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Idaho Fish and Game


Hunters using e-bikes are reminded to be aware of motor vehicle use restrictions on public lands


With hunting season now in full swing, conservation officers in Southwest Idaho and in other parts of Idaho are noticing a trend of hunters running afoul of motor vehicle use restrictions on public lands. In a number of cases, hunters have been using e-bikes and making an incorrect assumption that motorized vehicle restrictions do not apply to them.

It is ultimately a hunter’s responsibility to know and abide by vehicle use restrictions on public lands. Hunters should be aware of the land management agency for the property they are hunting, as well as that agency’s policy for motorized vehicle use within the district they are hunting, and whether it applies to e-bikes. Policies can and do differ, depending on the land management agency.

On lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service, for example, e-bikes are currently considered a “motor vehicle” and only allowed on National Forest System roads and trails that are designated for motorized vehicle use.

“Many people think that because e-bikes do not have to be registered as a motorized vehicle, that they are considered non-motorized. But this isn’t true,” said District Conservation Officer Marshall Haynes. “On USFS lands, e-bikes are illegal to use anywhere that you cannot take a motorized or motor-propelled vehicle, or a trail specifically designated as open to e-bikes.”

Here is more information about motorized vehicle use specific to US Forest Service lands. Hunters should also be aware that each USFS district has a travel management plan specific to its area, which are published annually and are free to the public in several formats. Just because it may appear that there is a road or tail that can be driven on, doesn’t mean that it is legal.

Another thing to consider is Idaho Fish and Game’s Motorized Hunting Rule, which is specific to hunting big game animals, including moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat, in designated units between Aug. 30 and Dec. 31. You can find a map of units with Motorized Hunting Rule restrictions on Page 106 of the Idaho Big Game 2022 Seasons & Rules Brochure.

In those designated units, hunters may use motorized vehicles only on established roadways open to motorized traffic and capable of being traveled by full-sized automobiles. Per Idaho statute, a “motorized vehicle” means any water, land or air vehicle propelled by means of steam, petroleum products, electricity, or any other mechanical power — which would include e-bikes.