Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of questions. We post here answers to questions we're being asked frequently. If you have a question not answered here, please contact us. Urgent questions should be directed to your nearest office. Some answers change over time; please take note of the "answered" date.

Displaying 351 - 375 of 3505 questions

Q: Panhandle Fire Closures

With the recent fire closure of much of units 3 & 4 in the Idaho Panhandle, and the likelihood that this closure could extend into elk rifle season in these units, it appears that there is going to be a very good chance of significant 'over-crowding' of elk hunters in units 6, 7 and 9 since these units have the next most available national forest land left open for hunting for Panhandle elk. For the past several years these units in particular were listed as 'not meeting objectives' for both calf and bull elk due to predators and severe winters keeping calf recruitment down. It would appear that this could potentially be a disaster in the making for these still open units if hunter numbers esacalate significantly this season and harvest success shoots up this fall for these units still in recovery mode. *Interestingly enough, IDFG now no longer classifies any of the Pandhandle units as meeting or not meeting recruitment objectives for elk - they are now designated with the 'no numerical objective' designation. Not sure when this was changed on the website, but I believe it was sometime this year. Coincidence? I realize that it is not IDFG implementing the forest closures (it is the Idaho Panhandle NF agency), but given the once in a century fire conditions and the potential long term impacts it could have on the Panhandle's elk herds I would interested to hear some feedback from IDFG as to their concerns regarding the above and whether or not they are considering any one time restrictions on hunting seasons this year in an effort to try and mitigate hunter overcrowding in any particular unit that remains open.

A: 

This year's fire season is no doubt putting both hunters and IDFG in a tough spot.  We did consider the effects of the closures and the necessity for hunters to change areas because of the current fire closures.  For the following  reasons we made the decision to maintain the current season: We are offering the ability for hunters to switch zones.  We have extended the period that hunters with a Panhandle tag can change zones to Sept 11.  Hunters can either switch to a different zone or get a receipt they can turn in later for any zone with a general hunt, including the Panhandle.  That way then can keep their options open and hunt in the Panhandle if fire closures are reduced or choose a different zone.  This will reduce crowding somewhat. The last 2 years have been mild and we've observed excellent overwinter survival.  The survival rate of cows in Units 4, 6, and 7 has been 93%. Last year there was a marked improvement in calf:cow ratios in the St Joe drainage.  Previously we have observed calf:cow ratios in the low teens during our mid-winter helicopter flights.  Last year the calf:cow ratio in the St Joe was 34 calves per 100 cows and in some areas they were as high as 43:100. We have a predation managment plan in effect in the St Joe drainage.  We've put a lot of pressure on predators, including wolves and mountain lions, and harvest of both of these species has been increasing.  This, in conjunction with the mild winters, may explain the high cow survival rate. There is no cow harvest in any of these units.  By protecting the cows we are preserving the reproductive portion of the population.  As mentioned above, the last 2 years were very mild and female calves from 2013 will now start producing calves.  There are currently closures on Forest Service and private timber lands in Units 6, 7, and 9.  Some of the most productive elk areas are currently closed.  This will provide a refuge for all elk regardless of the harvest in open areas of these units.  If the closures are lifted in these units they will also be lifted in other areas, allowing hunters to return to Unit 4. Some hunters will simply choose to not hunt this year.  While this is something that IDFG does not want to see, it will reduce the number of hunters in the woods. As was mentioned earlier, this is a difficult year for everyone.  Hopefully area closures will be reduced by the elk rifle season.  However, in the event they are not, we feel we can offer the existing hunting season without severely impacting the elk herds.  If conditions worsen we can consider other options.  Thanks for your question.
answered 9/2/2015

Q: When filling out harvest reports, would an eye guard on a mule deer be considered a point?

As I am sure you know, many western hunters do not count eye guards on mule deer as points. When filling out harvest reports, would an eye guard on a mule deer be considered a point?

A: 

Eye guards are not counted as points for the purpose of reporting mule deer.  A 4x4 may also have eye guards in addition to the 4 main points on each side.  A Forked horn or 2 point is a 2 point even with an eye guard (see page 8 in the big game rules brochure).
answered 8/31/2015

Q: Maximum shots allowed to harvest a big game animal

Just wanted to know how many times a licensed hunter can fire at a bull elk before it becomes "Unsportsmanlike" per say and becomes illegal? And can I dispatch an animal with a side arm if said big game animal is badly and or fatally wounded with a bow?

A: 

There is no maximum number of shots that can be fired at an elk in Idaho.  During an archery-only season, you may not use any type of firearm for dispatching an animal.
answered 8/31/2015

Q: Hunting Deer with 45 long colt

I was wanting to know if there are any laws in idaho against the use of a 45 long colt rifle for hunting deer?

