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 176 - 200 of 3507 questions

Q: can you use a muzzleloader as a shotgun for upland game birds like grouse and quail

So I was wondering if you could use a muzzleloader with small shot (size 8-6 lead shot) for hunting grouse and quail during the end of the hunting season for them?


In Idaho, upland game birds (except forest grouse) may be taken with a firearm as long as the firearm is classified as a shotgun.  This can be found on page 18 of the 2014-2015 Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey regulations.  18 USC 921 states: The term “shotgun” means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of an explosive to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger. This means that only smooth bore shoulder fired firearms are legal for the taking of upland game birds (except forest grouse).  If a firearms contains a rifled barrel, this firearm is not classified as a shotgun and would be illegal for the taking of upland game birds (except forest grouse) regardless of the projectile(s) fired. A smooth bore muzzleloader would be legal in this instance. The same is also true of handguns chambered in calibers such as .45 long colt.  Although this firearm is capable of firing .410 shot shells, the barrel is rifled.  Federal law requires all barrels under 18 inches in length to contain rifled bores.  This firearm would not be classified as a shotgun and would be illegal for taking upland game birds (except forest grouse).
answered 1/6/2016

Q: When will the results of the bonus point survey be released?

The bonus point survey concluded in early November and results were meant to be discussed at the November 19th meeting, I do not see the minutes of that meeting posted nor do I see the survey results are posted on the IDFG website. In today's digital world it surely cannot take a full two months to tally the results on an online poll, can it?


The results of the Hunters Survey are posted on the Fish and Game website. You will find the link on the website homepage at The Fish and Game Commission will approve the minutes from the November meeting at the Commission's meeting later this month.  Once approved, the minutes will be posted on the website.  
answered 1/5/2016

Q: In Idaho, are you allowed to have a small light on your compound bow sight?

I am new to bow hunting and was just wondering. If you could please answer this that would be much obliged. Thank you.


On page 98 of the Big Game Seasons and Rules it expains archery rules. You cannot have anything electronic attached to a bow, arrow, or bolt.
answered 1/5/2016

Q: Scoring a big game animal several years after harvest

Can a legally taken big game animal be measured for the state record several years after the hunt? I harvested a pronghorn in 2013 that may qualify for the state entry.


Yes.  For more information on scoring and the requirements for entering your antelope into the Idaho records, visit Fish and Game’s website at  
answered 1/4/2016

Q: What is the reason for rasing the length limit on bass to 14" in the southeast region?

Why did Fish and Game increase the length limit on bass in the southeast region from 12" to 14"?


Greetings, Thanks for asking about the bass rule change. We have been surveying the largemouth bass populations in the region for many years. Most of the largemouth bass fisheries in this region experience overabundance, which leads to stunted, very slow growing populations. Some of the 10-12 inch bass we have collected from the Franklin County reservoirs are 7 and 8 years old. Stunting in the bass population also negatively impacts the bluegill and perch fisheries. Our goal is to improve angler satisfaction by increasing the size of bluegill, perch, and bass they catch. The right bass population is key to managing bluegill and perch populations. In general, we need more, larger bass to thin out overpopulated bass, perch and bluegill. The change to 14 inches does that. This link provides a report where we completed an experiment on Johnson Reservoir to see how more larger bass would benefit the bluegill fishery. Smallmouth bass fisheries are very different. For example, a successful management rule for smallmouth bass on the Snake River from American Falls Dam to the Minidoka Refuge has been no size restriction on harvest coupled with a two fish limit. If you would like to discuss bass management in more detail, please call me at 208-232-4703.
answered 1/4/2016

Q: What steps can I take when I find public land marked as private?

Over the last few years I have come across a few spots that are marked private when in fact they are not private. Even got chased out of a spot that I knew was blm land?


If you come across public land that has been posted with no trespassing signs, please contact the government agency who administers the property.  This could be the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service or any other land management agency.
answered 1/3/2016

Q: Lost Valley Reservoir Perch Problem

Why does Fish and Game Continue to spend the time and resources on the invasive perch problem at Lost Valley Reservoir? Wouldn't it be more productive at this point to try a different tactic? They have been trying to drain and poison it for far to long with the same results. There used to be a few wild trout upstream but in the last few years I have not seen anything at all. I suggest at this point,and I am sure many others would agree, that a few tiger muskie (being a sterile fish and unable to repopulate), may be more productive. The muskie would thin out the perch,making them grow larger and thus taking the misfortune of this unwanted fish due to its over population and being illegally planted to begin with,and making something good of it. The trout would then in turn have a chance to thrive as well. Is there a chance Fish And Game would consider this?


Thanks for your inquiry. IDFG has never drained Lost Valley Reservoir; we have worked with the Irrigation Company on years that water use was high and the resulting reservoir carryover was going to be small, to use that opportunity to apply a piscicide to try and remove the yellow perch. It is a frustrating situation with the reservoir and the yellow perch population. We have looked at using the Tiger Muskie as a control method and have chosen not to do so. A "few" tiger muskie would not impact the population size or individual size of the yellow perch. With the water volume change that the reservoir undergoes annually, due to delivery of irrigation releases, any species placed in the reservoir is also going to be released. Releasing a new fish species in any drainage is something we are very thoughtful about.  Although Tiger Muskies are sterile, they are also long lived, prefer soft rayed fish over spinney rayed fish species, and can persist for a long time on a starvation diet. These Tiger Muskie attributes have been learned over that past decade or so and lead to a more cautious approach as to where this species is introduced. Likely what you are seeing upsteam of the reservoir is that the sterile rainbow trout that are used now in the state do not migrate very much and are not using the inlet stream. There are still brookies present in those streams. What we are now doing is using a larger stocked trout at 12 inches versus the 10 inch stocked trout of the past. These larger trout return well to the angler and hopefully will satisfy anglers even when we have yellow perch around. We will likely use piscicides when yellow perch levels become overwhelming.
answered 1/1/2016

Q: Junior three year licenses

Is a junior three year combination license that is bought right before an individual turns eighteen valid after the individual turns eighteen?


The 3-year junior license would still be valid after the junior turns 18.   However, he (or she) would not be able to participate in any hunt that is designated youth only.
answered 1/1/2016

Q: Trespass Law

Can you please go into detail on how to tell if land is enclosed. For instance there are many 3-4 strand barbwire fences that run through public land and then into private, what type of fences would deem land to be enclosed?


I assume by enclosed you are refering to closed off for public access or trespass. Fence locations or type of fencing really has nothing to do with idaho trespass law.  The law states: No person may enter private land to hunt, fish or trap without permission if the land is: Cultivated OR posted with no trespassing  or similar signage every 660 feet or at all reasonable access points OR posted with 100 square inches of high visibility orange paint every 660 feet or all reasonable access points OR posted with high visibility orange paint on the top 18 inches of a metal fence post every 660 feet or all reasonable access points OR posted with signs where a public road enters and leaves property through or along which the public has a right-of-way I suggest you read the full statute which can be found on page 96 of the 2015 & 2016 big game seasons and rules booklet.  
answered 12/29/2015


Hunting without a proper license and hunting without a proper tag are misdemeanor violations in Idaho.  Idaho Code 36-1402 states that penalty for a misdemeanor violation is a fine of $25 to $1000, up to six months in jail, and up to three years of license revocation.
answered 12/28/2015

Q: Do I still need to go through hunters ed to purchase a non game license?

I dont have a hunting license yet, and don't want to get one until I return from army basic, do I still need to go through hunters ed to purchase a non game license to hunt coyotes and jackrabbit?


If you were born after January 1, 1975, yes you will need to complete hunters education prior to purchasing a nongame hunting license. Here is the Idaho Law regarding hunters education. Idaho Code 36-411.  Certificate of completion. (a) Hunter education.  No hunting license shall be issued to a person born after January 1, 1975, unless the person has previously held a valid hunting license in this or another state or unless such person presents to the department of fish and game or one of its authorized license vendors, a certificate of completion in hunter education issued by the department under the hunter education program or proof that he holds the equivalent of such a certificate obtained either in Idaho or from an authorized agency or association of another state or country.
answered 12/27/2015

Q: Nonresident questions deer and elk tags

As a non resident, can I get over the counter mule deer and elk tags? If so, when? If not, how would I apply for the draw tags?


Idaho has nonresident over-the-counter tags available for deer and elk. The over-the-counter tag is called our "general" tag and is good for mule deer or white-tailed deer. We also have controlled hunt tags for deer and elk. If a nonresident purchased a general tag prior to drawing a controlled hunt tag, they would simply need to exchange the tag. Tags go on sale for the following year beginning December 1 of the prior (on sale now for 2016). There is a quota, however. In 2015, we sold out of nonresident general deer tags, so if you're considering hunting in Idaho, the safe bet may be to get the license and tags early. Seasons are already set for 2016 and you can help find the hunt you'd like to participate in using the Idaho Hunt Planner, as well.
answered 12/26/2015


