Hunters have traditionally enjoyed pursuing pheasants at Sterling Wildlife Management Area in the Southeast Region, but this year Fish and Game will also be stocking Portneuf Wildlife Management Area. That's more birds at more locations for more hunters!
Idaho Fish and Game — in collaboration with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Bat World Sanctuary, and Ravenswood Media — has released a short film (see below) called “Protect People, Protect Bats, Avoid Rabies!” Funded through a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s White-Nose Syndrome Small Grants Program, and a Peekaboo Rescue Fund Grant from Bat World Sanctuary, the film promotes a One Health message by explaining the connection between human health, bat health, and the environment and how best to avoid a rabies exposure.
Late September through October brings our last wave of migrating bats through Idaho. This is a time of year when people are likely to come into contact with bats, which is why it’s important to understand how to avoid a rabies exposure. Although most of our bats are resident and make short-distance movements to their hibernation sites, two Idaho bat species, the Hoary Bat and Silver-haired Bat (both species of greatest conservation need), are long-distance migrants that make twice yearly journeys between their summer and winter grounds, traveling as far as over 900 miles and as far south as southern California and Arizona. These migratory tree bats undertake some of the longest seasonal movements of any bat species and can travel over 150 miles per night, making much needed stopovers for sanctuary or short-term rest. When not in flight, bats often enter daily torpor (controlled reductions in body temperature and metabolism), which reduces their energy costs.
In response to detection of IHN virus, Fish and Game hatchery staff at Magic Valley Fish Hatchery removed approximately 96,000 juvenile B-run steelhead from production. The IHN virus is not uncommon in southern Idaho fish, but the strain of the virus detected in the fish at the Magic Valley Hatchery is not known to be native to the area.
The virus was identified in routine health screening of the fish, which had been shipped as eggs from the Clearwater Fish Hatchery, located in Ahsahka, which is also operated by Fish and Game. The particular strain of IHN virus strain found in the fish that were removed is found in throughout much of the Pacific Northwest, including the Clearwater Basin.
To avoid potential amplification and spread of this strain of virus in the Magic Valley, fish in affected raceways at the Magic Valley Hatchery were euthanized the day after the viral detection was reported. Samples were collected from all other raceways at the facility to ensure that the virus has been eradicated. Approximately 1.5 million fish remain at the hatchery for continued rearing.
The euthanized B-run steelhead were scheduled to be released into the Little Salmon River as smolts in the spring of 2021. They represent approximately 12 percent of the planned 2021 Little Salmon River steelhead release of both A-run and B-run smolts.
Steelhead smolts released in the Little Salmon River are stocked solely for the purpose of providing fisheries on the returning adults. They are not collected for brood stock. For this reason, the reduction in stocking will not affect the next generation of hatchery releases. While this event is not expected to have a major impact on the number of returning adults, any effect will be observed primarily in the 2023-24 steelhead run.
Most nonresident hunters, anglers and trappers will pay higher prices for licenses, tags and fees starting Dec. 1. Price increases will vary by item, but here are new prices for some of the most popular licenses and tags for adult nonresidents:
- Nonresident combination hunting/fishing license increase from $240 to $264
- Nonresident hunting license increase from $154.75 to $185
- Nonresident fishing license increase from $98.25 to $108
- Nonresident deer tag increase from $301.75 to $351.75
- Nonresident elk increase from $416.75 to $651.75
Nonresidents cannot buy 2021 hunting, fishing or trapping licenses until Dec. 1, however, they can buy three-year licenses at current prices, which will be valid through 2022.
Nonresidents hunters can buy 2021 deer and elk tags starting on Dec. 1, and tags for popular elk zones are expected to sell out quickly. Nonresident deer and elk tags sold out last year much earlier than in previous years, so hunters should expect similar sales for 2021 tags.
Fish and Game has not increased nonresident prices in more than a decade with the last increase happening in 2009. To see a full price list, and other changes for 2021, go to the nonresident licenses, tags and permits webpage.
Hunters and anglers can also sign up for the latest news on hunting and fishing by subscribing to the email newsletter on the homepage at https://idfg.idaho.gov.
A whitetail buck was recently shot and left to waste along the Red Road in Fremont County in close proximity to the sand dunes. The head of the deer was removed while the rest of the carcass was left to rot.
