Press Release

April 2016

Pizza lunch meeting at Idaho Fish and Game

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will provide a pizza lunch at a sportsperson meeting to be held Tuesday, May 3 at 3316 16th street in Lewiston.

The meeting begins at noon and will include presentations including; big game management overview and spring fishing updates.

The meeting is open to anyone interested in wildlife and is designed to stimulate informal discussion about local fish and wildlife issues. A pizza lunch will be provided free-of-charge on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information, contact the Fish and Game office in Lewiston at 208-799-5010.

ICOA Youth Camp provides common ground for sportsman's groups

By Mark Rhodes, Idaho Fish and Game District Conservation Officer

In 2010, the Idaho Conservation Officer's Association (ICOA), in partnership with Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), conducted their first annual Youth Conservation Camp in Cascade, Idaho. The vision behind the camp was to expose kids to a whole bunch of outdoor recreation activities, including shooting, archery, fishing, trapping, hiking, and basic conservation.

We not only hoped to instill a conservation ethic in these young people, but also hoped to build a sense of ownership and connection to Fish and Game and Idaho Conservation Officers amongst Idaho's future sportsmen and women.

The first couple of years proved to be a bit of a struggle to find 30 interested and willing kids. During a couple of the years we were still trying to fill the camp in July, four months after applications became available to the public. Now, we are in 2016 and preparing for the 7th year of the camp. We have expanded the camp to 45 campers, and registration slots filled in 18 days. The camp has become extremely popular because the kids that attend tell their friends and families, and the next year more kids want to attend.

The growth in interest and participation in the camp has been a wonderful development, but one of the unforeseen positive benefits of camp has been the interest and participation by recreational and conservation groups and clubs from around the state, and the relationships being built between the clubs and their local Conservation Officers.

Too often there are instances where Conservation Clubs or Sportsman's Groups are at odds with each other, or with IDFG, due to differing philosophies or priorities about management, hunting or fishing methods, or harvest regulations. The ICOA Camp appears to have provided something that everyone agrees is valuable and beneficial for young people, and for Idaho.

Remaining Egin-Hamer closure ends at sunrise May 1

ST. ANTHONY - As of sunrise on Sunday, May 1, 2016 the remaining northern part of the Egin-Hamer Area Closure will open, but public land managers want to remind users that certain rules still remain in effect on BLM lands.

The portion of the Egin-Hamer Closure Area that is south of the Egin-Hamer Road opened on schedule at sunrise on April 1st. Even though the entire area will be officially open it is still a concern to agency staff that users remain on designated routes to protect the habitat and that everything possible is done to reduce the spread of noxious weeds.

Information about the St. Anthony Dunes can be viewed at: http://tinyurl.com/StADunes

Enjoy refreshments with Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation

An open house is scheduled Thursday, April 28 from 5 to 7pm at the Idaho Fish and Game regional office at 3316 16th St. in Lewiston. Come learn about the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation and its partnership with Fish and Game.

The Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation was established in 1990 as a non-profit organization with a mission to preserve and sustain Idaho's fishing, hunting and wildlife heritage. They develop and share donated funds for wildlife related projects statewide including; habitat restoration, public access and wildlife conservation & education. Visit them at their website at www.IFWF.org.

Fishing Trailer Schedule for May

The month of May will be busy for Fish and Game's fishing trailer, with a dozen fishing events scheduled around the Treasure Valley and beyond.

To learn more about the trailer, contact the Fish and Game Nampa office at 465-8465. A complete statewide fishing trailer schedule is available at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

A fishing license is not needed by any participant registering at the trailer for the duration of the event, regardless of age or residency.

"Everyone is welcome at these events, but we want to make a point of inviting kids and their parents who have an interest in fishing but lack the equipment and perhaps the knowledge to get started," regional conservation educator Evin Oneale noted. "The only cost is a bit of time, and the idea is to help people gain enough fishing experience and confidence to strike out on their own and enjoy fishing as a fun, family activity."

Southwest Region Fishing Trailer Schedule for May

Date - Location - Time

Wednesday, May 4 - McDevitt Pond (Boise) - 4:00pm-8:00pm

Thursday, May 5 - Wilson Ponds (Nampa) - 4:00pm-8:00pm

Saturday, May 7 - Sego Prairie Pond (Kuna) - 10:00am-2:00pm

Wednesday, May 11 - Kleiner Pond (Meridian) - 4:00pm-8:00pm

Thursday, May 12 - Settlers Pond (Meridian) - 4:00pm-8:00pm

Saturday, May 14 - Weiser Pond (Weiser) - 10:00am-2:00pm

Wednesday, May 18 - Sawyers Pond (Emmett) - 4:00pm-8:00pm

Thursday, May 19 - McDevitt Pond (Boise) - 4:00pm-8:00pm

Saturday, May 21 - Mill Pond (Horseshoe Bend) - 10:00am-2:00pm

Wednesday, May 25 - Wilson Ponds (Nampa) - 4:00pm-8:00pm

Thursday, May 26 - Kleiner Pond (Meridian) - 4:00pm-8:00pm

Saturday, May 28 - Eagle Island Pond (Eagle) - 10:00am-2:00pm (Cops & Bobbers Event)

Update on IDFG St Maries/Black Lake proposed land exchange

In February 2016, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to trade four parcels comprised of 1,402.04 acres of mostly forested land in Benewah County. In the value-for-value trade, IDFG would receive 1,012.72 acres of the Black Lake Ranch which fronts the Coeur d'Alene River and Black Lake in Kootenai County.

The four parcels IDFG proposed for trade were purchased in the 1940s with assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program. They are part of the St. Maries Wildlife Management Area (WMA), and are located approximately six miles south of the town of St. Maries.

The Black Lake Ranch is located on the lower Coeur d'Alene River adjacent to lands already in IDFG ownership. Black Lake Ranch is comprised of floodplain and riparian habitats that are considered rare and unique habitats.

Acquisition of the Black Lake Ranch by IDFG would allow for the remediation and restoration of the agricultural wetlands and resolution of water quality issues. The Black Lake Ranch is identified as a priority for remediation and restoration and there are good opportunities for outside restoration funds from multiple partners.

When a state proposes the sale or exchange of property purchased with WSFR funding, the proposed exchange must comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). As part of that process, IDFG held four scoping meetings in March 2016, to gather public input regarding the proposed land exchange.

A total of 146 comments were received by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the St. Maries WMA parcel/Black Lake Ranch trade proposal. Of the comments received, 54 were unsupportive. Over half (58 percent) of those comments not supporting the proposal stated that the loss of public access on the land that would no longer be in IDFG ownership was the main concern.

Time soon approaching for newborn wildlife

Wild bird and mammal species typically produce young in the spring. This timing allows the young to gain the strength and size needed to survive the challenges of winter, or the rigors and dangers of fall migration.

Deer, elk and moose will give birth to fawns and calves in May and June. Last week I saw Canada goose goslings that were already several days old when I saw them.

Some wild newborns will make it through the perilous first few days and weeksÉand others will not. Fortunately, reproductive potential is high for most wild animal species and despite losses of individuals, populations carry on.

The first few days of life are the most crucial to long term survival. Wild animal newborns are vulnerable to predators until they are able to run or fly well enough to escape predation.

Predators in the first few weeks can include other wild species such as wolves, mountain lions, bears, bobcats, and eagles. Raccoons, skunks, weasels and other species need to eat to survive, and newborn birds and mammals are frequent meals for them.

When allowed to run loose, domesticated animals such as dogs and cats can also cause mortality of young wildlife. Pet owners can reduce wildlife injury or death by keeping pets confined. Although pets may have plenty of food available, their predatory instincts can take over when allowed to run at large.

