Meeting at the Andrus Wildlife Management Area May 4, the Idaho Fish and Game commission approved seasons and rules for upland game, game birds and furbearers for 2000 and 2001.
The season structure for most birds remained the same as in past years, with few exceptions. Forest grouse seasons will open the first of September, and remain open through the end of the year. Seasons for quail and partridge will open the third Saturday in September. Quail will close December 31, while both chukar and gray partridge will stay open through January 15, statewide.
Sage grouse season will be the same as last year, opening September 16 and with various closing dates. Sharptail grouse will run October 1-31 in all areas open to hunting. Hunters for both of these species will be required to purchase a special permit for $1.50. Sharptails have been proposed for listing as an endangered species, and a sage grouse proposal will likely be filed this year. By having a very accurate record of hunter numbers and a list of hunters to call and survey, Fish and Game will be better prepared to respond to these proposals. The pheasant season will be October 14 to December 31 in the northern two regions, October 21 to December 31 in the Southwest Region, and October 21 to November 30 in the remaining four regions. Cartier Slough Wildlife Management Area will have game-farm pheasants released this fall, so the WMA pheasant permit will be required for hunting on that area. The limit is two birds per day on stocked areas, with a total of six on the WMA permit. More than one permit may be purchased.
Cottontail rabbit seasons will open September 1 and close February 28, 2001. Snowshoe hare seasons will open September 1 and close March 31, 2001. Seasons on American crow will open October 31 and run through January.
The early goose hunts were closed in the Upper Snake Region, but in the Clearwater region they will run September 2-8. A total of 550 sandhill crane permits will be offered in three hunts in Eastern Idaho, up 96 from last year. The nine two-day hunts will be in the first 18 days of September. The application period will be June 15 to July 15.
Trappers will have a season on river otter for the first time since 1971. All areas of Idaho closed to beaver trapping are closed to otter trapping. Five of the seven Fish and Game regions have some restrictions, or closures on certain streams. Otter seasons will be closed 48 hours after a harvest quota for each region is reached. Regional quotas were set to accommodate historic take incidental to beaver trapping and designed to allow no more than 1.5 percent of the population to be harvested.
Upland game and furbearer proclamation booklets are scheduled to be available in mid-July. The booklet will include information on sandhill crane and early goose hunts. Dove hunting information will be part of the same booklet this year rather than a separate publication as in years past.