In response to a wildfire that burned about 75 percent of the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area near Idaho Falls, Idaho Fish and Game is offering special controlled hunts with 500 antlerless deer tags and 500 antlerless elk tags to be sold on a first-come, first-served basis at 10 a.m. (Mountain Time) on Oct. 13.
The special deer season (hunt number 1180) will run Nov. 10 through Nov. 30. The elk season (hunt number 2230) will run Nov. 17 through Nov. 30 in units 69-1X and 66-1X (See maps below). Tags for these hunts are considered “extra” tags so hunters who have already bought a tag can purchase one. There will be no tags sold online. Tags will be available at Fish and Game offices, businesses that sell licenses and tags, and by phone (with a credit or debit card) at (800) 554-8685.
Fish and Game commissioners encourage parents and grandparents to get young hunters involved in these controlled hunts, which are a temporary and unexpected opportunity for antlerless hunts.
The fire burned about 53,000 acres in Eastern Idaho, including approximately 75 percent of the 34,000-acre wildlife management area. The fire burned most of the crucial range for about 3,500 elk, 5,000 mule deer and 100 moose that winter on the WMA, so it can sustain fewer animals this winter.
Fish and Game is also prepared to start emergency winter feeding following the hunting seasons. F&G officials decided a combination of emergency winter feeding and additional harvest is the best way to reduce over-winter mortality, allow winter range vegetation to recover, and reduce damage to nearby private land.
“There was public support for a multifaceted approach, including increasing the harvest of deer and elk before winter,” Fish and Game’s Upper Snake Region Supervisor Jim White said.
The hunts will partly overlap the last 20 days of an existing high-quality controlled buck hunt (Hunt No. 1052) that runs Oct. 10 through Nov. 30).
Hunters with those 20 tags for hunt 1052 may request rainchecks that will be useable for the 2017 season because of additional hunters participating in the new antlerless hunts. Any request for those raincheck must be made to the Director’s Office at P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID, 83707. Requests must be received or post-marked no later than Oct. 24, 2016 and the applicant must show they have not hunted with the tag.
Here are maps of the special hunt units: