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 1 - 25 of 30 questions

Q: Bobcat

Why isn't there a limit on harvesting bobcat, like other game animals?


Bobcats are classified as a furbearing animal.  Furbearers include bobcat, fox, marten, mink, muskrat, beaver, otter, lynx, fisher, and badger.  Of these, lynx and fisher are fully protected with no legal harvest, and otters have a quota.  Lynx are listed as threatened and wolverine are listed as protected non game.   None of the other furbearers have quotas or limits except a few controlled hunts for beaver.  Fur trapping effort fluctuates with fur prices as much as anything.  When fur prices are up, people tend to trap more.  When they are down, people trap less.  License sale fluctuates with fur prices as well.  Bobcat harvest fluctuates with fur prices and they have gone through several cycles over the last few decades and so have bobcat populations.  Recent high harvest has declined likely a result of fur prices declining and reduced trapping pressure.  We continue to monitor annual harvest and survey trappers to identify any concerns for bobcat and other furbearer populations.

answered 4/26/2016

Q: Whistle pigs/ground squirrels

Is it legal to hunt whistle pigs in Southwest Idaho/Kuna area?? Am aware of the Birds of Prey restrictions. If this info can be found in the hunting regs., please reference the page number. Thanks!!


Ground squirrels (sometimes called "whistle pigs") in southern Ada County are predominately the type called "Piute ground squirrel."  This species is considered to be Unprotected Wildlife in Idaho Administrative Code (IDAPA 13.01.06).  IDAPA 13.01.06, Section 300.03 states: "Those species of wildlife classified as Unprotected Wildlife and Predatory Wildlife may be taken in any amount, at any time, and in any manner not prohibited by state or federal law, by holders of the appropriate valid Idaho hunting, trapping, or combination hunting and fishing licenses, provided such taking is not in violation of state, county, or city laws, ordinances, or regulations."  Additional information can be found on page 39 of the 2016-2017 Upland Game, Furbearer, and Turkey regulations brochure, as well as the IDFG website at: .  Shooting regulations for the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area can be found on the Idaho BLM website.  Currently, these regulations can be found at this web address:

answered 2/4/2016

Q: What Baits ARE legal to use for trapping in idaho?

If it is unlawful to use any part of a DOMESTIC or WILD origin game bird, big game, upland game, game fish, protected nongame wildlife, unprotected wildlife, or predatory wildlife for bait in trapping furbearing animals, then what CAN i use? a gold fish? no its domestic! A mouse? no its unprotected wildlife! A butterfly? no its unprotected wildlife . . . etc. PLEASE HELP ME!


Domestic or wild origin game animal refers to any game species whether it is raised in captivity (like a pheasant or elk) or is a wild animal that you have meat for.  You can use fish that are not game fish in Idaho, furbearer meat, chicken, beef, pig, etc. (they are not game animals in Idaho), lure, scent, etc..

answered 1/20/2016

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: 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.
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: What is the difference between bait and an attractor?

Is bait (as defined in Idaho's “Furbearer – Methods of Take/Rules”) and an attractor synonymous? In other words, can the non edible part(s), such as a hide, fur, or feather, of a non game animal be used an a attractor for trapping Coyote? And, lastly, is there any case law dealing with the difference between the two?


‘Bait’ for trapping purposes is defined as any animal parts; except bleached bones or liquid scent.
You also cannot use for bait or scent, any part of a domestic or wild origin game bird, big game animal, upland
game animal, game fish, or protected nongame wildlife;  Although there isn't a definition for attractor or attractant in the rules, it is commonly considered a scent such as pheromones for attracting animals.  However, some trappers frequently use shiney or reflective and mobile objects or feathers to attract bobcats.  These may be considered attractants even though they are not scents.  You therefore can use parts of domestic farm animals such as hair, fur, or feather as bait or attractant but they have to meet the placement rule of not being visible from above and or 30 feet from a trap.

answered 11/23/2015

Q: Hunting license and hound permit required

I wanted to know if a hunting license and/or a hound hunting permit are required to pursue raccoons?


