Press Release

January 2017

Winter feeding fact sheet

Link to videos of wintering wildlife and winter feeding here.

Photos and cutlines are below. 

This winter’s cold temperatures and deep snow at low elevations has prompted Idaho Fish and Game to implement emergency big game feeding at nearly 110 locations across southern Idaho. Winter conditions in the Panhandle, Clearwater and Salmon areas are normal and emergency feeding is not necessary there.  

Here are some details why we’re feeding, how we’re protecting public safety, and measures taken to prevent and mitigate damage to private lands from big game. 

Clearwater Region Big Game Public Meetings Scheduled

Idaho Department of Fish and Game wants to hear from hunters about proposed changes to the 2017-2018 big game seasons. 

Interested individuals can visit with department personnel concerning the proposed season changes and provide their written comments by attending any of four open house meetings. Each meeting will begin with a presentation followed by an opportunity to provide comments. Meetings are scheduled from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the following locations.  

Grangeville: Senior Citizens Center, 108 N. State St.-Wednesday, February 15th

Moscow: Latah County Fairgrounds Exhibit Building, 1021 Harold St.- Tuesday, February 21st

Orofino: IDFG Clearwater Hatchery, NW of bridge in Ahsahka, 118 Hatchery Roe Dr.- Wednesday, February 22nd

Lewiston: IDFG Regional Office, 3316 16th St.- Thursday, February 23rd

Comments collected will be presented to the Fish and Game Commission prior to their March meeting, where final action will be taken. A list of proposed changes will be available for viewing on the Idaho Fish and Game website http://idfg.idaho.gov/. Contact the Lewiston regional office for more information (208) 799-5010.

Winter big game feeding is reserved for emergencies

After several mild winters in a row, this year’s winter above average precipitation and colder temperatures has felt a lot harsher for both people and wildlife. But while people can retreat to the warm comfort of a home, big game face the brunt of winter out in the elements as they have done for eons. As snowpacks build and frigid temperatures persist, Idaho Fish and Game starts fielding questions from concerned citizens about winter feeding of deer and elk.

Doe and fawn in heavy winter snow
Creative Commons Licence
Idaho Fish and Game

“We are all concerned about the welfare of big game animals in challenging winter conditions, but the decision to feed or not to feed wildlife in winter is based on several criteria,” said Tom Curet, Fish and Game’s regional supervisor for the Salmon Region.

Fish and Game legislative proposals returned to commission

During last week’s Idaho Fish and Game Commission annual meeting in Boise, House Resources and Conservation Committee Chairman Rep. Marcus Gibbs (R)  Grace, returned two Idaho Fish and Game legislative proposals to the Fish and Game Commission.

Representative Gibbs informed commissioners that neither proposal will receive a committee print hearing, where the committee determines whether a proposal will be printed and numbered as a bill.

Chairman Gibbs cited concerns that the proposals did not sufficiently address wildlife depredation problems on private land or the process for landowner compensation.

One of the proposals returned was the Commission’s Price Lock revenue increase proposal.  Under the proposal, resident fees on most license and tags would increase between $1 & $6.  Idaho residents, who buy and maintain an annual license starting this year, would be able to exempt themselves from the increase by locking in at current prices.

The other proposal returned was intended to extend the timeframe for landowner compensation for damages to crops caused by antelope, elk, deer and moose.  The proposal would have allowed compensation for damages that occurred up to 20 days prior notifying Fish and Game.   Current law allows for payment for damages up to 10 days before Fish and Game is notified.

The Fish and Game Commission will evaluate whether alternative legislative proposals are viable this legislative session for keeping wildlife management on sound financial footing and for reducing landowner burdens from wildlife damage. The Commission recognizes the importance of ensuring sportsmen and agricultural interests continue to work together for successful wildlife conservation and management.


Feed sites off limits to hunting mountain lions and wolves

With Idaho Fish and Game winter feeding big game in areas of southern Idaho, hunters are reminded that mountain lions and gray wolves may not be hunted or pursued within one-half mile of any active Fish and Game big game feeding site.  In addition, wolves cannot be trapped within the same distance. 

