next two years include:

Panhandle Region:

- Extended the fall general turkey season 16 days to December 31 in Units 1, 2 (except Farragut State Park and Farragut WMA), 3, 4, 4A, 5 and 6).

Clearwater Region:

- No changes.

Southwest Region:

- Split current spring controlled turkey Hunt 9003 (all of Unit 38 and that portion of Unit 32 in Payette County) into two separate hunts. Increase total permits by 20.

- Restructured the fall controlled turkey Hunt 9018 (all of Units 22, 32, 32A) and Hunt 9019 (all of Unit 31) by combining Units 22 and 31 and maintained the hunt in Units 32 (except that portion in Payette County) and 32A. 75 permits each for both hunts.

- Created a new fall youth-only controlled turkey hunt in Units 22 and 31 with 20 permits.

- Created a new fall controlled turkey hunt in all of Unit 38 and that portion of Unit 32 in Payette County with 40 permits.

Magic Valley Region:

- Increased permits in each of the spring controlled turkey hunts in Unit 54 to 30 permits each.

- Opened the Lime Creek beaver trapping closure in Elmore County, with the exception of Hunter Creek is closed.

Southeast Region:

- Eliminated spring controlled turkey hunts in Unit 71 and replaced with a general spring hunt and includes Unit 70 as part of the general hunt from April 15 - May 25.

- Eliminated fall controlled turkey hunts in Units 73, 74, 75, 77 and 78 and replaced them with a general season from September 15 - October 31.

- Increased the number of turkey tags available in the controlled hunt in Unit 71 by 100 permits.

- Reduced controlled beaver take in Unit 201 from 10 to 5.