Starting soon, Idaho Fish and Game regional offices will receive several calls a day about deer fawns that people observe with no doe visible in the surrounding area. Callers are often convinced that the fawn has been "injured", "abandoned", or "orphaned".

While fawns are occasionally injured or orphaned, they are never abandoned. An adult doe has extremely strong parenting instincts and will not abandon a fawn.

Rainbow Trout stocking schedule for southwest Idaho

Personnel from Fish and Game's McCall and Nampa Hatcheries will be releasing more than 150,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations during May.

LOCATION - WEEK STOCKED - NUMBER OF TROUT

Boise River, above Glenwood Bridge - May 16, 30 - 440/1,440

Boise River, below Glenwood Bridge - May 16, 30 - 720/720

Browns Pond (McCall) - May 16 - 450

Caldwell Pond #2 - May 2 - 500

Cascade Reservoir - May 2, 16 - 45,700/42,000

Corral Creek Reservoir (Cascade) - May 23 - 3,500

Crooked River (Idaho City) - May 23 - 1,000

Duff Lane Pond (Middleton) - May 2 - 225

East Mountain Reservoir (Cascade) - May 23 - 500

Eagle Island Park Pond - May 23 - 450

Eds Pond (Emmett) - May 16 - 200

Fischer Pond (Cascade) - May 16 - 750

Fish Lake (McCall) - May 23 - 2,000

Grimes Creek (Idaho City) - May 23 - 1,000

Heros Park Pond (Meridian) - May 2 - 150

Herrick Reservoir (Cascade) - May 23 - 3,000

Horsethief Reservoir (Cascade) - May 2, 23 - 5,000/10,000

Indian Creek (Caldwell) - May 2, 16 - 200/200

Indian Creek (Kuna) - May 2, 16 - 300/300

Kimberland Meadows Pond (New Meadows) - May 16 - 500

Kleiner Pond (Meridian) - May 9, 23 - 450/450

Lowman Nature Ponds - May 16 - 600

Lucky Peak Reservoir - May 23 - 5,700

Mann Creek Reservoir - May 16 - 2,400

Marsing Pond - May 2, 30 - 450/450

McDevitt Pond (Boise) - May 2, 16, 30 - 450/450/450

Merrill Pond (Eagle) - May 9 - 250

Mill Pond (Horseshoe Bend) - May 16 - 900

Mores Creek (Idaho City) - May 23 - 1,000

Ol' McDonald Pond (Council) - May 16 - 500

Parkcenter Pond (Boise) - May 9 - 900

Payette Pond (Payette) - May 9 - 450

Poormans Pond (McCall) - May 23 - 250

Riverside Pond (Boise) - May 9, 23 - 360/360

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

Fish and Game Commission sets migratory game bird seasons

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Thursday April 21, approved seasons and limits for all ducks, geese, sandhill cranes, doves, and crows for 2016.

A new process and schedule, established in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was used this year. It allows migratory game bird hunting seasons and rules to be set earlier than in the past. Furthermore, the Commission can now set all migratory game bird seasons at the same time. Hunters will now have more time to plan their hunts, and hunting seasons and rules for all ducks, geese, sandhill cranes, doves, and crows will be available in the same brochure.

Ducks and Geese

Waterfowl seasons will be similar to last year, except seasons in northern and eastern Idaho will begin two weeks earlier than last year to allow hunting opportunities prior to wetlands freezing. Overall, hunters will enjoy a 105 day season for ducks and Canada geese with a 2-day youth hunt scheduled statewide on September 24 and 25.

The daily bag limit will be seven ducks; but not more than two female mallards, three scaup, two redheads, two pintails, or two canvasback.

The daily bag limit will be four Canada geese, except in a portion of southeast Idaho where the daily limit will be five from September 1 - 15th; 10 white-fronted geese; and 20 for light geese (Snow and Ross's geese). The possession limit will be three times the daily bag limit.

Waterfowl season opening and closing dates vary by different management zones of the state.