Additional details on seasons and rules for wolf hunting and trapping, as well as mountain lion hunting rules can be found in the 2015 & 2016 Big Game Seasons and Rules brochure available at all Fish and Game license vendors and online at https://idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/rules/big-game.

Hunters can contact the local Idaho Fish and Game Regional office if they have questions about locations of big game feeding sites in their intended hunt area.

Mountain lion harvest season closed in southeast Idaho

Mountain lion hunters should note that the harvest season for both female and male mountain lion has closed in game management Units 66A, 68, 68A, 70, 71, 72, 73, 73A, 74, 75, 76, 77, and 78, as the harvest quota of 22 females has been reached.  The dog training season will remain open in these units through March 31, 2017.

Additional details on seasons and rules for mountain lion hunting rules can be found in the 2015 & 2016 Big Game Seasons and Rules brochure available at all Fish and Game license vendors and online at https://idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/rules/big-game.

For more information on female lion quotas and whether the season has been closed in a particular management unit, call 1-800-323-4334 or visit Fish and Game’s website at https://idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/mountain-lion/quota.

Fish and Game Director delivers annual report to Commission

Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore delivered his annual report to the Fish and Game Commission last week at their quarterly meeting in Boise.  

The annual report details the sources of the agency's funding, and what was accomplished with the money. The report leads with a statement from Director Virgil Moore, followed by future challenges, cost comparisons and big game harvest history.

The report includes overviews of each bureau, highlights of its operations and expenditures, and the number of staff members in each.  Also included are balance sheets of expenditures and numbers of licenses and tags sold.

The report is available on Fish and Game’s website at https://idfg.idaho.gov/about/commission-reports.

Upper Snake Region Winter Wildlife Conditions Report for January 27, 2017

Upper Snake Region Winter Wildlife Conditions Report for January 27, 2017

Creative Commons Licence
Gregg Losinski / IDFG

 

BIG GAME WINTERING CONDITIONS:

Animals were in good to excellent condition entering winter.  The middle weeks of January again saw moderate snowfall with improving temperatures. Elk, deer, and antelope are in large groups in response to recent cold temperatures and moderate snowfall over the last two weeks.

Sand Creek, Hamer

Snow depth is 12-14 inches with light to moderate crusting.  Animals are moving freely on winter ranges.

Swan Valley

Snow depth is 18-20 inches on the valley floor with light to moderate crusting.  South facing slopes are at 20-22 inches.  Animals are moving freely on winter ranges.

Teton Basin

Check off for wildlife on your Idaho income tax return

The taxes we pay provide funds for many of the services and programs provided by federal and local government agencies. Police departments, fire departments, public schools, transportation, parks, health and welfare programs and many more… are all paid for by the taxpayer. It comes as a surprise to many people when they hear that the agency that manages wildlife resources in the state, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), is not financed by income tax, property tax, or state sales tax. IDFG is funded through license and tag sales paid by hunters, anglers, and trappers; and excise taxes those same people pay on hunting and fishing equipment. Those who hunt, fish, and trap pay for the management of wildlife in Idaho. Retail sales of wildlife related recreation equipment in Idaho annually produces over $100 million in Idaho sales tax revenue for the state general fund. Yet, Idaho Fish and Game does not receive any money from the general fund. IDFG employs112 Conservation Officers who enforce all laws of the State of Idaho. IDFG manages 365,000 acres of state land and 32 wildlife management areas, provides and maintains 350 boating and fishing access sites, and plants 32 million fish a year in over 600 lakes and streams. All of this is done at no cost to the taxpayer unless they choose to be a hunter or angler. If you do not financially support the management of wildlife in Idaho by buying a hunting, fishing, or trapping license (or, even if you do); there is a way you can voluntarily support wildlife programs. When you prepare your state income taxes, a check-off on the state tax form allows you to choose to voluntarily contribute.