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) in controlled hunt area 69-1X will run Nov. 10 through Nov. 30. The special elk season (hunt number 2230) in controlled hunt area 66-1X will run Nov. 17 through Nov. 30.
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.
Applicants will pay tag fees and controlled hunt fees of $6.25 for residents and $14.75 for nonresidents.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Here are maps of the special hunt units: