Press Release

July 2018

Island Park Grizzly Lethaly Removed

On the evening of July 20th, Idaho Department of Fish and Game lethally removed a sub-adult male grizzly bear from near the Forest Service Mill Creek Campground in the Island Park area. Fish and Game staff were assisted by the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department and U.S. Forest Service personnel.

This bear had become habituated to humans and the Mill Creek/Rancho McCrea area over the last month. Department staff attempted to use averse hazing techniques to encourage the bear to leave the area. On July 11th the bear was captured, radio-marked, and relocated to a new area. The bear immediately returned to the Mill Creek area.

Department staff was in the process of setting a trap and capture equipment on the evening on July 20th, but after multiple attempts to haze the bear away, a high public safety concern necessitated the need for lethal removal.

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Ada County hunter draws first Idaho grizzly bear tag

An Ada County resident was drawn for the Idaho grizzly bear hunt and has been notified by Idaho Fish and Game, which by law can’t disclose the name of the hunter. 

There were 1,272 people who applied for the single grizzly bear tag, which was open only to Idaho residents. It will be used in a portion of Eastern Idaho, and the hunt is scheduled for Sept. 1 through Nov. 15, however, there is a chance the hunt may not happen due to pending litigation in federal court.

All unsuccessful hunters who applied for the grizzly bear tag will receive their tag fee refunds by Aug. 20. Only the tag fee will be refunded. A refund will not be issued for hunting licenses, application or convenience fees. 

The grizzly bear population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has recovered since being listed as endangered in the 1970s, and the population has met federal recovery criteria since the early 2000s. 

In 2017 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed Greater Yellowstone grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act list. The conservation strategy for the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly population, which includes Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, includes hunting as a management tool when the population is more than 600 bears. 

The 2017 population estimate is 718 grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone “demographic monitoring area” (DMA), which encompasses suitable grizzly habitat in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. The DMA includes all of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, but no hunting will occur in either national park. 

The grizzly population in the DMA has been stable over the last decade with annual population estimates in the monitoring area ranging between 694 and 757 grizzlies. 

The following rules apply for the 2018 grizzly bear hunt:

Rainbow trout stocking schedule for Southwest Idaho

Personnel from Fish and Game's McCall and Nampa Hatcheries will be releasing more than 24,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations during August.

Location          Week Stocked           Number of Trout

Boise River - above Glenwood Bridge           August 6, 20           1,440/1,440

Boise River - below Glenwood Bridge           August 6, 20           720/720

Boise River, Middle Fork           August 13           2,000

Boise River, North Fork           August 6, 20           2,000/2,000

Browns (Airport) Pond (McCall)           August 6, 27           500/500

Council (Ol’ McDonald) Pond           August 27           500

Gold Fork River (Donnelly)           August 13           500

Lake Fork Creek (Lake Fork)           August 13           300

Lake Fork Creek, North Fork (Lake Fork)           August 13           200

Lowman (10-mile) Ponds           July 30, August 13           300/300

Marsing Pond           July 30           450

Northwest Passage Pond (McCall)           August 20, 27           375/375

Payette River, Middle Fork           August 6, 20           750/750

Payette River, North Fork           August 6, 20           250/250

Payette River, South Fork           July 30, August 13           1,425/1,425

Rowlands (Scout) Pond (McCall)           August 6, 27          500/500

Siilver Creek (Crouch)           August 6, 20           750/750

Tripod Reservoir (Smiths Ferry)           August 6, 27           750/750

Wilson Springs (Nampa)           July 30, August 13           250/250

Wilson Springs Ponds (Nampa)           July 30, August 13           400/400

F&G Commission to meet July 25-26 in Idaho Falls

Idaho Fish and Game Commission will hold its quarterly meeting July 25-26 at the Fish and Game Regional Office at 4279 Commerce Circle in Idaho Falls. 

The meeting will include a public hearing at 7 p.m, July 25 where the public can address the commission on any topic pertaining to fish and game matters. There will be no public testimony taken during the July 26 portion of the meeting. 

Agenda items include a variety of action items affecting big game hunting and trapping seasons, proposal to set fall Chinook fishing seasons, rules focusing on reducing risk of chronic wasting disease entering Idaho, reviewing proposals for 2019-21 fishing rules, and more. Go here for a complete agenda

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting the Idaho Fish and Game director's office at 208-334-5159 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-2529 (TDD).

Niagara Springs WMA gets new blind for wildlife watching and hunting

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Deniz Aygen/Idaho Fish and Game

A wildlife viewing/hunting blind was recently built and is now ready for use. This 5-foot by 10-foot  structure provides visitors a viewing platform from which to observe a variety of wildlife species that inhabit of visit the WMA and the Snake River.

The blind is centrally located between the two trout ponds in the middle of the WMA. At this location, a wildlife viewer may see a variety of songbirds, waterfowl, and furbearers.

Over 5,000 ducks and several hundred Canada geese winter along this portion of the Snake River annually, and the combination of mild winter weather and open water draws flocks of waterfowl to the WMA. Spring nesting waterfowl include Canada goose, green-winged and cinnamon teal, mallard, and wood duck. Nesting red-winged blackbirds occupy the edge of the pond and can easily be seen from the blind.

