Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and here is something to be thankful for… fall fishing! Personnel from Idaho Fish and Game’s hatcheries in the Southeast Region will be releasing nearly 10,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout at various locations during November.
For many Idaho hunters “deer season” is seen as two or three weeks in October during the general, any-weapon season, particularly if they’re targeting mule deer in central or south Idaho. But there are many other opportunities available for those who haven’t notched a tag and want to keep deer hunting.
Pull out your dog-eared and tattered copy of the 2020 Idaho Big Game Seasons and Rules, or see it online, and check out the seasons you’ve skimmed or overlooked in the past because you still have plenty of places to continue deer hunting.
In fact, there are so many opportunities it would be difficult to list them all, but here are some hunts worthy of your attention:
But wait, you might say, don’t I need a white-tailed deer tag for those? In some units for November hunts, yes. But in others, your regular deer tag is still valid, particularly hunts in the far-north Panhandle units. If you have a whitetail tag, there’s also a long list of hunts available in November and December.
Look down the list of units offering general archery deer seasons and you will see archery hunts around the state that stretch into November and December. Make sure you get an archery permit, and you’re ready to go.
Muzzleloader/short-range weapons hunts
These two are two different types of hunts, so make sure you know the rules for each. In short, you’re limited to muzzleloaders in those hunts, but you can also use muzzleloaders in short-range weapon hunts, along with archery, shotguns, handguns, crossbows and air rifles. Additional rules and requirements apply to each weapon type, so see page 100 of the Big Game Seasons and Rules for details.
Deer hunting in southern Idaho either got off to a slow start, or the harvest stats are lagging due to the timing of the opener, or a combination. That’s the preliminary snapshot based on mid October check station reports.
Check stations mostly captured early mule deer harvests in southern and eastern Idaho during opening weekend because many elk and white-tailed deer hunters concentrate their efforts later in the season.
Early results were substantially below last year’s opener with 5,412 hunters coming through check stations in mid October and 578 mule deer harvested, along with 47 elk and 21 whitetails, compared with 2019 numbers of 5,058 hunters, 904 mule deer, 40 elk and 63 whitetails.
New hunters interested in getting their Hunter Education certification can do so online without participating in a “field day” for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.
Traditionally, students who took the online Hunter Education course were required to attend a field day to get certified, but that requirement has been temporarily waived to allow people 9 years or older to pass the online course only and be immediately eligible to buy a hunting license. The online course costs $24.50 and can be taken at https://www.hunter-ed.com/idaho/.
Due to COVID 19 concerns, Fish and Game officials are working on protocols to initiate instructor-led hunter education courses in a classroom in early 2021, in addition to the online course.
“We don’t want to interrupt or delay people’s ability to get their hunter education certification,” said Brenda Beckley, Hunter Education Manager.
The safety of students, instructors and staff is a priority, and the online course provides a safe alternative to classrooms. While many states have allowed online hunter education certification, Idaho has traditionally required the field day in order to teach Idaho-specific topics, such as local regulations, animal identification, as well as hands-on training for gun-safety skills.
Beckley recognizes the value of the online classes, but also the benefits of new hunters learning from experienced hunters.
“Despite waiving the field day requirement, we still encourage students to seek out an experienced hunter to serve as a mentor to reinforce firearm handling, and how to hunt safely,” Beckley said.
Three days of intensive elk trapping by Fish and Game biologists in the Little Camas region of southern Idaho has been completed. Trapping efforts were aimed at reducing the size of the herd of approximately 100 - 150 elk that has a long history of living almost exclusively on private property and depredating on agricultural crops leading to significant and expensive depredation claims.
In total, 17 elk were trapped on private property, with 16 elk translocated into the Bear Valley area of Game Management Unit 34. Five were adult females, two were yearlings, and 10 were calves. One calf was released on site. All translocated elk were ear tagged and six were outfitted with radio-collars to assess movements and survival in their new home. The radio collars will also help biologists determine if these elk make any effort to return to the Little Camas area.
Davies is a retired battalion chief with the Pocatello Fire Department, where he served for nearly 26 years. Since moving to central Idaho full-time, Davies started the Custer Country chapter of the Mule Deer Foundation for the betterment of mule deer and their habitat.
Idaho Fish and Game staff will be collecting samples from deer at hunter check stations across the Panhandle over two weekends in November as part of a statewide surveillance program for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Chronic wasting disease is a contagious, fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose. Samples are collected on a voluntary basis by removing lymph nodes from deer, located near the base of the jaw. CWD has not been detected in Idaho.
Check stations will be operated November 14, 15, 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to sunset. Check stations will be located at:
- Priest River: along State Highway 57
- Samuels: along US Highway 95
- St. Maries: south on State Highway 3
Idaho Fish and Game is asking the public for information regarding two moose that were recently poached and left to waste on the border of Unit 32 and Unit 32A west of Banks.
Fish and Game conservation officers received a call from the Citizens Against Poaching hotline on Oct. 18 regarding a cow moose that was shot and left to waste near Dry Buck Road, about three miles west of Banks.
When officers arrived and investigated, an officer's dog located another bull calf moose that was shot and left just a few yards away from the cow. Officers gathered and processed evidence from the scene, and believe that the two animals were shot sometime between Oct. 14 and Oct. 18.
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 Josh Leal at 208-989-9321.
This case marks the fifth incident where moose were illegally shot at, and the fourth and fifth moose that were illegally killed in Fish and Game’s Southwest Region in October. Here is more information about the other cases.
Fish and Game’s intent is that the committee will represent of a diversity of shooting opportunities that includes hunters, recreational and competitive shooters.
Idaho Fish and Game is working to do our part in managing the landscape for noxious weeds and improving habitat on Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area. An aerial spray application that took place on Wednesday, November 4th in the Billy Creek and Lime Point areas of Craig Mt, within the Craig Mt Wildlife Management Area is now completed.
Hatchery personnel from Fish and Game’s Magic Valley Region will be stocking approximately 900 10-12” catchable-sized rainbow trout in November. All stocking dates and numbers of fish are approximate and may change without notice due to water or weather conditions.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game will stock 1,400 rainbow trout in the 10-12 inch range at three local waters the first week of November.
- Hayden Creek Pond, a family friendly fishing area along Hayden Creek, will receive 600 trout. Anglers will find ample bank fishing opportunities, restroom, and a dock for anglers with limited mobility.
- Hyde Creek Pond, located along the Sunset Heights road just south of Salmon, will receive 400 trout. This small irrigation pond provides ideal bank fishing for beginning anglers and those who want to practice casting techniques.
- Kids Creek Pond, located in the Salmon city limits, will receive 400 trout. A fishing dock, pavilion with picnic tables, restroom, and number of benches makes this a convenient place for families to enjoy the outdoors.
The stocking date and numbers of fish are approximate and may change without notice due to water or weather conditions. If delays occur, trout will be released when conditions become favorable.
Anglers can find more detailed information on each of these waters, including maps, facilities, species present, stocking records, and fishing rules by visiting the Fishing Planner on Fish and Game’s website.
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