Both a hunting license and hound hunter permit are required to pursue raccoons.  Page 99 in the Big Game Rules covers Black Bear and Mountain Lions.  Page 47 in the Upland Game and Furbearer rules states, the following persons must have a valid hound hunter permit in possession when dogs are being used to hunt:
Anyone who owns pursuit dogs
Anyone having control of dogs owned by another person
Anyone that harvests a blackbear, mountain lion, bobcat, raccoon, or fox with the use of dogs, (except clients of licensed outfitters are not required to have a hound hunter permit)
Good Luck hunting!

answered 9/16/2015

Q: Shooting legal ground squirrels and rock chuck.

What license is required to shoot legal ground squirrels and rock chucks?


I'm glad you mention LEGAL ground squirrels and rock chucks.  Idaho does have ground squirrels that cannot be hunted, see page 48 of our 2014 and 2015 Upland Bame, Furbearer & Turkey Seasons and Rules. 
You need a hunting license to hunt any of the wildlife in the Idaho.  If you are a nonresident ther is a Nongame Hunting license availabel at a reduced price that can be used to hunt ground squirrels and marmots.  
It is unlawful to take any wildlife without a valid hunting license, or without required tags or permit in possession.
No tag or permit is required to hunt ground squirrels or marmots.  Please pay attention to where you are hunting and make sure you have permission to hunt on private land. 

answered 2/28/2015

Q: Turkey caliber?

A friend and I are in a argument. I say no, but he says it doesn't say you can't in the regs. Can you hunt turkey with a .22 LR?


You are correct.  Turkey can not lawfully be hunted with a .22 LR.  On page 18 of the Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey Regulation Brochure it lists  some of the rules that apply to the hunting of upland game birds.  Turkeys are classified as an upland game bird.  The only firearm that is allowed for use in the taking of turkey is a shotgun using shells not exceeding 3 1/2 inches maximum length. 

answered 1/28/2015

Q: Is a furbearer license required?

If I am hunting coyotes, and a bob cat, red fox, wolf, or mountain lion, comes to an electronic call, can I take that animal without a furbearer's license? I understand a tag will be required to harvest a wolf or mountain lion.


For those species that can be hunted such as bobcat, fox, coyote, wolf, and lion, a trapping license is not required.  We do not have a furbearer license, only a trapping license that is required for trapping furbearers.  Please be sure to check the rules on fox as some counties in the state, i.e. Adams and Valley County have fox hunting restrictions.  You may find the rules on furbearers at:

answered 11/9/2014

Q: Trapping Coyotes

To trap coyote can I bait the traps? What are the regulations for trapping coyote?


You can use bait for trapping coyotes, however you cannot use any part of a domestic or wild origin game bird, big game, upland game, game fish, or protected nongame wildlife for bait in trapping furbearing animals, unprotected wildlife, or predatory wildlife. In addition bait for trapping is defined as any animal parts; except bleached bones or liquid scent is not considered bait. See page 45 of the upland game, furbearer, and turkey rules. Refer to page 44-47 for answers on trapping rules, methods, and defenitions.

answered 11/3/2014

Q: Primitive traps for trapping.

I am interested in trapping but would like to use primitive type traps as they are made in the field so they require less gear to pack other than tools to make them. Is it legal to employ primitive trapping methods in our state?


Yes, you are allowed to use primitive traps for trapping.  On page 45 of the Upland Game, Furbearer, and Turkey rules the definition of trapping includes the use of trap, snare, deadfall, or other device commonly used to capture wildlife.  You can find the trapping rules at:

answered 10/21/2014

Q: Hunt doves over grain placed for ag use?

I have permission to hunt a field for doves. The farmer just placed a grain pile in that field so he could feed his critters with it. Now the doves are flocking to it. Is it legal to hunt them there? The intent is to feed critters not the doves.


Hunting over placed bait is not legal; 2014 and 2015 Seasons and Rules for Upland Game, Furbearer & Turkey page 21. 
Dove's are  migratory birds.  Please review the 2014 Waterfowl Seasons and Rules, page 13, for more detailed information regarding bait.

answered 9/25/2014

Q: Trapping

When does the actual season start and how do I enroll in a beaver unit?


Please refer to pages 41 of this years upland game and furbearer rules at: to learn how to apply for the Controlled Hunt beaver permit.  You must apply by Sept. 15 for the trapping permit.  Check the rules for starting dates for beaver trapping in your region.

answered 8/24/2014

Q: Dog proof trap for raccoons

Is it legal to use foot hold traps such as a dog proof duke raccoon trap without a trapping licence to catch raccoons. On private property and only because they are a problem. Live traps have been very unsuccessful due to amount of tomcats in the area


Racoons are classified as preditors in Idaho and can be taken in any amounts and at any time by holders of the appropriate valid Idaho hunting, trapping or combination hunting license, provided such taking is not in violation of state, county, or city laws, ordinances or regulations.  Take care not to catch non-target protected species.  Please review the Upland Game, Furbearer & Turkey 2014 and 2015 Seasons and Rules book pages 45 and 46 for specific trapping rules relative to predatory wildlife.  

answered 8/7/2014


There is a fox causing property damage and killing pets on our property. It has been here for about three years. What can I do to relocate or disperse it?
I live on a small farm 43 acres in Jefferson County and have received little help from local government as there is no animal services in Jefferson County. Is the Red Fox part of the "predator" list in that we can just hunt it?


The red fox is classified as a furbearer in Idaho.  In Jefferson County however, there is a year-long hunting and trapping season on them which requires a hunting or trapping license.  Also, if caught in the act of harassing or killing your pets or farm animals, they can also be killed without a license.  Fox are active predators, and are especially fond of mice, voles, and other small mammals.  They also kill birds, feral or loose cats, and possibly small dogs though that is quite rare.  You should contact your local Fish and Game office if you wish to live capture and relocate the animals. They may be willing to issue you a permit to have an animal in captivity and relocate.  If there are adults, there are likely pups and it is not as easy as just removing a single animal.  You may also contact a local fur trapper if you are having real issues with the foxes.  Losing straying cats on occasion will be expected in any rural area and may be caused by more than just foxes.  You can find more information about fox and other predator control online.

answered 6/5/2014

Q: Fines/consequences for use of wild game/ game fish for trapping bait?

What are the penalties/fines for use of wild game/ game fish for bobcat trapping bait, for a JR.?


This violation is a misdemeanor.  The penalties include a fine that can range from $25.00 to $1,000.00 plus court costs and may include jail time up to six months.  The magistrate may revoke fishing, hunting and/or trapping privileges for up to three years.  If an animal is involved there is an additional $50.00 penalty per furbearer illegally killed, possessed or wasted.

answered 4/26/2014

Q: I'm starting a new taxidermy business, what information do I need for my records?

Do I need both their license and tag number?
Do I need to keep records of what state and unit the animals were harvested?
What do I need for out of state animals?
I also know a lot of people who horn hunt and find dead heads, what's the protocol on those?
Thanks for the reply in advance.


  First, you need to submit the Taxidermist/Furbearer license application.  For more information, contact your nearest Fish and Game office.

answered 2/8/2014


An Idaho nonresident trapping license costs $301.75 and is required to trap furbearers in Idaho.  Trapping rules are posted on our website at:

answered 10/24/2013

Q: Can you describe ethical dispatch methods for animals in traps?

Specifically, what implements or weapons should be used, how many blows, to what part of the body for maximum killing effectiveness?


This topic is somewhat sensitive to many people. As a trapper it is something you can’t avoid. Its also very import that you’re good at it. Idaho provides a trapper education course to teach proper trapping and dispatching techniques.  We also recommend you go out with an experienced trapper before you do it yourself.  The preferred method of dispatch is using a small caliber handgun or firearm, usually .22 caliber, and place a shot in the brain.  As a responsible trapper your main objective is to dispatch the animal very quickly if not instantly. With body grips such as conibears and with snares you won’t have a problem with dispatching the furbearer; these type of traps will do it for you. 
Be aware that your actions reflect on the activity and how people perceive the sport.
You can find more techniques online at various websites.

answered 9/12/2013

Q: What are the legalities of hunting with air rifles?

