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Idaho Fish and Game

Commission Tweaks Big Game Seasons

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission made final changes in this fall's big game seasons but stayed close to the recommendations the department presented to the public prior to the meeting in Boise March 13-15. The timing of seasons in the Boise River Zone, Unit 39, will be changed this fall but the number of rifle hunt bull B tags will not be capped. Instead, the general rifle season will run November 1-9. A tag archery season will be Nov. 10-30, and traditional muzzleloader seasons will be Sept. 9-30. The Commission discussed several other options including some suggested in their public hearing March 13 but decided finally to stay with the department recommendations on Unit 39. The proportion of bulls to cows in Unit 39 has gradually dipped below the Commission goal of at least 10 mature bulls per 100 cows. Capping bull tags could be considered in the future if season changes do not bring bull numbers up in this popular elk hunting zone. The Commission did cap B tag sales in the Elk City and Dworshak zones. Dworshak will be limited to 2,380 tags and Elk City will see 1,790 bull tags. Caps on other elk hunting zones established before this year remain. Commissioners dropped the sale of second antlerless elk tags in the Middle Fork Zone and extended the A tag muzzleloader hunt in the Sawtooth Zone by one week. Youth hunts for antlerless deer were dropped in Region 5 because of higher than average winter kill there. Black bear season in units 10, 12, 16 and 17 will open two weeks earlier on April 1 and run through June 30. In units 66 and 69, the female mountain lion quota was removed while the quota was lowered on females in units 63A, 64, 65 and 67 from seven to four, but male lions can be taken there after the female quota is met. There will be a five percent increase in youth hunts, and the definition will be changed to include anyone who has a junior license, increasing the age from 15 to 17.