Press Release

August 2016

Donations sought for habitat restoration efforts caused by wildfires

Wildfires on the Boise River Wildlife Management Area east of Boise may mean difficult winters for wildlife after more than 6,800 acres burned during the Mile Marker 14 and Table Rock fires.

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Courtesy Ada County Sheriff's Office

The WMA provides critical winter range for thousands of deer, elk, antelope, and other animals that rely on vital sagebrush, bitterbrush and other plants.

Private citizens and business owners can donate to a fund established to help restore land affected by the fires. To make a donation, or to learn more, visit the Idaho Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s website at http://IFWF.org, or contact Lorraine Mallett (208) 334-2648.

“Donations will help to restore critical wildlife habitat, as fast as plans can be developed, particularly as winter approaches,” said Ann Dehner, IFWF Executive Director.     

Family Saves Young Girl From Mountain Lion Attack

IDAHO FALLS – A family camping near Green Canyon Hot Springs east of Rexburg, Idaho, saved their four-year-old daughter from being drug away from their campfire by a mountain lion on the evening of Friday, August 12, 2016.

The family had seen the lion in the vicinity earlier in the day, which in itself is highly unusual. When the cat appeared later in the evening and attempted to snatch the child, the family began yelling at the cougar and it dropped the girl and fled. According to the family, the child was physically unharmed, except for a few scratches.

After the incident, the family packed up and took the child to the Eastern Idaho Medical Center in Idaho Falls to be checked over. Idaho Fish & Game Senior Conservation Officer Andrew Sorensen enlisted the aid of local hound hunter Mike Pimentel to immediately attempt to track the lion. At 2:00 AM on the morning of the thirteenth, a young female lion was treed by the hounds a few hundred yards from the camp. The cat was dispatched by deputies from the Madison County Sheriff’s office. Other campers in the area were notified of the ongoing situation.

Cougar sightings are rare, let alone attacks on humans. When lions do attack, records indicate that small children are often the targets. This family showed how vigilance and quick thinking can help avert a tragedy.

Editor note: A previous release had a typo on the date. It has been corrected.

Second Editor note. An additional correction is available with additional information on the mountain lion.

Hunters should keep an eye on fire closures

Hunters planning trips in the vicinity of the Pioneer Fire north of Idaho City will want to pay close attention to Forest Service closures and be prepared to alter their plans if necessary. 

Forest Service land closures currently spread from the North Fork of the Boise River north to the Deadwood Reservoir area and east of the reservoir almost to Idaho 21 near Cape Horn. Land closures include the areas adjacent to the Pioneer Fire, Buck Fire and Rough Fire between Deadwood Reservoir and Bull Trout Lake. 

To see current area closures and fire boundaries go to Fish and Game’s Idaho Fire Map

Boundaries are likely to change as summer progresses, but it’s important that early season hunters know that Forest Service closures lie far beyond the boundaries of the current fires. Area closures include portions of hunting Units 33, 34, 35 and 39. The Pioneer Fire recently crossed the South Fork of the Payette River west of Lowman and is burning a northeasterly direction.

According to Forest Service officials, the Pioneer Fire is expected to remain uncontained for at least two weeks, and it could be well into September before firefighters have it contained. People should also note that Forest Service land closures could continue into October, even if the fires are out. However, Forest officials will try to reopen areas when they are safe. 

Idaho Fish and Game will keep hunters informed of the latest fire news on its Fire Information Page. 

 

Idaho's wild steelhead are a diverse bunch

Steelhead fisheries in Idaho are world class, and the fact that anglers can fish for steelhead from July through April means there is lots of time to enjoy this resource. The fact that we can enjoy these long fishing seasons is due in part to Idaho’s hatchery program that produces lots of fish for anglers to catch and keep. 

Nine state records for catch-and-release fishing are still wide open

Idaho’s new catch-and-release records have been popular since the program launched on Jan. 1. with more than 55 entries so far. There are still opportunities to set a record no one can ever beat, and that’s getting a “first” into the record book. 

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Idaho Fish and Game

Catch-and-release records are still open for these species: 

  • Tiger muskellunge
  • Lahontan cutthroat
  • Bullhead
  • Tiger trout (brown/brook hybrid)
  • Golden trout
  • Lake whitefish
  • Flathead catfish
  • Gerrard Rainbow (Pend Oreille)
  • S plake (brook/lake trout hybrid) 

Here’s the list of current catch and release records.

To enter a fish into the state catch-and-release records, anglers can complete the record fish application form. The form can also be printed and mailed to the department, or taken to a regional office.

Fish and Game Commission issues grizzly bear management proposal

No grizzly hunts are planned.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Monday, Aug. 8 approved a plan to limit the take of grizzly bears in Idaho as part of removing the Greater Yellowstone population from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. The plan supports an agreement among Idaho, Montana and Wyoming for state management of this grizzly bear population upon federal delisting.

Fire season in full swing

This summer has had fewer wildfires than last year, but people going fishing and hunting need to stay abreast of conditions and active fires. The Pioneer Fire between Idaho City and Lowman is currently the largest in the state, but it's not the only one. To see where fires are currently burning in Idaho, go to Fish and Game's fire map page at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/maps/realtime/fire/.

That page provides a quick overview of fires in the Idaho and neighboring states. Even if there are no fires in the vicinity, places where you recreate can be affected by smoke. The Idaho Smoke Information page available http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/, gives you a map showing air quality around the state.

Information including current fires, area closures, maps, air quality indexes and more is also available on Fish and Game’s Fire Page at https://idfg.idaho.gov/fire.

People also want to pay attention to fire restrictions if they are recreating on public lands. This can be a little trickier because you have to know who manages a particular parcel of public land. But it's important to remember fire safety during summers, and if you're going to have a campfire, have a bucket of water and a shovel handy.