Sandhill Crane

IDFG's improved Fishing Planner makes finding fishing holes easy

Want to go fishing, but need help finding a spot? The Idaho Department of Fish and Game's newly improved Fishing Planner is back. This mobile-friendly interactive search tool is designed to help anglers find information on their next fishing hole.

Available at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/fishingPlanner/, the Fishing Planner provides one-stop shopping for searching places to go fishing, with maps of how to get there and what they're likely to catch. Anglers can also search for places to catch a specific species of fish, recent and historic stocking reports, fishing waters within a certain distance of selected cities, and what kind of facilities they'll find when they get there.

"We want to make it easy for anglers of all skill levels to research places to catch fish," said Martin Koenig, Fish and Game's sportfishing coordinator. "The new Fishing Planner gives everyone easy access to the fishing rules, what species live there, how to get there and the facilities available"

Popular and easy to access waters are listed in the Recommended and Family Fishing Waters options. Fishing rules and interactive maps are available with layers like topo maps, region boundaries, satellite imagery, and more.

Click on the blue Fishing Planner logo found at the bottom of the department's website, or look for it under the Fishing tab. Finding information about your next spot is now easier than ever. Deciding what spot to choose may not be.

Nesting season is a reminder to keep wildlife wild

By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist

It's nesting season for waterfowl, and people may encounter ducks and geese on nests or ducklings and goslings in neighborhoods, parks, ponds and other developed areas.

It's fun and exciting to see wildlife among in cities, towns and suburbs, but people should remember they are protected wildlife that should not be disturbed.

Even with good intentions, it's illegal to possess wild ducklings or goslings. With many homes built near water, wild ducks and geese may nest in landscaped yards. Homeowners may worry about newly-hatched ducklings and try to capture the babies. Not only is it illegal, it separates them from the mother hens, and the young birds' chances of survival are poor if that happens.

A better option is to safely clear a path to the nearest river or pond. In most cases, the adult waterfowl know where to find water and safely raise their broods in a natural environment.

Geese who nest in areas that seem too high for young birds to survive the first trip out of the nest also know what they are doing. These nests are often "borrowed" from other birds, such as ospreys. Young goslings are light and resilient and can withstand the initial fall from those tall platforms.

Same goes for other young wildlife people may encounter. When they remove wildlife from their natural environment, chances of survival are slim. Most don't survive in captivity, and the few that do lack survival skills and can't be released back to the wild.

Idaho Fish and Game has only two alternatives when dealing with animals removed from the wild. Volunteer wildlife rehabilitators can attempt to raise the animal, but this option often fails because the majority of young animals brought in are in poor condition, and providing the proper care and nutrition is a big challenge.

Wildlife benefits from upcoming Idaho Gives

Whether you are a hunter, angler, boater, wildlife photographer or other outdoor enthusiast, you can help keep Idaho wonderfully wild by participating in Idaho Gives on May 5th, a statewide day of online giving. Donations will benefit wildlife habitat and conservation programs for children at http://www.idahogives.org/Idaho-Fish-And-Wildlife-Foundation. Gifts made between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm may qualify for additional awards to the organization.

Idaho has over 10,000 species of wildlife that include those that are endangered or threatened, game and nongame, as well as native plants. They continue to be a valued part of Idaho's natural world that contributes significantly to the state's outdoor recreation and economy.

"The role of wildlife is often at the top of conversations about our quality of life in Idaho. Yet they need our help to survive and thrive," said Ann Dehner, Executive Director of the Idaho Fish & Wildlife Foundation. Support from Idahoans is vital to ensuring that healthy wildlife species continue to play a starring role in Idaho's outdoor experiences.

The Foundation's work focuses on habitat restoration and preservation, public access, and conservation education. Through statewide project funding, the Foundation promotes a greater understanding of the value of Idaho's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats and management needs. For more information, contact Lorraine Mallett at (208) 334-2648 or visit http://IFWF.org.