A harvested bobcat must be turned into Fish and Game to have a CITES tag attached to it, regardless of the method of take (this includes salvageed road kill). Yes, you will be charged for the tag and vendor fee. A fee of $2 will be charged for each pelt tag. An additional $1.75 vendor fee will be charged to each license holder when pelts are brought in for tagging.   Josh Royse Magic Valley RCO
answered 12/25/2015


Yes, Native Americans have a tribal hunting season that is longer than the season established by the State of Idaho. It commonly goes from August through the end of December. They are allowed to hunt on unoccupied federal public lands outside the of the reservation boundaries which does take in at least, portions of IDFG Regions 4, 5, 6, and 7. These hunting rights were established by the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868.
answered 12/24/2015

Q: Best month for fishing steelhead?

What month of the year is best for fishing steelhead? And what river is recommended for fishing steelhead?


Hello,  Steelhead fishing is probably best in October-November and again in March-April. While steelhead can be caught in the winter between December and February, catch rates are usually much lower until water temperatures come back up.  In the fall, steelhead fishing usually first picks up in the lower Clearwater River and the Snake River near Lewiston. The lower Salmon River between Riggins and Hammer Creek (Whitebird grade) and the Little Salmon River (Riggins) also can fish well in October-November. In spring, steelhead move higher upstream as spawning season approaches. Steelhead fishing in March/April is best higher upstream in the Clearwater (Kooskia) and SF Clearwaters (Stites). The upper Salmon River between Challis and Stanley is best in March and April.  You can find more information about seasons and rules on our steelhead webpages here:   Martin Koenig Sportfishing Program Coordinator
answered 12/23/2015

Q: Duck hunting

If I want to hunt the banks of the snake river along map rock (not in front of the airport of course) but along the water below the highway and trench Through the Russian olive trees; can I game to shoot as long as my shot is towards the water? Also, I went and took my step son out to teach him do's and don'ts about hunting. Our location was the Roswell Marsh Wma off pin and marker rd. Can we hunt the ponds across hwy 18 to the east?


That area is a little tough to hunt because in many places it is a very narrow strip of land between the road and river.  You can hunt on private land along the river with permission from the landowner or along any public land that is open. We emphasize safety and respect for property.  Also, it is very important to have the ability to retrieve ducks (boat or retriever, or both), and remember it is illegal for you to have your dog retrieve down birds on private property that you do not have permission to access.  You can access the water along that stretch of road by public boat launches.   Not sure we are following your question about the Roswell March WMA. The road runs east and west.  The ponds on the south side of Hwy 18 are public and managed by IDFG (with hunt days of Thurs/Fri/Sat only) and upland portion of Roswell can be hunted 7 days/week.  The ponds north of Hwy 18 are private.  Here is a link to a map of the area.  
answered 12/20/2015

Q: Legal Shotgun for upland game hunting

What are the laws concerning upland game hunting with a shotgun, such as barrel length and shell capacity?


The only rule is shells cannot exceed 3 1/2 inches. There is no rule on barrel length or shell capacity in a shotgun.
answered 12/19/2015

Q: Can i have more than one name on a trap tag?

My son and myself are planning on trapping together. As he is 12 years old and lives at home so we have same address, are we allowed to have both our names on the trap tag instead of putting two tags on the trap? The reason is if only one of us is checking traps that it will have our name on it. Another choice would be if only one of us has our name on the trap, could someone else that is a licensed trapper check our trap if they were in possession of a written note saying that the owner of the traps allows them to do so? The reason is not just for me and my son but if something happened where it was not possible to check the trap it would still be done by someone. I found nothing on this subject when reviewing the manual. Thanks, Allan Szews


On page 47 of the furbearer regulations in the section entitled "removing trapped animals of another" it states: No person shall remove wildlife from the trap or snare of another except licensed trappers with written permission from the owner.  In other words, so long as your name or your son's name (if he is licensed) is on the trap, and you both have written permission for each other to check the traps, then you are legal.  Please carry the permission with your license in case you are checked by an officer.
answered 12/17/2015

Q: Can people just get rid of squirrels?

I feed squirrels in my backyard. I don't see them I think my neighbor did something. He hates me for some reason but when I came home the food wasn't eaten. I think he used some type of air gun but their nests are close. I would think they'd still come back. Can we kill them?