It's also a good idea to camp in developed campgrounds that have established fire pits. These areas are typically cleared of nearby vegetation, which reduces fire danger. If you're going to camp outside of developed areas, take extra precautions and beware that having a campfire may be illegal on some lands if they're under fire restrictions.

If you're traveling in the Clearwater National Forest, Forest Service officials issued this news release on Aug. 5:

Don’t wait on Dworshak kokanee

Anglers should be excited about what was discovered during Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s recent kokanee survey of Dworshak Reservoir – fish are stacking up in the upper reservoir and their size is quite appealing.     

The larger fish have begun their migration up the reservoir as they prepare to spawn.  The highest densities of kokanee were found from Gold Creek to well above Grandad Bridge.

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Photo by Sean Wilson, IDFG

 

“If anglers want to catch these fish, the upper part of the reservoir is the place to be,” said Sean Wilson, Fish and Game fisheries research biologist.   

Good fish densities still occurred near Magnus Bay, with even a few large fish were sampled as far down as Dent.  But their densities were nothing close to what was found farther up the reservoir.

Sage-grouse season set

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved a restrictive season for sage-grouse.

The 2016 season will run from September 17 to September 23, with a daily bag limit of one bird, and a possession limit of two birds. The season will take place in the same areas as last year's hunt with the exception of re-opening an area in Elmore County east and south of U.S. Highway 20 and north of Interstate 84.

The Sage-grouse Seasons and Rules brochure, including a map of areas open to sage-grouse hunting, will be available soon at all license vendors, Fish and Game offices and website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Hunters should also refer to the 2016 and 2017 Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey Seasons and Rules for general upland gamebird hunting rules, license and permit requirements, and grouse identification information.

The 2016 season follows the hunting season and bag-limit guidelines as laid out in the Conservation Plan for the Greater Sage-grouse in Idaho available at https://idfg.idaho.gov/wildlife/sage-grouse. Current sage-grouse lek data indicate that many populations are stable to increasing, and can be hunted at the “restrictive” level. The guidelines compare the current three-year running average of male sage-grouse counted at leks (breeding sites) from 1996-2000 when Idaho began intensified surveys statewide.  The guidelines also allow the flexibility to consider local issues of concern, such as insufficient data, isolated populations or impacts of wildfire and West Nile virus.

Wolf trapping certification courses scheduled in Salmon, Grangeville, and Lewiston

Idaho rules require prospective wolf trappers to successfully complete a Wolf Trapper Certification course before they can purchase wolf trapping tags.

For those planning to trap wolves this winter, certification courses will be held in:     

  • Salmon:  Saturday, August 13th, 9 am to 5 pm, Fish and Game Salmon Regional Office, 99 Highway 93 North.
  • Grangeville:  Friday, September 9th, 8 am to 4 pm, Nez Perce National Forest Service Office, 104 Airport Rd.
  • Lewiston:  Saturday, September 10th, 9 am to 5 pm, Fish and Game Clearwater Regional Office, 3316 16th Street.   https://register-ed.com/programs/idaho/148-wolf-trapper-instructor-led-c...

Additional courses will be scheduled throughout the state over the next few months and will be posted on Fish and Game’s webpage. For more information, contact the respective Fish and Game office.

All courses are taught by experienced trappers, trained and certified to provide students with both classroom study and interactive, hands-on training. The courses cover a wide variety of topics including wolf biology, wolf behavior and management, wolf trapping techniques, proper care of a hide for maximum value and harvest reporting requirements.  On-site demonstrations in the field include making trap sets free of human scent, rigging snares, placing diverters to avoid non-target catches, and trap site selection.

All instructors and assisting Fish and Game staff have expertise in furbearer management, trapping laws and ethics, responsible trapping, proper equipment and trapping techniques.

The registration fee is $8 per student. Those registering online by credit card will be charged an added convenience fee of $1.75.  Registrants must be at least nine years of age to take the course.

Enter now for second controlled hunt drawing

Didn't draw in the first round? It's not too late to apply for the second controlled hunt drawing for over 2,800 unclaimed tags.

The application period for the second drawing for deer, elk, pronghorn and black bear controlled hunt tags runs from August 5, through August 15.

Results of the drawing will be available around August 23.  Any tags not drawn after the second drawing will be sold first-come, first-served August 25 at 10 a.m. Mountain Time.

A list of available tags by hunt number is available on Fish and Game’s website under the “Featured” section at https://idfg.idaho.gov.

Hunters can apply at Fish and Game license vendors, by telephone at 800-554-8685, or online at Fish and Game's website.  The application fee is $6.25 for residents and $14.75 for nonresidents for each species.

For information on rules and dates for specific hunts, consult the current big game seasons and rules brochure or the Fish and Game website.

Last chance for Super Hunt drawing

Wednesday, August 10 is the last day to enter this year's Super Hunt drawing and a chance at winning the hunt of a lifetime. 

Tags for two elk, two deer, two pronghorn hunts and one moose hunt will be drawn, as well as a "Super Hunt Combo" that will entitle the winner to hunt for all four species - elk, deer, pronghorn and moose.

Winners can participate in any open hunt in the state for deer, elk, pronghorn or moose with a tag for that species, including general hunts and controlled hunts. Super Hunt tags are in addition to other tags.

Super Hunt entries are $6 each and Super Hunt Combo entries are $20 each. No license is needed to enter either drawing, and there is no limit on the number of times a person can apply.

Hunters may enter the drawings at license vendors, Fish and Game offices and website, or by calling 800-554-8685.

For more information on Idaho's Super Hunts, go to https://idfg.idaho.gov/superhunt or the Idaho Super Hunt Facebook page.