Every fall (and as early as late summer) phones start ringing at Idaho Fish and Game offices with anglers asking the same question: When are you stocking steelhead in the Boise River? The short answer is we don’t know yet when, or if, it will occur because we’re waiting to see how many fish return to the trap at Hells Canyon Dam.
Fisheries managers expect to open the fish trap on Nov. 2. Fish and Game needs to trap about 600 steelhead to replenish hatcheries with fertilized eggs. If there are more than 600 steelhead trapped, which is possible this fall, the surplus fish are divided evenly between Idaho, Oregon and tribal fisheries.
With the Woodhead Fire now in the final mop-up stages, all of Andrus Wildlife Management Area (WMA) has reopened to public access. Nearly 5,000 acres of the WMA north of Highway 71 burned as the Woodhead Fire swept across the WMA in early September, ultimately reaching 96,000 acres in size.
Visitors accessing the WMA are cautioned that hazards may still remain in the burned areas, and road conditions may deteriorate rapidly with rain or snow events.
Rehabilitation efforts will begin in the next few weeks, but will likely continue over the next few years. Visit the Fish and Game fire page at https://idfg.idaho.gov/fire for more information.
Andrus WMA visitors with access questions are encouraged to call the WMA office at 208-257-3363 or stop by the WMA office when in the area.
- IDFG -
Efforts to enhance nearly 400 acres of wetland habitat at Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are in full swing and area closures are in effect. WMA visitors should be aware of current closures.
Crews are working near the east entrance road adjacent to both Whitefront and Redhead Ponds. The two public parking areas closest to this construction area – along Old Fort Boise Road – remain closed through October 28th.
Construction efforts will shift to a new area – with new closures – in early November, as habitat enhancement efforts continue at Fort Boise WMA.
For more information regarding the Fort Boise WMA Habitat Improvement Project, please contact Fish and Game’s Fort Boise WMA office at 208-722-5888.
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The Snake River in southern Idaho is a stopover and breeding area for tens of thousands of ducks and geese, which means it’s also a destination for waterfowl hunters. The river has hundreds of miles of publicly accessible waters and numerous access points, which means nearly anyone can find a hunting spot there and have a chance to shoot some birds.
But the Snake River also comes with some challenges, as well as some potential hazards, when hunting on a large, powerful river during fall and winter.
An illegally killed bull moose was discovered recently in Idaho Fish and Game's Southwest Region, and Fish and Game conservation officers are asking the public for information to bring the poacher to justice.
On Saturday, Oct. 17, a large bull moose was found dead and suspected of being poached west of Tripod Meadow, which is west of Smiths Ferry, in Unit 24. Conservation officers believe the animal was shot sometime between Oct. 10 and Oct. 17.
Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) is offering a reward for information and callers can remain anonymous. Call the CAP hotline at 1-800-632-5999, available 24 hours a day. People can also report online at idfg.idaho.gov/poacher. In addition to CAP, persons with information regarding this case may also contact Officer Chris Rowley at 208-630-4341.
Steelhead angler effort on the upper Salmon River continued to increase over the past week, especially upstream of North Fork in location code 16. Angler effort was highest downstream of North Fork in location codes 14 and 15. Jet boat anglers interviewed at Corn Creek accounted for the majority of effort downstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River, and anglers interviewed within location code 14 averaged 28 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed upstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River in location code 15 averaged 53 hours per steelhead caught, and anglers interviewed upstream of North Fork in location code 16 averaged 55 hours per steelhead caught. Angler effort upstream of Salmon, in location code 17, remained low and a total of 16 hours of angler effort was recorded. One angler reported releasing two steelhead within location code 17, which resulted in an average catch rate of 8 hours per steelhead caught.
On Monday afternoon, October 12, 2020 dispatchers with Blaine County Sheriff began to receive numerous calls about a bull elk in distress near the Meadow’s Trailer Park south of Ketchum, Idaho. Two Blaine County Sheriff deputies arrived to find a large bull elk struggling to keep its head above water while standing in the Big Wood River. The elk had become entangled in what appeared to be a hammock that was now intertwined within its antlers.
A hammock tangled in the antlers of a bull elk nearly caused it to drown in the Big Wood River.
A local Fish and Game officer arrived shortly after and worked with the deputies to get the bull onto a nearby island.
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