A: 

You can use a rifle chambered in .45 Long Colt to hunt deer in an Any Weapon season.   Weapon restrictions for deer hunting with a rilfe in an Any Weapon hunt are: must weight under 16lbs, can not be fully automatic, can not be a rimfire.  These and other weapon restrictions can be found on page 98 of the 2015/2016 Big Game Seasons and Rules booklet.
answered 8/30/2015

Q: Steelhead Salmon Rules Defined

In the regulations it states that if you catch your daily limit of steelhead or salmon you must cease fishing. So my question is: while fishing in an area where you can keep steelhead, chinook salmon, and now coho salmon do you have to cease fishing for all three species after you fill your limit for just one species? I ask because I catch all three species with a very similar technique and may obviously hook any species. I would like clarification so I do not get a ticket due to ignorance.

A: 

Very good question. When we write the rule pamphlets we often don't take into account how they may effect other species and fishing opportunities.  To answer your question, I went to the Administrative Rules section of Idaho Code. For Steelhead, when you reach your daily bag limit, you only need to stop fishing for Steelhead as per IDAPA 13.01.11.405.04.  This means you can no longer target Steelhead - but you can still fish for Fall Chinook and Coho or resident fish species.  When an officer contacts you in the field and you show him you have filled your bag limit for Steelhead and then he asks you, "what are you trying to catch" the correct answer is, "anything but Steelhead." In the case of Fall Chinook and Coho - things are a little more tricky.  IDAPA 13.01.11.505.04 says, when you reach your daily bag limit for salmon you need to stop fishing for salmon.  When the rule was written, we did not consider the overlap between Coho and Fall Chinook.  In practical terms, your chances of catching bag limits for either species is very slim.  If you have your bag limit of Coho and are approched by an officer, when he asks the question, "what are you trying to catch" specifically state, "Fall Chinook" - unless that stretch of the river is closed to the take of Fall Chinook. 
answered 8/29/2015

Q: Deer season closures due to fire, August 2015?

Are there any deer season closures in the panhandle region at this time?

A: 

There are no changes to hunting seasons as of 8/28/2015. There are several access restrictions in place, however. Review this news release for more information and visit our fire page to keep up with closures and resources for real-time information.  
answered 8/28/2015

Q: Advertising in the Idaho Seasons & Rules booklet

I am interested in advertising my product in the 2016 - 2017 Idaho Big Game Seasons & Rules Booklet. How or where do I obtain ad rate information and submission deadlines? L. Moon

A: 

Please contact Rotary Offset Press at 253-813-9900, cleininger@seattletimes.com.  6600 South 231st Street, Kent, WA 98032
answered 8/28/2015

A: 

Browse here for the prices for our nonresident licenses and tags. Through the month of August this 2015 year, we have a discount for a second nonresident elk or deer tag, as well. A license is required for the purchase of an elk tag.
answered 8/27/2015

A: 

These hunts are designed to reduce depredation pressures from elk on private lands.  Elk will often move to private ground to avoid hunting pressure on public land thus causing impacts to private land owners.  They may be attracted to private land because of green lush pastures, irrigated farm ground, cultivated fields, or hay.  These "green field" hunts are designed to reduce elk pressure on private ground.  Allowing hunting on Forest Service and other public land would be counter- productive to the purpose of the hunt.  Our hunt planner mapping function on our website has land ownership boundaries, but your best bet would be to purchase a Forest Service map with the travel plans, boundaries, and big game units on them.  Printing these boundary descriptions in our big game rules book would be cost prohibitive and duplicative considering availability of the information from the US Forest Service.
answered 8/27/2015

A: 

Yes, you can archery hunt in the Birds of Prey area. Confirm with BLM, but my brochure only talks about restrictions on firearm use.
answered 8/26/2015

Q: Fall creek at Anderson Ranch Reservoir boundaries

I'm not sure where Fall Creek ends and Anderson ranch Reservoir starts. Per the regulations, kokanee limits are 25 in the res. and 6 every where else. At Fall Creek where the drainage culvert goes underneath the road. Is that the divider between the two waters or is it down past the high water markings where they merge together? Thank You.

A: 

On Fall Creek at Anderson Ranch Reservoir, we consider above the road culvert as "creek" and below the culvert as part of the "reservoir."    This is a much more complex question on other tributary streams that flow into reservoirs around Idaho.  We've actually had to erect signs and stretch cables in some locations to denote a boundry where one side is "stream" and the other side is "lake" or "reservoir."
answered 8/25/2015

Q: Non-resident trapping

As a Michigan resident, may I trap Bobcats and / or wolves ? I understand I would have to take the wolf trapping course.