Public comments sought on proposed sage grouse, red squirrel hunting seasons

Idaho Fish and Game commission has two proposed hunting seasons out for public review and comment. People can comment by going to Survey and Comment page.  Deadline to comment is Aug. 6.  

Sage grouse

Idaho Fish and Game is scoping two options  for the 2018 sage-grouse season:

  • Option 1 is the same as the season offered in 2017. 
  • Option 2 would close the northwest portion of Owyhee County to hunting in 2018. This area has been impacted by the 2015 Soda Fire. Counts of males on leks have declined from 160 birds in 2015 to 69 in 2018. In addition, recent information from radio-collared birds indicates this population is experiencing high mortality and may be isolated from the remainder of Owyhee County.

Red Squirrel

The Fish and Game Commission reclassified red squirrels to an upland game animal in August, 2017, which was formalized by the Legislature during the 2018 legislative session.

Red squirrels are widespread and abundant, and considered upland game animals in many states. Fish and Game is proposing a red squirrel season, concurrent with rabbit and hare seasons, as follows:

  • Aug. 30 through March 31 
  • Daily bag: 8
  • Possession: 24

Black bear breaks into zoo, gets a Fish and Game escort back to the wild

Bear breaks into zoo: it sounds like the punchline of a joke, but it recently happened at Zoo Idaho in Pocatello, and Fish and Game conservation officers had a unique situation on their hands. 

Early morning on July 3, a wild black bear was discovered inside the zoo perimeter by zoo staff conducting the morning rounds. The 120-pound, 3-year old black bear quickly climbed a large tree in front of the black bear exhibit.

Fish and Game conservation officers arrived to find the bear perched at least 70 feet up a conifer in an area surrounded by concrete, metal cage materials, rock walls, and asphalt pavement. Tranquilizing the bear was not an immediate option because a fall would be too risky from that height and in that setting and the bear would likely be injured from the fall.

Officers instead set a culvert trap baited with doughnuts and syrup near the tree in an effort to lure the bear down.  After several hours of waiting, the bear finally made its descent, and when it was approximately 15 feet from the ground, officers darted the bear to immobilize it. The bear was immediately assessed and appeared to be in good condition with no injuries. 

Fish and Game moves grizzly bear that was repeatedly seen near campground

Fish and Game personnel trapped a sub-adult male grizzly bear from the Mill Creek Campground in Island Park on July 11 after receiving multiple reports of a bear in, or close to, the campground and a nearby subdivision.

The bear appeared to have lost some of its natural fear of humans, which is referred to as "habituation," a condition that can be dangerous to humans and the bear. 

After being captured, the grizzly was sedated, tagged, and fitted with a GPS collar. The bear was  transported and released in a remote portion of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest near Snow Creek Butte. 

Fish and Game officials say the stress of being captured and transported may cause the bear to be more wary of humans in the future, and they will monitor the bear using data from its GPS collar, which allows department staff to pinpoint its location. 

2018 deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, and turkey controlled hunt drawing results available

Hunters can check to see if they drew controlled hunt tags for deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, and turkey. Results are posted through Fish and Game's licensing system at https://idfg.idaho.gov/buy-online for those who already have an account.

Those without an online license system account can get step-by-step instructions on the Controlled Hunt Results web page.  

Hunters who were successful in the draw will receive a postcard by mail, and all successful applicants must buy their tags by Aug. 1 or the tag they drew will be forfeited and offered in the second drawing. 

Hunters who did not draw a tag still have the opportunity to get a prime deer, elk, pronghorn or moose hunt through the Super Tag program, which is separate from and different than other controlled hunts. Super Hunt entries are $6 each, or $20 each for the Super Hunt combo, and people can apply as many times as they like. 

The Super Hunt entry period goes through August 10, where tags for two elk, two deer, two pronghorn, one moose, and one Super Hunt Combo will be drawn. Winners will be notified by August 20. Hunters may enter the drawings at license vendors, Fish and Game offices, online at https://idfg.idaho.gov, or by calling 1-800-554-8685.

Proceeds raised in the drawings support Idaho Fish and Game's access programs.  

For more information, including frequently asked questions and photos of previous winners, visit the Super Hunt page.

 

 

Upper Salmon River between Idaho 93 and Idaho 75 to close to Chinook fishing July 7

Based on information available as of July 3,  Fish and Game fisheries managers estimate the sport fishery harvest for Chinook on a portion of the Upper Salmon River between the Highway 93 bridge located 0.3 miles south near Challis upstream to the posted boundary below Sawtooth hatchery will meet the harvest share by the end of fishing hours on July 7, so Chinook angling will close. 

Anglers had some good fishing in that stretch and caught a lot of hatchery Chinook. 

"We had the stars align this past week and weekend with perfect conditions," Regional Fisheries Manager Greg Schoby said. "We had a big batch of fish, great river conditions, relatively cool weather, and a fair amount of angler pressure and people catching fish most of the day, which racked up a bunch of our harvest share."

To see which areas remain open for Chinook fishing, go to the Season and Rules page.