Press Release

July 2018

Unsold nonresident tags go on sale as second tags August 1

On August 1, all hunters can buy nonresident deer and elk tags as second tags for an additional hunting opportunity this fall.  Tags are sold at the full nonresident price of $301.75 for deer and $416.75 for elk. 

Fish and Game administration bureau chief Michael Pearson said that at current sales rate, nonresident deer tags and elk tags could be sold out quickly.

Fish and Game keeps a tally of the tags on the license, tags and permits webpage.

Fish and Game limits the sale of nonresident tags, which is 14,000 for deer and 12,815 for elk. Deer tags sold out last year, which prompted the commission to issue an additional 1,500 deer tags that were valid only for white-tailed deer. 

With nonresident tags available to residents as second tags on August 1, sales could spike and nonresident hunters may want to buy earlier than in the past to ensure they get a tag. 

Note:  Second tags cannot be used for deer in Unit 10A.  In March of 2018, the Fish and Game Commission voted to limit the use of second tags in this big game unit.  A second nonresident tag also can not be used in controlled hunts.

Sandhill crane tags available August 1

Hunters are reminded that Sandhill crane will be available first-come, first-served starting at 10 am MDT, August 1 at Fish and Game offices, license vendors, online at https://idfg.idaho.gov/buy-online, or by calling 800-554-8685.

Seasons begin September 1-15 or September 16-30, depending on tag type. The daily limit is two birds for all hunts, and the season limit is two birds for each hunter.

Hunting occurs in eastern Idaho with one of the purposes to help reduce crop damage.

Hunters can find Sandhill crane hunting information in the 2018-2019 Migratory Game Bird Seasons and Rules brochure, which includes season information for waterfowl, Sandhill crane, dove and crow. The brochure is available at Fish and Game license vendors and online at https://idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/rules/migratory.

Last chance for second Super Hunt drawing

Friday, August 10 is the last day to enter the second Super Hunt drawing in 2018 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.

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 Fish and Game license vendors, website at https://idfg.idaho.gov, or by calling 800-554-8685.

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 you draw a controlled hunt tag or purchase a general season tag, you can still participate in these hunts as well as the Super Hunt.

Money raised by the Super Hunt drawings supports hunters and anglers access to private lands.

For more information, including frequently asked questions and photos of previous winners, visit the Super Hunt page on Fish and Game's website at https://idfg.idaho.gov/superhunt.

Hunters have extra time to pick up controlled hunt tags

Hunters who successfully drew controlled hunts in Idaho this year have until Monday, August 6, 11:59pm Mountain Daylight Time to pick up their tags for elk, deer, antelope, fall turkey and fall bear.   

Typically, hunters receive postcards in the mail by July 10, notifying them if they drew a controlled hunt. This provides plenty of time for hunters to pick up their tags by the regular deadline of August 1. Unfortunately, this year’s postcard notification didn’t go out until Tuesday, July 24th.

As of Monday, July 30, over 80% of the hunters who drew have already purchased their tag(s). However, because of the late mailing, the department recognizes the delay may not allow enough time for some hunters to pick up their tags. In response, the department has extended the deadline to August 6th.

The postcard notification is not the only way to learn the results of Idaho’s controlled hunts. This information is available online at https://idfg.idaho.gov/buy-online, at a license vendor or by calling 800-554-8685 once the drawing was completed, which happened July 6 of this year.

Fish and Game would like to remind hunters they do not need the postcard in their possession to claim and buy their controlled hunt tag.

Second Controlled Hunt Applications

Tags not picked up by the extended deadline of 11:59pm MDT August 6, revert back into a pool of tags available for a second controlled hunt drawing.  The application window for the second drawing has been moved to Friday, August 10 through Friday, August 17.    

Fish and Game encourages hunters to submit applications for the second controlled hunt drawing at a vendor or Fish and Game office to help ensure the application is error free.  If hunters choose to mail their application, it must be postmarked by August 17 with correct funds or it will be unable to be processed and will be returned. 

F&G Commission plans to decide in November how to allocate Sawtooth Elk Zone tags

F&G Commissioners agreed to set November as a deadline to decide the fate of the coveted Sawtooth Elk Zone tags. The popular tags have been available on a limited, first-come, first-served basis for many years, which has created high demand at license vendors and online sales. Sawtooth tags have sold out in minutes, which left many hunters empty handed and disappointed. 

Commissioners are considering continuing the status quo, converting the Sawtooth Zone to controlled hunts, or a combination of the two. 

The cap on A and B Sawtooth Zone tags (Units 33, 34, 35, and 36) is to limit hunter participation and harvest because the zone's elk herds remain below Fish and Game's management plan objectives. Elk populations within the zone have steadily improved since the number of tags was limited, and so has hunter success, but the elk herds still remain below objectives.

 

F&G Commission approves Aug. 18 for fall Chinook fishing opener

Fall Chinook fishing on the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon rivers will open Aug. 18 and Idaho Fish and Game fisheries managers expect 18,126 adult fish to return to Idaho, which compares with 24,780 last year. 

Of the fish returning, managers are forecasting 12,013 hatchery Chinook and 6,113 natural origin. 

Most of the fishing opportunity will occur on the Snake River, but short sections of the Clearwater and Salmon will have some fishing. 

