IDAHO FALLS - Most Idaho sportsmen take great pride in their comprehensive knowledge of hunting & fishing lore, but there is one basic rule that many have either "forgotten" or have simply never been made aware of. According to Idaho Code, . . . "all sportsmen must stop at Fish & Game check stations." The law doesn't say, "successful sportsmen," it say's, "all sportsmen." Each year, many sportsmen fail to stop at check stations because they were not successful on that specific trip. They see the signs, but think they don't apply and keep heading down the road. Technically, they are breaking the law and may be issued a misdemeanor citation if apprehended.
Sportsmen are reminded that the Department runs two types of check station, wildlife management check stations and impromptu enforcement check stations. Both types of check stations are important, and sportsmen must heed all signs relating to these stations. Management check stations usually rely on voluntary compliance from sportsmen, but are often neglected by sportsmen in a hurry to get home. Sportsmen driving on smaller roads may also encounter impromptu check stations that stop all vehicles and divert sportsmen aside to answer additional questions. Conservation Officers can set up check stations at any time of the day or night, for a period of two to six hours.
It is important that hunters stop and give biologists information relating to the hunting trip they are returning from. According to Regional Wildlife Manager Brad Compton, "We are planning to increase the amount of data we collect to help shed some light on carry capacity as it relates to antlerless harvest thresholds which are part of our current management plan." Compton also plans to increase customer service at the check stations, "We are planning to keep information boards updated at the check stations to let them see what has come through and we will also post Polaroid pictures of notable animals. First time successful hunters will get a picture that they can take home with them."
Sportsmen are also reminded that in areas where the Department has received complaints of spotlighting or other game violations, Conservation Officers will be placing taxidermy specimens of deer, elk, and other game species that are being focused on by poachers. The use of such tools has aided officers in helping slow down illegal activities. Recently, SWs (Simulated Wildlife) were given some real teeth. In the past, Idaho Code only provided penalties for violations that occurred in the commission of illegally shooting a SW, such as spotlighting or shooting across the road. Now a statute and penalty exists specifically pertaining to shooting an SW. Sportsmen who come across one of these simulated animals should have no worry of committing a violation if they are following the regulations. Sportsmen looking for answers to questions about regulations or seasons can contact the regional IDFG Office at 525-7290.