The Fish and Game Commission is scheduled to set sage-grouse tag numbers at its July 28 meeting in Salmon, and tags will go on sale on a first-come, first-served basis starting Aug. 1. People can comment on the proposed sage-grouse hunting season on the Fish and Game public comment webpage.
Since 2021, sage-grouse tags are now designated in 12 separate management zones. Hunters must choose a single zone in which to hunt, and the department’s proposal is to increase the number of tags a hunter may purchase from one to two.
Proposed season dates are:
- Firearm season: Sept. 17 through Oct. 31
- Falconry season: Aug. 15 through March 15, 2023
Sage-grouse tags are $22.75 each for residents and $74.25 for nonresidents. An updated seasons and rules brochure will be available online shortly after the July 28 Commission meeting.
The sage-grouse tag system is designed to limit harvest to no more than 10% of the estimated fall population in each of 12 hunting zones. In each zone, fall populations were estimated based on spring lek counts and recruitment estimates derived from juvenile:adult ratios observed in the harvest.
This is the second year tags have been required to hunt sage-grouse in Idaho. To set 2021 tag numbers for each zone, Fish and Game staff first determined an allowable harvest of 8% of the estimated fall population in most zones, then assumed a 90% success rate for each tag purchased. Harvest success during the 2021 season was lower than anticipated; consequently, proposed tag numbers in most zones were increased in 2022.
Statewide, sage-grouse populations increased 26 percent in 2022 compared to 2021, but are still down 28 percent from 2016. Trends were up statewide in 2022, with modest increases in across southern Idaho. Fish and Game officials will continue to adapt harvest recommendations annually to maintain sustainable sage-grouse hunting opportunities in Idaho.