A: 

Our recipricol agreement with other states allows you to trap for a species in Idaho so long as your state allows nonresidents to trap for the same species in your state.  If Michigan allows NR trappers to trap bobcat then you can trap bobcats in Idaho.  The limit would be what your state allows NR trappers to keep in Michigan.  The only exceptions are for wolves.  NR trappers are allowed to trap wolves in Idaho so long as they have taken the Idaho wolf trapping class, regardless of if the NR state of residence allows wolf trapping or not.
answered 8/25/2015

A: 

PowerBelt bullets are legal in muzzleloader-only hunts so long as the bullet is not jacketed, does not have a polymer tip and it's diameter is within .010 inch of the bore diameter.  The rules governing projectiles for muzzleloader-only hunts read: "Loaded with a patched round ball or conical, non-jacketed projectile comprised wholly of lead or lead alloy; Loaded with a projectile that is within .010 inch of the bore diameter. Sabots are prohibited."  These and other muzzleloader rules can be found in the current Big Game Seasons and Rules booklet. 

answered 8/25/2015

Q: Tiger Muskie in mountain lakes?

I have noticed in several small mountain lakes tiger muskie have been stocked. Most recently Grassy Mountain Lakes NW of McCall. Why is this?

A: 

Tiger Muskie, as you would guess from their name, are agressive predatory fish.  They are effecient eating "machines" that survive well in Idaho lakes.   Sterile (unable to reproduce) Tiger Muskie have been introduced in mountain lakes to remove Brook Trout.  Brook Trout tend to over-populate and stunt (become short and skinny) which creates an undesirable fishing experience and impacts fish species like Rainbow and Cutthroat trout that are also competing for forage in the lakes.  In the case of Black Lake in the 7-Devils Mountains, we introduced Tiger Muskie several years ago.  They were so effective, after three years we could no longer detect Brook Trout in the lake.  We have now removed the few Tiger Muskie that remained and plan on restocking the mountain lake with Cutthroat, this fall.
answered 8/25/2015

Q: Wanting to know?

I am wondering what is happening in the Pool poaching case in Twin Falls it was in the news alot now nobody seems to know anything I would like to know what's going on with it? I had the chance to veiw this Buck several times. He was a awesome buck!

A: 

This case has been turned over to the Twin Falls Prosecuting Attorney's office and charges have been filed. Any further inquiry should be made to their office for comment. Thanks for your interest in Idaho's wildlife. Josh Royse, Regional Conservation Officer, Magic Valley Region
answered 8/25/2015

Q: Motorized Vehicle Use Exception

I was reading the Motorized Vehicle Rules for areas that have motorized vehicle restrictions. Some of the "Exceptions" are a little vague. I am specifically asking about the exception: "Hunters may use a motorized vehicle to pack camping equipment in or out if such travel is allowed by the land owner or manager. However, hunters may not hunt while packing camping equipment." My question: My hunt area has trails open to motorcycles. There is also a motorized vehicle restriction in that area during hunting season. Can you use these open trails to pack your camping gear, weapon, park your vehicle and hike in and camp for a week in the mountains? Or does this mean, you can only pack camping gear, no weapon, to your destination, unload your gear, ride back out of the trail, and then hike bike in with your weapon? I'm trying to fill in the gray areas here of what is ok, and what's not ok. Thank you

A: 

Thank you for your question.  You can haul your camping equipment to your camp as long as the trail you are riding on is open for travel.  Your camp can include your rifle or bow, but you can not hunt on the ride in or out.  Hunting includes stopping to glass, scouting, etc.  Once your camp is established, you can leave your ATV at your camp or you can ride out, but you can not use it to travel back and forth to your camp even though you are not hunting or you leave your rifle or bow in camp.  This would be an aid to your hunt because you are using the ATV to transport yourself to and from your hunting area and that is not one of the exceptions.  Hopefully this answers your questions, but if you would like to talk more about the MHR please feel free to contact me.  Scott Wright, Regional Conservation Officer, Pocatello. (208)236-1261.
answered 8/24/2015

Q: Coho or Chinook in Anderson Ranch?

A friend recently told me that during the summer he caught a Chinook salmon at Anderson Ranch Reservoir while fishing for Kokanee. I told him it was most likely a Coho and not Chinook, but he insists it was Chinook. Today he sent me a photo of that fish, and as one might imagine, I cannot see the gum line at all (the fish's mouth is closed), and it is not a clear enough photo to detect spots on the upper or lower lobes of the tail. So with no other evidence available, my question is: are there Chinook in Anderson Ranch? BTW, it is most certainly not a Kokanee and therefore must be a Coho or Chinook.