Are there any restrictions on air rifles or the type of game that can be taken with them?


Predatory wildlife (raccoon, coyote, jackrabbit, weasel, skunk, and starling) and unprotected wildlife may be legally hunted with an Airgun at any time and in any amount. Cottontail rabbit and Snowshoe hares may be hunted with an Airgun during season (See Upland Game, Furbearer & Turkey Seasons and Rules Brochure for seasons, bag and possession limits). A valid Idaho Hunting or Combination license is required.

answered 6/16/2013


If you are hunting fox, a hunting license is what you need.  You only need a trapping license if you are trapping them.

answered 3/20/2013

Q: What Animals can legally be Hunted with an Airgun?

I'm wondering what animals and birds can legally be hunted with an airgun? Also, is there a minimum caliber required?


Predatory wildlife (raccoon, coyote, jackrabbit, weasel, skunk, and starling) and unprotected wildlife may be legally hunted with an Airgun at any time and in any amount. Cottontail rabbit and Snowshoe hares may be hunted with an Airgun during season (See Upland Game, Furbearer & Turkey Seasons and Rules Brochure for seasons, bag and possession limits). A valid Idaho Hunting or Combination license is required.

answered 2/24/2013


Season dates for bobcat trapping or hunting are December 14-February 16. 
Bobcat Mandatory Check and Report Information:
Any person taking bobcat whether by hunting or trapping must comply with the mandatory check and report and pelt tag requirements by:
Presenting the pelts of all bobcats taken to a regional office, the McCall office or official check point to obtain the appropriate pelt tag and complete a harvest report.
To have a pelt tagged, the pelt must be legally taken in Idaho and must be presented during normal working hours – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pelts must be thawed before they can be checked.
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.
No person, who does not possess a furbearer or taxidermist license and/or appropriate import documentation, shall have in possession, except during the open season and for 10 days after the close of the season, any raw bobcat pelt which does not have an official state export tag attached (either Idaho’s or another state’s).
No person, who does not possess a furbearer or taxidermist license and/or appropriate import documentation, shall sell, offer for sale, purchase, or offer to purchase any raw bobcat which does not have an official state export tag attached.

answered 1/31/2013


List of Species that Can be Salvaged

Big Game Animals

Black Bear (Ursus americanus)
California Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis californiana)
Elk (Cervus canadensis)
Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)
Moose (Alces americanus)
Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus)
Mountain Lion (Felis concolor)
Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)
Pronghorn Antelope (Antilocapra americana)
Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis canadensis)
White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

listSpecies("", "biggame", function () { });

Upland Game Animals

Mountain Cottontail (Sylvilagus nuttallii)
Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus)

Upland Game Birds

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Blue Grouse (Dendragapus obscurus)
California Quail (Callipepla californica)
Chukar (Alectoris chukar)
Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse (Tympanuchus phasianellus columbianus)
Gray Partridge (Perdix perdix)
Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)
Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus)
Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)
Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus)
Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis)
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

Furbearing Animals

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American Badger (Taxidea taxus)
American Beaver (Castor canadensis)
American Marten (Martes americana)
Bobcat (Lynx rufus)
Fisher (Martes pennanti)
Mink (Mustela vison)
Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)
Northern River Otter (Lontra canadensis)
Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Predatory Animals

Black-tailed Jack Rabbit (Lepus californicus)
Common Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
Coyote (Canis latrans)
Ermine (Mustela erminea)
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata)
Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)
Western Spotted Skunk (Spilogale gracilis)
White-tailed Jack Rabbit (Lepus townsendii)

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Unprotected Animals
Unprotected animals are all remaining animals in Idaho that are not listed as protected, endangered, or threatened AND all animals listed in categories above without a season. 


answered 12/26/2012