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Waterfowl and Sage-grouse Seasons Proposed

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission, during a regular meeting Thursday, July 24, in Post Falls, heard recommended waterfowl and sage-grouse seasons for 2008.

It's been a dry year in the prairies, and that will affect some waterfowl seasons, Fish and Game biologist Tom Hemker told commissioners.

Overall the Canada goose population continues to be strong and Fish and Game is proposing no change in the goose seasons from last year with a 107-day season. It is expected to run from October 4 through January 16, 2009, in northern and eastern Idaho and the Fort Hall Reservation; and to run from October 11 through January 23, 2009, in the southwestern part of the state.

The bag limit would be four geese.

Some changes are expected in the duck seasons. For most ducks, the season will be 107 days, running from October 4 through January 16, 2009, in northern and eastern Idaho and the Fort Hall Reservation; and from October 11 through January 23, 2009, in the southwestern part of the state.

The bag limit would be seven ducks.

For scaup, a shorter season will be required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when a final decisions are made on August 1. The 2008 season will be closed for canvasbacks.

The proposed youth waterfowl season is September 27 and 28.

The federal endangered species status review, West Nile virus and the 2007 Murphy fire all cast their shadows over the sage-grouse season.

After discussion with Idaho's 11 sage-grouse local working groups, Fish and Game recommended no change from 2007 to the season in southwestern Owyhee County for a 23-day season with a bag limit of two birds. The recommendation for northwestern Owyhee County is a seven-day season with a limit of one bird is recommended. The eastern part of the county would be closed.

In the Magic Valley, a seven-day season with a limit of one bird is recommended.

Recommendations also include reopening a seven-day, one-bird season in parts of Power, Oneida and Cassia counties that have been closed since 2001, and a 23-day, two-bird season in the northeastern part of the state, including most of the Upper Snake Region and Lemhi and part of Custer counties.

The southeastern part of the state, east of Interstate 15 and south of State Highway 26, would be closed.

The commission is expected to set the seasons during a telephone conference call at 8 a.m. August 12.