IDAHO FALLS – With some of the worst wildfires in recent years still burning across the Upper Snake Region the situation is creating more questions than answers for wildlife managers and hunters. Ongoing firefighting efforts on the Henry’s Creek fire east of Idaho Falls, as well as fires burning around the Teton Basin have made it difficult for biologists to do on the ground assessments of damage to wildlife habitat by the fires, but aerial images indicate severe impacts in many locations. Once fires have been extinguished, biologists will be better able to assess implications for wildlife.
Preliminary estimates suggest that as much as 2/3 of the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area (TCWMA) has been impacted. Hunters from across Region 6 have expressed concerns about hunting opportunities being impacted by the fires. While many areas have been burned and will pose management questions in regards to wintering wildlife, the situation for where big game are located during most of the hunting seasons looks more promising. Unless conditions change substantially the Department does not anticipate the need to close hunts or refund tags. Elk hunters who are concerned about their hunt are reminded that they can exchange their tag for a different zone up until the season opens. Hunters wishing to exchange elk zone tags must do so at an IDFG Regional Office on or before August 30th (Tuesday), when many elk seasons open.
The Department recognizes that this is an evolving situation. If changing conditions warrant, the Department will consider alterations to season structure or hunt opportunities in order to address impacts to hunters. All changes affecting hunters will be provided in public news releases, on the Department Website, or by contacting an IDFG Regional Office. For information about the active fire situation the best resource contact is: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/13/ or call 1-844-695-6544 Hours: 7a.m. - 7 p.m.