The following areas open to fishing for fall Chinook:

  • Snake River - from the Washington/Idaho border upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
  • Clearwater River - from its mouth upstream to Memorial Bridge
  • Salmon River – from its mouth upstream approximately three-fourths of a mile to Eye of the Needle Rapids

Closing Dates

Clearwater River, Salmon River and that part of the Snake River downstream of Cliff Mountain Rapids (River Mile 246.7) - Closure upon notice or October 31, 2018, whichever comes first.

Snake River – from Hells Canyon Dam downstream to Cliff Mountain Rapids (River Mile 246.7) - Closure upon notice or November 18, 2018, whichever comes first.

LIMITS

Bag (Daily): Six adipose fin-clipped adult fall Chinook.

Possession: 18 adipose fin-clipped adult fall Chinook.

Season: There is no limit on the number of adult fall Chinook Salmon that can be harvested during the fall Chinook season. (All adult Chinook salmon that are harvested must be recorded on a salmon permit.)

Jack fall Chinook: Anglers can retain any jack fall Chinook Salmon (adipose-clipped or unclipped) if they have a valid salmon permit. There are no daily bag, possession or season limits for jack fall Chinook Salmon. Anglers are not required to record jack fall Chinook Salmon on their salmon permit.

First sockeye of 2018 arrives at Stanley

The first sockeye of 2018 returned to the Redfish Lake Creek trap near Stanley on July 26. The first sockeye arrived on July 27 last year. 

The fish is among the 233 sockeye that have so far crossed Lower Granite Dam near Lewiston (through July 26), which is the last dam the fish cross before reaching Idaho.  

The 2018 sockeye run through Lower Granite has already topped last year’s total of 228 fish, which was the lowest return in a decade. Since 2008, sockeye returns over Lower Granite have averaged 1,115 fish with an annual range of 228 to a high of 2,786 in 2014. 

Idaho sockeye must complete a 900-mile migration from the Pacific Ocean that includes crossing eight dams and climbing 6,500-feet elevation to reach the Sawtooth Basin.

While recent sockeye runs are small compared with other salmon runs, they’re a vast improvement over previous decades. Between 1996 and 2007, annual sockeye returns over Lower Granite averaged 52 fish. 

When Idaho sockeye were listed in 1991 under the federal Endangered Species Act, only four adult sockeye returned to the Stanley Basin. The combined annual returns from 1991-99 was 23 fish, including two years when no sockeye returned to Idaho. 

 

Blue-Green Algae Discovered at Horsethief Reservoir

Warmer water temperatures resulting from southwest Idaho’s prolonged summer heat wave are likely to blame for a blue-green algae outbreak at Horsethief Reservoir near Cascade. While levels of the toxin-producing bacteria remain unknown, water samples taken from the reservoir on Tuesday confirmed the presence of blue-green algae.

Horsethief visitors are advised to take appropriate precautions.

Based on current samples, boating and fishing remain appropriate activities according to authorities at the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. However, Horsethief visitors should refrain from drinking, swimming or otherwise entering the reservoir until further notice. Pets should also be kept away from the water as the algae can cause sickness and even death. Dogs are particularly susceptible to blue-green algae poisoning.

Though water samples tested positive, bacteria levels were determined to be relatively low. Additional sampling will continue as long as the warm weather persists. Watch for additional information should conditions change.

Learn more about blue-green algae and its effects on humans and pets at the following sites:

Department of Environmental Quality - http://www.deq.idaho.gov

Southwest District Health - www.swdh.org

Aug. 1 deadline to buy controlled hunt tags is fast approaching

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

Those without an online license system account can get step-by-step instructions on the Controlled Hunt Results web page. Hunter can also check their results and buy tags at Fish and Game offices, at any license vendors, or by calling (800) 554-8685. 

The drawing was a little later than in recent years and postcards have been mailed to successful applicants, but people have less time before the deadline than in the past. Hunters who drew a tag do not have to show a postcard to buy it. 

It is applicant's responsibility to see if they drew a tag, and to purchase it by the Aug. 1. All controlled hunt tags that are not purchased by the Aug. 1 deadline will be forfeited and offered in the second drawing. 

 

Grizzly bear trapped and relocated in Eastern Idaho

On July 20, federal USDA Wildlife Services officials investigated the death of a domestic calf in the Dry Creek drainage near Kilgore and determined the calf was killed by a grizzly bear.

That evening, personnel from Idaho Fish and Game and Wildlife Services set a culvert trap and captured a large male grizzly. The bear was immobilized, given a body condition and health assessment, fitted with a GPS collar and relocated to a remote area in the Fish Creek drainage on Forest Service land.

Fish and Game staff will continue to monitor the bear’s movements and activities.

culvert trap
Creative Commons Licence
James Brower

 

F&G removes grizzly that frequented campground near Island Park

In order to protect public safety, Idaho Fish and Game officials on July 20 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.

The bear had become habituated to humans and the Mill Creek/Rancho McCrea area over the last month. Fish and Game staff attempted to use hazing techniques to encourage the bear to leave the area. On July 11, the bear was captured, radio-collared, and relocated to a new area, but it immediately returned to the Mill Creek area.

Fish and Game staff was in the process of setting a trap and capture equipment on July 20, but after multiple attempts to haze the bear away, public safety concerns necessitated the need for the bear to be lethally removed. 

grizzlybear
All rights reserved.
Hans Veth on Unsplash

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: