The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Thursday, July 11, adopted seasons for mourning doves and sandhill cranes to open September 1.
The mourning dove season remains unchanged and will be open September 1 through 30, with a bag limit of 10 doves and a possession limit of 20 doves.
The sandhill crane season will be open from September 1 through 15 in all six hunt areas. The daily bag limit is two birds and the season limit is four.
Tags will be offered first-come, first-served at any vendor, allocated by hunt area:
- Bear Lake - 180.
- Teton - 25.
- Fremont - 40.
- Bonneville - 5.
- Jefferson - 10.
- Swan Lake - 15.
The Pacific Flyway Council has allocated Idaho a harvest of 137 cranes for the 2013 season - a significant reduction from 2012, and is the lowest since 1996.
Annual harvest allocations for cranes are set by the Pacific Flyway Council. They are based on the most recent three-year average number of cranes in the Rocky Mountain sandhill population, counted just before the fall migration starts. In the Pacific Flyway, 15,417 cranes were counted in September 2012, and the most recent three-year average was 17,992 cranes. The population objective is a range of 17,000 to 21,000 cranes.
As a result, the council reduced Idaho's harvest allocation to 137 cranes.
To meet that allocation, Fish and Game reduced the number of tags available in each of the six hunt areas, set the season in all six hunt areas at 15 days, and reduced the daily limit to two birds and the season limit to four.
The hunt is designed to provide focused depredation relief to farmers at a time anticipated to provide the most benefit.
Since 2009, when sandhill crane tags were made available on a first-come first-served basis, the harvest per tag purchased has averaged 48 percent. To stay at or below the Pacific Flyway harvest allocation of 137 cranes, Fish and Game proposes to reduce tags to a maximum of 275.
Last year 510 tags were sold and 275 adult cranes were taken - slightly higher than the predicted harvest. A season and rules brochure will be available by the end of July. For information contact Jeff Knetter at 208-334-2920.