A: 

I hope you didn't have a wager with your friend.  Fall Chinook Salmon have been stocked numerous times over the years in Anderson Ranch Reservoir as a management tool to control/reduce Kokanee Salmon numbers so they grow at an optimum size to provide a quality fishery.  Fall Chinook forage in the same level in the water column as Kokanee and are very efficient at eating Kokanee.  They also provide an exciting fishery because of the size they reach at 4 and 5 years of age.  We had a picture sent us recently of a Fall Chinook Salmon from Anderson Ranch Reservoir that was in excess of 30" and 15 pounds.
answered 8/24/2015

Q: How can we get a hunting/fishing license without a Social Security Number?

Our children have no Social Security #'s, yet Fish & Game license issuing system requires such. How, then, are they able to get a hunting/fishing license without SSN?

A: 

You will need to provide a statement from the social security administration on their letterhead explaining the individual(s) do not have a social security number. This documentation will need to be provided to an IDFG regional or headquarters office. We can then set up the individual(s) profile in the license system. Please contact us at 208-334-3700 if you have additional questions.  
answered 8/24/2015

Q: Motor vehicle restrictions question

I will be elk hunting in a motor vehicle restriction area. Unit 58 to be exact. I understand that an ATV can be used on the designated ATV trails only to assist in packing out a kill or to pack in camp. My question is, can I ride my ATV on a trail, park, then hike up the mountain to set up camp, and then hunt from there? I would not be parking the ATV at camp, just leaving it on the side of the trail. My actual camp would be set up and taken down each night as I hunt, then returning to the ATV to ride back to the truck at the end of my hunt. Thank you!

A: 

Yes you can do what you have described.  Drive your ATV up an open trail with your hunting equipment and camping equipment. Leave your ATV parked along side the trail then continue up hiking to a camping spot. Camp overnight then return the next morning to your ATV to return home.
answered 8/24/2015

A: 

Yes they are, although some areas that allow access to the public have restricted them i.e. The Nature Conservancy's Silver Creek property. Remember, while legal in Idaho, it's always a good idea to be conscientious about spreading aquatic invasives. Clean, dry, and/or decontaminate if at all possible.  
answered 8/24/2015

A: 

If you send me a photograph of the feather I can help with identification and advise you on wheter it is legal to possess. You may also call me at our Regional Office in Idaho Falls.   Regards, Rob Cavallaro, Regional Wildlife Biologist rob.cavallaro@idfg.idaho.gov (208) 525-7290  
answered 8/22/2015

Q: Bowhunter education card

I completed my bowhunter education. When I went into the Southwest District Office, the gals in there told me they do not give out bowhunter education cards. My cousin and I took the class at the same time. She was given a card; also, my husband carries a card from 2 years ago. I was told to print a duplicate card from this website; however, when I enter my information, it says my info doesn't match any in the system. How do I go about getting my bowhunter education card so I may get my archery permit?

A: 

After completing the online bowhunter course, your certification card will pop on the screen to print and then use to purchase an archery permit. If you did not print your card, log back in using the Email you used to take the course. Go here to log in http://www.bowhunter-ed.com/idaho. If you cannot remember your E-mail or password follow the prompts OR contact our online course provider Kalkomey at 1-800-830-2268.
answered 8/20/2015

Q: Can I harvest a deer and put my non-resident elk tag on it?

I plan to archery hunt elk in an area that is also open for deer. Can I harvest a deer and put my elk tag on it, then go purchase a second elk tag to continue elk hunting? If this is ok, would I need to take the deer/tag to a field office to exchange the tag?

A: 

Can you use a non-resident elk tag to tag a deer if both seasons are open?  The answer is No.  Non-resident deer and elk tags may be used to take a black bear, mountain lion or grey wolf when both seasons are open, but elk tags may not be used on deer.  Page 110 in the Big game regulations explains this in more detail.  If you have any other questions please give us a call.... Good Luck on your elk hunt.
answered 8/19/2015

Q: Catfish traps allowed in Idaho?

Can catfish be trapped?

A: 

No, catffish can not be trapped.  Catfish are classified as game fish and can not be trapped.  IDAPA 13.01.11.201.08, and the "Methods of Fishing and Equipment" section of the fishing rule book explains the trapping and seining rules for minnows and crayfish. Only minnows of unprotected nongame fish, minnows of yellow perch, and crayfish may be trapped.
answered 8/19/2015

Q: Field Day

I finished the online hunter education course and it said to sign up for a field day but there are no field days available in my area. What do I do?

A: 

Field days are offered throughout the calendar year at various times, depending on where you live. More than 14,000 students continually take and pass hunter education in Idaho each year. Classes and field days change often and new opportunities are added constantly, so keep checking the website. You can also sign up for a waiting list if a class is available. However, in late September and October, class availability is very limited. This is largely due to the fact that our hunter ed instructors are volunteers who themselves are out hunting. You have a few options: Take hunter education as early in the year as you can Consider the Hunter Passport program. It lets you hunt in the field with an adult mentor without needing hunter education for a period of one license year.  
answered 8/18/2015