Changes in Raccoon Management Coming
Two new laws affecting raccoons and wildlife causing damage were passed by the 2010 Legislature, approved by the governor and take effect July 1. Raccoons will be reclassified as predatory wildlife, which will allow raccoons to be taken recreationally in any number and at any time and manner not prohibited by other state or federal law. An Idaho hunting or trapping license is required to take raccoons. Raccoons remain classified as furbearers until July 1. Raccoon hunting regulations set no bag limits. The new status will also allow raccoons to be collected live from the wild and kept in captivity if consistent with local government regulations. The new rules will continue to allow raccoons to be hunted at night with an artificial light without a permit from Fish and Game. But this rule is specific only to raccoons and does not apply to other animals classified as predatory or unprotected. Hunting raccoons from a motorized vehicle is prohibited and the light may not be attached to any motorized vehicle. Anyone who wants to hunt raccoons on private land at night using artificial lights must obtain written permission from the landowner or lessee. Contact Fish and Game for more detail about the night-time hunting rules for other predatory and unprotected wildlife. The law affecting wildlife captured for causing damage will change July 1. Any predatory wildlife, such as raccoons, or unprotected wildlife captured because it caused property or other types of damage to human activity may be released on private lands. The private land must be within the county where the animal was captured or on private land in adjacent counties and with written consent of the landowner where the animal is released. The consent must include the date and number of each species to be released. Neither live capture nor live release is required; lethal control is still allowed. Written consent from the landowner must be in possession while transporting live animals to private property for release. A hunting or trapping license is not required to capture and release wildlife that is causing damage, such as garden or house damage. Any live release of predatory and unprotected animals on public lands or on private properties not meeting the consent criteria would be unlawful without a permit from Fish and Game. Predatory wildlife species are defined in state law as coyotes, jackrabbits, skunks, weasels, starlings and, starting July 1, raccoons. Unprotected wildlife species include species not classified by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission as big game, upland game, game birds, game fish, furbearing animals, threatened and endangered species, protected nongame species or predatory wildlife. For example, the yellow-bellied marmot, commonly called a whistle-pig or rock chuck, is an example of an unprotected animal.