Press Release

December 2017

Gift licenses, Super Hunt entries make great stocking stuffers

Give the gift of the great outdoors - gift certificates for a fishing license, hunting license, or Super Hunt entry make excellent stocking stuffers.

Fishing and hunting provide a good excuse to get outside, see the beauty of Idaho, and spend precious time with family and friends. For outdoor enthusiasts, there is a fishing or hunting season open throughout the year.

License gift certificates can be purchased at any Idaho Fish and Game office in any dollar amount. Most people buy them for the exact amount of an annual hunting license, fishing license, combination, or sportsman's package.

Several options and price ranges are available, depending on the age of the recipient and type of license - hunting, fishing or combination. These gift certificates can be only be redeemed for hunting and fishing licenses at Fish and Game offices.

Because of the need to confirm residency, a person can only buy a resident license for a spouse, a minor child, or for themselves. Non-resident licenses can be purchased for a friend or relative who lives out of state.

Many of the license vendors sell store gift certificates that they will accept for license purchases. Many will also accept Visa gift cards for license purchases, so that is an additional convenient option for giving a license as a Christmas gift.

Another great gift idea are entries for Super Hunt drawings for individual deer, elk, pronghorn or moose hunts, and Super Hunt Combo, which includes a tag for each of the four species.

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, meaning if winners draw a controlled hunt tag or purchase a general season tag, they can still participate in these hunts as well as the Super Hunt. All other rules of individual hunts apply.

GPS collars show the hidden lives of deer and elk

mule deer, helicopter, trapping, radio collar, southwest region
Creative Commons Licence
Photo by Roger Phillips/Idaho Fish and Game

The whup, whup, whup of a helicopter grows louder as a herd of deer flees toward a trap. A small army of Fish and Game staff and volunteers hide as the animals run into a hidden net and become entangled. 

People rush to the thrashing animals, and within seconds, untangle and calm them by placing a mask over their eyes and carefully pin their legs to their bodies. Then a quick, efficient routine begins as the animals are measured, weighed, health tested, and finally, fitted with a collar. 

That scene is repeated dozens of times every winter for deer and elk, and it’s one of several ways Fish and Game captures big game animals and places collars on them to track their whereabouts and learn more about their seasonal movements and habits. 

Wolf trapping certification course offered in Nampa December 16

Trappers interested in learning more about the specifics of trapping wolves are reminded that Idaho rules require trappers to successfully complete a Wolf Trapper Certification course before they can purchase wolf trapping tags.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will sponsor a certification course in Nampa on Saturday, December 16 from 9 am to 4:30 pm. The course will be held at IDFG’s Fisheries Research building at 1414 East Locust Lane.

This course will likely be the last course offered in the Nampa-area this season. Pre-registration is required. Register at https://idfg.idaho.gov/education/wolf-trapper-education-course or contact the respective Fish and Game office.

Any additional courses scheduled throughout the state the next few months will be posted on Fish and Game’s webpage.

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.

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.

Students successfully completing the certification course receive an Idaho Wolf Trapper Certification Card that enables them to purchase wolf trapping tags. Certified wolf trappers may purchase up to five gray wolf trapping tags per trapping season.

IDFG Begins Winter Trapping & Animal Counts Using Helicopters

IDAHO FALLS - As the snows of winter start to push deer, elk, and moose onto their winter ranges, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) is undertaking some important management activities that rely on the use of hired helicopters. Some of the time helicopters will carry staff to count wildlife or shoot net guns to capture animals. Other times the helicopters will be used like a cowboy and cutting horse to select animals to be driven into waiting nets. Once captured the animals will have biological information collected and radio collars attached.

Because the general big game hunting seasons are over, and only trappers and hardcore small game hunters are still out in the field, this means that IDFG will be able to get out and do some of their population study work without disturbing too many sportsmen.

In order to get a bird’s eye view when it comes to monitoring big game populations of deer and elk, IDFG relies on the use of rented airships, mainly helicopters. According to Upper Snake Region Wildlife Manager Curtis Hendricks, “We try to avoid the timing with any hunts occurring, but there could be a few conflicts that might arise.” IDFG uses various types of airships to perform tasks such as big game aerial surveys and animal trapping for research purposes. While IDFG flies year-round, the majority of projects take place during the winter when animals move out into the open on winter range.

Because wildlife related flights involve working at low altitudes and in less than perfect weather conditions, the work is not without risks. With the boom in the availability of personal drones, it is important that owners of private drones stay clear of areas when IDFG is doing its low-level flying.

Helicopter surveys of big game to begin soon

Beginning in early December, Fish and Game staff will be flying to get a closer look at deer and elk numbers, including several low-level helicopter surveys planned throughout the state.

"We want to give folks a heads up regarding these flights,” said Daryl Meints, Fish and Game deer and elk program coordinator. “They may see a low-flying helicopter flying in their area in the weeks ahead and later this winter."

Disturbance to animals is kept to the minimum needed to acquire accurate information, generally less than a few minutes per group of deer and elk.

The helicopter surveys are scheduled during the winter months to cover areas at the same time of the year so that information gathered is comparable from year to year. The goal is to compare population trends, and age and sex ratios. This information allows biologists to be more precise in setting seasons and permit levels which results in maximum opportunity for hunters.

In early January, Fish and Game will also capture and radio-collar hundreds of mule deer and elk across the state. Crews will then monitor the radio-collared animals to estimate herd survival throughout winter and early spring.

This information, together with the flight survey data, will be used to determine the status of Idaho’s mule deer and elk herds, which plays an important role in determining future big game hunting seasons.

The work is not without risks, as flights involve working at low altitudes and in less than perfect weather conditions. Two crashes have claimed the lives of three Idaho Fish and Game biologists and two hired pilots since 2000.

Trapper education courses scheduled

Beginning July 1, 2018, every trapper who purchased their first trapping license after June 30, 2011 will be required to attend and pass a mandatory trapper education course before they can purchase an Idaho trapping license.

Trappers that have successfully passed and are certified through the Idaho voluntary trapper education course are exempt, but new trappers will be required to take the course starting in 2018. Those who have taken only a wolf trapping education course are not exempt and must take the Idaho trapper education course.

Upcoming courses include:

  • Nampa (two courses): Dec. 23, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm; or March 3, 9:00 am to 5 pm, Fish and Game Office, 3101 S Powerline Rd.
  • Pocatello: Jan. 11 & 12, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm both evenings, Fish and Game Office, 1345 Barton Rd.
  • Idaho Falls: Jan 13, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Fish and Game Office, 4279 Commerce Circle.
  • Coeur d’ Alene (two courses): Feb 23 or Feb 24, 8 am to 5 pm; Fish and Game Office, 2885 W Kathleen Avenue.

Taught by experienced trappers and Fish and Game employees, the course is a mixture of classroom instruction and field experiences. While new trappers will learn a great deal in the class, experienced trappers can benefit as well.

The course covers basic trapping techniques with a strong focus on safety and ethical trapper behavior. Selecting safe and responsible trap set locations is emphasized throughout. Other topics include furbearer behavior and management, trapping regulations, equipment selection and maintenance, avoiding non-target catches, and pelt preparation.

Space is limited and registration is required. Participants must be at least 9 years of age and can register at any Fish and Game office or online at https://idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/education.