By "them" I assume you mean, "Can we kill squirrels?"  Our native tree squirrels are protected animals.  Many towns around Idaho have non-native fox squirrels or gray squirrels living within city limits.  The non-native squirrels are not protected under Idaho law.
answered 12/15/2015


There is not a simple answer to this question.  First off, spring flow conditions for smolts in the lower Snake River comes from several drainages including the Salmon (Clearwater, upper Snake, and Imnaha are the other large contributors).  Second, the flow amounts smolts encounter on their outmigration are not solely determined by snowpack amount, but also how fast the snowpack melts (the shape of the runoff).  A large snowpack that melts too early doesn't help smolts get to the ocean. A maximum "flush" would occur with a very large snowpack that came off (melted) quickly.  This would not be best for smolt survival because flows would be so high that there would be too much spill over the dams and gas super-saturation would do more harm than the benefits of high flow.  If looking at just snowpack, more is better up to some limit or extreme. There will always be some drier years. As long as we don't see more of those but rather we can hover around the "average" years the smolts have a good chance of surviving to the ocean.  
answered 12/14/2015

Q: Are there any areas in twin falls that have an abundance of coyotes?

Hello my name is Eric Aguilar I am a resident of Twin Falls and have recently gotten into predator hunting specifically coyotes. A friend and I have gone out a few times with no luck, most recently we traveled out on East 2800 Rd North and stopped at a few places on that road. I was curious if a game warden knew if there were any coyote sightings in this area.


Yes, there should be coyotes down in that area.  But there are many places to hunt coyotes near Twin Falls--the South Hills, Shoshone Basin, the desert west of Rogerson, the desert north of Gooding or the desert around Shoshone, and many others.  The best way to find coyotes is to look for sign, and it is especially easy right now with the fresh snow.  If you are seeing tracks crossing the roads then you are in a good spot.  Keep in mind that coyote hunting has become very popular and coyotes are very educated now.  Especially if you are hunting and calling near the roads.  You may have more success by getting away from the roads and hunting coyotes that have not been called to.  And if you are calling, maybe switch up your calls and try something different--give them something they haven't heard before.  Good luck.   
answered 12/14/2015

Q: if an elk is dying caught in a fence..can that animal be salvaged without a tag.

we came across an elk chocking to death in a fence. he was minutes from dying.we had a tag and choose to put out of misery and take it and tag it..what if we did not have a tag, could we still salvage it. we had no phone reception in the area so we could not call fish and game..


I totally sympathize with the frustration of finding an elk caught in a fence.  I have removed some over the years while on patrol and had to put some out of their misery as well.  It would be lawful to take the elk only if you have a valid tag for the area, the elk season is open.  There could also be a need for permission if it is on private land.  I know that does not address the fact the animal was suffering.  It is an unfortunate reality that these circumstances arise and I can't advise you to do something that could get you in trouble.  The best advise I can give is to travel to the next available cell service and call the local Sheriff's Office.  They can contact Idaho Department of Fish and Game and work through solving the problem with the hope that someone is close by to respond and put the elk down as soon as possible.
answered 12/13/2015

Q: Wolf Limit

If I buy both a wolf hunting and a wolf trapping license, I can buy 15 tags and bag 15 wolves. Correct?


As a hunter you can purchase 5 wolf tags per calendar year (January 1 through December 31).  As long as you have taken the required wolf trapping class and have a trapping license, you can purchase 5 wolf trapping tags per trapping year (July 1 through June 30).  This could result in the purchase of 15 wolf tags in a calendar year, but, that would not work each year. 
answered 12/12/2015

Q: Motorized hunting

I'm confused. In areas where there are no motorized hunting restrictions (the majority of areas), I can pursue with an ATV and shoot from an ATV -- is that correct?


Idaho code 36-1101(b)1 states: It is unlawful to hunt any of the game animals or game birds of this state from or by the use of any motorized vehicle except as provided by commission rule;  There is an exception for holders of a valid Hadicapped Person's Motor Vehicle Hunting Permit who may shoot from a motorized vehicle as long as the vehicle is not in motion and not on a public roadway.  Hunters may not violate motorized travel plans, these can be found online or at your local Forest Service or BLM office.     
answered 12/12/2015

Q: Hiking with dogs in Ada & Canyon Counties

Where can I hike with my dogs in Ada and Canyon Counties without encountering traps and snares?


Traps and snares can be legally set on federal, state, and private land.  Many of the IDFG Wildlife Mangement Areas do not allow trapping during the pheasant season but allow hunting and there are many dogs and hunters on these properties during the fall and early winter.  Public land is open to all legal hunting and trapping through much of the winter and there are no real set aside locations except for some possible city, state, or county parks and properties.  You would have to check those individually.  In order to reduce the chances of your dogs getting caught in a trap, we advise that you check out the videos on our website on how to recognize and avoid trap sets, and how to release your dog from a trap at:
answered 12/12/2015