About 35 percent of Idaho's big game hunters can expect a reminder from their Fish and Game Department about now.
That is because those hunters have not yet sent in their mandatory hunter harvest reports yet. The report is intended to provide information that helps Fish and Game track the status of big game herds so that hunting seasons can be set responsibly.
Time is running out for Fish and Game number crunchers who are required to develop accurate information on big game herds. After gathering hunter harvest report information and data from other surveys, department biologists can go to work on final recommendations for next fall's deer and elk hunting seasons. Those recommendations must be completed in time for public comment before they are presented to the Fish and Game Commission for final action in March.
As of January 15, about 66 percent of elk hunters and 65 percent of deer hunters had filed their reports. At the same time last year, which was the first year for the mandatory report program, 87 percent had reported. Considerable progress has been made, however, since Christmas when fewer than 50 percent had reported. The increase corresponds to the end of late hunting seasons and hunters finding that they must complete their reports before they can buy their new hunting licenses.
Those who file too late will miss their chance to purchase one of the 10 "Super Tags" which allow hunters to pick from any open hunt statewide.